by Molly Des Jardin
I read in a magazine, there is a serious problem of lack of burial places in big cities like
Tokyo or Yokohama.
In this aging society, more people passing away and also graveyards are considered as `unwanted'
facilities, it is getting a serious problem actually. People are willing to have graveyard in convenient places and with reasonable price, so supplying the need seems quite difficult.
I did not realize graveyads are ``unwanted' facilities, but I remember one thing - when I was looking for a bigger office and stock room, I was offered a stock room which was quite big right next to the old graveyard . One side of the building was faced with the slope and the area was filled with old gravestones. I thought it may be interesting if we could see a ball of fire, but I knew other staff will never like here.
It is not the matter of atmosphere. It will be acually quite inconvenient with the people who come to visit their families graves during obon time with parking cars. There is a law and those facilities need to keep parking places for visitors. Those who have visited Japan might have seen small cemetary in the middle of cities. It must have been very shocking view.
There is a small cemetery in our city also - there is a big pachinco game parlor across the street from this cemetery. It is not so rare to see this kind of view in Japan.
It seems graveyads are not always `unwanted' facilities. Recently, there are some places like a big park with many trees and flower gardens and there were not so much opposition movement from the neighbors. This is a very new wave. However, these projects need appropriate land and it does not seem to be easy to make such places in big cities.
Here is the excellent solution-a charnel house with automation!
They have a charnel house like a locker room in the back-the families who come to visit the grave to pray, pass a card to the card reader, then the blac box (there is the cinerary urns iside)
with the family name appears in front of them in the `praying booth. There is/are bones of the family and you can choose whom you came to pray for (you can click the name). Then you can choose what you want to see-the photo, the life story summary or slideshow. When you finish praying, you can click `finish'.
Please watch this video(it is short), to see what I am talking about!
This might have reminded you of Amazon stock room!
They can build this in old temple yard or basement - even in the very small places in big cities!
Actually this sytem has been sold to some temples, so this is not an imaginary facility, it
However the law about parking places for these facilities seem to be avoiding these to be increased. Otherwise, I think this system must have become very popular.
I sometimes think about myself. The situation is not so serious in western area like here in Osaka. My parents ancestors have their grave in a big cemetery where we can go in about an hour by car. My wife Yuka is a Christian and she is thinking about going to the small a charnel chapel of her church.
I am not a Christian, so what can I do? "Tree Funeral" might be good. Children and grandchildren can come and enjoy blossoms -may be scattering ashes in a river or sea might be good too.
I do not have any particular intention. My family members can do whatever they like. That is completely all right with me.