In Buddhism, now are the days of remembering our ancestors and the deceased. This time is called “Obon”. I, too, from Vienna give lots of thought towards my ancestors with my hands folded together saying “Namu Amida Butsu”.
I think of my ancestors as far back as I can remember, like my grandfather and grandmothers and also those ancestors I never got to meet in person. Especially strong is my memory of my mother, she always was such a positive influence on me and she was my idol and aspiration. How much I love her! I think as a child that was very fortunate. There are also those people without contact to their mothers or having a bad relationship with them. Sadly my mother passed away in 2011 but my memories of her are still so clear and present.
It is so interesting, recently I am surprised how similar my talkníng voice is to my mother’s. Not always but sometimes I really think that way. Also when I am at home in Japan picking up the phone, sometimes the callers were surprised saying “Is that really you, Yuka? Your voice is so similar to your mother’s and I thought she might be alive again”. I also noticed that my cough is similar to hers. Genetics is interesting.
Once a year Mr. Okamoto gives a presentation at the Japanese embassy about Japanese culture and religion. Yesterday there was a he gave a presentation on the occasion of the anniversary of 150 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Austria and he spoke about contents relating to this anniversary. Numerous guests attended and listened with focus and so there was a very agreeable atmosphere. The audience reacted well to Mr. Okamoto’s jokes and there really was a relaxed and friendly mood. He spoke about four main themes. “Steps taken from the initiation of the bilateral relations”, “Vienna Expo 1873 (Japan’s first participation as country)”, “Encounter of Christianity and Buddhism”, and “Austrians’ view on Japanese people”. Many Austrian guests said it was very interesting and they heard about historic events who had been unknown to them before. Every year my husband and I translate Mr. Okamoto’s presentation and he will read the German translation to the audience. This is also very interesting for us and we can learn a lot. Usually I sing some Japanese songs and so I could discover new songs which has also been quite interesting and instructive for me. Since there is no piano at the embassy, every year I have a piano recording made to which I later sing to. This year Mrs. Hina Oono made the piano recording for this presentation. The three pieces performed were “Seki no yuzare” (Nagayo Motoori), “Paraiso” from the Zyklus Nagasaki 5 Songs (Composed by Yoshitaka Sakamoto, Lycris by Rofu Miki), “Ano Yamano” Bouncing ball song from the Joshu region (Arranged by Kozaburo Hirai). Event organized every year by Gekkan Wien and supported by the Japanese Embassy in Austria and the Japanese-Austrian Association.