Monday, August 24, 2015


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Last night I knelt in front of a butsudan, lit incense, rang a bell, and prayed to my Japanese grandpa who passed away a month ago, almost to the exact week that my father passed away two years ago.

Memories of Jiji-chan grating daikon in his regular seat at the dining table are so vivid. If I close my eyes I can see him walking slowly with the aid of his walking sticks around the park next to my apartment. He was always dressed in a beautiful shirt, a hat, and more often than not, suspenders.

With tears in her eyes, his granddaughter, Satomi-chan told me how he loved three things in life; food, sleeping and Baba-chan.

Baba-chan told me how Jiji-chan would often say 'we should invite Ebony over for dinner' before looking up at my apartment through his bathroom window and then say 'oh, the lights are off so she must be out'. Jiji-chan was like the grandpa I never had.

Although I promised myself I wouldn't, I cried. We all cried. We offered Jiji-chan wine, beer and Nihon-shu. We looked through photo albums of when Jiji-chan was a teenager. We smelt his fragrance. We held our drinks up and said 'kanpai' to him before he makes his journey to his hometown Aizu.
Meeting Jiji-chan was a miracle in my life.

Jiji-chan, the amazing name you were given by the monk upon departing this earth is a testament to the wonderful things you did in this life. You'll never be forgotten Jiji-chan.



  1. Oh, Ebony, I'm so sorry for your loss. He sounds like he gave people a lot of joy in his life. <3

  2. R.I.P. Jiji-chan. He seems like a really good person.

  3. I'm very sorry for your loss. I'm sure he'll be looking out for you. <3

  4. I'm so sorry for your loss, Ebony. It was always so sweet to see you post about your Japanese family, and I thought it was so lovely that these two enjoyed your company so much. Such sweet memories! You're a lucky girl! Jiji-chan will be with you always.

  5. What a heartache. I'm so sorry!

    Jiji-chan had such a wonderful smile in these pictures. He must have brought lots of joy to those around him.

  6. I am very sorry. I am also envious that you have such great neighbors that are family to you. My parents are much older plus immigrants so I was never able to meet my grandparents. Jiji-chan just radiates joy and I can feel it from your post and the photos. I am sure in his next life - he will bring that joy.

  7. I'm so sorry for your and Jiji-chan's family's loss. He looks and sounds like a wonderful person.