Monday, October 6, 2008


Day 35 Vermillion
The bright red pigment from Cinnabar is a wonderful feature of the architecture and landscape of Japan. This is the giant Tori (gate) leading to Heien Jingu Shrine in Kyoto. All the wooden buildings here are this colour.

We had a lovely visit in Kyoto with Sakurako and her family.She and Kazuhiro had a baby boy on 25th September. weighing 2888gms and called Takumi. In Japan names are "made up" by parents using the meaning of Kanji Characters. Many combinations of Kanji are popular so the same names are popular. Sakura-ko e.g. is cherry blossom's child. Kazuhiro's name is made of two kanji characters kazu peaceful and hiro ocean. Takumi's name is Taku explorer and mi sea.
He was asleep when we arrived and except for a feed and a bath stayed asleep the whole 8 hours of our visit!! He had been awake every two hours the night before so Sakurako was also resting when we arrived. She has moved home to her mother (traditional custom) for a month, to be looked after and supported as she learns to care for Takumi. Kazuhiro is busy as they are moving apartments and he is doing all the work!! He comes for dinner in the evening.
Tatsuya, Sakurako's father is a grandfather already but they live in Tokyo, so he is thrilled to have a baby almost next door. This picture was taken about 5 minutes after he arrived home from work. He said hallo, then went to kneel down beside him, where he was asleep,and watched him sleeping for a few minutes, commenting on any movement, then got up to get his camera.
While I was taking a photo of Takumi in the bath, Tatsuya had started video of him, and got a chair to stand up so he could film over my shoulder!
I had read in my on-line Japanese lesson about a Japanese tradition of keeping the umbilical cord as a remembrance, called Heso no o. For those of you not medially oriented or have no children, the remnant of the cord where it was cut, dries up and fall off by about a week of age. So I asked Masako if this was common and they said "Oh yes." Masako had the cords from her three children and she went to get a little box in which the cord remnant is in some powder. (?talc? cornflour).
The hospital gives mothers the box, but some hospitals have you buy as flash lacquered one! Celia asked how you knew which box was which (some secret sign ?) but Masako flipped over the box and there was a label with Takumi's name date and time of birth and weight! The Kanji on the box says kizuna- bond
The cord represents the bond of mother and baby throughout life.

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