Monday, July 21, 2008

Entry for October 30, 2006

"Ii uchi ga tatsu to ii desu ne."
I hope your house turns out to be a nice one.

So today my husband and I took the day (or half day in my case) off from work to take part in a pre-house building ceremony. We bought property near my parents' house that was for sale and have spent the past six months planning and discussing with an architect. We will have central air (yay!) and a large bathtub (yay, says my 183 cm husband) and a full kitchen (including a dishwasher but not including an oven).

In Japan, you are obliged to perform a ceremony called jichinsai before you start building something. Translated, I suppose it means something like "ceremony to quiet the earth". In theory you could skip this, but we decided to go with tradition. Just in case.

The carpenters had built a little alter with offerings of fruit, fish, rice, salt and sake. I was amused to find pineapple and banana among the fruit offerings. I suppose the gods aren't particularly nationalistic or protectionist these days...(or maybe it was an Okinawa pineapple?) The priest, clad in a purple robe, chanted and waved paper streamers and poured sake on what would become the four corners of our house in about six months or so.

We then marched around the neighborhood with the carpenters and the architect and the sales rep from the house building company and said hello, we're the Pumpkin Clan and we'll be building a house and your usually quiet neighborhood will be very loud and you will have lots of large trucks and machines going in and out of your road and disturbing you so here is a towel as a token of our sincere regret for the trouble this will cause you.

Nearly all the neighbors were our parents' age. I'm eying them to see if I will have any potential emergency babysitters for the Pumpkin Princess.

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