Yesterday, after a brilliant day playing games with the kiddies and passionately discussing Bon Jovi with giggly female students, I gleefully bid the staff members at my Wakayama school goodbye for the next two weeks. O-Bon – the Japanese season of honoring one’s ancestors – is coming, my friends. It’s a long time since the words “summer vacation” held any meaning for me, and the meaning is good.
Despite being as un-Japanese as they come and having no graves to dust off, I suppose I will be celebrating O-Bon in my own fashion – tomorrow, I will do as the Japanese and welcome my own ancestors to this Japanese earth; my parents are coming into town to visit and two days later, my brother will come on down as well. I am beyond excited – and not just for the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese my mother has promised to bring.
Sure, my interpretation of the holiday is a bit skewed – the ancestors honored are supposed to be dead, not living. And, technically, my brother is younger than I am so he can’t be an ancestor. But what do you expect? I’m gaijin. I’m also a gaijin who’s about to see her folks for the first time in 7 months.