Dragon, my mother and I went to my hometown in a small archipelago called Goto (Five Islands) off the coast of Nagasaki. The purpose of the visit was the burial of my father’s cremains who passed away two years ago. “Can I step on the island without being emotionally disturbed where memories of my father vividly remain?” I was not sure.
After a ten and a half hour flight from San Francisco to Narita, we made it to my mother’s apartment in Chiba early evening. At 5:30 am the next morning, we were off with the cremains to get on a bus to Haneda Airport, where we took off at 8:25 am. At 10:20 am, we landed at Nagasaki Airport and took a 45-minute bus ride to the inner city. Finally we were aboard a high-speed boat which left at 1 pm and took us to the island at 2:40 pm. While making full use of air, land and sea transportation, the hardest part of the trip was a less than 10-minute walk from the bus stop to Nagasaki Port. The bag carrying the cremains was so heavy that I thought my arms would be torn apart. (^_^;)
The 100-minute boat ride was harsh, too (^_^;). I never liked riding in boats as a child. The high-speed boat ran so fast that I thought it would break apart. Although the ocean was relatively calm, the boat still shook up and down, and sideways!! I was well beat-up by the time we got to the destination. It was very fortunate that dragon was fast asleep during the ride thanks to the motion sickness medicine and jet lag.
I dragged my feet out of the boat onto my hometown land where an unexpected sight had been waiting for us. To my surprise, many relatives were there to see us. Looking right and left, I saw familiar faces warmly welcoming the return of my father’s cremains. I felt that the 14-year blank was instantly filled in.
We went straight to the temple and dropped off the cremains. Then we headed to the graveyard to see the new family grave. Afterward, Uncle H gave us a ride around the town. Although the town looked a bit deserted due to the inevitable depopulation, I could not help getting excited with scenery after scenery that jumped into my sight. “Was this street so narrow? Oh, this store is still in business. Oh, the junior high school building is new!” It is a small town after all. There was no place that I hadn’t stepped in. Despite my worry if I could look at my hometown straightforward, I was actually able to do so with simple nostalgia. I wonder how dragon felt about the town.
We were to stay at Uncle H’s house for four nights and had a relaxed first night. Tomorrow would be a big day with the third year commemoration of my father’s passing and burial of his cremains.