Sunday, I wanted to attend the service at the temple today. It was the last major service of the year. There was to be a vegetarian lunch afterward. It was the service in remembrance of the Shin Buddhist founder. Today I was able to get LZ to go. It was not a simple matter, but she went somewhat feeling giri…
After dropping off the rental car she used for the weekend we went to the temple. We were greeted by the Rev Sensei he came over and spoke as did a couple of others. The service was short as are all the services there. There was not as large a turnout as I an others thought . However it was ok, I guess about 30-40 people, mostly seniors. LZ was not familiar with what was going on for the most part. Even though the family in Nihon is of this sect, they never went to services unless there was a death or something big. Also things are run different here. She had a hard time following the sermon as it was in English and Rev Sensei has a thick accent. It would have been better for her if he spoke some in Japanese as well as English.
After service Sensei introduced her to the congregation and everyone was pleased to hear about the family membership in Japan. Part of the sermon today was speaking about the vegetarian meal that was prepared today, what the symbolism of it was. Sensei spoke of Tofu, Carrots and Mushroom. LZ while we were in line for the offering said. I can not eat that, I cannot eat even only a little. One is suppose to clean the plate it would be very bad in Buddhism to leave food , to waste it. I, she says, am allergic to shiitake Mushrooms, and me I dislike any mushroom. Ok, I said lets just go see what is happening we do not have to eat, then we can leave.
One in the dinning room, we checked out a plate of food that was on the table. It looked good! No mushrooms, just some traditional Japanese items, Tofu, dikon, beans and rice, some pickle dikon and some seaweed. We took a seat! Oishi says LZ, one of my favorites she said as she started talking. The more she likes the food the more she talks! She cleaned her plate all but one piece of tofu she gave to me. I had no problem with that, the Tofu had the same taste of Kisuni Undon noodle tofu. She said usually this type of meal has no flavor in Japan, one does not want to eat it. This was also repeated to me by someone else later as I was coming from the kitchen. LZ continues, but this is Oishii! I tease her about not wanting to eat and now cleaning her plate and smiling.
As we sat there eating and drinking tea, a few folks came over and we watched the interaction of the group. LZ says I see why church(s) is (are) a good things here, people connecting and socializing, more of a community. It is not like this in Japan. There people come to a service for whatever reason, but they do not know the other people and once the service is over they go home. There is no community sense and support like here. This is good, especially for seniors and others who do not get out much. This is one of the few things she has said is better here than in Japan.
Next we have cake, again Oishii, light taste, light whipped cream icing, not just the heavy sugar taste of American cakes. This was good, it had taste not just sweet! We have a piece with some tea then made ready to leave, and cleaned our spots. While leaving to go outside and take a few picture of the light autumn scenery in the court-yard, Rev Sensei calls us back in to the room to get some homemade mochi cakes. Then we quietly left, it was a good morning for me. Even though I could not relate really to the service as a Non-Shin Buddhist, I was pleased I attended and LZ came along and met some of the temple and area community. We had a nice lunch and meet a few new people from the community. I’m sure it made Rev Sensei happy we attended, LZ was happy about the lunch, I was happy about both and attending.