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02nd  Celebrating Japanese Tradition in HI

投稿者: ハワイ歩き方事務局 更新日:2006年08月14日

2nd Celebrating Japanese Tradition in HI

Got beer…?

●Let’s celebrate “Okuizome”!
A friend of mine told me that young families back in Japan don’t celebrate rituals much anymore. But there was no way I could get away with not doing Baby Ry’s “okuizome”, or “first feeding” ceremony… at least not after my mother-in-law had sent me special lacquer ware for the occasion. I had to step up to the challenge.

Traditions may be fading, but to me it’s the sign of the times when you can Google “okuizome” and get the complete history and rundown of how to prepare the whole shebang. Aaah, the Internet is the greatest gift to the knowledge-impaired! After I’d figured out what foods to prepare and how to plate them properly, the rest was pretty simple. Lucky I live Hawaii — one trip to Marukai was all I needed to gather the fixings for nimono, pickles, osumashi, and sekihan. Then my mom picked up an ono piece of whole fresh red snapper at Chinatown. The okuizome spread also called for some stones to symbolize the growth of strong bones and teeth. I couldn’t be bothered to go out and pick rocks, so I stole a few from my daughter’s rock collection instead.

“Bless this child…”

The actual ceremony was short and anti-climactic — never mind that a meal that took two hours to prepare served its purpose in a mere five minutes — especially because Ry doesn’t actually eat any of this stuff. Basically the eldest male in the household (which in our case is my husband, Paul) pretends to feed the baby each food, in a particular order. The best part of dinner was watching Kyrie go hysterical over noticing her precious little rocks were a part of the offering – SHOCK! HORROR! First she wanted them back. Then, she changed her mind, grabbed an empty bowl, put all her rocks in it, and dumped it on the lacquer tray. We begged her to let us use just a couple of them until we finished taking pictures, all the time laughing under our breaths at how ridiculous this whole thing was becoming. But alas, we had completed an important ceremony. Ry, may you live long and healthy!!

May you live long…

So far, Ry is turning out to be one blessed Hawaii-bred baby, even beyond what is expected of growing up in Japan. When he was still in utero, I received a blessing at Tokyo’s Suitengu Shrine, home to the god of “safe delivery”. A few weeks after he was born, the whole fam visited the Izumotaisha shrine in Honolulu for his first “omiya mairi” and baby blessing ceremony. Omiya mairi is typically done at around 32 days after birth but my in-laws were only in town for a short while, so it had to be done when the babe was two weeks old. Very loose on the rules, but that’s also Hawaii for ya.

The shrine itself is very modest by Japanese standards, located near the business district, of all places, on the edge of Chinatown and across the street from a mortuary. Yes, joggers would occasionally mistake the cleansing water for a public water fountain, but I guess that also adds to the charm of having a traditional Japanese shrine in the middle of the urban landscape.

The ceremonious spread

I was completely clueless as to what I was supposed to be doing, so thank god for my mother-in-law who knew exactly how to slip into the kimono whilst carrying the wiggly baby. (How does she remember? The last time she did this was when Paul was a baby… that was over 30 years ago!?).
The priest began by explaining the whole ceremony in expert English (I don’t think he knew we were Japanese). There was a lot more pomp to the blessing ceremony than I’d expected – a full 30 minutes – but at the end we scored some brand new omamori for the whole family, and a Polaroid photo of us all, posing in front of the altar. Photographing in a place of worship? Sacrilege, you may say, but then again this is Hawaii. I’m sure we could have, but at least we didn’t do the shaka!

I suspect we’ll be visiting Izumo-san, which for generations has been a sanctuary for Hawaii’s Japanese immigrants, for more celebrations to come – hatsumoude, shichigo-san, and perhaps even another hatsu-mairi?


どの国でも伝統行事は減りつつあるのかもしれないけれど、今の時代の凄さを感じたのがインターネットで「お食い初め」を検索した時。なんと歴史からレシピまで、事々丁寧に書かれているではないか さすがはインターネット、無知な主婦の強い味方



「お食い初めの儀」そのものはいたって短いもので、2時間も汗水垂らして作り上げた献立はたった5分の儀式であっけなく目的を果たしてしまうのです。と言うのも、実際に赤ちゃんは「食べる」わけではないので、決まった順番に、一家の長寿の男性である旦那が食べさせるマネをするだけ。爆笑したハプニングと言えば、私がギッてきた石ころが娘のきーちゃんにバレてしまった瞬間。独占欲の強い娘はお膳にのった自分の石を見て大騒ぎ まずは「返せ、返せ」と喚いていましたが、気が変わって残りの石をおもちゃ箱から取り出し、空いたお椀に全部入れ、「使うなら全部使ってよ」と訴えるかのようにどかんとお膳にのせました。「2,3個だけ貸してね、ほら、ピンクの大福あげるから」とうちのガンコちゃんを宥めすかしながら「とんだお食い初めになったねー」と旦那と二人で苦笑してました。しかしまあ、いい記念になったわけで、息子の健やかな成長をお祝いして乾杯しました。

ハワイ育ちの息子は今のところ, 純の日本人よりもラッキー、清らか〜な人生を送ってるかも。妊娠中、東京に帰った際に安産の神様として知られている産土(うぶすな)神社、水天宮へお参りし、御祓いをしてもらいました。そして生まれて数週間後、雷ちゃんの初宮詣と御祓いの為にホノルル市内にある出雲大社に一家で訪れたのです。赤ちゃんのお参りは通常生後32日くらいにするらしいですが、2週間の時に旦那側の家族がわざわざ来てくれたので、お参りを早めることに。


いざお参りの時間になると私は何をどうすればいいのか分からないので義母のリードをフォローするのみ。バタバタ動く雷ちゃんを抱きながらささっと祝い着を着せる義母の早わざはお見事なものでした(30年振りなのによくぞ憶えている)。見掛けで皆外国人、と悟ったのでしょうか、出雲大社の天野宮司はなんと御祓いの説明を流暢な英語でして下さったのです 御祓いは思ったより長く、30分ほど続きました。儀式が終わると出席者全員に新しいお守りが配られ、終いには神殿の前で記念にポラロイドまで撮ってもらいました。「神聖な場所でこんなことをして良いのか?」と思っちゃいましたが、これぞまた気ままなハワイ。いくらなんでも「シャカ」のポーズ(こっち特有の親指と小指を立てる”Hang Loose”の合図)はとりませんでしたけれどね。


娘:エリン・霧江(きりえ)、愛称きーちゃん。外見は恥かしがり屋、家では結構「キレちゃう」典型的内弁慶。ハロー・キティとパパをこよなく愛す保育園児。ちなみに、ハワイの人達のひとついいところは名前に「ちゃん」付けをしても分かってくれること。サンフランに住んでた頃、「きーちゃん、きーちゃん」と呼んでる私は廻りの人に「なんだそりゃ? 中国語かい?」と聞くかの様に変な顔をされました。こっちでは白人でも平気に「きーちゃん」と呼んでくれます。 

この記事が属するカテゴリー: アロハダイアリー