Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Small Trip To Chinatown

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I know that smell!…This smell is like my grandmother’s house or Buddhism temple in Japan. The smell of incense reminded me of my hometown and my grandfather’s funeral ceremony. When I was child, I stayed at my grandparents house during vacations and he taught me so much – for example, how to dive and get clams in the sea, or how to gather honey from a honeycomb.

At the time I was living in another city for university so, I wasn’t able to see my grandfather before he passed. It was a sad time for me; my relatives told me he waited to see me before he passed.

In my hometown, there is a custom that when someone passes, we have to keep burning incense all night during the funeral. So I said my relatives “I won’t fall asleep because I want to be the person who’ll be keeping incense burning for him!” He loved me and I’ve learned so much from him. I couldn’t do much at that time because I couldn’t meet him. So I wanted to do something to compensate. I had a very firm resolution.

The incense burn for about an hour. It means I had to switch one every hour. In addition, at my grandparents’ house, there wasn’t much to do. Of course, they didn’t have a computer so I couldn’t use the internet. Instead, I started studying- I opened a science text book around 1 AM and I don’t remember anything I read – Yes, I fall asleep very easily. It was like a reflex – me and science textbook…

Today I visited an oriental folk art and craft shop at Chinatown. There were lots of exotic products-antique furniture, porcelain and temple’s and worship supplies.

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It was a very attractive shop.

“Do you know what this is?” I asked.

“It’s imitation money, clothes and jewelry,”  the shop owner said.
They burn these products at graves or temples for ancestors loved ones who are now in heaven. I didn’t know that! That was something new to me! And in the shop, there were beautiful lanterns, Buddhist images and big soldier statues. If I were a thief and saw those tough statues at someone’s front door, I would probably go somewhere else!.

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Today, I discovered a bit of Chinatown; a short trip from downtown Vancouver.

The shop: BAMBOO VILLAGE (135E. Pender St.)

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Chinatown information:

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