“August 15th” for me
When I hear “August 15th”, I think that many Japanese are thinking of the end of world warⅡand Obon. Obon is the most important Buddhist festival in Japan. It takes place in August. It is a time when Buddhists remember people in their family who have died. Some Buddhists believe that the spirits of people who have died come back to the family home for the 3 days of the festival.
But that’s not all for me. August 15th is not only about the end of the war and Obon it’s also my birthday and my grandfather’s death anniversary, so it’s a very meaningful day for me each year.
When I was in elementary school, my birthday always fell on summer vacation, so I didn’t get to celebrate with my school friends, which made me feel a little disappointed. Of course, I invited my friends to my home and had a birthday party. However my birthday is during Obon, so I wonder if I was meant to have no party on that day. Most of the time, on my birthday, I gathered together with my relatives at my grandparents’ home to give a memorial service to my ancestors. I don’t think I was excited as normal people would be on their birthday because when I was little, I was wondering why my birthday fell on such a sad day😔…
In Australia, there is no custom of Obon and it is not a summer vacation, so I feel like its just a normal day. It also makes me miss Japanese culture.
I still remember vividly the memory of the day which my grandfather passed away. My 9th birthday. The night before, I stayed at my grandparents’ house with my uncle, and the next day we visited the hospital where my grandfather stayed in the morning. Since it was my birthday, I went to a department store near the hospital to buy a doll and clothes and wardrobe for the doll. After that, I went home from the hospital with my father who came to pick me up. Then my father went to the hospital again. I stayed at home with my younger brother and enjoyed playing the Game Boy. At that time, my mother called me from the hospital and informed me that my grandfather had died. My father left the hospital and pick me up from my home and he drove to my grandparents’ house again. Even though it was a long long time ago, I still remember the day clearly. My father forgot his mourning and made three trips between my grandparents and our house.
When my grandfather was young, he was a pole vaulter and he won a lot of competitions. Lots of medals are on display in my grandparents’ home. He was a farmer, taking care of rice and vegetable fields every day, and was a very hard worker.
It’s been decades since he passed away, but on my birthday, I remember my grandfather every year.
Lastly, August 15th is the anniversary of the end of world war Ⅱ. This year has been 75 years since the end of the war, and the number of generations who have experienced war is decreasing year by year. I haven’t actually heard about the experience of war from people close to me, but for some reason, my birthday is the same day of the end of the war, and I feel that I should study and remember war properly. Every year at this time, I read news stories about the experiences of people who endured war, letters of people who died in the war and watch videos about war.
One thing that can be said is that war never makes anyone happy. Hatred only produces hatred. Even if the enemies kill each other, each soldier must have a family, and the family must have strongly hoped that the soldiers would return safely. It is impossible for us in the present age to understand their feelings at that time (I can’t say that I know it), but I think they dreamed of a happy future just like us. I think that the best thing I can do now is not to forget the tragic history, to pass on to future people, and to work hard every day to be proud of them. Their sacrifice enables me to celebrate August 15th.
August 15th. It’s a day of happiness, sadness and deep meaning.