The Temple Book


I was given the temple book in 2017 when I visited Japan for my grandmother’s funeral. It is a small book with a green fabric cover and small gold flowers. In the corner, my name is written in Japanese. The book doesn’t have binding, but is rather folded accordion-style as one long piece of paper. My whole family went to Japan for the service and after the funeral, we all went on a trip around Japan to places like Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Takayama to honor my grandmother. At each temple, there was a location where the attendant used a calligraphy brush and wrote the name of the temple. Afterward, they added a stamp with the temple’s name inside the temple book. Some of the temples we went to include the Fushimi Inari Shrine and Pavilion. The book symbolizes my grandmother because it shows the path that we all took to honor her where she grew up with her parents and siblings.  She and I didn’t have the closest relationship because she couldn’t speak English too well. Also, I don’t know Japanese except for うま (horse) and my name ミア, so the temple book connects me to her. The temple book also connects me and my sisters since we all have them. Finally, the book symbolizes my family and the good times that we all had together. We don’t often get to spend time with each other, so those memories are precious.

Place(s): Japan
Year: 1947

– ME

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant