We have it SO easy, compared to the stories I've heard of hours of travel, or hosting strangers who happen to be related to you for days on end...
We started at about 4:30pm and it was all over by 9. Baachan wanted me to do the shopping, to go get things 'the kids like'. I don't agree with catering for adults with things kids like, and I'd prefer to eat traditional foods, but she said the adults were set, they'd have sushi. Pizza, then! So Aunty ordered the pizza, but we still had to shopping to get the sushi.
I get the feeling she wanted me to take over the shopping this year, because of her bad back. I would have, only I was trying to back out too, due to my sore foot! So we ended up both going, with me happy to just push the trolley, but her constantly asking ME what we should get! I don't know! So I threw in some potato salad, leafy salad and juice. There, done.
Round to Aunty's house, where the butsudan is (DH is the chonan of a chonan, but because his father married a second time, the butsudan is still in the home he made with his second wife and two daughters, one of whom has died, the other got divorced ages ago, so she and her kids are back in this family).
Prayers at the altar, and we rushed off to the grave, two blocks away in a depressing inner-city, concrete-walled compound. It took ages to get the candles and incense lit, then we brought home 4 sticks for the home altar, with the ancestor spirits presumably following along behind...
Pizza arrived, dinner was eaten by the women only - Baachan, Aunty, me and the three girls. DH was at work, Jiichan slated to arrive at 8pm. He came, he ate, he went home again at 9pm, followed by Baachan, and the only reason we didn't go too then was so the girls could finish watching a movie!
Lena practicing the piano wedged into the narrow corridor alongside the zashiki (main room). Every year, I tell the girls they can come round any time to practice on this piano! This year, with Amy independent with her own bike, and the sense to use it safely, and the confidence to just turn up without having to hide under her mother's skirts, it just might happen!
Erica and the butsudan, alongside the shelf of precious objects. The ONLY time this table, this room, is used is for this party.
Amy being expansive in the zashiki. That's 'Jiichan' (her great-grandfather) above her in the decorated military uniform.