The Tokita Room

During the summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to go to Japan for 15 days as a community participant with Columbus-Kiryu Exchange Program. As a part of the program, each participant was assigned to live with a Japanese Family for a weekend. I can remember, vividly, the bedroom of Mrs. Tokita, who was the mother of the family. It had a classic Japanese appearance. Part of the floor had a glossy cedarwood finish, and the other part was the tatami. The tatami is like a tightly woven cane mat across the floor with a tan like finish which treated with much respect. No one is allowed to walk upon the tatami with shoes on; only socks and bare feet are acceptable. The walls were mostly bare due to the commonality of earthquakes within the area. There was one picture on the wall and it was exquisitely placed to highlight a beautiful vase below it. Against each wall, was a chifferaux made of beautifully finished wood with a simple but elegant design. The most interesting part of this room was a shrine which she had set up as memorial to honor her late husband. It was very elaborately decorated with flowers and gifts. Its designed reminded me of an old fashioned cupboard which has been painted black and lacquered to give an exceptional shine. There was a mirror in the back with beautiful flowers etched all around the border. There was also a candle placed in the lower part that was lie each morning as she prayed and shared the events in her life with her late husband. She even placed my gifts to her before the shrine of her husband, so that she share them with him before they were used. The shrine included a very handsome picture of her husband which sat right above the candle. Needless to say the shrine was the most beautiful and most captivating part of the room. …

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