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Sunday, Dec. 17, 2006


Shortchanged on culture


Roger Pulvers' Dec. 3 Counterpoint article, "Dying traditions open up new choices after death," raised an interesting point about people choosing funeral rites, "unfettered by a tradition that itself may be dying out," by opting for "natural funerals."

It is true that some funeral parlors and Buddhist temples are only interested in making a lot of money, but there are some places that charge quite reasonable rates and are genuine about what they do. I feel that people should support "good" traditions such as visiting the family grave once a year -- even if it's a bit out of the way -- to pay respects to and reflect on family history and the temporary nature of life, and to say a prayer. It all helps to create some positive family karma.

I feel the easy and cheap alternatives are just the "Wal-martization" of traditions and culture that only results in a boring, apathetic and lazy culture. Recognize the trend?

This indifference surrounds us every day (especially here in Japan). To stop caring is to stop being human in my opinion. How many readers out there came to Japan for the culture and the interesting traditions but feel, sadly, that the traditions are a mere shell of what they used to be?

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer's own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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