Today the wife went to get her hair done so it was just me and the boys. We went to Karate class first and while the oldest was in the dojo I took the youngest in the stroller on a walk through the lovely neighborhood. After that we went to Santa Ramen and only had to wait about fifteen minutes to get seated. They didn’t have a high chair but my youngest did just fine in the adult seat.
We then walked across the parking lot to Nijiya market and my oldest saw a card with a sunset on it he wanted to pick up. I was pretty sure I knew what it was and sure enough it was a funeral card. “In Loving Memory Of Shogo Frank Kamiya.” There was a brief prayer and I noticed the funeral took place in Pacifica at Chapel by the Sea. Frank lived from March 16th, 1916 to November 23rd, 2015.
Normally, I don’t think people make it a habit to pick up funeral cards that happen to be on the ground since death is a rather unpleasant subject. I on the other hand am thinking of Frank and what he must have seen. I imagine he was from Japan and immigrated here. He probably spent time in the Japanese internment camps the USA set up during World War Two which is an enormous stain on our history. Who knows where Sogo would have gone and seen after that only to end up back in California again. I imagine he lived here in Pacifica during the latter part of his years since the funeral was held here.
Every life is an ocean of experiences and I don’t think most people are capable of really contemplating, empathizing with the experiences of others. We also do not linger long thinking about death which is a mistake. In our culture we go to the funeral, grieve a little then go back to autopilot concerning ourselves with the trivial things in life. For me, I would prefer to contemplate life, death and the experiences had of my own life as well as others. Sometimes I wonder if that is what “God” is, an entity that encompasses and feels all consciousness, all matter, everything simultaneously. Our own lives are just a small flicker of an infinite conflagration that continuously creates experiences, creates reality without end. Sogo will eventually be forgotten, just as we all will but I wonder if “God” records every life in an eternal memory bank? And would there be infinite universes where every choice in Sogo’s life could be made? Perhaps “God” could send different flickers, or “souls” to live the life Sogo did, in every single variation with different choices and different outcomes? What if he never decided to leave Japan, married another, took a different job. He never would have experienced internment camps, never would have bettered his English ability, and experienced a life completely different from the one he lived?
In any case, I hope Sogo is at peace, wherever he is and when it is my turn to cross the threshold I hope to have a cup of coffee with him and listen to everything he chooses to share about his life. Or perhaps I could return, back in time and live his life, and he could live mine and thus write this very post. He would find his own funeral card while living my life, yet as I have no recollection of ever being Sogo, neither would he. He would just be a man, from Ohio who spent time in Japan whose paths crossed in a parking lot next to a Japanese supermarket in San Mateo.