Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I borrowed this DVD from my friend Derrick and watched it twice before returning back to him. 'Okuribito' or 'Departure' is a touching movie about a cellist in an orchestra who has just been dissolved and found himself jobless.

He decided to move back to his hometown with his wife to look for a job and to start all over again. He answered to a classified advertisement entitled "Departures" thinking it is an advertisement for a travel agent, only to discover that the job is actually for a "Nokanshi". "Nokanshi" is a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies for burial and entry into the next life. While his wife and friends despise his job, Daigo takes pride in his work and begins to perfect the art of "Nokanshi" acting as a gentle gatekeeper between life and death, between the departed and the deceased family.

'Okuribito' is a profound and sensitive journey into the heartland of Japan and an astonishingly beautiful look at the sacred part of Japan's culture and heritage. It also uncovers the meaning of life and living.

- It has taught me that every death matters, every person counts and grief, which is as inevitable as death can be beautiful and gracious.

- It has taught me to look at every job / task with respect. No job should be seen as unclean or disgraceful...even the lowliest task, if executed with reverence will ultimately be glorified and find its own rewards.

- Daigo the "Nokanshi" touches me with his kindness and courage. Although he initially really dislike his job, one could see and feel that he still performs with all his heart. When his wife persuaded him to quit and look for a normal job, he replied, "Death is normal. Everyone will die one day. You will die, so will I."

Finally, I fell in love with this instrument called 'cello'. Just listen quietly to this beautiful theme music by Joe Hisaishi : departures

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