I’ve just been reading about the average cost of funerals in various countries. In the USA it’s about $5,100, which seems a bit dear to me. In Korea, it’s a more reasonable $4,300. In Germany it’s only $2,300, and in the UK, a paltry $1,400 (which means that NZ is probably around the same, if not cheaper). And in Japan? A whopping $26,000 just to give Granny a decent send-off, and by the way, it’s likely to be a cremation not a burial because there is no space in this country.
All I can say is, crikey! Don’t spend that money on me when I’m dead, spend it on me when I’m alive and able to enjoy it!
By the way, in recent years in Japan more deaths than births are recorded annually. This means that morticians are now more in demand than obstetricians.
(Cultural note: summer in Japan is a time when people’s thoughts take a rather morbid turn. For various historical reasons, this season is strongly associated with death. There is even a three-day holiday period in the middle of August when people traditionally return to their hometowns, and leave food and offerings for their ancestors. I used to think it was horrible, but now I rather like it.)