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November 19, 2014

Sotoba Sticks

What is a sotoba stick? In basic terms, it is the name of the deceased individual that is written on a sotoba, a separate wooden board that stands on a stand behind or next to the grave that. These ‘sticks’ may be erected shortly after death to offer prayers and good wishes, and new ones may be added at certain memorial services. They are commonly found in Japan where cemeteries often double as picnicking grounds, a concept we would find strange in this country. I recently made one for my last dog who died a few years ago and placed it in the back grounds of my land. It is somewhat crudely made but I like to think that I captured the spirit of its intended meaning.