The phrase “cradle-to-grave services” praises the careful welfare
services of England, a welfare-oriented state. In Sweden, I felt
that the administration, as good as that of England, cared enough
about the individual to truly deserve that phrase.
The municipal graveyard in Stockholm made me feel spiritual excitement
and peace, quite different from the gloomy and somber atmosphere
of Japanese graveyards and the radiant picnic-like mood of American
Sorrowful ranges of trees, as well as small hills placed symbolically
in the vast stretch of land. Against these excessively abundant backdrops,
each of the graves appeared humble and clean. The arena of funeral
rites created by one of the representative Swedish architects, Gunnar
Asplund, who spent half of his life on the project, formed a space
for dialogue with the dead that provides more than what one wishes
The building with the triangular roof is literally called “The Chapel
in the Woods” and stands still, deep in the cedar woods. I found
an oval relief on the wall surface on the gate leading to the chapel.
In the building shown in the relief, the phrase “It is you today,
it will be me tomorrow” was carved. This phrase must try to express
the evanescence of humans’ lives, as well as the depth of the spiritual
bonds between those living in this world and the dead.
I am not old enough to feel familiar with death, but having visited
this graveyard I truly thought that it would be the best to be entombed
in such a place when my time comes.