Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Japanese elderly are preparing for lonely deaths

I am not sure whether this is a sad story or not.  It looks as if many Japanese elderly (older) people are planning for their own funerals and determining how their bodies will be taken care of once they die.  It seems as if this is due to the fact that there are many elderly Japanese who do not have children or family members who can make these arrangements for them after they die.

Here is the article:


Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

the emperor - even though Japan is a democracy, they still have a royal family.  The leader of their royal family is the emperor.

a funeral - this is usually the ceremony that is held for relatives and friends after a person dies.

relatively modest - kind of ordinary - nothing fancy; modest means nothing fancy, plain

heart bypass surgery - basically this is surgery where they take veins (blood travels through your veins) from other parts of a person's body and use these veins to make sure enough blood can get into the heart

prostate cancer - this is a relatively common cancer for men; the prostate helps in the reproductive process but as men get older they often have problems with their prostate glands

the palace - this is where the emperor lives

cremated - his dead body will be burned and the body will be turned into ashes

mausoleum - a stone building where a dead body or a dead person's ashes can be put

the Imperial compound - a compound is an area of buildings; Imperial refers to the royal family

burial - when a dead body is placed under the earth, in a grave

a monarchy - a system in which there are kings or emperors

to trim costs - to cut or lower costs

burden on the people - trouble for the people

the revelation - the expression or revealing, the showing

fastest graying - more people are getting older in Japan than in any other country

a senior citizen - someone over 65 years old

eroding traditions - slowly eliminating traditions; erosion is when the wind or water cuts into rocks or makes rocks smaller

changing demographics - if a country's demographics is changing, that means that, basically, some important measurement of the people is changing. Maybe people are getting older, or more immigrants are coming in etc.

lack younger relatives - do not have younger relatives

empathize - feel

imperial - royal

commoners - normal, real people

retirement - when you stop working

a niece - the daughter of your brother or sister. A nephew is the son of your brother or sister.

to reserve - to make sure that she will be able to get something ahead of time

a tomb - a structure in which a dead body is put

abandoned - thrown away, discarded, gotten rid of

disposed of as waste - thrown away like garbage

considered funeral ceremonies an obligation - they felt that this was something that had to be done

booming - growing rapidly

business incentives - ways to make money; actually, if there is an incentive to make money, that means there is an opportunity to make money - so businesses are realizing that there is now a way to make money from older Japanese people who are planning for their deaths.

abound - are happening a lot

a tombstone - a flat stone that states who the dead person is

lingering - something that never seems to end

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