I watched a movie on my way back to Taiwan, and thought it was pretty good – Departures. It’s a Japanese film about how a mediocre cellist was forced by his difficult financial situation to work for a funeral company, cleaning up and dressing up corpses, and preparing them for their departures. His wife and friends left him because they thought it was an “unclean” job… and I won’t tell you the rest =P go watch it!

The rigorous ceremonies and attention to detail really made an impression on me. They treat dead people with so much respect and seriousness. Every wipe on the body, every fold, every action – all done in a very specific way with a lot of professionalism. I think it’s a great way to learn about a culture (whether the film is an accurate reflection of the real world I wouldn’t know, though). Their values, languages, believes, and manners. Very different from what I am used to. I watched it from the cultural perspective (as opposed to a religious one) since I am atheist, and it was quite worthy at that. But of course, atheism is a religion as well, since nor can we prove that gods don’t exist. That said… it’s like in software engineering – testing can only reveal the presence of bugs, not of their absence, and it would be a lot easier to prove gods’ presence, if they do exist.

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