tombstone tourists

Taphophilia Origin: Ancient Greek τάφος (taphos, “funeral rites”, “burial”, “funeral”, “wake”; “tomb”, “grave”) + English -philia (from the Ancient Greek φιλία (philia), philia, “love”, “fondness”)

If wandering through cemeteries, imagining the lives of those who lay beneath the poems and quotes, and taking pictures of the tombstones is something that someone you know enjoys, s/he just might have a mild case of taphophilia. Also called a “tombstone tourist,” or a “cemeterian,” or even a “cemetery hunter,” the people afflicted with this don’t seem to suffer from it. Quite the contrary, they find walking through a cemetery to be the most peaceful of hobbies. What’s not to love? Trees, peace, quiet, maybe even a rest beneath a tree. Or perhaps the contemplation of life itself while leaning up against a … beautifully carved rock.

Glasnevin Cemetery by William Murphy via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I always enjoy wandering through old cemeteries and stopping to think about who is there and the age they died. It is also interesting to visit historical cemeteries and notice the number who died close together indicating some sort of communicable disease outbreak. One of the most sobering visit to a cemetery I ever made was the one in France close to where D-Day invasion occurred. There are thousands and thousands of white stone crosses of young men who gave their life that day on the banks of Normandie beaches. It is haunting. Impeccably kept, it is a US owned property and hundreds come every day to give their thanks and pay respect for the sacrifices made. War is such an ugly thing.

  2. Krista says:

    I’m am not very fond of cemeteries, but when we do visit I do enjoy reading the headstones to see who it belongs to. I like seeing how long their life was as well as how many kids they had and etc. Its even interesting to see if any share the same birthday or anniversary as someone I know. If I go with my parents to an older cemetery sometimes we will wander over to the older headstones just to see how different they are from ours nowadays.

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When was the last time you ‘yoisho’ed? I’m betting it was more recently than you think.

Like at the top of a mountain after a long hike, on a bed of clover. Or at the end of a work week that just felt like it would never end. Accountants experience it every April 16th, when tax season finally wraps up. Definitely, Santa Claus has his yoisho moments on each and every December 26th.


(phr.) A Japanese expression used when flopping onto a chair or bed or floor, usually after a hard day’s work, combined with a grunt or loud exhale.

Photo by unknown photographer via Wikimedia Commons.

It’s one of those nifty words that isn’t easily translated into English, but apparently, some Google-translated documents and/or books that have been translated into or from Japanese will translate our expression ‘sheesh!’ into ‘yoisho!’

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  1. Lisa Von Saunder says:

    What a cool word! Perfect even in Japanese! Yes I will use that word each night as I finsh up my day’s work on the farmette. iIt’s harvest season and I am putting in long hard hours., si I am definitely saying yoisho from now on.

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    The word sounds foreign when I say it but I can relate to the photo for sure! The thing about yoisho moments also seem to me to happen when one is doing something worthwhile. When I am exhausted from something really tedious or emotionally upsetting, the plop down is one of surrender and having been totally spent in a very negative way. I wonder if the Japanese have a word that expresses that condition?

  3. Jana says:

    Great word and I sure can relate, usually on a Friday night after a long hard week at work.

  4. Krista says:

    This is my new favorite word! I can say I feel this way almost every night after I put the boys to bed. I plop down on whatever is closest and realized I survived the day! Even though the day was exhausting, I still feel very blessed.

  5. Pat says:

    I’ll definitely use the word from time to time as I’m saving to visit Japan. I love your magazine!

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