This week I took Choco for a walk at the nearby cemetary and took some pictures of the family crests that are carved into the grave stones. Mon or Kamon can be seen on the rooftops of old Japanese tile roofs and at the gates to old farmhouses. Nowadays though I don't think people pay much attention to their Mon since I noticed on the gravestones that there were different surnames that seemed to use the same Mon. Occasionally you will see Mon at the entrance to sushi shops or a family owned business will have their Mon printed on the packaging of their product, but the only other place Mon are regularly seen are on the formal black kimonos that are worn at weddings and funerals.
The most famous Mon is the Imperial family's crest which is representative of the chrysanthemum and I think by law it is not allowed to be used by any organization except for the imperial family (because it is also the national emblem.) There is also a special Mon that only the prime minister may use (but I guess that's not really a family crest since it doesn't change whenever there is a new prime minister.)
(picture from the Internet)
And this is the Watanabe family crest. Tetsu's father must have had it made specially and it looks like it has been machine embroidered in gold thread on a purple background. As our house is pretty Western in appearance I've never put it out where people can see it and it sits in a corner of one of the rooms against the wall. And since I asked Tetsu what the symbol means and he didn't know I guess he doesn't have any great attachment to his family crest either. But I can't see us tossing something like this either so it will stay up in its corner. (Whoops. There I am reflected in the glass!)