One of the mysteries in Izu ( Shizuoka )

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

At the beginning of December, we had a year-end party after a study meeting about economics. I often go to study meetings on economics in Numazu. The organizers know many different kinds of people and they invite guests to give us lectures. And for the December meeting, we had a person who is very familiar with Chinese related matters. He is Chinese but has been living in Japan more than 20 years, married a Japanese woman and became a naturalized Japanese citizen. He has published some books and occasionally on TV. His name is Mr. Hei  Seki.

As everyone knows, some problems underlie the relationship between Japan and China.

Personally, I’m very worried about it and so are my friends.

By listening to his talk, we got new ideas and understood the things better.

I think a person like him is a treasure for both China and Japan. He can help both of us to understand each other.

 

After the lecture, Mr. Seki and some of the members went to Heda village located in the western part of Izu. This village is said to be one of the most loveliest traditional Japanese villages, with a view of Mt. Fuji over the ocean, beautiful paddy fields, a fishing port and mikan orange orchards covering the hills. We all enjoyed eating fresh fish and drinking high quality Japanese rice wine from all across Japan.

The following day, some went orange picking. But I was in a group going to Shuzenji on my way home.

 

 

 

The weather was not perfect but we could see Mt. Fuji over Suruga Bay.

We also overlooked the Ose promontory as we drove. This promontory jutting out into the ocean has a pond called “ Kamiike “. “ Kami” means god and “ Ike” means pond. This pond is in the precincts of Ose Shrine, surrounded by a juniper wood, which is a protected plant. Strangely, the pond water is fresh, not salty, even though it’s located only 20 meters away from the ocean and only one meter above sea level. Fresh-water fish such as carp, crucian carp and catfish are living there. The water is not very transparent so we can’t see into the pond very well and no in-depth studies have been conducted on it because people say that if we investigate the pond, a curse will come on us !

I have been scuba diving in the nearby ocean but I haven’t visited the pond and shrine. I’d like to do so someday. This is one of the famous scuba diving spots in Izu with many kinds of sea animals.

This place has an interesting festival on April 4th. Many fishermen wear women’s costume and makeup and they go on board. In Japan, March 3rd is called girls’ festival, May 5th is boys’ festival. So maybe this festival in April, lying between March and May, could be a gay festival!

Mr. Seki seemed to enjoy himself viewing Mt. Fuji. Talking with him was a lot of fun.

 

 

Tea ceremony in November

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

November is a special season for tea ceremony. They start to use a kind of fireplace used charcoal called “ Ro “. From November to April, they use “ Ro “ to supply hot water to make tea. Demonstrating how to handle charcoal is a kind of important skill of tea ceremony. For the host of the tea gathering, sharing the same fire with their guests as they surround the hearth is very meaningful thing to do. Probably that’s because fire is a significant thing for human beings. It’s a very nice thing to hear the sound of water boiling in the iron pot in the quiet tea room. People say it’s like listening to the murmuring of pine trees along the windy beach.

It’s kind of sad but reminds me of the beginning of my favorite season. As for the tea itself, they open a new tea caddy since this is the best time to taste it.

 

We also have seasonal confectionery called “ inokomochi “. “ Inoko “ means baby wild boars. Since wild boars are fertile, people wish for the prosperity of families. Inokomochi doesn’t look colorful but it tastes much better than it looks. Sweet sesame paste is covered with rice cake and soybean flour. This persimmon one is another seasonal pleasure. 

Here is a real persimmon and it is said that it contains a lot of vitamin C to make your skin beautiful and prevent you from catching cold and hangover. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 November is my birthday month and it should be a beautiful time but many things are happening these days. As I watch BBC World News, it covers major events happening in the Middle East whereas NHK News covers only domestic political issues. In reality, the Japanese economy is affected by the world and now we have a lot of relationships internationally through so called globalism. We can’t go without knowing what’s happening in the world. People might think that Japanese are indifferent to the issues or simply stupid. I hope the quality of mass media in Japan goes up. I also wish the people who are fighting would stop one time to have tea and talk.  

Maple House in Asagiri ( Shizuoka at the foot of Mt. Fuji )

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

I visited a photographer’s place in Asagiri Highland for the first time in many months. Mr. Nagatsuka is a distinguished photographer. He is particularly good at taking something moving. For example, cars and Kabuki actors. His life style itself is art. His wife is a great gardener. Every time I visit their place, I am amazed at all the many kinds of flowers laid out so wonderfully.

 

We exchanged a lot of information relating to the recent disasters such as the mega earthquake, tidal waves and crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima. Mrs. Nagatsuka and her friends are going to plant sunflowers on nearby land in order to get some seeds. Then she is going to send them to Fukushima. Sunflowers are said to absorb a lot of radiation and were planted in Chernobyl. But the problem is how to dispose of the seeds that they produce, since these can contain a lot of cesium. Some say they can produce oil to run machines or cars. Anyway I think it’s a great idea. We have to try anything to see how it works. I’m going to help her. Now in Fukushima, some people have already planted sunflower seeds. In Minami Soma (my home town), a farmer who is more than 80 years old planted rice last Spring as an experiment. The farmer is famous for growing organic and high quality rice. I was encouraged to know some people never give up and keep trying something new to overcome many difficulties.

Mrs. Nagatsuka says that she feels terrible about passing down bad heritage to our children and grand children when we have enjoyed comfortable lives by using a lot of electricity. When I heard this I remembered guests from Sweden saying something like “ We have to preserve the sounds of nature for our descendants. This is our mission.” Now I truly understand what it means.

 

 

Election

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

On August 30, we have a Lower House election and referendum for the Supreme court judges.We can cast ballots for the following three items.

1. We can vote for an individual candidate in our region.

2. We can vote for the party we support.

3. We can make a cross against any judge we object to ( but we don’t have to write anything if we have no objection) This time we can evaluate nine judges. But regarding Supreme court matters, many people say that they can’t get enough information to make a decision. I think so too.

But this is a very important issue. This time I had a close look and will take it seriously. And I got my own decision. Not only me but many people seem to take this election very seriously.

When the economy was on an upward trend people were just being optimistic but now I guess many people in the world are worried about their lives.

I hope our decisions lead to better societies and I feel sure in the case of Japan that we are moving into another era.