This wagashi from a historic shinise store in Kyoto, Kameyama Yoshinaga, is reminiscent of fireflies on verdant green foliage of early summer...
Live while you can. Japanese love something fragile and rare and that is in season for a short period. The cherry blossom is the very best example, but fireflies are similar. Fireflies in Kyoto can still be been seen along some of the rivers and streams in the quieter and greener parts of the city, but they quickly fade and disappear after a few short weeks.
Greenz.jp: Life is sustainable when you are having fun - a day at the Awanowa Market in Kamogawa
I briefly spoke to one of the event’s organizers, Yoshiki Hayashi of the NPO “Uzu”, a healthy, lean, tanned man who seemed to personify to me the image of the traditional Japanese farmer seen in the earliest photographs of Japan from the 19th century, despite the modern artistic cut of his hand made indigo blue work clothes. He described the loose collective gathered here as “Rainbow Village”, fulfilling a role to bridge the gap between sustainable Japanese traditions and the future sustainable Japanese society he envisions. He had much to say on living sustainably, pointing out that in order to invoke change in society, changing one’s own life and getting back in tune with the earth through farming was far more effective than any more revolutionary methods could be.
But the line that hit home most of all was that “life is sustainable when you are having fun”. In Japanese, it was “tanoshii koto ga jizoku kanou”, or literally “fun things are sustainable”. Certainly not everything fun is sustainable, but it is far more difficult to sustain an activity if it isn’t.
OurWorld 2.0: Plenty of fish in the sea
A compelling award-winning documentary movie of the same name illustrates that this environmental catastrophe can be avoided, if we try. A global movement is underway to ensure sustainably managed fisheries, and you are invited to be part of it.
In The Pines (Otakimura): The depths of Shizen-ko: a kayak tour of Otaki's little known lake
For a first timer, like my wife, stepping into the kayak can be a bit nerve-racking, but there is nothing to be afraid of, the kayaks are quite stable. With small pushes from N-san Aki and I were out on the lake in no time, with N-san and K-san right behind us. It's difficult to put into words the feeling of first gliding out onto the lake. One's center of gravity is low, down close to the water's surface, and so the world feels as if it is opening vertically above and below you. Instead of the apodictic feeling of terra firma beneath your feet, the sensation is one of disembodiment-your body and mind are free to drift where they will within the floating world. Of course the action of paddling brings you back into your body, but there's little need for strenuous effort; Shizen-ko is placid and so you are able to move smoothly through its waters with little effort, like strokes of a calligraphy brush.
Pandabonium: Shakedown Cruise
Then it was back to the boat for more sailing. We checked in at office and told them we would be back around 15:00. This would allow them to get the sendai ready when we came back, or come looking for us if we didn't. Actually, one of the great things about the club is that they have a log book for boaters to leave a plan on where they will be going and when they expect to return. Sort of like the flight plans I used to phone into the FAA as a pilot. The club house has an excellent view of the lake, and Hakuta-san has binoculars with which he scans the lake. If he sees someone coming in, he goes down to the ramp, or if he sees someone in trouble, he'll come out on a PWC (jet ski) or another power boat to render assistance... Do I look happy?
K&S: Hawaii eats and other stuff
How green is your house? Ours got greener last year. Not only do we have solar panels (which I found out we've had since 1979!), but mom just installed some photovoltaic (sp?) cells.
She had been wanting to install some but was waiting for the price to go down and for someone to start installing them on homes (apparently when they first came out they were only installing them for businesses) She said her electric bill is super low now (US$30 a month). (Way to go Mom! I wish our apartment building in Japan would do something similar.)
PureLandMountain: One big secret
Late the next afternoon I went out on the deck, merely leaned over the railing to look at the spot and there the snake was again, like a puddle of clay. As soon as my head showed, the snake became alert, and made to move away; though I was downwind, it had sensed me; it must be a pit viper, sensing my heat even while dozing in the sun, and that brought it to alertness. That meant it must be a mamushi, Japan’s only poisonous snake. I looked it up on the net, and there it was. Up to 60cm in length... I probably won't see it again for another 15 years.