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Spring in Japan is a season filled with the color of the “sakura” cherry blossom. “Sa” represents the deity of the rice paddy, and “kura” means a place of rest. When the deity of the rice paddy comes down to the village in the month of March, the life force built up in the mountains during the winter becomes the rice sprouts in the spring that ripen in May. In the days immediately before rice seedlings begin to grow, while the deity rests, flowers blossom with a light crimson hue. This is why they were given the name “sakura.” Thus, the beauty of the sakura cherry blossom conveys a uniquely Japanese sense of about the cycles of nature.
If you think that you are busy, watch this NHK program about the super busy schedules of Japanese kids. What are their parents thinking, I wonder?
Japanese photographer Miya Kishimura pulls you into a dark world of fantasy from which it is difficult to escape. A school girl in uniform with desperate eyes. The same girl with grotesque make-up. In another shot she lies on the street, seemingly dead. This is Kishimura’s world.
If you have ever been to a real Japanese sushi shop, you will love this video clip. It takes a little time before it really gets going, but I almost fell off my chair laughing. Enjoy!
(by Yuriko Yoneda) – A farming method called ‘natural farming’ needs no tilling, no fertilizers, no pesticides, and no weeding. For about 60 years, Masanobu Fukuoka, Japan’s renowned authority on natural farming, worked on methods based on his own unique theories, insights and philosophy. His seminal book, “One-Straw Revolution,” first published in 1975, was later translated into English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian and other languages, and has been read around the world. The book addresses not only the practical aspects of natural farming but also the root causes of environmental deterioration. Fukuoka’s thoughts and philosophies have inspired many people worldwide by pointing out a way of life. Here we introduce his thought and practices.
On the coast of the small Japanese town of Taiji some ten fishing boats are bobbing quietly up and down on the quiet waves. Fishermen on the boats beat on long metal poles which are stuck into the water. At the end of each pipe is a metal disc which drives the noise into the water like a loudspeaker. About five dolphins flee away from the terrifying sound, in front of the bows of the boats. For hundreds of years this dolphin hunt has been taking place. Now it has to stop say nature activists.
Thanks to his book FRUITS (more than 100,000 copies sold worldwide), Shoichi Aoki’s street magazine Fruits is now better known abroad than in Japan itself. The magazine with an almost cult-like following in Japan has been documenting Tokyo street fashion since 1996. I had an exclusive interview with Aoki.