Monthly Archives: November 2011

Nisshin Citizen’s Festival in 2011: I enjoyed the festival talking to many people, seeing many interesting things, and eating delicious food, though I’m not a citizen of Nisshin.

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      “Oh, hi! Long time no see!” How many times did I say that last Sunday? Many times! There was a big festival in Nisshin City, which is next to Nagoya City, on November 12 and 13. I took part in the festival and bumped into many of my friends. I saw lots of interesting things, ate fresh and delicious food, and enjoyed talking to many people there. I really had a wonderful time!n-2

     The festival is called “Nisshin Shimin Matsuri” which has Industry Fair, Library Fair, Sports Festival, Health and Wealth Festival, and Cultural Festival, and all of them are held at once in many places on the second Saturday and Sunday of November every year. That’s why, there were huge traffic jams here and there and the pavements were filled with pedestrians in Nisshin during the festival, and I walked and walked that day.n-4

     I’m not a citizen in Nisshin, but I have many friends there, and Mitsuko, one of them, informed me that she would perform hula dance in the festival. So, first I went to Nisshin Citizens Hall to see her team’s dance. There were also many cultural exhibitions in the hall, such as ikebana or Japanese flower arranging, bonsai, Japanese calligraphy, and paintings and so on, and I enjoyed the tea ceremony before going to see the dance. TS3N1354

     When I entered the dim concert hall, a ladies group was performing a Japanese traditional dance. It was as if I was watching Red and White Singing Contest, which is a Japan’s famous TV show on New Year’s Eve. After the performance, there was another Japanese folk dance by another women’s team. I felt fresh there because I hardly ever have opportunities to see those dances or hear Japan’s old style songs. Actually, I don’t like those things so much, but their performances were really interesting. TS3N1356

     With the announcement of a hula dance group name, my friend and other dancers appeared on the stage. Wow! They looked so elegant in beautiful dress. Unfortunately, I don’t know the meanings of their gestures of hula, but I enjoyed watching their gorgeous performance. Mitsuko’s dance with a smile was wonderful. n-9

     After the hula dance, I left the hall and I went to the main place for the festival. There were hundreds of stalls in it, which was very busy with many people. You could buy many things: fresh vegetable, sea foods, bread, cake, sake, ramen, hot dogs, stakes, grilled sausages, fruits, ice creams, etc…You could also experience many interesting things: learning fruit carving, making original chopsticks, digging sweet potatoes out from the field, riding combine, studying environment or international exchanges and so on. TS3N1368

     I ate takoyaki, fried shrimp dumplings, ramen and grilled oysters at the place. All of them were delicious. Actually, I was interested in a stall from Fukushima, but their goods had been already sold out by the time I arrived. The stall was invited to the festival for Nisshin’s apology to Kawamata-cho in Fukushima this time. The city bought some fireworks from a maker in Kawamata-cho for its summer festival in September, but stopped using their fireworks by fears of the radioactive contamination. TS3N1378

     Next day of the summer festival, Nisshin got lots of protests from not only Fukushima but also all over Japan. The mayor flew to Kawamata-cho and Fukushima Prefecture and apologized to them soon. That was the start of inviting the stall from Fukushima to the festival. The mayor in Nisshin must have been relieved to see all of things at the stall were sold out. Anyway, I enjoyed a whole day at the festival and went back home in Nagoya with feeling fulfilled that day.TS3N1379

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Buddhist Monks at Eiheiji Temple Raise an Alarm over Nuclear Power: Cherish Our Lives – The way of living that we don’t choose nuclear power generation.

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PK2011100702100109_size0      This is today’s article on the Chunichi. (Translated by moshimoshimo)

     Buddhist Monks at Eiheiji Temple Raise an Alarm over Nuclear Power

     Some priests at Eiheiji Temple, which is one of the head temples of Soto Zen (school) in Fukui Prefecture, hosted a symposium on denuclearization on November 2nd. On the other hand, the Noda Administration has resumed operation at the Genkai Nuclear Power Plant (Kyusyu Electric Power Company) and reconfirmed the export of nuclear power generation system to Vietnam. Supporters of nuclear power plants are now hitting rewind, but the symposium with citizens and Buddhist monks might trigger a change in our way of living.

     The elegant image of Guanyin, the Mercy Goddess, on the wall scroll in the middle of the stage was attracting the attention of the audience. There burning incense sticks and candles were in front of the picture, and the sound of reciting the sutras was filled with the place. The symposium – Cherish Our Lives ~ The Way of Living that We don’t Choose Nuclear Power Generation~ began.

     About 300 people including priests got together at the place. The speakers were Mr. Kenichi Hasegawa, 58, the cattle farmer in Fukushima, and Tetsuen Nakajima, 69, the chief priest at Myotsuji Temple in Fukui, who has kept on leading the movement against nuclear power generation for more than 40 years.

     Mr. Hasegawa told about lives in Iidate-mura village, Fukushima after the accident, showing images on the screen. “When I measured radiation dose around my house, the meter indicated over 100 micro Sv and went off the scale. Nevertheless, the government forbid me to say anything about the high levels of radiation to people and invited some experts who just kept saying, “It’s safe,” and they never let people evacuate.”

     He made a heartbreaking decision to destroy his cattle and leave his hometown. He has lost everything he has built for 35 years of his life. One of his friends, who was also a cattle farmer, hang himself, leaving the dying message, “If there had be no nuclear power plant…” An old man at the age of 102 killed himself because he did not want to act as a drag when his family took shelter. As Mr. Hasegawa was talking, some people sobbed in the audience. “Pigs are eating bodies of starved cows. That’s the actual condition in Iidate now,” said Mr. Hasegawa.

     Next, Priest Nakajima pointed out the “sin” of the nuclear power plant which has made more than 470,000 workers exposed to radiation for 40 years. He claimed, “At the root of this problem, Japan has walked the path of modernization by making “Escaping Asia for Europe” its national policy without looking at the negative side. We should start with transforming our societies away from being wasters of energy.”

     Mrs. Yoko Watanabe, 62, a participant at the symposium in Fukui, said, “Many meetings for anti-nuke have been held here and there, but today’s one is meaningful because it’s held by a Buddhist temple.” There are, however, many nuclear power plants along Wakasa Bay, and lots of Soto Zen believers work at those plants. That is why, most people involved in the nuclear power plants said in a passive tone about denuclearization.

     Some journalists asked the relation between Eiheiji Temple and the nuclear power plants at the news conference after the symposium. There is an episode about naming the prototype fast-breeder reactor Monju and the advanced thermal reactor Fugen. Both reactors are in Fukui Prefecture, and Monju and Fugen are names of Bodhisattvas. The previous chairman of Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation has visited the temple and said, “We named the reactors Monju and Fugen because we want to get the power from those Bodhisattvas.” At that time, the Zen Master at the temple replied, “That’s nice.” Journalists asked the temple, “Does it mean the temple accepted the nuclear power plants?” Priest Matsubara answered to the question, “No, we don’t think so. But it is true that we have not done anything about the nuclear power generation. We have realized that the nuclear power generation goes against life on the earth.”

     Priest Wajo Kansya in Fukuoka Prefecture, acclaimed the symposium, saying, “It’s unprecedented. I think Eiheiji Temple did a great thing.” He leads denuclearization under his wife influence, who published a book on anti-nuke after the nuclear accident in Chernobyl in 1987. He said, “The movement of rethinking about the nuclear power generation has begun in the world of Buddhists, not only in Soto Zen. I have a high degree of expectation for the movement.”

The Halloween Party at Mairo in 2011: "Trick or treat?" "Here they really come!"

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ハロ1       Trick or treat? There was a Halloween party at Mairo, the bakery shop in Meito-ku, on October 29. It was an annual party. How time flies! The last year party seemed like only the event of the previous day…Does that mean I have become older? Anyway, the party was really fun as always!

     This year I invited two new people to the party. One is a friend at mixi, the social network in Japan, and another one is a sales clerk at a shopping center nearby.

     One day, the mixi friend wrote on his wall of Facebook, “I’ve got three days off at the end of this month. What shall I do?” So, I left a comment, “I’m going to take part in a Halloween party on 29. It’s held at a bakery shop where customers do something. How about coming to Nagoya and going to the party together with me?” He lives in Tokyo, though, he came!  ハロ2

     The clerk sells ladies clothing and I sometimes buy clothes there. So we are acquainted. I have talked to her about the Halloween party before, and one day when I dropped by she asked me, “Is the Halloween party you have mentioned before going to be held this year, too?” So, I replied, “Yes, it’s on 29. Why don’t you come? It’ll be fun!” And she came with a friend of hers.

     All the participants were wearing costumes at the bakery shop. So were the bakery’s owner and staffers, of course! I don’t know whether it’s because people can act other characters or show their real characters in costumes and thick make-ups, but all of them were really excited and enjoyed ourselves at the party talking to many monsters over delicious food. mairo34

     At 8 o’clock p.m. we in all Halloween costumes went outside and walked to a house near the bakery shop. “Trick or treat?!” We shouted. The door opened and it revealed through the light that the house, which was traditional Japanese style, was not suited to a Western event…But the residents welcomed us, all of who were wearing strange costumes and make-ups, warmly and gave us sweet treats…Actually, they were very excited to see us and took our photos frantically, saying, “Here they really come!” ハロ3

     All of the participants looked happy and content when we came back to the bakery. We had a really good time together. What a life! I am really lucky to be pleased with many nice friends! I’m sure the two of new comers also had a great time! I knew it because of their expressions! I was very happy to see them and the other participants laughing!

     I can enjoy a quality of life because Japan is still peaceful in spite of that it has many problems, such as the nuclear accident, the recovery from the great earthquake and the tsunami, the typhoon damages, TPP issue, etc…I’m thankful for each day and pray for peace in the world.

Mairo: #2-1112, Umemorizaka, Meito-ku, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
http://www.k2.dion.ne.jp/~bluerose/access.html