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Fresh Air

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      I went to Mugi, Gifu prefecture last Sunday. It’s located near Heisei village, which became famous for the name when the name of the present era was decided to be Heisei 19 years ago.

     There’s wildness still now around the area in spite of the trend toward development. The wildness is not primitive, however, people use natural resources and live together wild animals. Since there’s no factory around there, the streams are clean and you can enjoy fishing and seeing fireflies. 

     Although wild bores or bears sometimes cause damage to the villages, they’re blessed in the meat if they can catch them. But they never try to catch them excessively. They control the numbers of the wild animals.

      Such peaceful villages have been losing population rapidly, and the fields have tended to be wasted recently.

     That’s why people, mainly young generation, try to revive their villages by attracting tourists, selling fresh vegetables, advertising heir special products and inviting people from other towns and so on.

      The place I visited is interesting. Many people get together and do many things freely; pottery, dyeing, producing and selling vegetables to tourists, for instance. They enjoy their hobbies and having big lunch almost every Sunday.

     I was able to take a deep breath in fresh air in the forest and to relax by seeing many wildflowers there. And of course, I enjoyed the wonderful lunch with friends!

Arimatsu Shibori Matsuri: Japanese Tie-Dyeing Festival in Arimatsu

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      I went to Arimatsu yesterday. There was a festival named Arimatsu Shibori Matsuri in the town. Shibori means Japanese tie-dyeing, and Arimatsu is famous for it. The town has a festival of the tie-dyeing for only two days a year; the first Saturday and Sunday of June.

     Since I’ve heard an old street of stores and houses remains in Arimatsu and I’ve known it’s very famous for Shobori tie-dyeing, I’d have liked to visit the town once for a long time. I like seeing Japanese old towns and am interested in materials. At last I had an opportunity to visit there.

     A few days ago, a friend of mine informed me about the festival by email. I checked my schedule and replied her, “I’ll come!” And she and I decided to meet each other at Arimatsu Station in the morning of that day.

      Arimatsu is in Midori Ward located in the southeast of Nagoya. I took the highway bus to Nagoya Station and the local train in Meitetsu line to the town yesterday morning. It was my first time to use the line and the scenery seen from the train window excited me. The train was going through small and narrow areas. I was very surprised to find out what I was looking at was not the wall of a station, was the wall of an apartment house! It’s possible that the residents take the train from their windows!

     The train began slowing down for stopping at Arimatsu Station, and all of the passengers groaned. We saw many tourists overflowed around the street from the train windows. It was around 10:00 in the morning and many people already came to the festival.

      I saw a cute girl in yukata, summer cotton kimono or Japanese traditional wear in front of the station. She was coming closer and closer. Oh! That girl was my friend! She was wearing a beautiful yukata of Arimatsu Shibori tie-dyeing. According to her, she bought it at the festival last year. It was really nice on her.

     She and I saw many Shibori works there. Shibori has many methods of dyeing cloth with patterns by binding, stitching, folding, twisting, or compressing it. I was really impressed by the artistic handicrafts. 

      The local people are trying to preserve and invigorate the town at the same time with their specialty, Shibori. It’s wonderful that not only seniors but also young people take an active part in the project. And I thought I was going to come there again next year.   

Funeral 2

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     I came back home from the ceremony. I wept. I hadn’t shed tears for a long time, I thought. I feel that I was purified by the tear somehow.

     His face looked like sleeping. It’s hard to believe still now for me that he’s gone. He had been energetic until about 10 days ago. His baseball friends also attended the ceremony, and they spoke to him, who couldn’t reply any more. They spoke gently as if the man was still alive. None of them cried. They were smiled and spoke to him in a quiet.

     I feel an upsurge of emotion at all excitement of running around, meeting many people in the daytime, and of attending the funeral. I am about to weep.

     God gives all of us an equal gift.

  People are mortal.

     I don’t want to get the gift soon, though. I have many things I want to do still now. For the present, I need to feed! I forgot to eat. I haven’t eaten anything today. I have no appetite, though…I am alive.