I am a Buddhist monk who lives in Kagawa Prefecture, Shikoku, Japan. I will write the thing and events that seen in the day-to-day life in a short sentence. If you have anything you would like to know more, please contact me from the contact-form. I might write in more detail in the blog.
The overnight bus in Japan is difficult to sleep
I moved by a overnight bus from Kagawa to Tokyo. The reason is that traveling expenses are cheap and arrive in the morning. All it takes is slepping.
Actually I could not sleep. The seat was narrower than I imagined, the vibration of the car was also intense and unstable, so I woke up many times in the middle of the night. The only advantage is that despite the narrow space, you are setting up a toilet.
The place where Beethoven’s Ninth was played for the first time in Japan
This building is a German House in Naruto city, Tokushima prefecture. During the Pacific War from 1917 to 1920, German prisoners of war were housed in this place for three years.
There was the Bando prisoner of war camp, where about 1,000 Germans stayed humanelty. Only morning and evening roll calls are mandatory, others are free to play music, bowling and reading. They also interacted with local Japanese.
There were regular concerts, and more than 50 times were held during the three years. Beethoven ‘s Ninth was played in this place for the first time in Asia on June 1, 1918.
Currently, Naruto City is a sister city relationship with Lüneburg City in Germany.
Why do fragrant olive use rhinoceros’s kanji in Japan
There are trees called Kinmokusei in Japan. The tree makes orange small flowers bloom, scent is very wonderful. In English, it seems to be represented by the following words.
- Sweet olive.
- Tea olive.
- Fragrant olive.
In Japanese kanji notation we write 金木犀. This “犀” kanji represents the animal’s rhinoceros. Why is the animal rhino used in this tree?
The reason is that the bark of this tree is like the skin of the rhinoceros, it is hard and rugged.
Fall in which the nuts of ginkgo falls
In Japan, the temperature in the night will be around 15 degrees in October. The tree stains red or yellow.
Sometimes Japanese temples have ginkgo trees. Even at my house, the nuts of ginkgo fall down naturally everyday.
Every morning I clean the ginkgo tree under. The reason is that ginkgo releases a bad smell when stepping on it.
Kagawa prefecture Kanonji has a huge sand sculpture
Kagawa Prefecture Kanonji City has a huge sand sculpture. The name is called Zenigata Sunae (銭形砂絵) or Kaneituhou (寛永通宝).
This sculpture comes from the fact that when Daimyo visits Kanonji in 1633 (寛永 10 years), people expressed the design of money with sand painting overnight to express welcome. In order to make it look like a true circle when looking from the top of a mountain 60 meters high, it is made in an elliptical shape with a length of 122 meters and a width of 90 meters.
This is said to be something to bring luck as drawing money, and many visitors come to the summit even now. Incidentally, this sand sculpture has a legend made overnight, but now it is cleaned and repaired by volunteers twice in spring and autumn for preservation.
Write a wish to an Ema (絵馬)
An Ema is a board of wood on which a horse is drawn.
In Japan it had been dedicating the horse to Shinto shrines and Buddhsit temples for more than 1000 years, but those who can not prepare horses have come to serve wooden boards and papers drawn by horses instead.
From the Edo era 400 years ago, it was fashionable to write his own wish to the Ema and dedicate it. This custom still remains in the present age, and some temples and shrines have an Ema being hung. By the way, my Buddhist sects do not do the Ema because they are against doctrine.
Gender color of the entrance of Onsen
In Japan where there are many active volcanoes, hot spring facilities are located all around Japan. Hot Spring is Onsen (温泉).
At the entrance of the Onsen is shown the entrance for men and women by a japanese curtain called ‘noren (のれん)’. Generally men are distinguished by blue or dark blue, women by red or orange.
A red candle is often used in Buddhist temples
Two types of red candle and white candle are often used in Japanese Buddhist temples. In fact, even in ordinary families, when worshiping Buddha, you should prepare a red candle, but it is often substituted by a white candle.
In the temple, depending on Buddhist events, we properly distinguish between red and white.
September 30, 2018
Hude (筆), Japanese writing brush
Hude (筆) is a brush that has been used in Japan since a long time ago. Originally invented in ancient China, it was introduced to Japan together with kanji around the 6th century in the Nara era.
In modern times, few people write with brushes every day, but we have a japanese calligraphy lesson at elementary school and learn how to write. I am a Buddhist monk, so I often use Hude.
September 26, 2018
Bamboo blinds in the Japanese temples and shrines
There is a decoration called “Sudare /簾” in Japan. Things used in temples and shrines are more politely made and are called “Misu / 御簾”.
Although the Sudare has a role as a blindfold like a curtain, the bamboo blinds (Misu) has a role like a boundary representing a precious space. The tassels are basically dyed in three stages of white, red and black.
September 22, 2018
Dairy products are short because of the Hokkaido earthquake
An earthquake of magnitude 6.7 occurred in Hokkaido (北海道) on September 6. This year ‘s Hokkaido has a lot of rainfall. In addition, the epicenter was a stratum of pumice stone and it was in a state where landslides were likely to occur. As a result, 41 people died.
Unfortunately there was largest power station in Hokkaido near the epicenter, and whole Hokkaido couldn’t supply any more the electric power, and was a blackout. Damage to agriculture, forestry and fishery relations is estimated at 39.7 billion yen. Hokkaido has over 50% share of raw milk in Japan. As a result, even in Kagawa Prefecture, which is a distance from Hokkaido, dairy products such as milk are lost in supermarkets.
September 18, 2018
I made jam of grape Delaware
In the area where I live, Delaware has been cultivated about 100 years ago. It was September and Delaware had passed season, so it was possible to get this in quantities.
I made jam while putting skin with that. The material is only 30% sugar, just boil down without adding water. Skin and all were made, so beautiful purple jam was made.
I eat jam with a plain yogurt. Homemade jam tastes strong, so it fits refreshing yogurt well.
September 14, 2018
Eitaikyo (永代経): Buddhist memorial service event in my temple
There was a Buddhist event at my temple yesterday. My temple was the event called Eitaikyo (永代経) at a temple of Jodo-Shinshu (浄土真宗).
An upper picture is the situation by which a monk is explaining Buddhism to the person who comes clearly. It was unlucky rain, but they said Sunday and about 50 people were hearing talk until the end.
September 10, 2018
Natsuzuisen (夏水仙): Pink cluster amaryllis
Higanbana (Lycoris radiata) is the flower which blooms in Equinoctial week of autumn. There is this pink flower in a flower similar to it.
It blooms from the middle of August to September in Japan. Red spider lily flowers are treated as ominous flowers, but this flower has not so bad impression.
The flower looks like a red spider lily, but since the leaves are similar to daffodils, it is said to be Natsuzuisen (夏水仙, summer daffodils). However, in botany it is not a daffodil but a companion of Higanbana.
September 6, 2018
A lot of typhoons have occurred for the first time in 24 years
Typhoon 21 occurred on the Pacific on August 28. It was the first time in 24 years since 1994 that nine Typhoons occurred during the month of August.
In many typhoons there will be more damage from floods and landslides. It is a predicted course similar to the previous typhoon No. 20, so we have to be careful. It will be closest to Japan on September 4 and it is likely to hit.
September 2, 2018
Things to think about Kagawa Prefecture Governor’s election
There was an election of Governor of Kagawa Prefecture this summer. As a result, Mr. Hamada of the current governor won the big difference. (Mr. Hamada got 200,000 votes. Mr. Himeda, second place, got 35,000 votes.)
The problem is that voter turnout.
Kagawa prefecture’s voter turnout is 30% low for seven consecutive times during the past 30 years. The eighth time this election was 29.34%, the first time it was lower than 30%.
Japan is a democratic country and a legal nation, but recently the number of people going to the election has decreased greatly. Even in national elections the voter turnout is around 50%. There is even a tide that makes a stupid thing about people who do demonstration activities.
In Japan, few people are interested in politics, I feel worried that the number of people experiencing the misery of war is decreasing.
Single certificate: Affidavit of Competency to Marry
Even in Japan there are official documents that prove single.
Since Japan is a monogamy, it is sometimes required when marrying. However, because it is not usually required, some people do not know the existence of this certificate.
The number of black rotary-dial telephones is decreasing
In Japan, there are considerably few dial-type black phones. In the survey of 2016, 83.6% of individuals now have mobile terminals (such as mobile phones and smartphones). Therefore, the number of phones fixed at home is decreasing.
Although the number of black rotary-dial telephones has decreased, since there are merits of durability, easy operability and survivability in the event of disasters, there is still persistent popularity.
August 15 is the day of the most famous Obon (お盆)
There is a period called Obon (お盆) during summer in Japan. But Obon day is different depending on the region. It is mainly divided into three patterns, but the most famous is the period centered on August 15.
From August 13th to 16th in Japan everywhere we go back to my hometown and visit the grave. So if you come to Japan this time, you may get caught in a traffic jam.
Kanji (雲/空/天) on a household Shinto altar (Kamidana)
Sometimes Japanese houses have shelves to worship Japanese gods. That shelf is called 神棚 (Kamidana). On top of the Kamidana is, it may have been written as “雲” or “天”.
This is used to express that there is nothing to block above God. It means that the sky is spreading above God. We think that walking on God is rude, so this paper will be pasted on buildings on the second floor and above.
Reason why letter ‘馬’ is flipped horizontally
This is a piece of japanese chess written by mirror-writing.
This character is called Hidariuma (左馬). There is no practicality, it will be placed in the room as an interior. Sometimes people who started business decorate it. There are several reasons.
- If you read Uma (馬) from the opposite, you become Mau and you are reminded of dancing. We feel like luck is coming.
- Usually, a person draws a rope and brings a horse, but on the contrary it seems that a horse will lead us.
- In Japan, ride a horse from the left. Therefore, this letter written from the left is a symbol that does not fail.
High school baseball farewell party at Marugame City hall
Baseball is very popular in Japan. There are also many national tournaments for high school students.
The tournament to be held at the Hanshin Koshien stadium in Hyogo Prefecture in August is the 100th anniversary event this year. To commemorate it, 56 schools, the largest number ever, were elected as representatives in 2018.
Marugame Josei High School will participate from Kagawa Prefecture. There was a send-off party at Marugame City hall. Although most participating schools are private high schools, public schools will participate from Kagawa prefecture. This summer is a harsh heat, but I hope the players take care of their bodies and do their best.
Things to put on the coffin
The funeral in Japan is a cremation culture due to the influence of Buddhism. The bodies are placed in a wooden coffin and ceremonies are held. In Buddhist style funeral, things are placed on the coffin.
It is first covered with a golden rich fabric. It is called Shichijo (七条). Also a thread and a paper called Shutara (修多羅) is prepared.
There may be casino facilities even in Japan in the future
A bill has been established that can make casino facilities even in Japan (Slightly forcibly). From the word of Integrated Resort it is called IR bill. However, the common name is the casino bill.
Many Japanese people such as gambling addiction and security problems are negative opinions. According to the survey by each press, the opposition is about 60% to 70%, and the approval is about 20% to 30%.
The person wearing shoes is quite few in modern times
This footwear is called Geta (下駄).
The Geta is characterized by the whole being made of wooden board.
It has been quite popular in Japan during the Meiji / Taisho era of the past 100 years ago. However, in modern times we never see people wearing this. The Gwta footwear of this photo is what I use. However, I do not go far, it is about to use it when I walk in the garden.
We eat grilled eel on the Ox day in the mid summer
In Japan it is custom to eat an eel on midsummer OX day. This is the origin of the idea of Hiraga Gennai (平賀源内), a scientist / inventor of the Edo period.
Eating eels in summer’s hot season is obvious from songs over 1000 years ago, but it came to be eaten on this Ox day since the Edo period.
Today many eels were sold in front of supermarkets and fishmongers. I bought it and went home. The photo above is a little cooked and dished up it. Grilled eel goes well with Japanese pepper and Clear soup.
I worry about I can not speak English
More than half a year has passed since I started blogging. But I am not quite satisfied with my current situation.
For me who speaks Japanese as my mother tongue, I feel that English is very difficult. There are many things I would like to tell people in the world in English, but I can not write it. It is because I have no confidence in English. Actually, the sentence I am writing is hard to understand.
I am studying English grammar recently, but I am getting more and more confused.
Tourists are increasing year by year in Kagawa
Tourists visiting Kagawa Prefecture are increasing year by year. In 2017, 9.46 million people came from outside the prefecture and abroad. This number is the second largest since we started taking statistics.
This trend is also influenced by the privatization of Takamatsu Airport and the increase of international flights. By the way, the ranking was 2.61 million in Kotohira Town with Kotohiragu Shrine, 1.09 million in Shodoshima Island, and 740,000 in Ritsurin Park. Setouchi Triennale International Art Festival 2019 will be held next year, so Shodoshima Island is expected to have more tourists.
Rendai: There is a lotus pedestal at the feet of the Buddha
Rendai is lotus-shaped pedestal for images of the buddha. Lotus flowers are important flowers in Buddhism. Lotus symbolizes the Buddha’s mercy and wisdom from extending the stem from the muddy and making beautiful flowers bloom on the water. Lotus flowers are represented not only in Buddha statue but also in Buddhist painting and name of a or the Buddha (Myogo/名号).
The appearance of my Enryuji Temple in the summer
At the end of the rainy season, thunder or the weather will ruin. However, when the rainy season ends, the temperature rises rapidly, and the day more than 30 degrees continues everyday.
The picture shows the summer of my temple. The trees are dark green and the sky is shining white. Furthermore, the voice of the cicadas sounds lively.
Heisei’s biggest heavy rain damage
This year’s Western Japan was hit by the biggest heavy rain in recent decades. After typhoon 7 hit July 3, it rained intensely like every day. The Meteorological Agency issued a “heavy rain special warning”, but a massive damage resulted from the occurrence of debris flow and the destruction of the river.
It was 30 years since the era of Heisei Emperor, but as a heavy rain disaster that put out more than 100 people dead, Heisei’s biggest heavy rain suffered damage. Even now, the victims are in trouble due to blackouts, communication problems, water cutoff, etc.
Shosho (小暑) the sign of the end of the rainy season
In Japan now, July 7th is famous for the day of the Tanabata (七夕), but it is also Shosho (小暑) day.
The Shosho is a character meaning a small heat. In other words, the rainy season is about to end, the summer is getting closer and the heat gradually gets hotter. It is raining hard today, but the rainy season will be over if this is over.
Chataku is a tea bowl saucer
When I went to the cafe the other day, a cute tea bowl saucer appeared. In Japan, the coaster under the tea cup is called Chataku (茶托).
We will prepare the coaster for the guests without using it in daily life. The coaster of this cafe was hand sewn, designing a cat. I felt very unusual, so I took a picture.
July 4th is a day that Takamatsu people should never forget
July 4 is the day there was a Takamatsu air raid. More than 100 B-29 bombers bombed about 2 hours from 2:56 am on July 4, 1945. The number of people who died was 1359, and the damage such as losing the house was 86,400 people. About 80% of Takamatsu city area has become scorched.
Yesterday there was a ceremony for the memorial of 73 years. Experiences of war are aging and the memories of war are about to cease. According to the story of survivors, it seems that the sun seemed dark brown on that morning. With a desire for peace, we must tell the memories of war to future generations.
How to identify immature and ripe blueberries
Some people may feel blueberries are not sweet and not delicious. But it is because they eat immature state. Blueberries in an immature state are strongly sour and are hard to eat in raw.
As a common misunderstanding, the state in which the fruit is colored in blue is not a good time to eat. It is not sweet yet. Let’s wait another few days.
This image is what I made. In the state of ②, the harvest is still early and the state of ③ where the root of the fruit is dyed purple is the best timing. By the way, ④ in over-ripe state feels strong sweetness, but I can not recommend it because it becomes a blurred flavor.
I wrote an article about how to know the maturity of blueberry from color change, so please read it if you do not mind.→『How to pick sweet (not sour) and delicious blueberries』
Website to convey the charm of Takamatsu’s bonsai
Takamatsu Bonsai has a history of 200 years and is one of the leading bonsai production areas throughout the country. Due to the beauty of bonsai and the high technology, it is now exported to Europe and Asian countries.
Kagawa Prefecture Bonsai Production Promotion Council has created a new multilingual website to appeal to bonsai worldwide. Its name is “Creative BONSAI Takamatsu Bonsai (高松盆栽)“. Currently it corresponds to English, Japanese and Chinese. History and charm of bonsai, how to enjoy, and sightseeing spots are introduced. It seems to strive to enhance the information little by little in the future.
Fifa World Cup Qualifier: Game of Japan that was not interesting
Today the Japan national football team decided to advance to the finals tournament. But Japan is not so much as if it gets excited.
The reason is that the Japanese team lost the preliminary final game. And the losing Japanese team earned time by pass the ball.
The losing team does not attack and the attitude to actively consume time is not very interesting. The weak Japan may be the goal to go through qualifying, but how did the person looking at the game feel?
Incidentally, according to the survey of Yahoo Japan ‘s consciousness (about the pass at the end of the game) as of the next day of the game, 50% of people evaluate, 45% do not evaluate.
Blueberry coloring blue in June
Blueberry fruit is popular in Japan. However, it likes acidic soil, and it is difficult to cultivate in Japan’s temperate climate.
I majored in fruit science at Kagawa university so I managed to harvest somehow while being amateur. Japan is now in the rainy season, but a delicious high bush blueberry has colored and can be harvested.
Japanese confectionery is a sweet that produces a sense of the season
Japanese confectioneries (Wagashi / 和菓子) are Japanese traditional sweets. It does not use much dairy products such as milk, compared with Western sweets.
Although the history of Japanese sweets is old for over 1,000 years ago, it has been around 700 years ago when it became the current form. One of the characteristics of Japanese sweets is that you can feel the seasonal feeling. It is attractive not only to taste but also to be enjoyable visually.
For example, the Japanese sweets in the photo express fruit of loquat on the left and hydrangea on the right. Both are Japanese scenery seen in June of the rainy season.
Hot spring facilities transform into cafe? No Joke!!
It has been 150 years since the adoption of Western culture in the Meiji era, 70 years since World War II passed. There are no people born in the 1800s in Japan anymore, and people before the war are getting less.
We see only new developments, old-fashioned townscape is being lost. However, recently there has been activities to review and use the goodness of Old-Japan. They refurbish old buildings and try to attract young people and foreigners.
For example, please look at the next photo.
This building was built 100 years ago and has been loved by people in Tadotsu town under the name Shimizu Onsen (清水温泉). But it was closed over 40 years ago due to the population decline. However, in order to regain former bustle in town, it revived as a cafe. Of course the building renovates leaving traces of hot springs.
The skeleton (pillar and wall) of the building is used as it is. In addition, the building has used a bathtub that people once enjoyed bathing as a cafe table.
Such activities are not only partly but also throughout Japan. It is renovated old palace house, and it is utilized also as a meal place and accommodation place. This is why more buildings with different appearance and contents are increasing.
Water hyacinth bloomed on the water.
I have medaka fish (メダカ) as pets. Medaka is a small and cute creature like Guppy. In Japan it is common to prepare aquatic plants (aquarium plants) when keeping waterside creatures. I am floating water hyacinth in water.
The flowers were blooming today. I shot a lot in commemoration. The flower blooming ornamental aquatic plants are not much in Japan.
Father’s Day. On the third Sunday in June in Japan.
In Japan, the third Sunday in June is Father’s Day. Father’s day is a day to express appreciation to my father.
Americans will know this day. Because Father’s Day is because of American origin.
In Japan, it feels like being promoted commercially like Valentine’s Day and Christmas, so father’s day will not get much excited.
Peach’s direct sales place is opened in Hazan town (飯山町).
Hanzan in the Kagawa Prefecture Marugame is the largest peach producing area in Shikoku. Production is small in terms of the nation, but it is superior in quality due to the warm climate of the Setouchi Region and greenhouse cultivation.
Peach of Hanzan will be harvested until late July from mid-May. It is popular because we can buy good tasty peach of low price and freshness in the direct sale place.
I appreciate the bonsai (盆栽).
Kagawa that I live in is a prefecture famous for bonsai.
A typical bonsai plant is pine, but in reality there are various kinds of bonsai such as maple and persimmon. Bonsai is attractive in expressing the natural landscape in pots and sometimes added as an accent in the garden.
Tragic incident in the shinkansen.
A tragic incident occurred on June 9 on the Shinkansen (japan’s bullet train).
22-year-old man who was wielding the hatchet has killed one person man, inflicting injuries to two women.
In Japan, ordinary people can not possess guns, so a mass murder case is unlikely to occur, but people who have a mental illness like this time can also cause horrible incidents. It seems that the criminal of this time bought a weapon on the day of the incident.
The well‐informed people suggests to do random baggage inspection even on the Shinkansen. That seems to be a deterrent to crime.
An annual commemorative day, called Time Day.
June 10th is an annual commemorative day, called Time Day in Japan.
Why this day became a day to commemorate the time.
The bell of the clock rang first in Japan on this day.
This has been written in the oldest history book in Japan (Nihon Shoki/日本書紀). It is on June 10, 671.
By the way, history’s oldest watch of Japan is a water clock that Emperor Tenji was let made in 660 years.