In Japan there is a city with the citizens who trust each other. It seems that they drink water from one source that flows along their houses. As well, they wash hands after the meals in the same places. Satoyama in translation means an ideal place for life in harmony with the nature. It is situated in Northern prefecture Gifu that is isolated from the rest of the world with the mountain tops and rice fields.
The city Satoyama is cut into two parts with Seto river. It used to be a wide channel that divided citizens to Samurai and peasants. The Samurai built sturdy and rich houses whereas others constructed small houses along the water on the opposite side. Today near the river, on both sides, every day children are crowding with bread crusts. The kids feed colored carps for which Seto river became a house. The fish is not afraid of people and takes food from the arts without hurry, swimming along the channel. Apart from that, there are lampreys, crabs, pigfish, and other living creatures in the water. However, only carps feel the biggest confidence. Also, people are glad to see them in the houses. All the residential areas are equipped with the swimming-pools that are constantly full with the flowing water from Seto river. It takes these waters from the swimming pools in the main channel. Actually, such floods of water are the part of private possessions. The swimming-pools in the houses of Satoyama plays a very important role in the life of citizens. In such a water the vegetables are washed along with greenery, there dishes are washed after the meal. Most often the citizens of the city eat rice, meaning, a lot of boiled seeds come to the water. Nevertheless, they don’t tamper it but serve as the nutrition for the carps. The indicator of purity in Seto is the unique type of candle fish without scale that resides only in the pure sources. The surface of the flood also plays significant role. It has almost been covered with the thick layer of seaweeds. In the daylight the plants emit bubbles of oxygen raising at the surface of the water and cleaning the water with the oxygen.
Satoyama is special not only because of the river flowing across the residential houses and vivid participation in the process of biotic community. The city is surrounded by the rice fields, there are many vegetable beds. In the forests nearby there are mushrooms and fruits that also serve the food for the locals. The wood is used by the citizens of Satoyama for new buildings and biomass what is the only source of energy for Satoyama citizens, in its turn. The citizens of Satoyama are sure to have got everything necessary for life. They are able to live in a calm manner in their almost perfect world even not taking the blessings of civilization.
Such an isolated life traditional for ancient Japanese villages has recently been actively supported by the government of the country. It gives possibility to people to do for a living not getting the outside help. In Japan which generally depends on the import of nutrition and energy it is the relevant question. At first, it is benevolent for the health of the people who reside in less stressful environment and, gradually, attract new tourists in the country. Apart from that, the government of the country has invented strategy or, how it is also called in Japan, reconstruction of transformation to the eco-settlements.
The interest to the true-circle processing lifestyle in Japan is growing. The hundreds of tourists come every year to look how and what the ‘isolatos’ live. The office clerks from the neighboring Kyoto come to rest from the city vanity. Many of them for the first time take bicycles while everybody who wants that are able to help the locals to dig their vegetable gardens or catch a carp in the river. In the center of the settlement there is museum of folk crafts. It is prominent not only with its exhibition pieces but also because it is done without any nails. The builders gathered it like a puzzle using the ancient technique of Japanese masters. Those who are hungry take river fish in the small hasheries, houbamiso that is prepared at the leave of magnolia and drink sake.
Ice cream with a taste of horse meat, pickled insects, fish with deadly venom, etc – Japanese cuisine has things to surprise, amaze and shock you with. And truth be told, enumeration of these dishes doesn’t help my appetite at all. But we are not after exotic stuff. True culinary tourism is an attempt to comprehend mindset and feel national distinctive color through traditional cuisine – not try most exotic dishes. Parts of people’s souls, its history and culture are actually concentrated in national dainties.
Its sounds penetrate the heart, stop the flow of thoughts and cause the blood to move in some kind of magical rhythm. It's a roll of thunder. It gives the shivers. It's a secret. Japanese drums in their homeland are elevated to the rank of cult. Without them, not a single official event is possible, their melodies delight the hearing during joy and help to experience sadness.
There are hardly many travelers who would go somewhere further than city centre where their hotel is situated when on a short-term journey. And if location is a metropolis on top of everything else, such “outside” trips are sure to be put on hold till better occasions. And vainly so because it is in residential districts where one can have a look at a foreign country with the eyes of its citizens which is far more educative than hurry-scurry tours around castles and squares.
The well-known saying goes: east is a delicate matter. All-in-all, it is true as evidenced even by details. Due to specific climate, eastern women have similar type of appearance, and their nations are united by close cultures. Therefore, they prefer the same beauty standards. Women are supposed to be modest, to dress so as to completely or almost completely conceal figure. Therefore, all that remains to them is to charm a man by play of eyes, so eastern makeup concentrates on eyes.
The Japanese are very creative people, especially when it comes to rice. If they have some extra spare time and large spacious rice paddies, then routine process of growing an agricultural crop turns into art...
The eccentric elder Katsushika Hokusai was the real star of the Edo period, the creative genius and the brutal debtor of the half of his city. He used at least 30 names, changed 93 houses and created a lot of prints, drawings and paintings. His internationally recognized print The Great Wave off Kanagawa is mesmerizing. But only a few people know that this block printing, as well as many other works, was created by Hokusai with assistance of his daughter - artist Katsushika Ōi, lost in time and overshadowed by her genius father crazy about art.
Japan is the country where people are loyal towards the traditions. The colorful scale did not make an exception – on the contrary, in the worldview of Japanese people it acquired almost divine origination. ‘The color of morning sky’, ‘the depth of night heaven’, ‘the shades after the sunrise’ – in such a way Japanese people called colors that they observed outside. The word ‘color’ became a sort of description of a beloved person. Perhaps, in the colorful intonations of color the most gentle and beautiful feelings concentrated. Today OUTLOOK will tell what the symbolic of flowers in Japan is based on.
On the 11-th April, 2017 the Embassy of Japan to Ukraine planted in Kyiv sakuras. The event happened in Botanic garden named after academic O.V. Fomim, Kyiv National University named after Taras Shevchenko with the participation of the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Ukraine Shigeki Sumi and rector of Kyiv National University named after Taras Shevchenko Leonid Guberskyy as well as near National Opera of Ukraine involving Kyiv city head Vitaliy Klichko.
This year it will have been 25 years since the moment of establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ukraine. The events in the course of celebration of ‘Japan’s year in Ukraine’ have already been organized actively. As the sakura is the symbol of Japan, the Embassy starts campaign on the tree-planting of sakura along all the territory of Ukraine so as to give to majority of Ukrainians the possibility to savor its beauty.
Nihongami is a certain way to arrange hair in Japanese tradition. Interestingly, in the Land of the Rising Sun hairdos were legally controlled and served as some sort of dress code for ladies of different social statuses and classes. Therefore, each class had strictly determined corresponding outfit and hairstyle and those laws are still obeyed by geishas and their apprentices.
Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius!, Nietzsche exclaimed in a prophetic ecstasy. Gloomy pathos of the philosopher could be hardly understood by the residents of the Japanese city of Kagoshima, located at the bottom of the caldera Aira resulting from the explosion about 22 thousand years ago. Farmers were hoeing edges of the hollow from the Bronze Age, as usual fending off the ashes scattered in the air. And indeed, what is unusual about living inside active stratovolcano?
Despite the title, in this article we won’t talk about peculiarities of Japanese hieroglyphs and pronunciation. First of all, because there is a whole bunch of specialized literature and secondly, if you don’t study Japanese such knowledge may widen your horizons but will be of no use in practice whatsoever.
Today in our already traditional column we talk about national ghettos – a story about one of the most exotic districts in São Paulo – about Liberdade. It is there where the world’s largest Japanese diaspora lives.
So, to wash your hands, you have to leave indoor slippers before bathroom threshold, step into the bathroom, slip into the special footwear, wash hands, remove those special bathroom slippers, and switch for indoor slippers when re-entering the living area. Earlier, probably in jest, Oba-san warned me that if I step onto the living area in the toilet slippers, he will tell me about hara-kiri rules.
The first thing every tourist shall learn in a country is a transport system. Very often it seems to be complicated and confusing, and it takes weeks or even months to make head or tail of it. OUTLOOK reader Natalia Usenko visited Japan and is sharing her impressions about the most comfortable and safest transport in the world.
If what they show in cinematograph is true than a typical samurai appears to be austere, taciturn and even slightly unsociable person. But this image in actual fact doesn’t get in line with reality... You don’t believe it? Our journalist Elena Rasenko suggests you make sure of it for yourself.
It is just as hard to imagine a Japanese who doesn’t eat fish as to picture a Scott who doesn’t drink whiskey. OUTLOOK journalist Elena Rasenko will tell you about a unique place where successors of samurai purchase fine seafood for their tables.
Culture Day is celebrated in Japan today on November 3. This is probably one of the most memorable events in the world thanks to breathtaking parties held by samurai offsprings. The most exciting is that various events are traditionally held around the world. For sure the Japanese in Ukraine are also feasting today. So, if you know any representatives of this nation, you may safely thrust yourself upon a party.
OUTLOOK journalist Elena Rasenko came back from Japan and launches a special series of articles devoted to this country. Warning for very sensitive readers: Beware! After reading, you will get a keen desire to break away, buy a ticket and fly to Japan!