Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




The Japanese film “A Man Called Pirate”



I went to see the film “A Man Called Pirate”, which was created by the film director Takashi Yamazaki and the leading actor Junichi Okada together again.
They created another film “The Eternal Zero” three years ago, which was a great hit.


The opening scene reminded me of the one of “The Eternal Zero”. However, this film’s model is existing person and not a kamikaze pilot, Sazo Idemitsu, who was the founder of Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. An impressive scene of harsh dredging the Imperial Japanese Navy’s oil tanks in the original novel, which won the Literary Award by Bookstores in 2013, was fully depicted in the film as well.


After World War II, Japan was suffering from extreme shortage of oil.
Although oil remained in the bottom of the Navy’s oil tanks, it was a very little in sludge.


It’s impossible to use pumps or machines. So the employees have to go down into the bottom 10 meters deep with strong smell and noxious fume. Due to the gas, they could work for only ten minutes in relays.


In the novel, an employee was surprised to see Tetsuzo(Sazo’s role name) who took such
an assignment :
“Even the daredevil Navy didn’t try to do that, but he is going to try without expecting anything in return. Now Japanese people just think about only themselves but he is different. What a man!”


I think that such Japanese people’s willingness to work hard at any task has created today’s Japan. Tetzuzo shouted “Oil is blood of a country!”, and the words made me think if Japan would not be able to import oil again.


By the way, the re-enacted scene of “Nissho-maru(oil tanker) Incident” is the climax scene of the film. The director Yamazaki used amazing VFX which was his favorite, and the scene which the Nissho-maru faced the British Royal Navy’s destroyer was as if I could sense the tension of the crews over time.


The running time is 2.5 hours but I didn’t feel that long and I felt like I also lived the life of Sazo, who was endeared by the employees.
Throughout the film, I felt tears running down my face to see the people worked very hard. (H.S)


Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen-jinja Shrine


Charms of Japan

I visited Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen-jinja Shrine in Yoshida-cho, Yamanashi Prefecture for the company trip this fall.

As I walked through the gate of the shrine which was large and powerful, there were two large and tall trees standing on both sides of Haiden (the front shrine). These trees are 1000 years old and called Fujitaro Sugi (cedar trees) and Fuji Meoto Hinoki (cypress trees). Even the trees were very old but they still looked fresh, strong and beautiful. When I touched them, I felt very sacred.


There are also the main shrine, the west main shrine and the east main shrine in the precinct

which are registered as important cultural properties. .


If you have a chance, how about visiting Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen-jinja Shrine?




Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen-jinja Shrine

Informatory sign


Random thoughts


This is an informatory sign for the bathroom at Wakasa Mikata Jomon Museum in Wakasa, Fukui Prefecture. Aren’t the male and female signs which look like ancient Japanese clay figurine cute? Although I think that the most important role of the informatory sign is functionality, it becomes creative and enjoyable to look at with some ideas like this. (T.S)

“Exhibition from Reims Museum” at Fukui Fine Art Museum


Arts and crafts

I went to the museum for the first time in a while to see the “Exhibition from Reims Museum” which I had been looking forward to.


Reims is an old city in the Champagne region of northern France.
Reims Museum in the center of the city was opened in 1913 with articles
donated by billionaires who made their fortunes by Champagne.


The reason why I had been looking forward to the exhibition is because I’ve been to
Reims before. I wanted to visit Champagne maisons and made a little side trip there
from Paris. On the way to Reims, vineyards extending in rolling hills can be seen.
The sunny scenery was not only just beautiful but also it made me realized once again that France was an agricultural country.


The vineyards in Champagne


As for Champagne maisons where I wanted to visit, I went to Moet et Chandon and
PIPER-HEIDSIECK. Both companies have a good tour of the brewing process and you can learn about that.


Reims is a quiet city where a World Heritage site, Notre Dame Cathedral presents
dignified appearance. In Reims, there was a relaxed atmosphere, the food at a restaurant was good and its garcon was nice so they were good memories of the trip.


By the way, the exhibition’s highlight is Tsuguharu Fujita’s paintings.
Reims is a city associated with him. Because in Reims, he was baptized,
became Leonard Foujita and he built a chapel which he had always dreamed in his late life.


70 paintings including Fujita are on display in the “Exhibition from Reims Museum”.
I like landscape paintings called the Barbizon School and my favorite out of this
exhibition is “Woman reading a book in the shade of a tree beside the river” by Camil Corot.


The exhibition is open until December 25th (Sun).
December is a busy time though, as the end of the year approaches, why don’t you feel an elegant atmosphere viewing rare French paintings which you cannot see that often? (H.S)

Making Bamboo Crafts at Echizen Bamboo Doll Village in Fukui, Japan


Places to visit

We had a shooting at Echizen Bamboo Doll Village

in Maruoka-cho, Sakai City, Fukui Prefecture with two participants.

The participants experienced making bamboo dolls and conducting a few other activities.


This was the first time for both of the participants to do anything with bamboo.

I was worried that they might cut their fingers and/or get hurt when they used knives

to cut the bamboo. They conducted and finished everything safely under the guidance

of the master of making bamboo doll. They even said that they had such a great experience

and it was an enjoyable challenge. They hope to come back to Echizen Bamboo Doll Village.

According to the master, he used to be a joiner and then he became

a professional bamboo maker about 45 years ago. He used to make doors

and other things for houses and it was the beginning of his craftsmanship.


Chief Director of Echizen Bamboo Doll Village, Ryuichi Morota who has such a busy schedule,

he came to our shooting and gave the participants advice for how to use knife easier and safer. With his advice, they seemed more comfortable using the knives and started cutting and shaving the bamboos faster.


Overall, we all had a great experience at Echizen Bamboo Doll Village.

Please stay tuned for upcoming video of “Echizen Bamboo Doll Village”!




Echizen Bamboo Doll Village