Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




“Hacksaw Ridge” directed by Mel Gibson



I saw “Hacksaw Ridge” directed by Mel Gibson.
The title “Hacksaw Ridge” means Maeda escarpment in Urasoe City, Okinawa Prefecture,
where was the most fierce battlefield during World War II.
Even the US Army described it as “Gathered all Hell”.


The movie is about Desmond Doss, a combat medic.
It depicts battle scenes realistically and its another major theme is belief.
There is a scene that “Murder is the most serious sin” from the Bible.
I felt something was wrong about saying “It’s the most serious sin, so you must not kill people” (Maybe it was because of the Japanese subtitles).
Doss said “I also fight for my country. But I want to save people, not kill.” and he persisted his belief.


Meanwhile, he said that the attack on Pearl Harbor made him decide to volunteer for the army. And it reminded me how American people were shocked by the attack.


In the film, needless to say, the war was absolutely depicted through the eyes of the US Army. It didn’t touch on frightened Okinawan people at constant naval gunfire and fire radiation by the US Army at all. According to the US Army, the Japanese soldiers who are not scared of dying were very eerie in the film. And, from the Westerners point of view, probably “Harakiri” is a must, so a Japanese soldier was taken in close up only in the scene of killing himself.


According to the History of Urasoe City, about 45 percent out of its 9,217 population died in then Urasoe Village. 549 people were killed in Maeda district alone. With the film release, Urasoe City had associated events. And, a guide who shows around Urasoe Castle ruins said that she has guided over 100 people including US personnels in a day.


Near the end of the film, the US troops forced to retreat many times raised morale again and rushed to Maeda escarpment. When I saw the scene, I felt bitter resentment because I couldn’t understand why they still charge, what lay ahead. Is this justice, bringing the death of many people?


Desmond Doss passed away in 2006 aged 87. After the war, he visited Okinawa twice
and had given a media interview. In Okinawa, a fund-raising activity has started to build Doss’s monument because he tended the wound of Japanese soldiers too.
When it is built finally, it will be a new monument symbolizing peace in Okinawa, where the phrase “Life itself is a treasure” still keeps living. (H.S)


From “Hacksaw Ridge” Japanese official website


Photo from a battle site tour of Maeda escarpment (From the official website of Urasoe City)


On Google Maps, “Desmond Doss Point” is marked on the Maeda escarpment.

Barbecue in the rainy season


Life in Fukui

Now is the time when I can’t wait for the rainy season to be over.
By the way, I enjoyed a barbecue with friends the other day.


Usually, people enjoy barbecues in midsummer though, it also seems that the rainy season is good for barbecue because the weather is mostly cloudy, so it’s not too hot.


We had it on the left bank of Itagaki-bashi Bridge over Asuwa River in Fukui City.
There is no washing place, no toilet facility but there is a public toilet facility at the north end of the Itagaki-bashi Bridge.


We didn’t use the city’s equipment such as the tables or the hearths and did the barbecue under the Itagaki-bashi Bridge. Because it was the pathway of winds and comfortable,
we won’t be wet by a sudden rain and are able to avoid the sun if it’s sunny.


We shared food and desserts each one brought and could not stop talking with beer and wine. (H.S)


Making preparations on the table.


It’s beef on the grill’s front and mutton which are a friend’s souvenirs from Hokkaido
on the backside.


The Dutch oven’s heat is strong.


Sparerib and baked potatoes are ready!


Shallow water of Asuwa River


He had several drinks and dozes off.


They are busy talking with each other.

24 Hours Ice Shop in Fukui, Japan


Life in Fukui

Naver matome photographs of beautiful ice

Naver matome / photographs of beautiful ice (https://matome.naver.jp/odai/2134095238237307201)


It has been very hot recently in most of the places in Japan.

Eating snow cone and/or touching ice would be so nice in this kind of weather.

Looking at the ice shop, Sakura Kohri from outside and the back of a small truck is inside of the ice shop in Fukui

There are several ice shops in the downtown area of Fukui City. There is even a 24 hours open one as well. This is a self-serve ice shop. This is an ice shop which has no salesclerk.


block ice for 300 yen on a large refrigerator

As you walk in, you will see a sign which says that “block ice for 300 yen” on a large refrigerator. Since it’s large ice, so this type of ice can be used for making snow cones for business purpose.

3 kilogram of crushed ice for 300yen
6 kilogram of crushed ice for 500yen at the ice shop, Skura Kohri

They sell crushed ice as well. This can be used for drinks as well.

6 kilogram of Kuzu kohri for 150 yen at the ice shop, Sakura Kohri

To keep foods and/or drinks cold, “Kuzu Kohri” (Kuzu is waste and Kohri is ice in Japanese. Kuzu Kohri is the leftover ice which was made after cutting the ice for block ice and crushed ice.

1 kilogram of Mr. Crushed and Unique Ice at the ice shop, Sakura Kohri

The sign says “Mr. Crushed” and “Unique Ice!”. I wonder what they look like.

Screens for secury cameras at the ice shop, Sakura Kohri

And in the back of the ice shop, there is a screen for security cameras.

Sign for the fee at the ice shop, Sakura Kohri
Box for the fee at the ice shop, Sakura Kohri

To pay, put the money into an envelope with your name on it and put it into the box in the photograph above. This is amazing that the owner of this store must be confident that people pay.


I think this is the best spot for this kind of shop because it is in the middle of a downtown area and people need ice all the time.


This shop was introduced in a TV program in NHK (famous Japanese TV company)

NHK documentary, 72 hours “self-serve ice store in Summer of Fukui”. https://www.nhk.or.jp/docudocu/program/210/1199146/index.html
*Only available in Japanese




If you have a chance, how about stopping by the ice store “Sakura Kohri”?

"Sakura Kohri"

Shishido Building, 1-17-2 Junka,

Fukui-shi, Fukui-ken

Strolling along “Naramachi” street


Kyoto and Nara

I visit Nara for a music festival for recent years as I wrote about in my previous blog,
and I go to one place each year between the events.
I have visited Kofukuji Temple, Todaiji Temple and Kasuga Taisha Shrine and, this year
I strolled “Naramachi” street, not a shrine or a temple.


“Naramachi” is located on the south side of Nara Park and 15 minutes walk from Kintetsu Nara Station. The area used to be in the precincts of Gangoji Temple Gokurakubo and the extra section of the ancient capital in Nara called Heijokyo.


There are temples that were founded in Nara period, tradesmen’s houses since the late Edo period and modern new shops in Naramachi, so you can enjoy both old and new in the quiet and the somehow familiar area where has a lot of narrow alleys.
Also, in June, cat-lover shopkeepers in Naramachi appeal their affections for cats and display their products which have the motif of cats.


So, if you are a cat lover, why don’t you come to Naramachi in June? (H.S)


The five-story pagoda of Kofukuji Temple can be seen from Sarusawa Pond.


Information board with its back to the bloomy oleanders.


The main shop of Yu Nakagawa (Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten),
which extends across the country such as at GINZA SIX and famous department stores.


There are deers on either side of the shop logo.


There are beautiful tradesmen’s houses with a lattice door like this.


I had “Black curry with black rice and locally grown vegetables” for lunch in Nara at a cafe where I perchance saw, it was pretty good and not that spicy. Black rice is a kind of ancient rice. The cafe grows black rice by themselves.


As we introduced in our blog in May that Asuwa river is listed among “Japan’s Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots”. The area is filled with visitors during the cherry blossom season every year. In spring, you can enjoy seeing the cherry blossom trees and you can enjoy seeing a lot of beautiful hydrangeas in rainy season which is from the mid May to the beginning of July.

Hydrangea by asuwa river in Fukui City.  The purple of the flowers stood out in the color of the sky and trees.

The other day, I was walking on the side walk of the Asuwa river and I saw many beautiful hydrangeas. Most of the colors of the flowers were purple. The purple of the flowers stood out in the color of the sky and trees which kept my eye for a while.


Hydrangea lets us know that rainy season in Japan has arrived and it also makes the atmosphere in our city. If you have a chance to visit Asuwa river in Fukui City in Japan, how about enjoy taking a walk on the sidewalks of the river?


In Fukui City, there is another spot for hydrangeas which is in
Mt. Asuwa and it's called "Ajisai (hydrangea) Road". I’m sure that you will get to relax and enjoy seeing the hydrangeas there as well.


Guide to Outings Around Fukui: No.1 Mt. Asuwa area Beautiful Natrure Walk: