Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




A little cake shop in Ishigaki Island "PAPIRU" 



Last weekend, I visited Ishigaki Island. It was a short stay for attending an open-air concert and I hardly did sightseeing. But I absolutely wanted to go to a cake shop called "PAPIRU" in Shiraho District, so I went there. Although I arrived before the shop opened, the owner's wife welcomed me with a smile. I could enjoy a delicious cake and herb tea. When going to Ishigaki Island, I would love to visit the shop again. (H.S)


The appearance of the shop


I had a Mont Blanc.


There is an eat-in Japanese room with a surfboard on the ceiling.


Their recent various cakes
(Photo is from their Facebook page @okasinoie.papiru)


The owner couple moved to Ishigaki Island from Osaka.
(Photo is from PAPIRU's website)  

Unexpected superb view, Tedori Gorge


Places to visit

I was surprised that such a scenery was hidden.


Saying that it was unexpected is kind of disrespectful, but there was a huge gap between the scenery I saw while driving and one when I parked and looked down from the bridge.


It was when I went to Tedori Gorge in neighboring Ishikawa Prefecture on a sunny day about 10 days ago.


Recommended spots are dotted along the Tedori River that flows from Mt. Hakusan, so I went around some of them. Unlike ordinary tourist spots, there were no souvenir shops etc.. It was good that I could quietly enjoy the scenery.


I liked such an atmosphere and I want to visit more of these kinds of "tourist spots".


Small parking lot next to "Komon Bridge", and the trees along the river are on the right. It can only be seen as an all-too-common river from here. Mt.Hakusan can be seen in the background.


From the bridge, I saw this scenery below. I felt a bit tense because of the unexpected height.


View from "Furo Bridge" slightly upstream. The parking lot here is large.


Information board near the "Furo Bridge"


A bit thrilling stone steps going down to the bottom of "Watagataki Falls", a little further upstream from the "Furo Bridge"


The "Watagataki Falls" with a drop of 32 meters from the bottom of the steps


View of the downstream side from the "Watagataki Falls". You can see an observatory in the upper left. This area seems to be a rafting course.


At the top of the steps, there was an outdoor facility called "Watagataki Ikoi no Mori" with a campsite sign and a house that looked like an administration building, but it seems to be not used any more. Or, it may be simply because of off season. A few minutes walk to the observatory that I mentioned before.

"Japanese's English" written by Mark Petersen



I think that this is one of books English learners should read. This website GEN also provides English version, so as the person in charge, I am still an English learner. The book's first edition was published in 1988. I thought that I once understood the content but I forget gradually, so I should reread sometimes and want to imprint it on my memory. The author Mark Petersen came to Japan in 1980 as a foreign student. Since then, he has studied Japanese literature and now teaches British and American literature and comparative literature as a university professor.



When I first read the book, the part about article was startling. Because I was able to sense its notion directly for the first time. Following are excerpts from the part.


[ 'a' is not an accessory for nouns]
-The difference between Japanese without article and English that article is the basis of a logical process-
For example, there is a sentence as an opening line as follows.
"Once upon a time, there were an old man and an old woman. The old man…."
In English, they never say, "Once upon a time, there were [the] old man and [the] old woman…" In Japanese, we use "ga" or "wa" as particle that plays the same role as article. When native English speakers speak and write English, noun doesn't give a category of meaning in advance, but presence or absence of article does.


Come to think of it, sometimes I see native English speakers say like, "I ate a…a…a rice ball." In other words, article comes first and they recall nouns come next.


As Mr. Petersen wrote in the book, I also feel that English-language education in Japan has not taught the essence of article even though I don't know the current situation. It isn't a bad thing to focus on English conversation and good pronunciation, but I keenly feel the need to learn such a fundamental sense of English first. (H.S)

"Kyokuyako" written by Yusuke Kakuhata



I read the "Kyokuyako" written by Yusuke Kakuhata, a non-fiction writer and an explorer.



In the Arctic Circle, there is a period called polar night that the sun doesn't rise for many days. This book describes his travel with a dog in the dark for eighty days in detail. He traveled without a sponsor and GPS.


In a TV program, Kakuhata once said, "I feel that adventures and explorations are similar to pilgrimages in religion." "Maybe I want to relive experiences of ancient hunting people." When he said these, his straight eye seemed to have a subtle fear, which might be an awe of nature.


For someone like me who are blessed with the sun for granted every day, the lonely darkness for months was far beyond my understanding. But Kakuhata's clear vocabulary, sensitive depictions of scenes and realistic mental sceneries made me feel fulfillment as if I traveled together with him. His exploration itself was not only stoic, but there were several funny episodes, and he even wrote embarrassing information honestly, which was graceful. While reading the book, I experienced a strange feeling that my main purpose of life is the "exploration" in the book, and other everyday things seemed footnotes to me.


Following are excerpts from the book.
"The dog has quickly become debilitated due to reduced feed and moving along at once.
Although it is a dog breed that is resistant to cold weather, it did heavy labor as low as minus 30 degrees C. Its ribs stood out, around its waist got thin, muscles around legs to buttocks were lost entirely. Every time I check it while petting its whole body, I pitied it and I was near to tears."


As for the descriptions of the dog, it has been like a little dispassionate. But when I read this part at last, I really felt relief because I found that he also had a caring kind side. Meanwhile, Kakuhata tweeted the other day, "I swallowed a gastric camera for the first time. It was painful." I thought he is actually an ordinary person.


Next, I will read another book by him, "Uncharted five miles", which is the records about that Kakuhata challenged world's biggest Tsangpo Grand Canyon in Tibet. His writing is very interesting, so I want to read from one to the next, which is highly addictive. (H.S)


Dog training for next travel to the Arctic Circle
The rightmost dog is the one traveled with Kakuhata
(The photo is from Kakuhata's Twitter @kakuhatayusuke)


Kakuhata is making a new sledge.
(The photo is from Kakuhata's Twitter @kakuhatayusuke)


[Video] Interview with Yusuke Kakuhata, explorer-Challenge to polar night- (including video clips that Kakuhata himself shot) (11'44")

Large flocks of starlings


On the last weekend evening, when I waited for a traffic light at an intersection a little away from the center of Fukui City, there were unusually many starlings all around. Because such a lot of birds had been gathering, the cry was quite loud. And it also requires too much effort to clean up bird droppings.


Large flocks of starlings were in the city center before, but I haven't seen them recently. It seems that the measures that Fukui City has been doing since five years ago are effective. So my guess is that they moved a little away from.


Anyway, it is interesting to hear that a traditional falconer was the most effective measure they have tried. Also, I think it is nice that the report did not treat birds just as villains but said about the good aspects of birds. They eat harmful insects of fields and street trees.