Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




Poetry monument of Machi Tawara on the Asuwa River's embankment


Life in Fukui

The poetry monument of Machi Tawara on the Asuwa River's embankment near Sakura Bridge


Yesterday, as I was walking on the pathway of the Asuwa River's embankment, a famous spot for cherry blossoms, a monument of a tanka (Japanese poem of thirty-one syllables) by a poet Machi Tawara, who was raised in Fukui, caught my eye.


The monument was originally built on Mt. Asuwa about 30 years ago and moved to this location during the restoration work of the embankment that was broken by the heavy rain in 2004. I had never seen it before, but actually it has been here for 15 years already.


The tanka carved on the monument says: "Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms, they begin to bloom, they finish falling, but the park looks as if nothing happened."


Now looking at the row of cherry trees, reminds me of the flood in 2004. But in fact, originally the trees were planted by people to mourn the victims of the World War II and in hope of reconstruction of the city. Because Fukui City was destroyed completely by US air raid.


The line "as if nothing happened" makes me feel the flow of a long thousand years beyond passing the seasons.


Cherry trees that were planted after the World War II are over 70 years old.


Fukui City in the 'snowless' New Year of 2020


New Year’s visit to a shrine


Life in Fukui

Happy New Year!
I went to Fukui Shrine for the first visit of the year.


The Fukui Shrine is in a good location that is by the moat of Fukui Castle Ruins. However, the shrine doesn’t look luxurious unlike typical shrines and doesn’t advertise, so it seems like not so many people visit there.


In fact, the Fukui Shrine is ranked as a special government shrine that there are only 28 ones in Japan. The shrine’s main deity is Shungaku Matsudaira, who was the lord of Fukui domain. Also, in its auxiliary shrine, Sanai Hashimoto, who was executed at the Ansei Purge when he was only 25 years old, is enshrined. So residents of Fukui Prefecture may feel something familiar to the shrine.


The shrine is run by its patronage group, doesn’t operate a profit-making business, and doesn’t depend donations from shrine parishioners, so they cover the least cost by their own. I hope that the number of visitors will increase from now on. (H.S)


Fukui Shrine’s special goshuin (stamp given at shrines or temples) for New Year


The torii gate of the Fukui Shrine is called shinmei style that is the upper is straight, which is the same one at Ise Shrine. On the other hand, the upswept upper one is called myojin style.


The main hall is also shinmei style.


I prayed at the auxiliary shrine as well.


Sanai Hashimoto is depicted on a picture displayed in the precinct. He taught at a domain school that founded by Shungaku Matsudaira.

Young female agriculture worker


Life in Fukui


A young woman is operating a large drone for spraying pesticides. She is in her second year at an agricultural corporation based in Fukui City. On that day, she took flying lessons at the drone school run by her corporation in Ono City.


Operating a drone doesn't need muscle strength. In Japan, as an unusual trend, there is a new word "Agriculture Girl", which means young women who engage in agriculture. But if new technologies including drone make a difference in physical strength meaningless, there may be no reasons to prevent the engagement in agriculture by women. I hope many women will engage in agriculture and change the traditional image of agriculture.

Good harvest of tomatoes this summer


Life in Fukui

Heat wave has been continuing in Japan. Despite the heat, the vegetables in my home vegetable garden are growing well. Particularly, I got a good crop of tomatoes. Originally, tomatoes are heat-tolerant, and I think that their taste harvested under the blazing sun is more condensed than usual.


Speaking of nutrition of tomatoes, lycopene is well known. Lycopene has powerful antioxidants that is more than a hundred times vitamin E that has an effect similar to lycopene. And, when heated, lycopene absorption rate will improve so I am glad that tomatoes can be used for various menu. (H.S)


Harvest of the other day
There are eggplants under the tomatoes


Tomato curry and rice
Put peeled tomato in last. Fry cut eggplant.


Cold tomato spaghetti
Add salt in the water when you chill the spaghetti. Salt is important! Please pour lemon and put black pepper on if desired.

Enjoying a quiet walk in a village forest


Life in Fukui

Statue of Taicho Daishi in the middle of Naka Shinjo hiking course of Mt. Sanriyama


Statue of Taicho Daishi on the side of Fudo waterfall in Mt. Gongen-yama


Yesterday, I went to a video shoot of the statues of Taicho Daishi to Mt. Sanriyama and Mt. Gongen-yama in Echizen City. Taicho Daishi is a famous ancient Buddhist monk who was born in Echizen (present Fukui Prefecture).


In Fukui Prefecture, there are many places associated with Taicho Daishi, and many of the places can be found around low mountains.


Near the statue in Mt. Sanriyama, there is a spring that is said that was started to spring by Taicho Daishi's spiritual power, is enshrined as sacred water. And the statue in Mt. Gongen-yama can be found beside "Fudo waterfall", which is one of the five waterfalls that are collectively called "Yanagi Falls".


Scared spring near the statue of Taicho Daishi in Mt. Sanriyama


I enjoyed taking a quiet walk in the village forest imagining how the ancient people were grateful for the water that is the most important thing for people to live. And because they were so grateful for the water, they might enshrined their superstar, Taicho Daishi at the spring.