Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




Cherry blossoms after a warm winter


Life in Fukui

Unfortunately, it is raining, but along the street called Sakura-dori (cherry blossom street) in front of our office in the center of Fukui City, cherry blossom trees are nearly in full bloom already. So they will be in full bloom as early as the beginning of next week.


It will be already April next week, so it's not surprising. This year, it was a record warm winter and we had almost no snow in Fukui, a heavy snowfall area. So I didn't feel like winter, but nevertheless, the cherry blossom trees did not bloom much earlier, one month or so than usual, and did only a few days earlier.


There may be a mechanism that even if the temperature rises, they wouldn't bloom simply. It's interesting.

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.