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Showing posts from February, 2013

Shipwrecks

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It doesn't mean that Akira Yoshimura's novels are popular in the USA, but I've heard that his 'Shipwrecks' and 'On Parole' are relatively known there.

The author doesn't mention the time and setting of 'Shipwrecks', but I guess this story took place in a small, poor fishing village during the Edo era(17th-19th century) in northern Japan, probably Tohoku district.

The village is isolated. The villagers have to go over the mountains, taking two days to go to neighboring villages. The small cultivated land is full of stones and they can only gather in a little millet. The women and children pick seaweed and gather shellfish from the reef. The men fish saury, sardines and octopus in small boats. To avoid starvation, they have to sell their daughters and wives, even heads of households into bondage.

Isaku, a nine-year-old boy, takes over as head household to live with his mother, younger brother and sister after his father sold himself for three yea…

Marathon

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Today, Senshu International City Marathon was held. Many runners ran through my town.

I didn't run, of course.


 When I was a child, I was not good at any sports. I learned judo for two years when I was twenty-four years old. After that, I went around Shikoku by bicycle with camping gears, a sleeping bag and a tent. When I was in my early 30s, I ran a marathon once. The time was about four hours and thirty minutes. I also ran a mountain running race for 35 kilometers.

I began walking in mountains in my mid-30s. But more than ten years ago I hurt my knee in a mountain. Now I can go jogging or walking but I can't go to steep mountains or run for long distances anymore.

I go to the library instead of going to the mountains.

Bird-watching

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I'm basically not a birder. I thought that bird-watching would be easier, but it was unexpectedly difficult for me. I found there are many and various birds around us, so I was interested in bird-watching lately.


 Yesterday, I went to Tonbo-ike Park alone by bicycle taking for about an hour or more. It was not hot but a beautiful sunny day, and many families visited there.




There were many wild ducks in the pond, and the scenery of children playing with them at the edge of the water was relaxing. I took some pictures of wild ducks.





But I couldn't any other birds except for wild ducks and wagtails. I went up the hill and looked for birds along the path. I heard a sound of birdsong, and at last I found  a varied tit.


I went down behind the hill and found dusky thrushes and a daurian redstart in a bush in the hydrangea garden.

As a result, I couldn't take many pictures unexpectedly. No birds are waiting for me who is taking pictures. For a beginner of bird-watching, it was a b…

The Forgotten Garden

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In 1913, a four-year-old girl from London was sitting alone on a wharf in Maryborough, Australia. She had only a shiny white suitcase containing a fairy-tales book. Hugh, a port master, took her to his home and brought up with his wife, Lil, as their child.

In 1975, Nell, the little girl, goes back to England to seek her real name and who she was.

In 2005, after Nell died, Cassandra who is Nell's granddaughter inherits a decrepit littlecottage at Cornwall in England. Cassandra takes over Nell's search and goes to England with some clues, the Authoress, fairy-tales, cliff cottage and Nell's notebook. The mystery is over three generations.

This story frequently goes back and forth, in 1913, 1975, 2005 with suggestive fairy-tales, and the author tactfully lead you into the story. The author successfully depicted Eliza as a brilliant woman. On the other hand, all male characters are less impressive. In addition, Mountrachet family's story made me feel gloomy. However, I …

Shin-Imamiya

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Shin-Imamiya Station in Osaka, where three railways, Nankai Line, JR Loop Line and Hankai Line intersect is comparatively crowded. But passengers who go out of the station are few. Lately I often come across many foreign tourists or backpackers here.



A long time ago, when Japan was in the age of high economic growth, this area that is known as "Kamagasaki" was a largest slum where many day laborers lived. In the early morning a number of buses used to come and scramble for laborers. When I was young, not for a living though, I'd worked here as a day laborer for some days.

In fact, laborer riots took place twenty four times from 1961 to 2008. People who remember the old reputation tend to keep away from this area even now.


Times have changed. The age of high economic growth was over, and many laborers were gone. Cheap Hotels once called doya for a day laborers are now for foreign tourists and backpackers who look for cheap lodgings in Osaka.


There is a standing-up-e…