Panda Bears' Picnic

The first Sunday in May we decided to take Momo to one of her favorite parks - Suigo Prefectural Forest Park - for a picnic.  It's on the other side of Lake Kitaura from home and is just a 20 minute ride by car.

The park has nice foot paths through lots of trees and around and over a small lake.  There is also a large grass area for picnics, play, and even outdoor concerts.

They used to allow fishing in the lake, but no more. After we had walked around a while and crossed the suspension bridge we found out why:

This sign warns of the presence of "Mamushi" - a poisonous pit viper common to Japan, Korea, and China.  Two to three thousand people a year get bit by these things in Japan every year and about ten people die from it.    Yipes! I'm glad that Pandabonium and K kept me on the path. - Momo the Wonder Dog

We found a nice spot for our picnic out on the grass under the shade of a young tree.   Pandabonium and K brought things to eat of course.  I had my water dish and bottle.  K shared some of her boiled chestnuts with me!  Yum.

Bananas, a bag of chestnuts, spiced kabocha, and apples.
"A family nearby had brought the kids' bikes.  I heard them say they thought I was "kawaii" (cute)." -Momo 
"As always, it was great fun to picnic.   By the time we were done, I was a little tired and happy to go home for a nap."  - Momo
If you go down in the woods today you're sure of a big surprise
If you go down in the woods today you'd better go in disguise
For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain
Because today's the day the Panda Bears have their picnic

Every Panda Bear who's been good is sure of a treat today
There's lots of marvellous things to eat and wonderful games to play
Beneath the trees where nobody sees they'll hide and seek as long as they please
That's the way the Panda Bears have their picnic

Picnic time for Panda Bears
The little Panda Bears are having a lovely time today
Watch them, catch them unawares and see them picnic on their holiday
See them gaily gad about
They love to play and shout
They never have any cares
At six o'clock their Mummies and Daddies will take them home to bed
'Cause they're tired little Panda Bears

If you go down in the woods today you better not go alone
It's lovely down in the woods today but safer to stay at home
For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain
Because today's the day the Panda Bears have their picnic


Fukushima Lives

Fukushima-ken neighbors Ibaraki-ken (our fair prefecture) to our north.

After March 11, 2011, many people in other countries have viewed the entire area as if it no longer existed.  This view is very distorted and far from objective.   Certainly, there are problems - mostly due to the damage of the tusnami, and of course due to the resulting catastrophe of the nuclear power plant meltdowns.  But Fukushima is alive and its people carry on as exemplified in this video about one young woman's determination to help preserve and be part of the local traditions.


"Ware Tada Taru (wo) Shiru"

Written on a tsukubai (stone water basin) at Ryoan-ji temple, Kyoto.    It means "one already has all one needs".

At Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto

I am resuming posting to this blog...




Kumamon is Japan's most popular mascot. 

Kumamon represents Kumamoto Prefecture which is located on the island of Kyushu, just across Shimabara Bay from Nagasaki Prefecture.   When the Kyushu Shinkansen was completed a few years ago, Kumamoto Prefecture decided to create a mascot to promote tourism and trade.  Kumamon was born.  Kuma is the Japanese word for "bear", so naturally, Kumamon is a bear.

The character has become very popular throughout Japan.   He has been such a success that he brought in over US$1.25 Billion in just two years! 

Here is a video song about Kumamon with English subtitles.  It was filmed at Kumamoto Castle - one of the three best castles in Japan.   Warning: possible "cute" overdose.   :)


Hibakusha - Never Forget

A mother and daughter in Nagasaki three days after the bombing, their faces showing injuries from the attack.

Hibakusha means "explosion affected people" and is used to refer to survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Their numbers decline each year and before they are all gone, efforts are being made to record their stories so that future generations will not be without their unique insight.

Nagasaki was A-bombed on August 9, 1945.   The bomb exploded at 11:02 in the morning.    The true number of casualties will probably never be known, but conservatively 75,000 people died by the end of 1945 as a result of the Nagasaki A-bomb.

Here is the story of one of Nagasaki's hibakusha.  One reason that their testimony is so valuable is that there was an official blackout of information about the bombings by the US Government.   Even people who were against the bombings, such as General Douglas MacArthur,  participated in keeping photos, reports, and medical information from being disseminated.   This gave the government time to establish its fictional narrative of why the bombings were "justified" and allow them to continue to develop even more powerful weapons.   This was largely successful and it was not until many decades later that classified photos, reports, and government documents regarding the decision to use these weapons came to light.  By then, most Americans believed the official narrative and accepted it as fact and were not interested in hearing the bitter truth.

So let us listen to the hibakusha and may we never forget what happened nor ever stop working to bring an end to nuclear weapons and to learn to settle our differences without resorting to warfare of any kind.  We can chose peace if we want it.

One long time project seeking an end to nuclear weapons is from the UCLA School of Medicine and is called "Children of the Atomic Bomb".