“Chilling” the old-fashioned way (PDF) (English)
Eco-friendly options for beating this year's summer heat
For centuries the Japanese have been experts at incorporating nature in everyday living.
As serious efforts to reduce power consumption and save energy gather momentum, this summer is the perfect opportunity to remind ourselves of the wise ways of our forebears, hone our senses and test some time-honored techniques for combating soaring temperatures.
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Furusato - Homeland of the Japanese Heart (PDF) (English)
Mt. Hotaka towers over northern Gunma prefecture. The village of Kawaba at the base of Mt. Hotaka is a place where rivers meet, as the characters in its name suggest.
Rice, apples and konnyaku jelly made from devil’s tongue rhizome are its main local products. Everyday, farmers go out into the fields and labor in silence over their work throughout the changing of the seasons.
The village has nothing in particular to attract visitors. But there is scenery, like something from a picture scroll, that enfolds to all who go there.
This is the furusato, the spiritual home of the Japanese, which for two thousand years has been the setting for their daily life.
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The bath is goood... (PDF) (English)
In love with the tub
Why do we feel so happy in hot water?
Because it helps us to relax, warm up, and feel refreshed and invigorated.
Perhaps you’ve forgotten how good it feels to take a bath in a big tub?
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Tsutsumu means to wrap or bundle up.
The character originated as a representation of a child enclosed in its mother’s womb.
That which is precious, we wrap up to protect.
Glimpses of this sentiment can be seen in scenes from everyday life, showing that it is still being passed on in Japanese culture.
The act of tsutsumu is revealing of the Japanese people’s consideration and aesthetics.
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A Gift from Winter to Summer
Plant fibers spun one by one into twists of thread are woven into cloth. It has been called“Nature’s cloth”
— a fabric that has been made for thousands of years with astounding effort.
Ojiya-chijimi is a textile with a history, and it requires a unique process of snow-bleaching as part of its production.
Tough yet soft on the skin, this textile also exudes a refined artistic beauty.
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