Dec 24, 2011

Looking back on 2011 (January to April)

At the beginning of this year, I visited Sawanoien, the rest station operated by Ozawa Syuzou brewery and bought a fukubukuro (lucky bag). I expected that this year would be a happy year. Of course, I never dreamed at that time that our country would suffer that big earthquakes and subsequent fatal accidents in the nuclear plant in Fukushima.

I often played with wild birds. I needed about three months to tame this Japanese great tit, and it finally became to feed directly from my hand. I set a birdhouse on a tree in front of my house. I could also shoot video of birds with a camera set in the birdhouse. Some of my video works show how the birds hatched eggs and brought up chicks. You can access my Youtube channel to watch these works.

Niigata-Sake-no-Jin (Niigata Sake Festa) was one of the biggest annual sake events for me. I was to attend the event and have test of Niigata-Seishu-Tatsujin-Kentei (Niigata Sake Expert Test) there. On March 11, I was practicing sake tasting in the morning in preparation for this test, and the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred in the afternoon on the same day. Inevitably, the sake festa event and test were cancelled.

In this season of a usual year, you can see people having outdoor sake drinking parties under cherry trees in full blossom. However, they were not very willing to have such upbeat parties when it was just about a month after the catastrophic blows caused by that series of the earthquakes and fatal accidents at the nuclear plant. I even thought that the word jishuku (voluntary restraint) would be selected as a one of the most popular words of the year when event organizers were cancelling various happy upbeat festivals, parties, and other gatherings. When people were in such a negative devastating mood, some sake breweries in the Tohoku Area (disaster-stricken area) made a move. They created some video streams and uploaded them to Youtube, The video said, "Please drink sake while admiring cherry blossoms." I felt like I was cheered up by people in the Tohoku area.

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