Dec 29, 2011

Looking back on 2011 (May to August)

May is the end of spring or beginning of summer. Some days, we have moderate weather, and some days, we also have very hot weather like in summer. One day, we had a walk along the riversides of the Tama River in Okutama area. Rivers in summer days are beautiful.

On June 2, the ruling Democratic Party had a gathering before the parliamentary meeting. The then prime minister Naoto Kan stated his resignation in this gathering. So, many of the lawmakers of the party decided not to vote against the no-confidence motion against the Cabinet to wait for the voluntary resignation of the prime minister. As a result, the no-confidence motion against the Cabinet was voted down in the parliamentary meeting. However, on the following day, Kan did state his intention to remain at his post. This was the first time to see such a cunning prime minister who deceived people in this way. I was very angry and I sent a protesting e-mail message to the prime minister's office. Hatoyama was certainly a loopy man but still looked quite a good person compared with Kan at this time.
This month started with such an offending political drama, and when I was in such an unpleasant mood, I would rather like to see something tranquilizing such as an old building. Anyway, as we had planned before, friends and I went to visit an old Japanese house in Machida City. This house is called "Buaiso," where Jiro Shirasu and his wife Masako lived before. I went through the front gate, saw a big persimmon tree behind the gate, and there was a nicely maintained garden in front of the main building. This was a nice house! The main building was a big thatch-roofed house. We enjoyed seeing the interior and furnishings of the house showing the taste of Masako, who was quite at home in antiques.

I often travel in summer with friends. This summer, we went to the Aizu area in Fukushima Prefecture. Tohoku areas had greatly been stricken by the earthquake and nuclear plant accident in March, and people and business in these areas were quite devastated. We had heard that visitors from other prefectures decreased in number compared with the same season of a usual year. So, we just wanted to visit one of these areas for the sightseeing business of the area.
In Kitakata City, we visited Yamatogawa Shuzo Sake Brewery. "Kasumochi Genshu Yauemonsake" was sweet sake, which used koji about twice as much as usual sake.

Chiefly in summer, in the Okutama, Ome, and Akiruno areas in Tokyo, the Chichibu area in Saitama Prefecture, and other Kanto areas, they perform "sasara-shishimai" or "sanbiki-shishimai" lion dances dedicating to Shinto deities of various shinto shrines. This year, we could visit and see sasara-shishimai lion dances at Suwa Shrine in Saitama Prefecture. These dances were familiar to enthusiasts of lion dances of this type.
These dances are performed as prayers for bountiful harvests, lasting peace of the nation, prevention of epidemics, etc. So, when our nation is suffering like in this year, it is meaningful to perform such dances.

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