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A small Earth Day festival was held at Mii-dera Temple in Otsu, Shiga on Sunday and I was invited there as one of the panelists.
First, we had a talk by Tatsushi Fujihara an associate professor at Kyoto University and the author of many books including War and Agriculture, The World History of Tractors, and Nazi’s Kitchen.
Then we had a panel talking session among the organizers of a local market in different areas within Shiga Prefecture; a market in Ritto, a market in Omi-Hachiman, a market in Hino, a market in Yasu, a market in Takashima, a market in Otsu, and a market in Maibara.
We actually use the French word Marche, which is becoming a new trend in Japan; especially here in Shiga, it is widely spread. Many marches are like open-air festivals with people selling organic farm produce, clothes made of organic cotton and hemp, or selling some wood crafts. Sometimes, there are lectures, music performances or panel talks. A marche is creating a culture of its own; it is becoming like a university with restaurants and stores. Since many of them are held monthly, it is like having an earth day festival every month.
This is my Ikigai lunch from an Okinawan restaurant Tanpopo.
In the afternoon, we had a peace meeting table where I participated as a panelist along with Mr. Fujihara.
It was a talk with Meiko Kishida, an ex-teacher who organizes a weekly activity for parents and children to work in a rice field or do some cooking and Mr. Fujihara. We talked about food, education and peace. Food is central to everything since how we relate to eating determines our agricultural system, and how we relate to agriculture determines world affairs because agriculture and wars are linked throughout our modern history: Tractors became tanks, chemical fertilizers became gunpowder, and chemical weapons became agricultural chemicals, according to Mr. Fujihara. The shift toward mass producing and efficient oriented agriculture was handed over to the munitions industry to produce mass killing and efficient oriented wars.
By changing the way we eat and farm to be peaceful and sustainable, which means to make them small, local and organic, we will start changing the way we deal with our children and the way we deal with politics.
That is why Ikigai Diet cares about the way we farm: Ikigai Diet isn’t just a diet for personal health and longevity, it is a Sanpo-Yoshi diet, and it is crucial that we change society through our eating.
Finally, we had a live music performance by NANAOTO.
I felt the whole event was filled with hygge: It was cozy with delicious organic foods, and people who shared the same vision of a sustainable future. I had a good cup of organic coffee, too-haha.
It was also filled with Ikigai, purposeful living, because I felt there was a model case of a future society right here in Shiga Prefecture.
Shiga is one of the most progressive prefectures in Japan at the moment; it is a happening place. People are going organic, people are going local, and people are going creative and spontaneous.
Ikigai Diet is a diet of Young Japanese naturally conscious people, who have inherited the tradition of Japanese natural way of living and upgraded it to a modern style. Well, many of them live in Shiga.
They work in the land growing rice or vegetables using organic farming or natural farming. They eat natural food, fermented food, and make fermented food. They bring up children naturally in the rice fields, vegetable fields, and forests. They respect their children as individuals. There are quite a few forest kindergartens, and many parents are interested in holistic education. They are actively involved in politics, too unlike most people in Japan. They often hold Life and Politics Cafes to educate themselves with current situations. In many ways, they live in the new paradigm. They organize interactive events such as world cafes, panel talks, and group sharings, rather than one-way-talks. Children are welcome at most events, and women speak out freely unlike most places in Japan.
They are the driving force of the paradigm shift in Japan. It isn’t happening from Tokyo; it is happening from a rural prefecture, which itself is almost a miracle since Japan is very much a centralized country.