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Yesterday, we went to Inuyama, a smallish town near Nagoya, with my old friend, Toshio, and his fiancée, Yumi, who is from Inuyama. Yumi and her family were very gracious in having us over as guests and feeding us. Then, Yumi drove us around to various local sites, including the Meiji-mura Museum and fishing with cormorants.

(Pics below the cut)

The Meiji-mura Museum is much what it sounds like: an architectural museum of various buildings from the Meiji Era. It’s very lovely and includes some wonderful tours of buildings, including a theater and bank. The general feel of the setting is a little bit like the Village, an impression intensified by the bus that periodically circles around with an air of guarding the perimeter like Rover. We spent several hours there and had wonderful lunch.



Above: Rover

In the afternoon, we went to the local castle. One thing being here has made me realize is how small these castles can be. Being a Westerner, when I think “castle,” I think of a towering edifice. This castle is really smaller than many a millionaire’s personal house. It’s a good example of something I think Japanese culture has always understood well: that greatness does not necessarily equate to bigness, something I wish American culture would consider more.



Above: Castle from the river

In the evening, at Yumi’s suggestion, we went on a boat ride, where we observed fishermen catching fish with cormorants on ropes. This was quite quiet and beautiful, and I was not entirely kidding when I said to my friends that I think fishing should be done that way today. Of course, as Marshall observed, the population today is too large to feed by such traditional technologies, but that’s the point. The population of the world is way too large, and while it’s good that we discuss the ills consumption in the developed world more today than thirty years ago, we have lost a vital piece of discourse in no longer discussing (in any significant way) the role of raw numbers. Overconsumption and overpopulation both vitiate the kind of gentle relations with the land (or water) that this fishing practice enacts, a practice that, by its native “inefficiency,” is not likely to overfish, that creates no pollution, contributes to no kind of climate change, does not offend the ears with absurdly loud noises, etc. This is an example of how this sort of activity should be done. Its balance and rhythm are proper, and it makes me realize how little I see of that in any aspect of my daily life.



Above: Cormorant fishing

It was a lovely day in good company. I have been pen pals with Toshio since 1993, but this is the first time we’d met in person. I was a little nervous before we met up, but as soon as did, my anxiety vanished and we all had a great time.

* Photos by Marshall
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