By, Uwe Paschen.
It is Chiba Day here in Narita, Chiba, Japan.
Tomorrow my wife will not have to go and teach in Narita and I have no field work due to much rain and flooding nor any meetings in Tokyo. In stead, we will go to the Shrine, since we have a day off here in Chiba Prefecture, it is called Chiba day. This day in June was set aside in 1984 after a Chiba Delegation visited Dusseldorf, Germany, where a similar day is celebrated to awake awareness for the environment as well as for Citizen to take pride in their history and home land.
The Japanese delegation came back here and planted the seeds of what we know today as Chiba day.
Most Museums and parks as well as Swimming pools do not charge admittance here in Chiba Prefecture on that day. Making this a Family outing and a community event all at the same time. It is promoting local culture, the environment and Chiba's history.
There are also a large number of Festivities underway for this long weekend such as the Lavender Fest and the Chiba Environmental awareness activities for this occation. This year the focus is on Plastic bags or shopping bags, Chiba Kent wants to abolish the use of those and reinstate the old fashion shopping basket or the reusable cloth bag.
This is supported by businesses and communities, handing out reusable cloth bags. There is is also an add campaigns by local prefectural government to that regard.
We do also have the community clean up day, wish consist of each community centre and its members to go around and clean up the fields, roads, side walks and ditches as well as wood lands from all sorts of waste.
Once collected this waste is broth back to the community centre where all take part in sorting it into compost, recyclable cans, paper and plastic. This by it self is a great activity, since all, from the youngest children to the elderly take part in it and we had our run yesterday with green tea and juices handed out by the end of the clean up walk. It is a nice break form the ongoing field work and an opportunity for all to have a good time wile doing something useful and rewarding for the community and our environment.
Some use this weekend to remember Chiba's History and what happened here over the past decades and centuries. One event has been at the forefront in recent years, being the carpet-bombing of Chiba in WWII.
Chiba was one of the 180 of Japan cities that the US carpet-bombed or also called fire bombed in WWII and it sustained extremely high civilian casualties as a result, this happened on the 10 of June 1945 by 124th B29s.
I do remember the tails from my Father about the Fire bombing of Berlin and they are very much identical to those of the older generation here, that witnessed this as they where children or teenager and where amongst those that survived it, just to end up suffering homelessness, starvation and illness.
I think we have to remember since wars are still going on and the civilians are still the main victims of those wars.
We will remember all the victims of past and present wars, tomorrow at our Shrine. Buddhism in its purest form as well as other religions are meant to promote peace, life and tolerance as well as non-violence. This will be our focus tomorrow, when we shall celebrate life and plant a Cherry blossom tree to remember how beautiful and precious every life is.
Life also means taking care as well as honouring our environment and respecting not only human life, more so all life there is on earth.
Even an ant or a moth are all valuable life forms and need to be cherished and respected as well as protected.
Happy Chiba Day.