Gingerly Ginger

by Sayana

When I was a little child and caught a cold, my mother would make ginger tea for me explaining why it was so good for me. “Of course it’s good for you,” she would say, “It makes you warm and it also relieves your symptoms.”

The recipe my mother used is simple. First, grate some ginger. Next, add sugar or honey and dilute it with water. Finally, boil it for 10 to 20 minutes. That’s all! How simple! Just give it a go! Continue reading Gingerly Ginger

Art of the Kayakuya: Fireworks

by Koike

Every August, at 7:00 pm on the eve of the Yosakoi festival, people wearing traditional yukata and waving uchiwa fans crowd the  banks of Kagami-river and  line Tenjin-bridge. They leave their houses very early to try to find best place for watching. Best place for watching what? To see the fireworks display on a summer evening at Kagami-river! The air is filled with excitement and  smells of sweat. They wait impatiently for the display to begin. It’s 7:30 now. With an announcement, the fireworks begin. The fireworks are fired off with various colors and roaring sound. The spectators utter few cries every time the fireworks are launched. Some people are opening their umbrellas because of the ash which falls from the sky. Continue reading Art of the Kayakuya: Fireworks

Ayu: Plecoglossus altivelis altivelis

In summer, if you go to upper reaches of a river, you may see many anglers who have very long fishing rods. Probably, they are Ayu fishing. Ayu is famous in Japan. Most Japanese know Ayu live clean rivers at least.

Ayu have many relations. First, we eat Ayu. For esample, Sioyaki, Tempura, Segosi, Sabazusi and Uruka. But Ayu may have parasitic which are called Yokogawakyuutyuu. So if you eat Ayu, you should not eat it raw. In addition to this, it is Ayu fishing. There are caught by decoy and fry-fishing. But there are closed season for fishing from May to November and we must buy license fishing. And goods are very expensive.

Ayu’s scientific name is Plecoglossus altivelis altivelis. They belong to Osmeriformes like smelt and Japanese smelt. They are related to koukakugyorui.

Ayu fry live in sea and downriver. They eat plankton and insect which live or fall in the water. They hatch from two weeks and they are clear in body so we can their beating heart and air bladder. When they become ten millimeters, they begin to be fragrant like watermelon or Oriental melon. On April and May, they get color and the teeth become like spit. And they go up river.

Adult Ayu live in middle and upper reaches of rivers and eat algae. They are gray and green. Young Ayu swim together but bigger Ayu make territory in places where there are many diatom. This territory is one meter in every direction and if others enter the territory, they deliver an attack by bodily impact. In fall, they become orange and black. It is nuptial coloration. From February to September they swim down river. Then they lay eggs in shallows where there are many pebble stones and sand in group and die. So they end their lifetimes in one year.

Much Ayu live in Kochi rivers because Kochi’s river are clean. Rivers which Ayu live in Kochi are Shimanto River, Yoshino River, Niyodo River, Monobe River and Kagami River. So if you are interested in Ayu, go to the upper reaches of a river and fish Ayu.

Ayu have a relation with people from old times. But wild Ayu are decreasing by people impact. Ayu cannot live in muddy rivers because algae cannot photosynthesize in muddy rivers. Releasing Ayu into the river is done in Japan. It is good thing. But I don’t like this because it may mix alien species and origin. So I think we must keep clean river. If wild Ayu are not seen river, it is very lonely.

Ushioe: The Bridge Nobody Knows

When you cross the bridge, you will smell the ocean. The color of the bridge is difficult to tell…. It is not red. Brown is also wrong. Of course it is not yellow. It almost seems to be made of brick. If there were no rust every where, it would be really a modern style of bridge. But it is such an old bridge that it may have no choice. Continue reading Ushioe: The Bridge Nobody Knows