Monday, January 26, 2009

Iwaishima

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There was a documentary on TV last night about Iwaishima, and it's prompted me to post this.

This is Mr. H, a resident of Iwaishima, a small island off the coast of Yamaguchi. Mr H is 90 years old. I met him last year at the Kannmai Matsuri.

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In 1969, a mere 40 years ago, a little over 2,600 people lived on Iwaishima, now only 520 are left. Of those 520 a full 75% are aged over 65 years old.

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I had walked around on the island's only road to the far side to watch a ceremony. Yoko, with her bad hip, stayed in the village. It was a hot day, and Mrs H came out of her house and invited Yoko in to the house for some shade and a cold tea. While chatting Yoko told them where I had gone and they suggested that she borrow their bicycle and cycle round to meet me, and so it was as I was walking back I bumped into Yoko riding a bike that while not as old as the Mr H, was probably as old as Yoko.

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So, I sat in their cool house and sipped tea while Mr & Mrs H chatted about their activism in the fight against the nuclear power station planned for nearby. The majority of the remaining islanders are against it and big anti-nuclear signs are painted an a few walls around the village. The local shrine has been boycotted by the people because the priest is not against the power station.


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When we left their house they gave us a plastic shopping bag. In it was a pack of the island's green tea and a couple of packs of dried seaweed, a local speciality.

The kindness of strangers!

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2 comments:

  1. Hi, Ojisanjake...
    Stumbled on your site in a search for pix of huge carrots I saw when I lived in Japan ('50s); (my friends don't believe me). Would like to know more about Freegan lifestyle in Japan. You do nice work. I'm an old geezer living in cabin in Pennsylvania. Roy O'Brien royoho@yahoo.com

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  2. The pictures are fantastic. Very nice. This island must be very peaceful.

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