Meeting an Ainu chief

Trip Start May 28, 2009
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Trip End Jun 21, 2009


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Flag of Japan  , Kanto,
Sunday, May 31, 2009

One day I was searching about Ainu culture, and looking for some documentaries that I could find more details about people's living. I happened to visit the web site of an on-going documentary project called "Tokyo Ainu" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyTGlEcAze4). The site directed me to the web site of "Kamuy Mintara". It means 'garden where gods play' in Ainu language.
An Ainu chief, Mr. Haruzo Urakawa created this space outside Tokyo on his hands. I contacted him, and I could get to see him!

It wasn't too far to get to Kimitsu from Tokyo station by a bus. There's a new tunnel. I didn't even know this was built!! A volunteer and film coordinator, Mika came to see Kyoko and myself at the bus stop. We had a good conversation about the culture, government roles and multiculturalism of Japan.

I felt like trees at Kamuy Mintara were greeting me once I entered the site. It was a rainy day in Tokyo area, but there was such a nice sunshine in Kimitsu. There was some nice breeze too.
Here Haruzo was! Standing and smiling at us. He said, "welcome".
We sat down, and he told us some stories.... stories about his childhood, jobs, family, mountains back in Hokkaido (He's originally from Urakawa, Hokkaido).
He's very calm, but his smile was such a charm.

I grew up in a suburban Tokyo area where people always hurry and look for more things to do in a second. Coming to this place was just a relief, listening to the wind, trees, streams. Haruzo said, "Things are getting more convenient nowadays. Competitions are crazy, but we got smarter. We could make things that way... but at the same time, people seem to lose their ability to communicate with the nature. People are against the natural rhythm now and forgetting the harmonizing with every existence, maybe that's why people are so stressed out these days."

He went to do a welcoming perform when Hokulea came to Yokohama last year. He said he'd like to come to Hawai'i sometime to meet his old friends. Kyoko and I spent 5 hours at his place! I thought time just flew. He's a great storyteller. I was really glad to visit him!
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