As One Network

[Serial No.14] Entrusting 2023 New Year's Issue

Community Saijiki literary calendar


Entrusting

坂井和貴(Kazuki Sakai)



On Sunday mornings in winter, I pack up and head for Misuzu Lake.
It is a small lake about 1,000 meters above sea level, and in my distant boyhood, it was our "winter garden”.
In December, a corner of a local newspaper would indicate the thickness of the ice on Lake Misuzu and other lakes in Nagano Prefecture, and tell us whether or not we could skate on the ice. I vaguely remember that the borderline was around 12 cm, and every morning I would roll up the newspaper, hoping that the ice would break through that point soon.

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Most of the time, we take a bus from downtown Matsumoto.
The elevation of Matsumoto Station is less than 600 meters, so it is about a 400-meter climb, but it is steep from Asama Onsen on the way. At each of the seven bends and ninety-nine turns, the car slows down so that we can enjoy a relaxing view of the city below. It was on this mountain road that I encountered a sea of clouds for the first time in my life, which shook my children's hearts.
As the end of the road nears, I see children already starting to slide on the ice and adults fishing for wakasagi (smelt), and my heart goes down to the lake a step earlier. ・・・・・

Lake MisuzuL used to be the site of the National Winter Athletic Meet, with more than 30 cm of ice every winter, but in recent years there has been almost no ice at all, and of course the skating rink has disappeared, and the crowds of children heading there have ceased to exist.
Compared to those days, it may be a much milder winter now, but winter life has begun here in the Suzuka community.

"Hey, how many kerosene cans count?"
Every Friday afternoon around 1:00 p.m., Mr. Onda would show up at the information desk and ask.

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"I think it's about 20 cans so far, I'll send out another confirmation e-mail to the group line."
Nana-chan responds, and several additional orders are placed, closing at 3:00 PM.
Then Onda-san came again and took the order forms from everyone.
On the following Saturday morning, Mr. Onda goes around to each house and delivers a 20-liter tank full of kerosene to the front door.

Although kerosene heaters are more fuel-efficient than electric or gas heaters, it would be unrealistic to expect each household member to go to a gas station to fetch kerosene every time they need it.
It is because there are people like Mr. Onda who are in charge of this task that the project has continued for many years, and it can be said that the project has become a reality.
Also, by specializing in this area, various ideas are born, such as where to purchase the items and how to deliver them, which makes the process more enjoyable. Or, "Hey, Mr. or Ms., I haven't received your order for kerosene. I hope you haven't forgotten. Are you keeping warm? " We can look at each other's lives from a single bottle of kerosene.

"I wish I had a stove to heat the bathroom, what do you think?"
Masako asked,
"I have a gift certificate from Suzuka City, and I can use it at an electronics store there. I hope I can buy a stove with it."
Masako is a member of the Thursday-1 family in the community, and she often comes to me for advice. The other day, we bought a "book stand for reading in bed" together, and I went to install it in her bedroom. I found a picture of Mr. Ogura, her partner who passed away a few years ago, on her bedside table, so I unexpectedly had the chance to pray for him.

We both searched the Internet for the right kind of heater and decided that this halogen heater, which has no risk of electric shock, would be a good choice. Masako said she would go there in the afternoon.
A few days later, I was wondering what had happened to the heater.
"・・・then I was going to buy a heater, but I wasn't feeling well, so I decided not to go. It's not very cold yet, so I thought I'd give it a try and see how long I can go without a heater. "
Some of the family members said, "You don't have to hold back," or "You're qualified enough to buy a stove."
The next day, the strongest cold wave of this winter was coming! or so the weather news came on.
"Masako-san, I wonder if she is too lazy to go out and buy one by herself. Let's go to the electronics store together."
So we got in touch with each other and drove to the electronics store. Come to think of it, she had been going to the hospital regularly for medical treatment, had side effects from her medication, and had also had to give up her driver's license, all during this time.
We went in, and since we had already decided what we were going to buy, we were done in 10 minutes. We were able to carry it right up to her room, set it up, and use it.
When I met Masako two days later, she called me.
She said, "I just turned it on for five minutes and it warmed up the bathroom. It wasn't cold at all even though there was a cold wave coming."

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Mr. Iwata is a Japanese-style painter who lives in the community.
Every night, he goes to the Motoyama family diagonally across the street to take a bath.
The trigger was that as part of his treatment for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), he was no longer able to apply a neck and shoulder bandage to his neck and shoulders before going to bed. At first, he only went to have the pads applied, but then he began to feel hesitant about bothering Mr. Motoyama and Ms. Teruko late at night just for that purpose, so he would go or not. When he mentioned this to the others,
"Well, why don't you go take a bath and have them put a sheet on you at the end of the day? Then, if you leave the laundry there, Teruko-san will be happy to wash it for you. Iwata-san, you won't have to prepare and clean up your own bath, and you can have your laundry done, too."
Mr. Ono came up with the idea, and for the past six months, Mr. Iwata's "Motoyama family life" has continued.

When I went to take a bath at the Motoyama household,
I would find the two of them watching TV over the kotatsu.
When I came out of the bath,
they would put a compress on me and Teruko would rub my shoulders.
Teruko-san rubs my shoulders and we watch TV together.
It's a very pleasant time!
Yesterday, I fell in love with a classical guitarist's performance.
Today, Mr. Motoyama and I watched a program about the 50th anniversary of Youmin's debut.
It's just a little time at the Motoyama family's house, but
I had the feeling of living there.
Dining life, life with JOY, life with Meetings,
I feel that the Motoyama family's life is like these.
I mean, the children's practice time and the adults' drawing time are also part of my life.
What do I mean by "living"?
I feel like I am not alone,
but in the midst of such a place and activity,
receiving something one way or the other.
I can say it is a place where I can be fulfilled.
But there is something more than just me.
I'm putting myself there.
I entrust myself to it?


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Sometimes, people who read this Community Saijiki literary calender ask me this question.
"Whenever I read the Community Saijiki literary calendars, I always get a warm feeling, but do you have any conflicts or confrontations living together in the community?"
Each one of us is not a saint, we are not well-rounded people, and we are all inexperienced and inadequate. We make mistakes, failures, and errors frequently, and at such times, we sometimes feel as if we are blaming the other person based on our past habits and circuits.
But at such times, when I become aware that we are working and living with each other trying to make sure there are no mistakes, "blaming" clearly comes to the fore as something unusual and out of the ordinary that does not fit the situation or my own mindset. It makes me feel ashamed. It is ridiculous and makes me laugh.
I hear that blaming does not solve the problem because people tend to be stubborn or hide it, that what we want to do is not to blame but to investigate the cause of the mistake, and that theoretically this may be true, but rather than theory or logic, I feel that "blaming" is becoming less and less comfortable for me and society, and it seems to be gradually disappearing from within and around me...

The way home from Lake Misuzu is almost always changed to walking in the upper grades of elementary school.
No one decided to do so, but for some reason it just happens.
We slip and slide until we can't stand on our backs until the afternoon, and then we go back down the mountain.
With friends and children alone, sometimes by myself.
We descend, slipping and sliding down animal trails, paths, cliffs, and the like, each time finding a new route. with no intention of going back along the winding road.

It was about 15 kilometers to the city center where we lived. But I didn't think too much about it before I did it. I just imitated the upperclassmen and did it right away, so there was no sense that it was hard or tiring.
Sometimes I got injured or lost, but there were also some interesting experiences, such as helping a lady pull out radishes and getting one as a souvenir when I ran into her working in the mountains, or being overwhelmed when I happened to come across a festival where everyone in the town of Asama Onsen came out to the entrance to pickle nozawana (a type of pickled nozawana). I was inspired by such ocasions, and decided to walk down the mountain again.
When I arrived home in the evening, my parents, whether they knew it or not, always greeted me with a calm face.
In this day and age, people would be concerned about the safety of mountain trails or worried about children walking alone, but the atmosphere of the town or the social fabric of the town made such things easy.
If one lived a normal life at that time and place, everyone would be able to do so.
It is a blessing that both parents and children can entrust their lives to such a place without any doubts at all.
A state of mind in which there is no awareness of even "entrusting".

About 10 days ago
"We are now preparing kimchi at the Friday-4 family."
A message and a picture came in from Naoe and Junna.
Since Heung mi and Jin-chan from Korea are now in the community, the entire Friday-4 family started making kimchi (spicy and sour Korean pickles) in earnest under their supervision.
We were supposed to do it in front of Heung mi's house, but unfortunately it was raining, so we had to spread out in the kitchen, living room, and bathroom.

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I went to Heung mi's house with Sarah, Umi, and Haru.
We found many vegetable containers from the farm at the front door.
Jin-chan and I moved the table out of the living room.
We spread out a sheet on the ground, which became a large space, and prepared cutting boards and knives.
It was very Korean! The feeling of the end of the year was starting to sink in.

Madoka-chan and Aya-chan were working under Jin-chan's guidance.
They started to prepare the dishes by carrying daikon radishes, Chinese cabbage, onions, etc. Takuya also came with a slicer and started to grind daikon radishes.
He is a regular preparer at Mum's Lunchbox company, so I guess he is good at what he does.

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Heung mi and Jin-chan occasionally hold a meeting in Korean.
They are the ones who tell the gathered members of the Friday-4 family what to do.

Sara, 9 years old, wanted to help out right away, so she went to the kitchen to prepare food with Heung mi, looking at her sideways.
She looked just like she would at a children's school.
She was listening to Heung mi carefully. I think she was probably smacking garlic or something.

Haru and Umi played for a while, but then they decided they wanted to help.
Haru and I went to Kobayashi's house to get a kitchen knife for children.
Then Madoka-chan prepared the vegetables for Haru and Umi to cut.
...

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It's like falling in love with Heung mi and Jinchan's dynamic moves.
Bang bang on the vegetables, kimchi seeds? Sauce? to the vegetables.
They mix them in, rub them in, and put them in a big bag.
They would ask everyone who came by, "Do you want to taste it?”
and throw them into their mouths. It's nostalgic.
Heung mi and Jinchan were trying to wash leafy greens outside, as if the kitchen was too small for them.
The sight of the two washing them outside was a sight to behold.
....



Soon after, the kimchi was fully pickled and put into the special refrigerator.
It is something that is passed down from person to person, from parent to child.
This kind of scene may become a year-end tradition in the community.

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In every age, in every land, children simply entrust their lives to
To their society, to their community, to their parents, to their people.
That is why children can live with radiance, with purity and innocence.
If they could live through life as it is, it would be natural that there would be no doubt or caution.
If there is any resistance, they will enter a narrow and narrow tunnel. We mistakenly believe that such complicated things are life.
But I think that even adults are actually entrusting things to others.
No matter how much our consciousness resists, being alive is a manifestation of entrusting, and it is because we entrust that we are able to live.
When the reality of life and the reality of living become clearer, I think that the "resisting consciousness" will naturally dissipate. I wonder if we will be more inclined to entrust our lives to them. Just like that.
All living things entrust and entrust each other to live in this world and create a better tomorrow together. Microorganisms, plants, insects, animals, and humans are all exquisitely interrelated, in their own ways and at their own pace. Such a dynamic harmony of countless lives continues to flow through the veins. It is as if they are laughing at our selfish human thinking.
There is no such "blame" on each other.
A grain of me, a drop of community in the infinite.
But they are all connected.

Tomorrow is a new year.
What step shall we take?
- | -

As One Network House Construction Begins, Designed by Shinichiro Hino, a Network Member in Okayama, Japan

In 2022, more and more people from various places wanted to stay and learn at the As One Suzuka Community.

The travel restrictions from abroad have been eased, and in 2023, many people from Europe, South Korea, Brazil, and Japan are expected to come to stay at As One Suzuka Community.

In preparation for this, construction of the As One Network House (tentative name), which has been planned for some time, has begun.

It will be used as a shared house for both short-term and long-term residents.

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Rendering of the As One Network House (tentative name)

With the cooperation of network members from around the world in terms of planning and design, material and financial support, construction has begun. It is conveniently located just a minute's walk from the Suzuka Culture Station (SCS), the center of the Suzuka community.

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Building construction has begun. It is a share house for about 15 to 20 people.

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The design was done by As One Network member "Shinichiro Hino" from Okayama! He lives in Suzuka half a month from Okayama and is in charge of the design and negotiations with the construction company.

Completion is scheduled for April 2023. 

In the future, we will be working with network members to get furniture, bedding, and other items needed for the operation.

If you have any items that are lying around at home, we would be happy if you would let us use them in the As One Network House.
- | -

[Serial No.13] Prelúdio December 2022

Community Saijiki literary calendar


Prelúdio

坂井和貴(Kazuki Sakai)


When I opened the door of the birdcage, two paddy birds slowly appeared and flew into the room.
The two birds, which until a few moments ago had been watching the six of us eating and talking with each other from inside the cage, tilting their heads from time to time, and responding with faint chirps, have now joined our circle of friends.
For some reason, Antje seems to be their favorite, and they keep jumping onto her hands, shoulders, and head, chatting in German together.
"They are both boys," Teruko said.

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Diego tries to draw the birds toward him by calling out and reaching out, but their attention seems to be solely on Antje and Alex, who are next to her, and not on what Diego wants them to do.
"What's up with that classical guitar, Motoyama-san?"
Diego asks, pointing to the guitar hanging on the living room wall.
"Takuya said he doesn't use it, so I got it from him. Do you want to play it, Diego?"
So saying, Motoyama-san puts the guitar in Diego's hand.
"Okay! Let's play. Maybe the sound of the guitar will lure them toward me!"

"Can you play Aitor Villa-Lobos' Prelude No. 1?"
Diego nodded lightly as he tuned the strings to this sudden request from Mr. Motoyama.
The concert began.
I had never heard of Villa-Lobos, but when Diego's fingertips plucked a delicate note, my brain instantly responded that I had heard this piece somewhere before.
"When I was in the eighth grade, my cousin, who is a college student, played this song for me. I was totally taken by it."
Motoyama's eyes lit up. Lobos was born in Brazil and was one of the leading composers of the 20th century, incorporating classical techniques with a uniquely Brazilian style.
Alex, a French horn virtuoso, Antje, who had grown up with the violin, and the birds had stopped singing for a while and were listening, watching Diego's fingertips dancing lightly.
And in my mind's eye, five years of Diego's life quietly flowed by.

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This spring, Diego stepped on Brazilian soil for the first time in five years, which I wrote about briefly in the April issue of Saijiki lierary calender, and then he came back to Japan to continue his training and living here.
He and I were also in charge of hosting Alex and Antje, who came from Switzerland for training in September, and we have been together for the past three months. For Diego, this is the day he will embark on the next stage of his life.
There are many things that come to mind, such as "Diego's 5 years," such and such a thing, a word from a person at a certain moment, a time when he could not hold back his tears, being accepted by such and such people, being blessed with such and such an opportunity.... But I don't think I could possibly describe the past five years if I put them all on the table in my head.
How much has been poured into Diego?
From the people around us, from things, from society, from nature, from the visible and the invisible...
In truth, I feel as if I don't know anything at all.
However, the totality of those five years is in Diego, in me, and in everyone who lives with us. So when Diego says he is going to Brazil, I don't feel like I am leaving him at all. I have a strange feeling as if a part of me is leaving, as if I am being taken along with him.
There is no "goodbye" anywhere.

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Geum-chan is a 3-month trainee from Korea.
She and her partner, Dong Ha, and their 2-year-old son, Seomg Yeol, would like to continue their training in the Suzuka community for a longer period of time.
However, there are various restrictions due to visa issues, and she is pondering what to do.
One of the ideas that came up was to have someone take care of Seomg Yeol in Korea while Geum and Dong Ha come to Japan. But Geum-chan said, "I have a very close friend in Korea.
I don't know why, but I think it would feel at ease to leave Seomg Yeol with the Suzuka community and have us travel back and forth between Korea and Japan. There is no one in Japan that I am very close to like my Korean friend. Why is that?"
She said again, "I don't know why."
What does it really mean that Geum-chan's inner mind is becoming like that?
When this came up in a meeting between Alex and Antje, Antje said something like this.
Antje said, "Even now, there are scenes where Seomg Yeol lives apart from his parents, but none of the people here ever think and say to Seomg Yeol, "Are you okay without your mother and father? " But people in the public eye don't. "Are you okay without your mom? Poor Seomg Yeol! " People around you look at you like that and say things like that.

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Momo-chan of Waseda University, who has participated in Gaia Youth and other events, is about to write her graduation thesis on "Chapter 4: A Case Study of a Community that Nurtures the Richness of 'Tsunagari' (Connection)," and she is planning to pick up As One as a topic for her thesis.
Not only Momo-chan, but for the past few years, there have been an endless number of university students (all women so far!) who have come to us for advice on how to write about As One Community in their thesis.
In my correspondence with Momo-chan, I heard a word for the first time. It is.
"Social Capital."
When Momo-chan told her professor that she would like to write a case study on As One for her graduation thesis, he replied, "That's a case study on Social Capital, isn't it? You should write it from the perspective of "social capital."

It was refreshing to know that there is a way of looking at social and human relations as capital, rather than money or goods.
The deadline is December 15 or so, and we have been exchanging correspondence over the past few issues, but Momo-chan herself has been writing to try to represent the reality of the As One Community through what she has experienced here.

『No matter how good the rough stones and materials may be, if the design and construction are not correct, even a building that looks magnificent will collapse and look ugly even if there is no wind.』
I have seen a sentence to this effect.
This is not only about buildings.
It is the "social atmosphere and social system" that design and construct the abundance of good materials called "human resources".
No matter how great a person is, he or she cannot design and construct himself or herself.
There are more than 8 billion people on the earth today, and there is an abundance of human resources.
Good raw stones and materials will continue to be born one after another.
It would be a pity if the good materials are not fully utilized because the social atmosphere and systems have not caught up with them.
Human society has come this far.
I hope that the "5 years of Diego" and the "22 years of Suzuka Community" will be studied and used by the brains of the world as a beginning to perfect the atmosphere and system of our society.

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The paddy birds were listening to Diego's guitar, but as usual, they were not separated from Antje and Alex.
Diego seemed to have given up trying to attract the birds to him, and began to talk with Alex and the others. Then, on the contrary, the birds started to visit Diego from time to time.
Soon Alex and Antje will also leave for Switzerland.
They are also planning to stay here for a long time to learn more about Suzuka and to become people who can really melt with anyone, not just theoretically. They can also clearly see the faces of the young people who are coming from Europe to follow in their footsteps.
Diego could see them as his " self of 5 years ago".
Alex and Antje see "themselves in 5 years" in Diego's current image.
My ears continue to echo the sounds and rhythms of Villa-Lobos that Diego used to play.
Prelúdio means prelude. A precursor, an omen. Its first number.
The casual choice of this piece for this scene, Mr. Motoyama, was brilliant! I have no other choice but to say.

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Around noon today, I received a phone call from Diego, who was supposed to be on his way to Brazil.
He said, "Mr. Sakai, my name on the airline ticket is different from the one on my passport. The domestic flight from Nagoya Centrair to Narita is fine, but the international flight from Narita, the airline is not sure if they will take me. What should I do?"
He went out with great enthusiasm, but he seemed to be a little scared... "It's not easy to buy a new ticket now, so let's just go to Narita and ask them to take you."
He said, "Okay, I'll go to Narita and ask them. If not, I'll go back to Suzuka."
Diego would have liked to leave smartly, but you never know what will happen until the very end.
He's not the only one who doesn't know what's going to happen, and neither do I... or anyone else... .
Still, a few hours later, did Diego get a ride? Is he coming back? Just as the buzz in this neighborhood was building, I received a text message.
"Checked in, everything is fine, see you!"
The accompanying photo showed a snow-capped Mt. Fuji floating faintly between the main wing and the sea of clouds.
I guess Diego really took off this time.
Now let's go to the next stage!

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- | -

[Serial No.12] Brother - From the Family Landscape December 2022

Community Saijiki literary calendar


Brother - From the Family Landscape

坂井和貴(Kazuki Sakai)



Early in the morning, I walk toward the Mum's Lunchbox company (the following : the obento company).
It is every Friday.
When I first started going there, I couldn't walk without sunglasses because of the glaring sunlight.

I would always pass an elderly jogger in the same neighborhood. His clothings has changed from short-sleeved half pants to long-sleeved long pants, and this morning, white breath was coming out of his mouth.
What has not changed is the quietness of the city, many houses are still asleep, and the main road leading to the Suzuka Circuit is like an open zone, where I can cross anywhere without worrying about traffic lights.

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When I arrived at the obento company about 10 minutes later, I found the kitchen staff working in cramped spaces, and "today's feast" was already lined up on the table in the serving room.
"Good morning," Lucio calls out, "First, put some sauce on the hamburg steaks and get them ready."
The members of today's group gather in groups, one by one. Soon after, Lucio says to us.
"Well, it's time to start serving the lunch boxes..." Lucio's voice urges everyone to gather in front of the serving line.

Kazuki Brother
I've been arranging the obento company's working shift every day.
How about you, Kazusan, once a week?
The hours are from 6:30 to 9:00.
I want you to come in.


It was around the beginning of September when I received this e-mail from Lucio.
I asked him, "What day of the week would you like to work with me?"

Lucio playfully replied, "You can come every day, hehehe."

We ended up exchanging our opinions, and we decided to go on Fridays. I have been going every week since then.

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Lucio is his middle name, officially Shogo Lucio Minowa , a second-generation Japanese-Brazilian born and raised in Brazil.
His father, Hosuke, came to Brazil from Saku, Nagano Prefecture, and his mother, Mieko, came to Brazil from Tokyo in the 1930s, and they met in the Japanese community in São Paulo State.
Hosuke's pure and single-minded love for Mieko eventually bore fruit, and the couple eventually tied the knot. Lucio is their fifth son.
I have known Lucio for more than 30 years, but we only met occasionally when he came from Brazil.
I think we were just good friends. The reason why he became my "brother" has a lot to do with the past year.

Last fall, Lucio was still staying in Japan and was also doing supportive things in the community, such as taking the children to and from the house. He was also helping me on my house change and moving.
Then, he decided to settle down here in Japan for a while, in the Suzuka community, and his workplace became a obento company. Lucio has come to accept Academy students and practice program students, not to mention the daily arrangements, and we hear more and more from him about what kind of obento he wants to make and deliver, and what kind of workplace he wants to make the obento company into.

Outside of the workplace, Lucio has also taken on positions that require him to show off his talents, and he has participated in various meetings and opportunities accordingly.
I also began accompanying Lucio, who is not very fluent in Japanese, to banks and public institutions to help him with paperwork and various procedures.

Just around the same time that Lucio started going to the obento company, Lucio's wife, Nanako, started working at the same HUB-department as I did, and we began to work together on the information desk every day.
In addition to that, I became a member of the "Thursday-1 Family", one of the five "families" in the community, which I have mentioned several times in this Saijiki literary calender. We have weekly meetings, are in charge of the dining room, and have more opportunities to get to know each other.

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Nanako told us at the family meeting about the time she attended the ScienZ School's camp course for the first time in a long time, as she was feeling much better this year....

She told us that an incident a few years ago had made her think to me, "I never want to work with this person," and that somehow we ended up in the same place of work.
"But after that, you gave me love and affection every day, and we got to know each other, and now you are like a "big brother" to me, but I don't know if that is because you have changed from before or if my feelings have changed. I just felt that if I couldn't really look at the situation I was in when I first got stuck, I would keep doing the same thing over and over again. So..."

Nanako wanted to share with the "family" members what she had noticed and discovered by observing and exploring her own way of seeing and perceiving with that real-life example, not what I was going through.
Looking back on what happened to me, I was so embarrassed that I wanted to crawl in if there was a hole in my heart, because I had a very highly-conscious and proud-sprited mindset that I could not be defeated.
However, even now, I sometimes have such a feeling in my head without being aware of it.
But at such times, Nana-chan, who is standing next to me, would say to me
"Brother~, don't look down on people from your high place on the clouds, come down to the ground!"
I am always saved by Nana-chan's immediate words of encouragement.
The night before I went out to celebrate my mother's 88th birthday, Nana-chan, who lost her mother at the age of 25 and her father at 27, told me, "Please enjoy going and taking care of your parents as much as I did."
This was one of the reasons why the time I spent with my parents changed so much.


Last week's daily bento menu was "fried young chicken with umami salt".
As usual, Lucio and Koji were carefully preparing a sample of what they wanted to serve today. The side dish should be placed here, the amount of pickles should be about this much, lettuce should be placed here, and three fried chicken pieces should be neatly arranged in a "mountain" on top of the lettuce, etc. I was in charge of arranging the fried chicken and I tried to follow the lines that they had drawn.

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We were going to make hundreds of pieces in total, but after the first dozen or so, I thought it would be more beautiful to move the side dish up a little and arrange the three fried pieces in a "river" rather than a "mountain," so that the feathery batter of the fried pieces could be used to its fullest. I asked Lucio to take a look. Lucio looked at it.
Lucio said, "I think the sample is better!"
I thought, "Well, that's good!" I switched back and started working on it again.
But as I was doing it, my hands started to arrange the fried chicken again like a river, and I asked Lucio again, "How about this way?
How about this one?"

What was interesting was that neither Lucio nor I were particularly assertive, and neither of us had the slightest intention of getting our own opinions across. We just said what we thought and listened to each other. I don't think we ever decided that we would do this together. Lucio was the one who checked the fried food I had prepared and closed the lid. When I handed over my role to Sayri, who came after me, Lucio said, " Let's do it this way just like Kazuki-san does That's the most beautiful way..."
I thought, "Wow!" Anyway, the atmosphere was so open that it was as if we were playing together.

At dinner time, as usual, we sat around the round table and said to each other
"Hey, Otou-chan, did he fall asleep again?"
Nana looked up at the wall clock. Lucio, who is an early riser, often falls asleep at this time.
"I'll call him,"
Diego answered.
A few moments later, Lucio appears with a shy smile on his face. As soon as he sits down in his chair, he puts dinner aside and starts talking about obento company with Diego, Hiroya, Takuya, and the rest of the group. Just as they were about to start eating, the Academy students who had come to the dining room came by one after another and exchanged a few words to Lucio. After he finished eating, he settled into round chairs overlooking the dining room, staring at his smartphone as he planned a working shift at the obento company for the next day.
"Otou-chan, even when he is in the dining room, he is always talking about the obento ...,"
Nana-chan laments, but she looks somewhat happy.

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"Okay, tomorrow's shift is ready!
By the time Lucio leaves the table with a satisfied look on his face, the dining room, which used to be so crowded, is now sparsely populated. We all head home.

It has been exactly one year since I started writing this Saijiki.
The first entry was titled 【Family Scenery...and More Than Family】
I feel that Lucio and Nana-chan are my brothers and sisters, and that we are becoming a real family. We are no longer strangers to each other, we just live and breathe together.
When I look back over the past year, I feel that we could not have become like this through our own personal efforts and thoughts.
Although the Suzuka community is a small society, we have become a family as we have been swayed by the economic, living, and nurturing aspects of the community, as well as by various other social mechanisms and systems.

If we had not lived in this society, Nana would have said, "I don't want anything to do with this person," and we might never have become"brother and sister. Lucio and I would not have been able to go beyond the realm of close friends.
I picked up Lucio and Nana-chan by chance, but that is nothing special. It is a normal thing here. Everyday everywhere, families are being born and the substance of families is growing.
Perhaps this is a society where anyone can become a real family.
We live in such a society.
Good family - good company - good society
I see this as being demonstrated through us today.
A gift for tomorrow, for the next generation.

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“Kazuki, it's time!"
Lucio calls out to me, and I stop.
As I exit the kitchen door of the obento company, I hear the loud voices of children echoing from the Brazilian school across the street. I look at them and am easily charmed by their abundant Body Language.
Then I think of Lucio's boyhood, which he often talks about, and of the land of Brazil, which is enormous in scale.
The main road on the left is full of cars flowing at a brisk pace.
In the parking lot of Mother's obento company facing the road, the day's lunche boxs are beginning to be loaded onto the rows of pink boxcars.

Now, to the mouth and heart of each and every one of them.
Our obentos will be delivered to.

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[Serial No.11] Cute in Any Way, Anytime Oct. 2022

Community Saijiki literary calendar



【 Cute in Anyway, Anytime 】

坂井和貴(Kazuki Sakai)


“Mr. Sakai~, I'm home!”
Ah-chan arrived from Korea for the first time in two and a half years.

Yeomin, now four years old, looks up at us as we are talking.
"Yeomin, you've grown up," I said to her and she quickly hid behind Ah-chan.
Soon after, one-year-old Yeojung came up to us, moving her body from side to side.
"This is Yeojung,"

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Ah-chan said.
This is Yeojung's first visit to Japan, of course. A smile is on her face.

Before the pandemic, when Ah-chan was saying goodbye to me on her way back to Korea,
"I will definitely come back again, Mr. Sakai," she said, running up to me and giving me a hug.

The next moment, Yeomin, who was two years old at the time, walked up to me and hugged me in the exact same way her mother had done, imitating what she had seen.
As I kneeled down and embraced Yeomin's tiny body, I couldn't help but feel a rush of love for the little girl, which eventually spilled out of me.
And now, Yeomin, who hides behind her mother, is also adorable.

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In September, the Corona's waterfront measures have loosened up, and the back-and-forth with foreign countries is becoming more and more active.
・9/7 Kim Sayri from Korea for a 2-month practice program.
・9/8 Ms. Iwata returned from Brazil.
・9/10 Alex and Antje from Switzerland came to Japan for a 3-month practice program.
・9/11 Three students from Korea, Dong-Ha, Geum-Sang, and Jung-Ah, enrolled as associate Academy students .
(Yeomin, Yeojung, and Seomgyeol, along with their three children)
・9/13 Hiroko Katayama participated in the Ecoversities Alliance Gathering in Thailand.
・9/19 Leo, Mr. and Mrs. Tsukioka went to Brazil

Dinner at the community "Family Dining Zero" was very lively. Japanese, Korean, English, German, and Portuguese were spoken here and there. Such a scene is becoming more and more common.
Nowadays, the centerpiece of the family dining room, where everyone from infants to seniors can relax, is the freshly harvested "new rice".

Seed rice prepared during the winter is sown in nurseries, and the seedlings are planted in rice paddies at the end of April or beginning of May. During early summer, the rainy season, and midsummer, the seedlings grow roots to feed on the fertilizer stored in the soil, rooting firmly and growing thicker stalks, which eventually produce ears and fertile crops. Then, from late August to September, the harvest season arrives.
The first appearance of freshly harvested rice in the dining room was on September 3rd.
The menu that day was very simple: RICE BALLS made with the new rice.
The next rice ball was being tucked into one after the other, with exclamations of "this is so tasty!" being heard here and there, and before long, more than twice the usual amount of rice had been consumed by everyone.

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"Sometimes, it's nice to eat a lot of rice like today."
We could hear Tamaki, a student at the Academy, muttering.
It was a day that made us think, "Rice is the best for those of us who live in Japan.
It reminded me of a distant autumn day in my mother's countryside, when I was a little kid playing around the rice field with many of my cousins. The smiling parents watching over us, a sky so blue I could almost be sucked into it, the fragrance of the harvest filling my heart, the birds singing echoing in the mountains, the firmness and brittleness of the rice plants when I stepped on them, the sweetness and astringency of the persimmons I ate, the tranquility and absolute peace of mind of the original landscape.

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Last year, for the first time, we were able to grow of the rice used in our community and in our mother's lunch box company from our own rice fields. This means that we have achieved 100% self-sufficiency in rice production.
SUZUKA FARM Co., Ltd. was established in 2010, and even before that, Mr. Inagaki had been growing rice for years so that community members could eat rice feeling at ease.
In the beginning, he rented fields from aging local farmers, but old men and women who could not stand to see how poorly he was doing helped him out a lot. Sometimes, they even provided him with a combine harvester and other farming equipment.
Known as "Inachan Farm," Inagaki started his own farm, then started a company with a few young people in their 20s and 30s, and started working enthusiastically 12 years ago. However, they quickly came to a standstill. Both in terms of management and their relationship with each other. Some young people gave up and left.
However, that was the real beginning of the new SUZUKA FARM, which was started by one or two people who wanted to put down roots there. We have spent more than 10 years slowly and deliberately nurturing the farm to become a veritable family business for our community, by returning to the true purpose of what we grow rice and vegetables for, why we do this business, and what kind of company and society we are trying to create.
And all of our rice is now homegrown.
Of course, we're still on our way, but its been cheerful along the way!

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Alex and Antje have been here from Switzerland for almost 3 weeks now.
Alex was born in Switzerland, but Antje was originally born and raised in East Germany and has lived in Switzerland since German reunification. In one of our meetings, they said something like this.
"In Switzerland and Germany, I sometimes feel that the social atmosphere we grew up in is very rigorous. Parents, teachers, and superiors always tell us what is right or what we must do, and they always warn, point out, and force us to do things. Even when we grow up, we continue to have that kind of relationship with each other. We keep an eye on each other skeptically."
As I listened, I did not hear that this was a Swiss or German thing, and I felt that I, being in Japan, had gone through a similar path. Discipline, education, correcting others...
Growing up, becoming a parent, I have unknowingly pushed that path to the next generation.
We don't know a human being, we don't know life, and we don't know or try to know any other way than that. The people in Switzerland and Germany who are trying to correct people in a harsh way overlap with me, I don't feel like a stranger.
I now wonder why I took such a stupid thing so seriously, but it is hard to realize one's own stupidity and shallowness when one is doing it unconsciously and for the right reasons.
Alex and Antje seem to be sensing a calm atmosphere in the Suzuka community today. It's like they're embraced, so they don't have to worry about what others think, and they're willing to be open about what they're thinking...

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I am looking back over the past 10 years of my life and thinking about how I have lived in such an environment and soil.
It is thanks to the soil of this community that I have finally begun to live a more humane life at my age. It is not just that there is a warm environment and atmosphere, but also that there is always a guidepost and an opportunity to return to one's starting point and to live life in one's own way. The existence of parents who embody the kind of swerveless strictness that comes from such deep love.
And it is the subject of each individual, himself/herself, who moves forward there.

Well, Yeomin.
The last time she lived in Japan, she was with "Umi," who was born right around the same time as her.
After two years without seeing each other at all, we wonder if they remember each other.
What would it be like to see each other again?
Somehow, we were all thinking about that.
Here's what they looked like "then".

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Umi and Yeomin
Glancing at each other?
They were playing in the water at a distance from each other.
But before they knew it, they were getting closer and closer.
Yeomin follows behind Umi with the same movement.
Umi follows behind Yeomin again, doing the same movement
And so on and so forth.
As they move in the same way, they become partners
It's interesting that they seem to be communicating with each other even though they don't speak to each other.


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I heard that the emperor penguins in Antarctica, who couple with the same partner every year, synchronize and make the same movements when they meet each other for the first time in a year. I guess Umi and Yeomin are the same.
That day, Yeomin also told her mother, Ah-chan
"I played with Umi today!"
Ah-chan was surprised to hear the word "Umi" come out of Yeomin's head.
Not only Yeomin, but also Yeojung and Seomgyeol are already at home with the children in the community. They blend in so quickly. Seeing them like this, the adult relationships that have always been so distant seem unnatural.

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Just as the harvesting of rice cannot be done overnight, the fact that people from Korea and Switzerland, including their children, are able to come here and live together as if they were at "home" is due to the existence of parents who have been listening, visiting, and caring for them for years and years, in order to make this happen.
"No matter what they do, they are always cute."
I am sure that everyone has glimpsed this state of being in his or her own mind.

No matter what they do, no matter what they cannot do, no matter what they are, no matter what happens to them, we just adore them.
The parent who wishes for the true happiness of their child, watches over them, and walks ahead of them.
Parental hearts and parental love nurture such happy people and lead to a gentle society.
The children who live in such a society. Each one of those days becomes the original landscape and starting point for each one of them.

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[Serial no.9] As One Every Day September 2022

Community Saijiki literary calendar



masterpiece

坂井和貴(Kazuki Sakai)



Every morning, I look at the paintings sent to us from Brazil.
Some days they are portraits, some days they are landscapes, some days they are birds, fruits, and trees that I have never seen before, but the colors and tones are very different from his previous works.

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Mr. Iwata, who paints Japanese-style paintings in the community that we have previously introduced in this Saijiki, has been in Brazil since the middle of August. And every day he posts his sketches of the day with brief episodes on his blog.
Brazil, located in the southern hemisphere, is in the midst of winter, but in the state of São Paulo, where Mr. Iwata is staying, many people can be seen wearing short sleeves.

Around the 20th of June, I have lost track of how it happened, but when we were having dinner together, someone said to Iwata-san, "Mr. Iwata, why don't you go to Brazil? Why don't you try to paint what you see there?"
Such a topic came up.
What would be born if Mr. Iwata painted the land and people of Brazil, a country with which the Suzuka community has no small connection?
The idea of "Japanese painting of Brazil" by Mr. Iwata was talked about here and there, and it was decided to send him out from the community.
In past years, Iwata would devote himself to his work for the Inten (Japan Art Institute Exhibition) in the autumn, but this year, Iwata decided to put his hopes on a visit to Brazil.

The mention of "traveling with Mr. Iwata" reminds me of a time decades ago, when we were students in Tokyo and had just gotten to know each other.
He had suddenly disappeared from our lives without telling us where he was going.
In those days, when there were no cell phones or smart phones, we tried asking around for him, but he was completely unknown to us. At the time, all we could do was to fret.
A few months later, he came back unexpectedly, and we all gathered at a small izakaya (Japanese-style pub) to listen to his story.
He told us that he had gone to a famous painter in the Kansai region to ask him to study under him, and that his wish had not been granted and that he had been wandering around. He had been facing a white canvas ever since his early elementary school days, I think it was around the time when he entered an art university and began to explore where he would go from here.

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Mr. Iwata arriving at the As One community in Brazil.

Some were concerned about his trip to Brazil from a health standpoint.
Several years ago, Mr. Iwata was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), an incurable disease in progress. He is unable to move his left hand as much as he would like, and the time and range of movement of his right hand, which holds the paintbrush, is becoming narrower and narrower day by day. Neck and shoulder pain has also become a regular problem. He receives an intravenous drip every other week for treatment, but it must be interrupted during the trip. We wondered if Mr. Iwata would be able to endure the long trip, which involves a flight of more than 24 hours on the outbound leg alone.

Three years ago, when we went to the university hospital in Shiga together to discuss his future treatment and lifestyle
"Anyway, let's eat well and live a healthy life. There is no cure at this stage, but medical science is advancing rapidly. Until then, let's eat well and live positively to slow the progression of ALS."
The specialist encouraged him strongly.
Since last year, there have been reports in the media that bosutinib, a drug used in the treatment of leukemia, may be effective for ALS. We were informed that the IPS Cell Research Institute of Kyoto University was going to start the second clinical trial of bosutinib in April of this year. We contacted them directly and tried to get in touch with them. As a result, he could not become a subject of the clinical trial, but it made us realize that the "time" that the specialist told us about was just around the corner.

No one knows when that "time" will come.
However, I believe that we are always being asked how we will spend each and every day until then. 
What should be the best way for Mr. Iwata to make the most use of his time now?
I think it is out of this that everyone's wish to "bring Mr. Iwata to Brazil" and Mr. Iwata's desire to "paint Brazil with Japanese paintings" came into being.

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Mr. Iwata in Brazil sends us pictures every day through SNS.
It is as if we are traveling together.


What is a masterpiece for you?
When asked, what picture comes to mind...
For me, there is one painting that comes to mind.
It is not a Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, or, I am sorry to say, Mr. Iwata's painting.
It probably no longer exists in this world.
When I was a child, I lived very close to Matsumoto Castle and looked up at the castle keep every day. One day, my family and I took some paints and papers and went to sketch the castle.
My father came along, which was unusual for him, and gazed absently my elder brother and I as we drew .
Toward the end of the drawing, my father took my paintbrush and began to quickly add color to a fresh sheet of paper.
Without a single rough sketch, the colors were applied without hesitation, and in no time at all, another "castle" was completed. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the work, and watched it with rapt attention.
"Now let's go home," said my father with a cool look on his face.
He was about to crumple up the picture he had just finished.
I hurriedly snatched it away and took it home.
As soon as I got home, I asked a favor of my mother,
" Put this picture in a frame and hang it in our room,"

She said,
"He is following in his parents' footsteps in this store business, but he might have become a painter if it were not. I think he is much better suited for that."
She hung the painting in the living room.
From that day on, that "castle" became Matsumoto Castle for me.

Since then, I have looked at that painting every day and adored it.
Whenever my friends came to visit, I would show them the picture and boast that my father had painted it and that this was how he looked at that time.
When I went to college and moved away from home a few years later, the painting was put away and gone.
It was probably the only work my father ever painted in his life.
It is the one painting that is now only in my mind.
I have no idea why, but it is the one and only masterpiece for me.

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Why have people been creating, appreciating, and bequeathing such things as pictures, music, and other forms of art since ancient times? It is not easy to say this is a big theme, but I feel that it is narrow to say that painting and music are the only forms of art. I have the feeling that everything that comes out of people's lives, even their housework and jobs, are in fact art in general.
If we look around calmly, we can see countless works of art created, refined, and polished by people from all over the world, from all ages and from all walks of life, lying here and there in the corners of society and in the corners of our daily lives. We are living on this mountain of treasures.
Mr. Iwata is not the only artist in our Community.

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At a market in Brazil. Sketch by Mr. Iwata.


Some people at the bento shop, some people growing vegetables at the farm, the members watching over our children's growth, the mothers who prepare food for everyone every day, the seniors who mow the grass, make repairs, and maintain the living environment, the grandmothers who mend and knit, in fact, they may all be artists in the community.

What would happen if each one of them mastered his or her field in a more playful way?
I am able to envisage that each person's own life itself would become a masterpiece of art, colored with the taste that only that person can bring out and the colors that only that person can add, and fragrant with dignity.
Even now, it seems as if an unknown picture is being painted day by day, moment by moment, on the grand, borderless canvas of community. Well, even if there are some mistakes or coloring errors, it is still me, you, and the canvas, which can be cleared and renewed at any time, so it is easygoing to do.

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Mr. Iwata at work on a sketch.

Among such hundred flowers blooming in profusion of artists, Mr. Iwata is one artist who is good at and specializes in painting.
He is scheduled to return to Japan on September 8.
He will spend two months turning the sketches he accumulated in Brazil into Japanese paintings, and will hold his first solo exhibition in three years from November 18 to 27. We are looking forward to seeing what he will be able to express there and what will appear....
Don't miss it !

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Mr. and Mrs. Minowa hosting Mr. Iwata in Brazil
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[Serial no.8] As One Every Day August 2022

Community Saijiki literary calendar



Summer Days Brief sketch

坂井和貴(Kazuki Sakai)



Community Saijiki litterature August Issue [Summer Days Brief sketch】

I woke up to multiple layers of sounds, coming from near and far, folding in on top of each other.
"Jiggidy jiggidy~ jiggidy jiggidy~ ・・・・"
I realize that midsummer has arrived.
As I opened the curtains, a cicada flew into the screen door and began to chirp.
The cicada's chirping was so loud that it vibrated the entire room.

On my way to work, I see clouds rising in the eastern sky.
The rice in the field to my right had grown to chest height, and the ears of rice were swelling.
Outside the full-length glass windows on the south side of the Suzuka Culture Station, a magnificent green curtain has formed, moderately blocking out the sunlight. Many bitter gourd fruits can now be seen.

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Bitter melon curtains, a summer tradition at Suzuka Culture Station

(Brief sketch, Part 1)
Valerie Madoka and Karla participated in this tour of the Suzuka community (an opportunity to see the community and get in touch with its life and people over the course of two days and one night). Coincidentally, they both came from Germany. During the tour, we met Heungmi from Korea, who has been living here for 6 years, and Tacky, who is currently studying at the ScienZ Academy...

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Karla and Valerie from Germany visiting the Suzuka community

Heungmi.
Living these days, I think...
I started to feel that I would like to have a child and raise it, and I started going to the hospital to do so -...I wonder how I came to think that way, and I think it might not have come up if I were on my own. I heard from my mother, "I really enjoyed having you and raising you, and I want you to experience it too," and my partner said, "I would like to live with our children in our home," and I heard from a number of other people in the community that they would like to do so, and that's how I felt. I guess I started to feel that way!
When we were discussing the next appointment date and time, the doctor would not just say when and when, but he would say, "I think it would be better to see Heung-mi a little earlier, so how about this day? " The doctor will think of something and say, "How about this day? That's both Dr. ○○ and Dr. XX. It's like it's not about me, even though it's about my body. It struck me as wonderful.

I don't know if I will actually be able to have children or not, but it's fun to see how these people are thinking and moving about me as if it were their own thing, and how such feelings are popping out of me.

Tacky.
Last night, there was a farewell party for those who are leaving after a year in the Academy, which reminded me that it's already July...
Exactly one year ago, I was in the middle of a big quarrel with a student at the Academy, and we had a very awkward relationship, and I didn't want to see her, so I was shut up in my room.
However staying in my room was just agony. I felt like I wanted everyone to listen to me, so I sent a message to the group line of the Academy students, and they all gathered in the living room.
Then I started to express my feelings, "Why do you always complain about others, prickly, prickly?" and that person started to say, "I don't want to do that either," As we all exchanged our thoughts, something inside me moved, and I realized that there was something in that person that compelled her to do so, and that she was now showing her feelings in that way. Until then, I could only see my own feelings of "I don't like it," but I noticed that she had her own world, and she was doing it that way...

Valerie Madoka
After listening to your stories...
In Germany, I am a project leader for a community development project, and sometimes I feel as if I am talking to a stone, not to a person.
Nothing comes from that kind of talk.
I feel now that what I want to do is also an exchange of "people to people"....

Karla
There are many eco-villages in Germany, and I have visited and experienced some of them.
Every eco-village has many events and festivals. People gather there from all over the place. It is fun at the time, but gradually everyone seems to get tired of it.
So it is not the events and festivals that are the focus of Heungmi and Tacky's enjoyment, but your daily lives.

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Time to interact with "Tacky" and "Heungmi" who live in the Suzuka community.

( Brief sketch, part 2)
I was eating in the dining room with five-year-old Sakuto when I spoke to him because he was using children's chopsticks with two pieces connected to each other.

Sakuto said,
"I can't use adult chopsticks yet.
But Sara can.
And Haru can use chopsticks, too.
Akari can't use them yet."
Sakuto talks about each of the children in the community he is growing up with.
What are they like to each other?
It seems that there is no such thing as "that child is usable but I' m not, I'm useless", which is interesting, but I wonder if that is really the nature of human-beings.
The cicadas that keep chirping, the clouds that rise, and the ears of rice that grow, if they were to compare them to the cicadas, clouds, and ears of rice next to them, it would make me laugh out loud.

When Sakuto was playing in a nearby park, a construction man was building a prefabricated warehouse. Sakuto stayed beside him for a while and watched.
He started handing screws one by one to the construction worker.
When he finished one screw, Sakuto said at the perfect moment,
"Hi!"
and handed the screws to the man.
The construction worker responded,
"Hi!"
And then one by one, one screw after another was inserted.
The exchange between the two continued until the warehouse was finally completed.
Sakuto and the construction worker had never met before.
And what is it that they were communicating with each other?

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" growing up in the community. Imitating his dads? Making mini rice paddies to grow rice

(Brief sketch, part 3)
Another scene. At the weekly [family meeting] of our community.

Junna.
(Opening) Ah, now that everyone is finally here, I can talk - I've been itching to tell you guys something, and I've been waiting for it since a while now...
Nanako.
(In the middle of the meeting) Oh, what should I do? I still had something to tell you. Can I go on and talk about it? I've been waiting for the meeting since last night ...

Where does this feeling of wanting to talk to [family members] of our community and have them listen to me even when they' re 40 or 50 years old come from?
"Hey, Mom, listen to me. listen to me."
I guess it's only natural, since that's how we all grew up....

( Brief sketch, part 4)
Valerie Madoka is an architect and filmmaker. She was born to a Japanese father and a German mother. She grew up in Germany all her life and speaks very little Japanese. In Germany, her father did not speak Japanese at all, and he never taught her.
She is currently trying to create a short artistic piece about the Suzuka community.
When we were eating together, I said to her,
"You are good with chopsticks.
"My father didn't teach me Japanese, but he taught me how to use chopsticks.”
She laughed.
"Oh yeah, do you want some natto?"
I asked her.
"My father used to eat natto, and I tried it once, but I couldn't."
She said.
I remember a TV program on a foreigner who had eaten all kinds of delicacies from all over the world, and he tried his hand at natto. He was very confident, but he gave up immediately after smelling it.
Madoka looked at me curiously while I was eating natto, saying it was delicious.
I think "likes" and "dislikes" are not very meaningful things at all.
It is simply created by the environment, and can be changed in any way depending on the environment.
It is a relative thing, but we make it into an absolute value in our mind, which is a very stupid thing to do.
Is "good/bad" and "superiority/inferiority" the same thing? It's all in our mind.
They have nothing to do with "the thing, the person, itself"

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Valerie is an architect and filmmaker. "I want to tell the story of the community through images."


Madoka, Nanako, and Naoe
It was the first time the three of them met and had dinner in the dining room.
Madoka, who can speak German, French, and English fluently but understands almost no Japanese, Naoe, who has stayed in Australia for two years but cannot speak English at all, and Nanako, who has lived in Brazil for over 20 years and admits to being halfway through Japanese, Portuguese, and English, were all worried before dinner, wondering if they would be able to communicate with each other. After dinner, the three of them, all in the same age bracket, were like old friends or even sisters in girl talk. I thought I was the most fluent English speaker among the three, but I was left behind, unable to keep up with their fast-paced conversation.
Until just an hour ago, these three had never met or talked to each other.
Without this chance, they might never have gotten to know each other in their entire lives.
It's so amazing how "people to people" are...what is it about?

Summer days Brief sketch in the Suzuka community, one corner of the earth.
Each of these sketches may seem to be a common scene that could be found anywhere in the world.
But why is it that they do not feel separate from each other, even though the scenes and people are different from each other?
The visible appearances are all different from each other, but I wonder if they are somehow connected to the source from which they emerge.

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Summer sky seen from Suzuka Shirako Port



The summer clouds that spring up day by day, changing their appearance.
Where and how do they come from?
We "people" and "people to people" change our expressions day by day.
What is the origin of the emergence?
And then,
Any appearance that comes to the surface
Every figure
Any expression
I adore...
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Academy students studying at Suzuka Community 【Everyday life watching the sky together】
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[Serial no.8] As one Every Day July 2022

Community Saijiki literary calendar


Big Boys

坂井和貴(Kazuki Sakai)


Climbing the gently sloping steps and standing on the embankment.
The great ocean stretches out before us.
"Ach, es ist das Meer~"
The sea breeze gently embraces the three big guys as they exclaim in admiration.
"Oh, es ist eine weiße Welle".

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*From left to right, Patrick Alex Andre (visiting from Switzerland)

The white waves lapping here and there made us feel as if we were in the "living sea.
As if drawn by the waves, Patric descended to the beach, following the tetrapods. Andre, Alex, and I soon followed.
Patrick arrived at the beach first, quickly took off his shoes and socks, and pulled up his slacks to just above the knees, looking like he was ready to go. At that point, the three big guys instantly became "boys" and began to play with the sea.

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They went to the beach, jumped in the surf, picked up shells, talked to children fishing, and walked barefoot on the beach for nearly an hour....
For the three of them, who live in Switzerland and are surrounded by mountains and have no access to the sea, the beach was an exceptionally enjoyable place to visit. It was not until some time later that I realized that it was not only because of the unfamiliarity with the sea....

I met Patrick as a young man on my way to explore a new society that had never existed before. We have been friends for 30 years now, and we have been friends with each other since our children were in the same school, but I had never seen him in such a vivid state before.
If I' d left them alone, they would have made it all the way to the port of Nagoya.
So I said, "Come on, big boys. Let's go home now.
I said to them.

Until the day before, Andre and Alex had attended the June As One Seminar held in Suzuka. They had come all the way across the ocean from Switzerland, not for sightseeing or business, but just to experience a week of the seminar. Patrick was in as their interpreter.

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*Three people from Switzerland attended the [June As One Seminar].

Andre has been working for more than 30 years in Switzerland to create a peaceful society without war and conflict. Even for him, the seminar was a shocking experience.
"I had always known this in my head, but for the first time, it really hit home to me. What has happened before is what has happened before, and from this point on, I really want to start from a zero," he said.
He revealed his heart with a "gentle red ogre" look on his face.
Alex, a 37-year-old man, seemed to be attracted to the ScienZ Academy, where people of his age are also studying, and he said, "I want to come back to Suzuka with my friends and partners in Switzerland to send me off. For me right now, studying at the Academy is the fastest way to get back to my true self." And.... Their eyes shone even more brightly than when they were frolicking in the sea.

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During their stay, they had dinner with members of the As One Suzuka community.

With the pandemic seemingly temporarily over, the number of visitors to the Suzuka community is increasing, not only from Japan but also from overseas.
The vegetable finishing area of the SUZUKA Farm is also crowded with newly enrolled academy students and participants in the hands-on experience and training programs.

Then, an "incident" broke out!
When Toshiyuki, a member of the farm since its establishment more than 10 years ago, popped into the busy finishing area. A young girl suddenly said to him
"Excuse me, are you here for your first experience?
Toshiyuki replied,
"No, actually, I've been working here for about 10 years.
The whole group burst into laughter.

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Toshiyuki Tanifuji and his daughter Hana-chan from SUZUKA Farm

Toshiyuki is mainly engaged in planting, managing, and harvesting rice paddies and fields, and is often on the road, so he is not always at the finishing line. As you know, this is a common occurrence when there are a lot of new employees in any workplace or gathering, but it is still funny.
“There is no newcomer with such a dark, tanned face on the farm," said Toshiyuki.
By the way, it is not only people who are busy on the farm. Summer vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, and potatoes are being harvested in earnest. Starting with bright red ripe tomatoes, local customers are happily welcoming the vegetables picked in the morning.

One person who has visited the community many times recently is Shinichiro Hino. (a.k.a. Mr. Nissin).

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Shinichiro Hino, a member of the As One Network Okayama, also participated in the painting.

He joined the community members in painting the roof, which we introduced in our Saijiki last month, and played an active role.
He was enjoying painting as his own thing more than anyone else, and he said,
"I'm going to paint this roof.I'm not leaving until I'm done painting,"
he said, and eventually extended his stay to see it through to the end. It was hard to imagine that he was over 70 years old.
Mr. Nisshin, who is also a first-class architect at Hino Kankyo Design Laboratory, came down from Okayama two or three times before and after the event with his own hand to design buildings and facilities for the community.
"Mr. Hino, after all, can't we make this place more like this?"
Koichi, Ryu, and the other younger members of the community repeatedly asked him what they thought was an impossible task.
Mr.Nisshin responds to their repeated and seemingly unreasonable requests with, "Oh, yes, that would certainly be interesting.
Through these responses, I sense that something dormant within Mr. Hino is being drawn out.
“This is the ninth time I've had to rewrite a drawing...I've never had to do that before..."
He looks like a little boy as he happily says so.
I wonder what kind of buildings will be constructed by the combination of his skilled skills and his boyish heart.
And the day before yesterday
"Mr. Motoyama is starting work on the dining room addition here!
I sent an e-mail to him.
He replied, "I'll be there as soon as I finish my chores over here!
Nisshin-san's momentum knows no bounds.
He is truly "progressing day by day.

It is natural for animals to live "according to their instincts.
It is natural for human beings to live "according to their true hearts.
Then, what is the "true heart"? 
What are the desires, will, and feelings that come from the heart?

We often say or hear the words " repulsion," "resistance," " defiance," "aversion," and the like, but what does it really mean?
I have never seen anyone, including myself, who " are repulsed, resisted, defiant, or averse from the bottom of their hearts. I don't think there is a single person who can do that.
Even if someone is repulsed or resists something, it doesn't seem to be from the "bottom of their heart. In fact, it may be very superficial.
What do I want to do "from the bottom of my heart"?
What do you want to do "from the bottom of your heart"?
A "person with a heart like a boy" is a person who is in direct connection with his or her true heart.
If we could live in an environment where we could live with each other with only our simple, heartfelt desires, wills, and feelings, what kind of day would we have, and what kind of life would we lead?
If only there was an environment where everyone could live "from the heart"...

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The morning after our visit to the ocean, Patrick wanted to catch the first train, so I dropped him off at the station around 5:00. He said he was going to do some work in Tokyo and take a night flight from Haneda to Zurich. In the car, we talked about Julia, Patrick's daughter who entered the ScienZ Academy this May.
"GOTTUN!"
I always feel sorry for Patrick, who is well over 190 cm, but Japanese cars are too small for him, and he inevitably hits his head when getting off the car.
As we were standing in front of the ticket gate, I said to him.
"Patrick, you are finally going to a seminar in Switzerland in July, aren't you?
"Yes, that's right!
Patrick said calmly.
"I'm looking forward to it."
I waved my hand and said.
“I'm sure we'll figure something out. See you later!”
He smiled mischievously and turned on his heel.
The As One Seminar will be held in Europe for the first time on July 17.
After years of preparation and traveling back and forth between Japan and Switzerland, Patrick will be hosting the seminar.
With the support of Andre and Alex.
With this seminar as a starting point, new horizons will expand from a corner of Europe.
With a gait that clearly showed what was already in his mind, Patrick disappeared onto the station platform.
"When I leave the Academy, I want to become someone who can conduct seminars in Europe with my father," Julia said.
Such words from Julia seemed to push the big boy Patric back.
"Wir sehen uns wieder, Brüder."

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*Scenery of Switzerland The first as-one seminar is scheduled to be held in Switzerland in July.

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[Serial no.7] As One Every Day June 2022

Community Saijiki literary calendar


Nichinichi Kore...(Our daily lives are …)

坂井和貴(Kazuki Sakai)


Nobu-chan, one of my old friends living in Tokyo, came to visit us. It was just the day before yesterday.
She stopped by on her way back from a trip to Kyoto, so we only talked for about two hours at the community café space.

She wanted to see Mr. Iwata's Japanese paintings hanging at the entrance.

She asked Mr. Iwata many questions one after another, such as
"Hey Takashi, how did you draw these lines?"
"Oh, it's so wonderful to be able to ask the artist directly!"
She was delighted to be able to ask Iwata face-to-face.

Nobuchan, who has made it her life's work to paint pictures herself, said,
"Now, Takashi, you paint every day, don't you? What motivates you to do it?

He replied, "Before, I used to think that I would paint something like this or win an award, but those were extraordinary motivations. Now, painting has become my "everyday" life. I wonder if I am painting the "everyday. If that's the case,"
" I wonder what kind of paintings you are doing." Nobuchan murmured.

The two of them never stopped talking about painting. I was watching them with a smile on my face.

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Painter "Takashi Iwata" who lives and paints in the community


Nobuchan, Mr. Iwata, and I were friends in our school days, when we were active in the "Tokyo Young People's Association," which, in retrospect, is a very lame name for a group of people. When we started talking, we immediately warped back to those days.
It was a period of less than two years, but it was the kind of day that would create a relationship that would last a lifetime.

"Iwata-san and I are now part of the same [family] in the community."
I began to explain to Nobuchan, who knew little about this place.
"The Suzuka community is like a big family, but there are about five [families] within it, and each [family] has its own meetings, meals, and other activities to see and get to know each other. Our[ family] even held a solo exhibition of Mr. Iwata's paintings, and we are planning to do it again this autumn..." and so on.
And as we talk, I find myself looking back and wondering what kind of "daily life" we are leading.

The "sa" in "Satsuki"(May in Japanese) means rice dedicated to the god of rice fields or early seedlings planted in May. This is the time of year when the rice paddies are in full swing, and with the planting of course comes the chorus of frogs.
From the window of the community dining room, we can see a small rice field about two-tenths hectare across the road.
At dinner time, the orchestral sound is so loud that one would think that all the frogs in the Suzuka area have gathered in those rice paddies.
Every Thursday evening, it is our [ family's] turn to create a place where the community members who come to the dining room can relax and enjoy dinner. Men and women of all ages come by, and we can see the faces of the recently enrolled Academy students and those who have come from around the country to experience and practice the program. It's not like being on duty or in charge, but the feeling of harmony in a family.

After sending off everyone who is satisfied and cleaning up, the tea time with [family] members is also very special. We chat, listen to each other's petty stories, and lose track of time.
We asked, "Where did frogs live before we planted the rice?"
"Well, maybe they were hibernating in the rice paddies."
"But if they did, they would have died on the rotary of the cultivator before rice planting."
"That's true. Then, did they come from somewhere watching the rice planting?"
"But I've never seen a parade of frogs coming to the rice paddies!"
I googled it for the time being.
"Well, it says they are in the grass, mountains, and forests."
"We are in a residential area with a few rice paddies, so there are no mountains or forests nearby, and I don't see any grassy areas."
The conversation was about trivial matters, but Nana, Lucio, Reiko, and Toshimi all felt a sense of curiosity like they did when they were children.

Later that day, I was passing by that rice field. I saw three-year-old Akari playing in Tachibana Park diagonally across the street, so I called out to her.
She pointed and said, "Look, there's a frog in the hump of this tree!"
"There are more frogs in the grass here."
"Oh~, really? Where are they?"
I was so surprised to notice that even in a town like this, there are many places to find frogs, and I couldn't wait to tell my family members about it the following Thursday.
Iwata-san suddenly said, "I have discovered how to stop the chorus of frogs." Our family's frog research continues.

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We're gonna paint the roof of the SCS!
Let's do it together!
The roof is rusting.
We will do it on May 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
SCS is our building and we'd like to keep it for a long time to come.
I want to take this opportunity to paint it together .
The work is very easy and we want to do it with our own people and not outsource it.

I want to finish it all at once before it gets too hot, when it's cooler and drier.
We have something for everyone, young and old, men and women, so we can get in an hour when we have some free time.
I'm going to make it so you can go up the stairs.
Just look at it 👀!
It'll be fun! I'm sure it will be.


Responding to a LINE message from Koichi, a community member, the Academy students and our children climbed up the stairs to the roof set up by the scaffolders one after another. From rust removal to rust prevention, and finally, each [family] climbed up on the roof to get covered in paint.
During the "Golden Week", a week consecutive national holidays, we were blessed with fine weather and painted the roof, which is more than 500 tatami mats in size, in one color of silver paint. Exactly the Silver Week?

As Mr. Yagi often says.
"We live in a very big house. We have rooms all over the place, and we walk down a long driveway to SCS (Suzuka Culture Station), where everyone's dining and living rooms are located. It's a huge mansion~."

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"We rethatch the big roof of our own house by ourselves."
"We rethatch it ourselves, so it will be more our house."
Rethatching thatched roofs in Shirakawa-go, famous for its gassho-zukuri style of architecture. There is a group called " Kumi" or "Yui," and everyone in the village rethatches one house in one day.

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My mother's birthplace was in a mountain village with a thatched roof.
I asked my grandfather, "Grandpa, don't the rain and snow sink into the house? He replied, "You see, we have a fire here on the hearth. This smoke goes up to the roof and dries and smokes the thatch. This is what makes a thatched roof strong. So you don't have to worry about it."
In such a house, we live together in peace and security, so we become closer and closer.

I think family is so interesting. Children cannot choose their parents, grandparents, or siblings.
They just happen to be born there, become children of that family, and live together.
It is not that they live together because they are close, or because they are intimate with each other, in the beginning.
We don't have a special day, we just go about our daily lives, one day at a time.
But as we live, we become a family. Before you know it, you become intimate and close, and a bond is formed that will never be shaken unconsciously.

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Today's [family] is somewhat similar.
Each of us did not choose to be a part of this [family], but we became a [family] by chance.

And we live together, one day at a time, in a normal, non-special way.

We are close to each other, but because we live together, we become even closer, we melt into each other.
Then you will want to live together more and more. We become unshakable "one".
Not only the [families], but the entire community will be filled with such a spirit.
And not just the community...

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After my activities in the Tokyo Young People's Association, I chose a completely different career path than my parents had hoped for.
I still have a letter in my desk from my mother, who was very much against it, and who was saddened and cried a lot.
"If you have decided on that path, you should finish it."
I became aware of the awesomeness of my parents. Those words at the end of the letter have been one of my driving forces for a long time.
No matter what happens, no matter what I do, family will always be family. My mother and father would never change, they would always look after me, they would always love me, there was no way they would ever hate me or give up on me, and no matter what I did, I would always be okay. I was always driven by a kind of air that floated in the depths of my heart, which was different from my consciousness, and it always became a gentle tailwind to move me along.

The air current that has been formed by living together with my father, mother, brother, and grandparents every day as a family has been unshakable and clear.
Riding on this current comfortably, I have seen people, interacted with people, and lived with people. .
I have made many friends and associates, and my relationships with them have deepened into brothers and sisters and family members.
When I became a parent, I realized that there was a never-ending wellspring that overflowed from within me, and that I would continue to pour out to my children. I soon came to realize that it is not limited to my own children.

And then there is the daily life in the current community.
The daily life depicted in Mr. Iwata's paintings, the daily life that appears in each person's place of work, the daily life that emerges in our daily lives...
The "daily life of play" that is unnoticed and danced with ingenuity and love on each stage in each corner of the community...
Where does this day by day life lead us?
Where shall we direct the overflow of our lives?
No matter what happens, no matter what we do, my [family] will not leave us alone, and no one will be left alone.
Being in the same lotus, not a lotus, but a big boat, day by day...our daily lives are…

Late last night, Ina-chan sent a picture to the [family] group LINE.
"Fireflies are flying above our rice paddies."

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Akari, Kokoro, Hana, Natsuki, Umi, Tatsumi, Sakuto...the faces of the children of the community, one after another, come to mind as their eyes light up at the glowing fireflies.
The rice paddies are about to be filled with early summer activity.
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[Serial no.6] As One Every Day May 2022

Playing with Building Blocks

I think it was the summer of my third year in elementary school, when the boys' choir I belonged to at the time held a camp.
It was an annual event for about 50 elementary school students held every summer vacation at Nakabusa Onsen, the entrance to Mount Tsubakuro in the Northern Alps. The buses would rock them up a narrow gravel road with no guardrails, for several tens of minutes.

北アルプス

The location is at an altitude of 1,462 meters above sea level. We slept in a large cabin-like building beside a magnificent mountain stream, and then ascended a long flight of stairs to a splendid indoor hot spring pool.
Various memories come back to me, but I can't help laughing when I can't find any memory of the crucial chorus practice.

That summer, on the eve of the last day of the camp, the weather in the mountains was wild and stormy.
When we went outside the next morning, we found that the mountain stream, which had been so clear, had turned into a muddy brown stream, covered with splashing water, and large rocks were being washed away with a rumbling sound.
We cheered at the sheer force of it all.
Soon after, the choir teachers informed us.
"There have been several cliff collapses on the mountain roads. We can't go down the mountain today."
We cheered again.
"We can stay here with the others longer."
"Yay, what are we going to do?"
"Teacher, no more choir practice!"
"・・・・・"
We were so glad for the cliffhanger.
From there on, it was all fun and paradise.
We ran around to see the muddy stream, played cards and ping-pong, dove into the brown, bottomless hot spring pool and played ninja, watched high school baseball on TV, and played as much as we wanted.
I don't know how many days we stayed, but when we ran out of food, the rescue team that came up the mountain carrying their backpacks gave us rice balls to eat and we cheered again.

In this day and age, it would have made the big news that "Children stranded at Nakabusa Onsen Hot Springs due to a cliff collapse were left alone and helpless."
The situation might have made the national news.
I am sure that the adults were big-hearted about the situation, and we children were just happy to play with each other. I don't think we were anxious or worried.
I don't know if we were aware that something might have happened, but the adults would take care of it, and we just left the whole thing to the adults and were floating in the calm sea of peace of mind.
I think everyone has probably had a similar experience.

"How can children laugh and play under such circumstances?"
I sometimes see such scenes like that. Recently, more and more. I am surprised at the sight of them, and at the same time somewhat relieved and relieved, but I also wonder if that is the original nature of us human beings.
It's also the reason why we doze off on trains and buses.
We are quick to put water or food in our mouths.
We can breathe in and breathe out the air of wherever we are and with whomever we are with.
It's in our nature to do so.
Most of the day is spent in such a way that we let our guard down.
We don't suspect nature, society, or people at all.

We live relaxed and defenseless without checking every single thing such as who is driving the car or who made the food, and soon.

Speaking of " Losing Strength”
Right across from the Suzuka Culture Station, there is a children's gymnastics class.
There is a large glass window, and every day there is a crowd of parents who come to watch their children's gymnastic activities from outside.
Just across the street, I caught a glimpse of a boy doing a nice big wheel on the bars in front of me.
I was amazed at how he was spinning so effortlessly, even though it takes a lot of strength to go up and down.
I observed that he seemed to be "relaxed" all the time.
His body was flexible like a whip. His hands were not clenched tightly around the bars, and some of his fingers were floating. I am sure that he is working efficiently only in his core and other necessary parts of his body, and is not straining in any unnecessary parts of his body.
Looking back at myself, I realize that I would not be able to do the big wheel of life if I had to be on guard and defensive at every turn, with all my muscles and mind tense. To keep spinning comfortably and to play around forever, we simply loosen up, let our guard down, and let our true nature take over.

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Since its opening in 2010, the Suzuka Culture Station, which is located in the center of the community, has undergone the "customary" remodeling work.
Visitors often ask, "What's changed again? They are right.
From the outside, it may seem unplanned and inefficient.
I have often reflected on what I would have done if I had been able to envision the future, and I will leave that for the future, but for now, the expansion work is underway to prepare for the movement of the five Korean students who entered the Academy this spring and the young people who will follow them.
Mr. Motoyama, a carpenter in the community, is working on the project.
Not only here, but also at the community's offices, facilities, and the houses where each of them live, if there is anything that needs to be done...
"Mr. Motoyama!"
is always called out to him.
"The toilet is clogged."
"The wallpaper is peeling."
"I need a new air conditioner."
"I want the floor waxed."
"I want the rust removed from the roof."
"・・・・・"
There is no way to describe the sense of comfort and familiarity we feel when we can call on him anytime, over and over again, no matter what the need. It has become as natural as breathing the air, but it has soaked into the heart of each and every one of us in the community.
And there is Mr. Motoyama, who responds to that feeling.
This is also a matter of course, but I have never been criticized for doing something like that from him.
"How do you want to do it?"
It is pleasant and enjoyable just to have a conversation about how to do it. Even if I make changes in the middle of the process, he responds with a "yes, yes, yes! So I can say or ask as many times as I want without hesitation. And finally, I am fully satisfied with the finished product.
For me, it's like having a big brother who is always there with his carpentry tools among the big family, saying, "All right, Leave it to me". So I leave it all up to him.

Mr. Yagi, who works with me at the office of HUB, laughed and said, "I have never thanked Mr. Motoyama even though he has fixed a lot of things fo us."
That is the kind of relationship we have with each other.
The existence of one person like him is really significant.

motoyama
(Mr. Motoyama, the community's carpenter. 1st left)

The current renovation is like a bunch of grown-ups getting together to play with blocks.
"I want to open up the dining room, so I want to empty out the food storage room next door."
"Well, let's turn this interview room into a storage room..."
"Let's move the clothes closet and renovate that room into a meeting room."
"We can install the sliding door of the clothes closet directly into the food storage room."
"Can't the hallway be converted into a dining room?"
"Then let's move the temporary storage in the hallway to this storage room."
"・・・・・・・・"
The ideas kept coming, cool ideas, unoriginal ideas, unusual ideas, and gradually, breakthrough ideas began to emerge among everyone.
We are planning to complete the project around the end of May, but I wonder how it will turn out.
I wonder how it will look to visitors at that time.
Piling, breaking down, piling again...
It is fun to assemble the blocks, and it is also fun to break them down.

This may be a bit of confidential information, but the answer to Mr. Yagi's question, "What is your favorite animal? The answer is "human."
Playing with building blocks is fun because you are playing with people.
Because people come close together, more and more interesting blocks are created.
(For example, I get nervous because there are other people around, or I get anxious about what someone says or does.)
Even if you have a habit of getting stuck in a "The maze in your head that doesn't exist" that you have somehow acquired, you can easily get out of it.
But if you slip out of it, you will be aware that what is in front of you is only a human being, and he or she will clearly come into your sight .
You are a human being, I am a human being, and when we meet, what shall we play together?
Because we feel at safe and calm among humans, we can play with the building blocks.
Because there are always people around, there is no fear that the blocks will fall apart, or even if they do, there is no worry.
If we are swept away together with humans, there is no difference in our enjoyment, whether in clear or muddy stream.

"My favorite animal?" I think it's "human".
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