Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Labor Thanksgiving Day

November 23, is a national holiday in Japan. The holiday has its origins in the mists of the past, two thousand five hundred years ago, as a celebration of the November grain harvests. While the Imperial household still calls it by the old name - Niiname sai (first taste) - and it is still celebrated as such at the Imperial Palace and Shinto shrines around the country, the 1948 law which made it "Labor Thanksgiving Day" and made it a legal holiday, dedicated it to labor and industry (reflecting the times) and a time to thank one another.

While I certainly appreciate the efforts of others, personally, when it comes to "production" I am more in tune with gratitude for food, than for industry, and hope Japan will do more to retain its own food production. Presently, Japan only supplies around 39 percent of the calories consumed in the country and must import the rest. It would be sad indeed to see us slip to the position in which South Korea finds itself - growing only 13% of its food needs and being dependent on countries like China and the USA, with all the food safety and security hazards that implies.

Regardless of the origins of our respective national holidays, we can all benefit from having an attitude of gratitude for the people, animals, and plants which sustain us - as I do the people who read this humble blog.

For an interesting perspective on food and gratitude, check out this excellent video about "Satoyama" - areas in which people work to create a balance with agricultural lands, secondary forests, artificial wetlands, and grasslands to create a sustainable life from the ecosystem. "Food" for thought...

Until next, in sincere gratitude, Sweet Sailing.

PS - for more information about Satoyama, visit Satoyama Initiative


Baydog said...

Happy LTHXG to you as well! What are some traditional foods that you might eat later on today?

Pandabonium said...

Thanks. No special meal involved, the old holiday involved the Emperor tasting the first rice and dedicating all the harvests to the gods. The new version is just to thank people for the work they do and to think about peace, human rights, the environment and so on.

Example - school kids go to the police "kobans" (posts) and station to offer their appreciation in the form of drawings they made in school.

Arkonbey said...

Satoyama = awesome! Is it growing?

Don Snabulus said...

I am thankful for your friendship and hope our lack of yard chemicals and composting contributes to our own local satoyama in some way. Enjoy your weekend!

Pandabonium said...

Arkonbey - it is a wonderful concept, but difficult to maintain and grow in the industrial world. The good news is that as we are reaching resource restraints to growth around the world, more people recognize the need for Satoyama in a real sense, not just a buzzword like "sustainability" and "eco-friendly" have become. There is a growing effort to make progress, but there are many obstacles (like the Trans Pacific Partnership economic agreement which, if adopted, could destroy Japanese farmers). Japan's Ministry of Environment and the UN University Institute of Advanced Studies have joined to create the Satoyama Initiative, designed to implement Satoyama around the world. I hope it does grow. Certainly it finds resonance in the "transition" movement addressing resource limits, peak oil, etc.

Thanks for all your comments and support on the blogs and personally.

Don - it's all good. We all do what we can. I am thankful for your friendship as well and your levelheaded perspective on life. Best wishes to all the Snabbies. :)

Sandscraper said...

Happy Thanksgving to you and Kimie!
Keep the blogish coming.

I really enjoyed your last post, I will attempt to learn more about that.