For our children, elders work on restoration with patience.
There is one more person who devotes himself to a grassroots campaign to provide local activities for children. Mr. Yoyu Nakajo, was born and raised in Niibori, the city of Sakata. After retirement from a local agricultural cooperative, based out of a local community center, he hosts and operates a river fishing event, and guides the planting of rice for schoolchildren. “Even in Shonai, that good old communication still remains, though peoples’ connections have become urbanized. Because of the decrease of farmers, kids neither go to rice fields, nor play at the river. Teaching children about locally caught fish, the process of rice producing, and moreover, who we are, are our important missions.”
By greeting someone on the street, locals feel responsible for the welfare of children. These are key to making a local community work and being strong, Mr. Nakajo emphasizes. “This doesn’t necessarily imply that I want children to stay in Shonai, nor to not want them to leave for a big city. I would rather they go outside of their boundaries and broaden their knowledge. But if they had a connection with their local community as a child, they may return to their roots.” A son of Mr. Nakajo, who attended university and worked in Tokyo, actually returned. “He always did zakkoshime, aka catching crayfish, when he was a child. As I heard it, he ate them raw right after catching them.”
Trying to keep something from vanishing, trying even gingerly to reduce something that gained too much, passing these substantial activities on to the following generations… even from different perspectives and with different approaches, elders look towards the future. Mr. Kudo, who breeds the “garage fireflies”, says, “Restoring fireflies has become a popular activity in many places, but it hasn't necessarily succeeded. Patience is needed more than technique in breeding them.” In September, the styrene foam containers are full of plump Luciola cruciata (firefly) larvae, which have been feeding on Procambarus clarkii (freshwater snails). They will be released in the coming April and become adults in June. Compared to fluorescent or LED lights, the firefly's light is so weak, but that small brightness of life represents these peoples’ intentions and is irreplaceable.