NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/8/19


和太鼓集団 GOCOO Wadaiko-syuudan gokuu Japanese Taiko Drum Group “GOCOO”

Jp En

GOCOO (pronounced gokuu) is a Japanese Taiko Drum band that, while playing more than 40 Japanese drums, creates the sound and beat of mother earth. The band consist of 7 female and 4 male members who generate their original sound that cannot simply be categorized as traditional, folk or rock music. The sound is more primitive and trance-like and it is beyond nationality and music genre. The core of the band is its leader, Kaori Asano, who possesses the enchanting power of a modern shaman.
Ms. Asano brings her sticks down with full power as she swings her long hair as in a shishi lion dance.
Ms. Asano has said: “On stage, there comes a moment when daily affairs are stripped down to nothing but “love” and “gratitude” - the most genuine feelings of our souls.  I think this must be what was originally intended by the idea of having a “festival”.   I am often told that I am expressing something new but in truth, the newest things are intimately connected with the oldest things”
  The band was formed in 1997 and GOCOO is highly regarded in Japan as well as in other countries.  They have performed more than 100 shows abroad, including Europe. Their music was used in the movie, Matrix. GOCOO also performed their music at the opening of the Earth Summit in 2008 as an Asian representative.  
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2008/4/22


地蔵菩薩 Jizou-bosatsu Jizou Bosatsu

Jp En

Jizou Bosatsu or Jizo Bodhisttava is one of the Bodhisttavas or saints worshiped in Buddhism.  Jizou is a Japanese translation of the Sanskrit word, Kshitigarbha, the name of a Bodhisattva which means “Earth Womb”.
Jizou appears generally as a shaven-headed figure wearing a Buddhist priest’s surplice with a tin cane in his right hand and a houjyu ball in his left hand.
For 5 billion 670 million years between the death of Buddha and the emergence of Miroku Bosatsu or Bodhisattva Maitreya, Jizou is believed to save mankind caught in the “Six Realms of Reincarnation”. It is therefore common to see Six-Jizou statues, each representing a state of six different rebirths, being worshipped in all parts of Japan.
In Japan, belief in Jizo Bosatsu started to spread among people after the “Pure Land” belief took popularity in the Heian period. Later, Six-Jizo worship became prevalent all over Japan, eventually merging with Douso - an ancient belief born  in Japan, These were the foundation of what we see today.  
Bosatsu is the second highest Buddha after Nyorai or the Healing Buddha. Despite that elevated status, Jizo Bosatsu declared he won`t go back to the world of Bodhisattva until he realizes the salvation of all beings. He is believed to continue travelling the six realms of reincarnation on foot to salvage the souls of all beings.
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2008/1/8


北海道神宮 Hokkaidou-jinguu Hokkaido Jingu Shrine

Jp En

Hokkaido Jingu Shrine located in Miyagaoka, Chuo-ku, Sapporo City is one of the major shrines in Hokkaido. The enshrined deities are Okunitama no Kami, Onamuchi no Kami, Sukunahikona no Kami and Emperor Meiji. It was founded in 1869, when the Meiji government decided to set on the development of the land in Hokkaido and they enshrined the three deities to guard the land. In 1871, the name of this new shrine was decided as Sapporo Shrine and the construction of the buildings started. Since then the shrine has been worshipped as the guardian god of Hokkaido as well as the family god of the people living in this island. In 1964, Emperor Meiji was enshrined together and it changed the name to Hokkaido Jingu Shrine.

The precinct is known as a cherry blossom viewing spot. On the annual festival day in June, mikoshi and floats with ohayashi musicians parade in the city. The shrine is selected as “the New Ichinomiya Shrine of Ezo Province (literally meaning “a modern version of the first shrine of Ezo province)” by a civilian shrine pilgrimage group named Zenkoku Ichinomiya-Kai.
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2007/10/26


風蓮湖 Fuuren-ko Lake Furen

Jp En

Lake Furen is a brackish lake located between Nemuro City and Betsukai-cho in Hokkaido. It is the 3rd largest lake in Hokkaido. Being a part of Notsuke-Furen Prefectural Natural Park, the area around the lake has wide variety of land features such as sandbanks, meadows, swamps and virgin forests, where various species of flora and fauna inhabit.

From June to August, rugosa roses, Ezosukashiyuri (Lilium maculatum ssp. dauricum) and Sendaihagi (Thermopsis lupinoides) produce red, yellow and purple pretty flowers one after another to create a large flower garden all around the area.

Known as the water bird’s paradise, it is visited by the nation’s largest species of swan. Swans come flying from the early September to the end of December, and winter here till the middle of March or early May. About 240 species of other wild birds including red-crowned cranes, black woodpeckers and yellow-breasted buntings can be spotted in the area, which has become a popular spot for bird watching.
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知床五湖 Shiretoko-goko The Shiretoko Five Lakes

Jp En

The word “Shiretoko” comes from “Sir-etok,” meaning “the end of the land” in the Ainu language. In primeval forests in this end of the land are the mystic lakes called Shiretoko Five Lakes (Shiretoko Goko). There are no rivers feeding these lakes. They were created by the rain and snow collected between strata as the groundwater and springing out over the years.

You can walk around the five lakes in about an hour by following the natural trail. If “Ikko (the 1st lake)” and “Niko (the 2nd lake)” are enough to see, it takes only about 30 minutes.

With a variety of flora and fauna, the area deserves to be called a primeval paradise. If you are lucky, you will have a chance to see Ezo squirrels or Ezo deer on your way.

You will be deeply impressed by the panoramic view of the Shiretoko mountain range seen from the observatory on a nearby hill as well as by the reflected images of surrounding trees on the calm surface of the lakes.
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2007/10/24


格子状防風林 Koushijou-boufuurin Great Green Grid

Jp En

Great Green Grid is a lattice-shaped windbreak forest in Konsen Plateau in the eastern part of Hokkaido. It is a globally “large-scale” forest, which can’t be constructed in this country except in Hokkaido. It is registered as one of Hokkaido Heritages.
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