The violent rainy season has come to an end, but not before inflicting serious damage on Kyushu.
Once on the lookout for heavy rain, we are now sweating in the intense heat. Here are some noteworthy quotes from July, when the high price of eel put a damper on our appetite for grilled "unagi," a traditional summer food to which people turn to beat the heat.
High school baseball players worked hard to get their ticket to Koshien Stadium, the historic ballpark in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, and the venue of the National High School Baseball Championship. Tsuyoshi Asai, 79, manager of the baseball team at Jissen Gakuen Senior High School in Tokyo, led his players, who are young enough to be his grandchildren, under a scorching sun.
"Each of the errors the players make in a game has nothing to do with their future," Asai said. "They will understand it when they live a long time. That's why I tell them not to be afraid to make mistakes and enjoy themselves."
This year marks the centennial of the completion of the first Tsutenkaku tower, an Osaka landmark. Referring to the current tower, which was built after the first one burned down in a fire, actor Hidekazu Akai, 52, said: "Although it is short-legged and dumpy, I think it is the only tower in Japan which stands firmly in the local community. Whenever I return there, it makes me want to say, 'I'm back.' "
The tower's popularity remains unchanged.
Keiko Fujita, 26, a Nishijin-ori weaver in Kyoto, wove the costume of a deity figure for the Ofunehoko float used in Kyoto's Gion Festival. Having put her heart and soul into completing the important task, she said: "No matter how fine the technique, it is something that one of our predecessors created. I told myself that there is no way I cannot do it. I hate to give in."
Michiji Konuma, an 81-year-old physicist, said: "Some people say war and nuclear weapons will never disappear. But look back and think. In Japan, during the Sengoku period (late 15th to late 16th century), and latter part of the Edo Period (1603-1867), there were civil wars. But very few people, if any, think there is a possibility for civil war to occur today within Japan. The same thing can be said of the world."
The Asahi Haidan column ran the following haiku by Tsuyoshi Kawamura: "A throng of people gather calling for cutting reliance on nuclear power/ A lotus blooms."
What future are we going to choose? Humans should have the wisdom to change what can be changed.
--The Asahi Shimbun, July 31
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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.
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