Tuesday, 19 June 2007

WHY Shizen-nou? (3)

no plowing, no fertilizers, no weeding, and no chemicals.
do nothing unnecessary

When the temperature rises over 30 degrees in Tokyo, there is nowhere to escape from the heat. The heated air does not disperse into paved asphalt roads but stagnates between concrete walls. Without extra energy sources to cool it down, such as air conditioning or water sprinklers, sustaining everyday life becomes an unbearable travail. You would not expect this in thick, forested land.

Cultivated land, in contrast with Shizen-nou land, has a similar effect to heat retention in a city environment. You need to introduce extra water and fertiliser to save the land from dreadful heat. Land covered by weeds can, however, retain enough moisture in the soil and prevent exposure to the strong sun. Do nothing unnecessary and let nature take care of it.

Throughout my upbringing, my mother’s attitude towards everyday life was based on this philosophy. She never throws away old clothes, uses bath water for washing, never buys chemical based products to clean dishes or house. At Primary school, I was the only pupil in class to bring “zoukin” – a damp cloth to clean the school - which was made out of an old hand towel. Every other pupil brought a brand new white zoukin. I remember wiping the floor quickly so that others did not realise that I had brought a well-used hand towel.

As I approach the age that my mother was when I was at Primary school, I am becoming more appreciative of the way she managed household matters. She occasionally laughed at herself for stocking up old material and trying to recycle everything. She once remarked that, although one person being ‘eco friendly’ would not make a significant difference on a global scale, she could not help but do so.

I am proud of my inheritance from my mother and of course from my father who has the same values. I am also proud of my Japanese inheritance. Through Shizen-nou, I aim to discover Japanese values and learn more about the traditional way our ancestors lived for generations, hoping that my experience may make some small differences and improvements to somebody, either directly or indirectly.







No comments: