A TRIP TO FUOKU, JAPAN (April 26 through 28th)
From Incheon International airport to Fuoku, Japan took only one and half-hours. Traveling the region of Fuoku by bus gave me an opportunity to look carefully the countryside. The Island is surrounded by less than 1,000 feet mountains over mountains, valleys between mountains have sprawls of traditional Japanese tile houses without any high rise buildings, maybe due to frequent volcano eruption. We drove about 2 hours from East to West looking over bamboo gardens here and there, orchards, bonsai evergreen trees in every house, special Japanese Pine trees along the highways. Each valley bamboo trees and Pine trees make villages rich with forest and ion air to provide an unpolluted air. Cornfield, barley and rice paddy farmland seemed to make farmers busy and lead a healthy life with fresh air. It is amazing all farmland has built good irrigation facilities to prevent flooding of their farmland. The dark gray tile house matches well with green bamboo and pine tree mountain. Each farm house has a tractor to cultivate farm land and looks an independent Japanese farmer’s life as a self sustaining. High humidity surely is helpful to grow farm crop well, but need salt to prevent farm crop from decaying and taught farmers to develop high tech preserving system. There is no church, no hospital, no garbage on the farmland and street, and no motel between villages. The reason why no church is they do not believe in God, why no hospital is they do not need doctors until they are very sick. Because they are doing good in preventive care for their health. They are not open in sexual matters as in America and no demand for motel. No garbage means Japanese people are very sanitation conscious and clean in their every behavior. Passing through tunnels of the mountain is compared to traveling in Korea from Seoul to Wonju and Youngwol. Fuoku is said to have the size of land of South Korea excluding Choongcheong Do and has 1.2 million population. They say Japanese ancestors several hundred years ago planted those bamboo and pine trees to prevent flooding and each tree of pine tree today cost between $8,000-$12,000, guaranteeing life time income without working at least 300 years from now on.
The seven story black gray tile Kumamoto Castle we visited was built in the year 1607 right after the war called Imjin Battle with Choseon to symbolize the spirit of Japanese Samurai(small guns and sharp knife to attack) facing Choseon and became center of West-South Civil War between royal family and general public. The castle was built to win a victory over the war with Ming Dynasty, China and threatened with small artillery guns Choseon to allow its land to be used as a battlefield to attack China. Japan led by Poonsinsoo Gil destroyed Kyungbok palace in Seoul to attempt to unite Japan in spirit. In an attempt to expand its military power over Korea and China, Japan invaded in Korea with 100,000 soldiers, but Admiral Yi in Choseon smashed Japanese attack. The Kumamoto castle became a history of Japanese West-South Civil War and opened way for Japan’s modernization from Samurai style military attack to peace loving nation. For his superior leaders Admiral Yi of Choseon was highly respected by British naval Admiral Nelson. After Poonsinsoo Gil, Tokuyamaiyamutsu transformed Samurai spirit into a new modern politics that enhances War into peace. Tokyugawayatuki promoted cultural ties with Choseon. The American Movie” Last Samurai “performed by actor Tom Cruise well depicts the traditionof Samurai and beginning of Japanese new culture from the construction of this castle. Each tile interestingly was engraved with cherry flower.
Kumamoto castle is surrounded by modern style building below the Kumbong Mountain in front of the Castle, and headed toward Nagasaki port, where atomic bomb exploded. It is more known in the history of Japan that the Seinon Civil War (1877) took place and Satsuma rebellion led by
Takamori Saigo Kagoshima against Mejo government brought the western spirit of equality at this castle.
YUFUIN ART VILLAGE
Our tour moved to art village surrounded by mountains and traditional Japanese tile houses called Yufuin Art village. It was compared to Insa Dong village in Seoul. There are many gift shops, art galleries, cafes, restaurants, craft shop etc.
BEPPU HOT SPRING
We were guided to Gamado Hell where 75-100 degree sulphur clay sprout sprang. In old days people walked and sank down in that hot sprouting and went into hell. Because of this it is called Gamato hell. They demonstrated cigarette butt blown to sulphur sprout catches fire immediately. It was a good experience to have a sulphur hot spring bath inside the building and outside for half an hour to release all the mental and physical pressure accumulated in the body.
Right after the WWII, about 1 million Japanese left in Korea and China wanted to return to Japan after Japan surrendered to American occupiers. More than 300,000 Korean and Chinese wanted to return to their mother countries. Exchange of POWs was conducted at this port of Hakado. It is interesting to see the photo of a scientist Einstein and his second wife on the wall of the tower, harboring suspicion that he might have been killed by Japanese on the ground that his atomic bomb caused Japan to surrender.
It is a memorable place crossing the human history of victory and defeat of war.
In front of the tower bay looks forward the direction of Korea and China.
Three day touring over the Fuoku gave a good opportunity to understand more Japanese life style and culture. The way they live in this ageless century, more preventive health care before getting sick in a sense keeps away medical doctor and hospital. To live healthy and happy, fresh water, fresh air, appropriate dieting are well educated among retired people, seeking 2nd job to prove that they are still alive regardless their past occupation, position, level of education. The way they value laboring, as an essential part of enjoying longevity can be a valuable lesson to us, who will inevitably get older. Their motto that no overeating, no pollution, no overworking, appropriate laboring serves a secret for good and healthy life.