March 9, 2009

The Big Issue

One of the things I do when I get to Motomachi Station in Kobe is

look for the guy who sells The Big Issue. If it is not raining he is usually out front with the latest issue in hand. The Japanese editions are 300 yen per magazine and there are two issues a month, each sold on the 1st and 15th. The Big Issue is a magazine sold by homeless vendors who get a portion of the sales they make. This job requires a lot of self discipline and management skills and will help the vendors get back on their feet. Several countries around the world have their own issues.

Right now even 300 yen (about $3.15) can be big spending for a lot of people, but if you are going to buy a magazine it might as well be something with great articles as well as a good cause.

One of my favorite articles in the magazine is written every month by a young Japanese veterinarian, Asuka Takita. She has two sites, one web page in Japanese and the other in English (which is extraordinary!) Unfortunately, she hasn't updated it recently, and with her schedule I can understand why. The official site for Wild Life Direct is a gem and you can find lots of updated information there on endangered species etc.
Asuka writes about the hardships she encounters in Africa while helping local government and veterinarians to help save the wildlife from poachers and other disasters. Sometimes it seems like a lost cause with all of the conflicts raging in Africa, but the determination of this young vet will give anybody hope! She is younger than I am but wiser a million times over.

In Japan there is a saying "tsume no aka wo senjite nomu". It is used when you want to be like someone or have even a speck of someone's wisdom. The translation sounds kind of gross being: brew and drink the grime of a fingernail...
It means that - even the grime from the fingernail of someone that worthy is worth brewing into tea for someone like me to drink, in hopes of becoming more like that person.

IN OTHER WORDS - I'd do just about anything to be more like that.

Sometimes parents say this to their kids in hopes of disciplining them but nobody takes it literally so you don't have to worry about getting a strange type of tea when you are in Japan.

Speaking of tea, green tea canisters are fairly cheap and nice things to buy when you visit Japan.
They are air tight so you can storage any type of dried food or tea and they come in all sorts of sizes, colors and designs! I have two for two different types of green tea.


Butternut Squash said...

Very nice post. Good story telling, and informative. Wonderful.

I_am_Tulsa said...

Wow! Thank you for the nice comment! I have a big week ahead of me and I don't know if I will be able to write anything informative for a while...thank you!

Butternut Squash said...

Hey there! I just gave you an award! Please come and pick it up on my site. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do next.