MEGURO FUDOSAN: Summer in Japan, 800 A.D. An old woman gathers water from a well. A samurai rests on a stone and washes his face in the water. Birds sing, and a monk chants inside Ryusenji Temple. Times may change, but places remain, and that little spring still sits quietly in Meguro. If you’re looking for it, the locals call it “Meguro Fudosan” for the Fudo (god of fire) statue standing by. From JR Gotanda Station West Exit, take the Tokyu Bus for Shibuya Station (# 72) to Meguro Fudosan. Address: 3-20-26 Shimomeguro.
HACHIMAN SHRINE: If you walked through the forest for an hour from Meguro to Nakameguro 1,200 years ago, the huge trees at Hachiman Shrine would have sheltered, and still do today, another divine spring. Sit down. Relax. Chat with locals who come by to gather water for tea. Believe them when they say it’s the best water in Tokyo. An eight-minute walk from Nakameguro Station on the Tokyu Toyoko Line.
POND OF TRUE FIGURE: A small brook runs by the Kokubunji cliffs in western Tokyo, along Otaka-no-michi (The Road of Hawks). The area, named after the Tokugawa Shogunate's hawk hunting grounds, is a small nature preserve in the city, with fireflies in late summer and beautiful fall colors. The little stream originates next to the “Pond of True Figure.” See it to believe it. A 15-minute walk from JR Kokubunji Station on the Chuo Line.
Remember all the fuss in the ’80s and ’90s about the rain forest disappearing? Well, it’s still disappearing just as fast. How quickly we forget the wood and paper in our daily lives comes largely from clear-cutting ancient forests. Thankfully, there is a growing number of small companies using sensible and sustainable methods for growing and harvesting wood.
EcoBosques, with oak, chinaberry and teak farms in Costa Rica and Argentina, offer investors ownership of fast-growing hard woods with estimated 7-14 percent returns. New Zealand and Hawaii offer low risk-high return programs as well. Ask your money manager if they offer sustainable funds. You can roll your dice in dot-coms or place your smart money on Mother Nature.
Three young English blokes have married the ancient Japanese art of origami with high tech plastics in attractive colors and brought to the world durable, lightweight, foldable cups and dishes. Great for beach picnics, mountain treks and in tiny Tokyo apartments. Made with Greenpeace-endorsed Polypropylene, a recyclable, nearly indestructible eco-plastic.
Distribution available on most continents, and these guys look poised to take over the dish industry. I am not sure they’ll replace the TV, but definitely useful and fun enough to keep a few filed away in your pantry. In Japan contact ATS. Web: www.ats-co-ltd.net, Tel: (06) 6386-7133.