Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Seen around, 6

As mentioned in "Seen Around, 5", I'd gone exploring up the valley on the west side of the hotel on Shiroyama hill, and had come out at the top in front of the road leading to Saigo's hideout cave. I'd wanted to come back down the next part of the hill back towards where I'd started from, but the road curved around a little bit more to the west, bringing me to the primary entrance for the Kagoshima city cemetery. Most cemeteries in Japan are along the sides of hills. They're small family plots, and the grave stones are hollow to hold the urns with people's ashes (cremation is the preferred choice here).

This particular cemetery has been around for a while, and is starting to look like a granite glacier.

Of all the cats I've seen in Kagoshima, this is the only one that didn't run away when I pulled out the camera. In fact, he was very friendly and desperate for a belly rub. I let him guide me to wherever it was he wanted to go, and he sauntered three grave plots over before flopping over here. Coincidence?

Dirt bath.

"Bet you can't do this."

At the bottom of the hill, there's what seems to be an actual mausoleum of sorts.

It's good luck to donate small change (1 and 5 yen coins) to the local gods.

Back out on the main street south of the hill.

Sometimes, you have to know what to look for when you walk by an office or restaurant.

A closer look.

This marker is just west of Hirata park, at the base of Shiroyama hill at the south end. From the marker:

"Former Site of the Mukouda Kuniko Residence
Mukoda Kuniko was born in Tokyo in 1929. She wrote her first television script at the age of 29 and due to the popularity of the superb dialogues in dramas like Jikandesuyo (It's Time !) and Terauchi Kantaro Ikka (Terauchi Kantaro's Family), Kuniko became a much sought-after television scriptwriter. After she published the essay, Chichi no wabijo (A Father's Letter of Apology) at the age of 46, she began writing novels. In 1980, she received the Naoki Prize for her characters like Kawauso (Otter) in Omoide torampu (Card Game of Memories). The following year, at the age of 51, she was killed in a plane crash while on a trip to Taiwan.

Mukoda's father was transferred to Kagoshima, and Kuniko, then 10 years old, spent two years here. In her essay she wrote, "As I was born in Tokyo I don't have any homeland mountains or rivers. Kagoshima is just like a 'home country' for me, I believe." - from Nemuru Sakazuki (Sleeping Sake Cup), Sentimental Journey to Kagoshima."

(Photo of Kuniko's old house, from the marker.)

Then, right beside Hirata park on the west side:

"Site of the Former Residence of Zusho Shozaemon Hirosato
During the Tempo Era (1830-1843), the Shimadzu became overburdened with heavy liabilities caused mainly by [the] Shogunate's order to build a flood wall on the Kiro River near Nagoya, and the cost to spend every alternate year of duty in Edo.

(Zusho's statue, located along the Kotsuki in Tempozan.)

In order to reconstruct the financial situation, the 25th Shimadzu Lord, Shigehide ordered Zusho Shozaemon Hirosato to save up all cash payments and emergency compensations, and had all I.O.U. documents burned. He was ordered to lay aside 500,000 ryo for emergency situation which was sure to arise during the closing days of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Zusho established the monopoly system for the brown sugar produced in Amami Oshima Islands which contributed much to recover the clan's economic situation. He dredged the Kotsuki River, reclaimed the Tempozan area, and had the five famous stone bridges built.

Because of Zusho's efforts, Satsuma was able to contribute much to the activities during the Meiji Restoration."

As a comment, the Reimeikan history museum is currently running an exhibit featuring Zusho until August.

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