By Brian Small at Mar 12, 2009
I met a guy at a Forest Therapy training session. We ended up sharing a room at the last mushroom study hike and overnight party. The local governments do some interesting things in Japan. They're all being merged into bigger entities but in the meantime they seem to be able to put resources into a self-taught turtle expert, or a training program for volunteers that will accompany tourists on wooded valley hikes. I wanted to learn more about my area's Lucidophyl forests so I signed up for a free Forest Guide course offered by a little town. Most of the participants were in somwhere in thier 60's, 70's or 80's, fun to talk with. I met a delegation from a another little mountain town - they all seem excited about keeping their town going, hopefully the forest therapy tourism can eclipse the golf courses. They were running bed and breakfasts, making abandoned (not-lived-in Akiya) houses available for visitors, showing their terraced rice fields off with pride. I want to go visit now.
My roomate was the other male participant that was not yet a grandparent and we spent half the night talking about his approach to horse communication. Here I was with Japan's Robert Redford of "The Horse Whisperer"("Montana No Kaze ni Fukarete" or something) He had me convinced with his hand/ear signals and lip movements, and it seemed like a more humane way to get horses to cooperate than the 'breaking' of Western movies and books.
I got to watch him work with a pony today. It was all warm fuzzy hugs but there was no 'breaking' or 'beating' involved. It was interesting to see him explaining what the different mouth shapes, movements and head/ear positions mean.
He spend to couple years with a man with the program in YonaguniJIma that has elementary school kids riding that islands little horses. They do set piece to music riding horses, probably not an easy thing to do for the kids or the people that got the program going. My buddy works with the Miyazaki, ToiMiSaki horses now. This is place is in Kushima which should probably have it's own WIkipage on Znet. It's not only the place that gave birth to _The Hundredth Monkey_ (I saw that book 20 years ago at a Quaker School Peace Festival never imagining I'd end up living anywhere near the Japanese Monkey island) but also saw a struggle to avoid a Nuclear Power Plant. Sweet Potatos feature in both stories.
WIth Peak Oil and everything you can't help but think about horses, animal locomotion. Just think of all the other problems they solve too. Less Traffic fatalities, an an end to drunk driving and more fertilizer for organic produce. I doubt horses produce as much methane as cows, but I imagine just traveling less distance like George Monbiot says will still go a long way towards global warming mitigation.