SANKOCHO

image

Photograph by T-Enami

Bird of three lights sings
moon, sun, stars, moon, sun, stars-
eight million kami

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2002/05/16/environment/summers-serenaders-of-the-moon-sun-and-stars/#.Uxj3E5EgGSM

Advertisements

THE TALE OF GOLDEN MERMAIDS

image

Photograph by Laurentlesax

The tale of golden mermaids-
a bridge of light
all the way to Lanka

“I don’t expect we will forego story in the future. We will tell our tales, and embellish them, and pretend they round us out and make us whole. We seem to need story, and for just these things. But those of us who know anti-story, who can confront the truth in all its jagged, unfinished, momentary magnificence, will keep returning to haiku. Haiku, to those who know, is the real story.”

Jim Kacian

THE STORYTELLING ANIMAL- How Stories Make Us Human

image

“Humans live in landscapes of make-believe. We spin fantasies. We devour novels, films, and plays. Even sporting events and criminal trials unfold as narratives. Yet the world of story has long remained an undiscovered and unmapped country. It’s easy to say that humans are “wired” for story, but why?”

Jonathan Gottschall

Jonathan Gottschall offers the first unified theory of storytelling. He argues that stories help us navigate life’s complex social problems—just as flight simulators prepare pilots for difficult situations. storytelling has evolved, like other behaviors, to ensure our survival.

Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology, Gottschall tells us what it means to be a storytelling animal. Did you know that the more absorbed you are in a story, the more it changes your behavior? That all children act out the same kinds of stories, whether they grow up in a slum or a suburb? That people who read more fiction are more empathetic?

Of course, our story instinct has a darker side. It makes us vulnerable to conspiracy theories, advertisements, and narratives about ourselves that are more “truthy” than true. National myths can also be terribly dangerous: Hitler’s ambitions were partly fueled by a story.

But as Gottschall shows stories can also change the world for the better. Most successful stories are moral—they teach us how to live, whether explicitly or implicitly, and bind us together around common values. We know we are master shapers of story. The Storytelling Animal finally reveals how stories shape us.

Enter the circle with me and listen to the deep voice of story.

image

NOK KAEOW – THE BIRD WEAVER

In the ancient time there lived a man who loved the forest. He knew that the trees were sacred and often when walking there he spoke to them softly. One day while wandering there he spotted a woman wearing a pasin of such beautiful colours. As happens in such tales they fell in love and were married.

Their wooden house was on the edge of a village and every week the woman would journey to the market to take the cloth she had woven. People from far and wide marvelled at the colour and quality of the cloth. But the man noticed that his love was getting weaker and weaker, thinner and thinner. One night he woke and found that his wife no longer lay beside him. He went to the open window and there in the moonlight in the forest clearing he saw a small bird plucking feathers from her plumage and weaving them into the cloth.

The man’s heart was heavy for he knew what he must do. The next morning the man went with the woman deep into the forest.

“Here we must part,” he said.

“No. No,” the woman cried.

Then she realised that her husband had seen her. They parted with great sorrow for it was not easy to let each other go.

But after some months a beautiful coloured bird appeared at the man’s house with some seed in her mouth. The man planted the seed and from it grew a wild mulberry tree. Silkworm came to feed on the tree and in that way wild silk was formed. At night the bird weaver spun the thread into beautiful yarns. So it was that the man and bird lived in harmony and happiness.”

FACTS

This stunning Thai bird could soon become extinct due to the palm oil industry.

This is a Gurney’s pitta, Pitta gurneyi, an endangered species that was believed to be extinct until several pairs were rediscovered in 1986. At that time, it was thought to be the rarest bird species on earth. Currently, it is estimated that there are perhaps 10 pairs of Gurney’s pittas at Khao Nor Chuchi in Thailand (other Thai populations are probably extinct). Fortunately, another, larger, population was recently discovered in southern Tenasserim, Myanmar/Burma. For this reason, this species was downlisted as endangered.

Gurney’s pitta is a terrestrial passerine that lives in lowland semi-evergreen forests with undergrowth containing Salacca palms, where it nests. These moist tropical forests are found on flat terrain, and are close to water or have water flowing through them. Tragically, their forest’s topological features and location are perfect for palm oil, rubber, and coffee plantations. Much of the remaining nearby area is heavily settled. Since the locals are actively seeking ways to improve the quality of their lives by exploiting the land for economic gain, it is probable that the pitta’s last few strongholds will be cleared suddenly and rapidly, with predictable consequences for this iconic species.

Gurney’s pitta is impossible to confuse with any other species in the area. The adult male’s iridescent blue cap and tail, warm rufous upperparts and black-and-yellow underparts are distinctive. The female is less dramatically coloured, lacking the brilliant iridescent blue cap and tail. She has a buffy-yellow head and nape, the sides of her head are black, her throat is buffy-white, her underparts are buffy-yellow with darker bars and her tail is grey-blue.

You can watch a video of this beautiful bird here:

http://www.theguardian.com/science/grrlscientist/2012/feb/27/2

Gurney’s pitta consumes slugs, insects, and earthworms, which is searches for in leaf litter. They also eat snails and small frogs. Here’s a video of an adult male Gurney’s pitta poking around in leaf litter in Khao Noi Chuchi in Krabi, Thailand:

Gurney’s pitta is one of 32 medium-sized songbirds that is placed into Pittidae, the pitta family. The pittas are all very similar in body shape, size and in their habits, although each species is distinctly marked. The family originated in tropical Asia and Australasia, and a few species are found in Africa. The continued existence of many pitta species is threatened by deforestation.

The story above is a Thai version of “The Crane’s Wife”

If you have enjoyed reading you can subscribe above or comment below. My dream is to blog a million stories! Help me get there!

Just as the Guerney’s Pitta is endangered so is the story. We are being deforested and destoried but together we can restory the world. If you have a story you would like to share please feel free to email me at ruth@leader.karoo.co.uk

Thanks for reading. Without you there would be no story.

The Old Man Who Made the Dead Trees Blossom

image

“Under a cherry tree, there are no strangers” is a quote by the Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa.

“9,000 cherry trees were donated by the Japanese people to Germany, as a sign of jubilation about the fall of the Berlin Wall. Planted in 1993, these trees now form cherry avenues along the former course of the Wall, and are is a pure joy to ride along in May. Sakura, Berlin style!
If anything good has come out from the Wall, it is this 160k bike trail / walking path that took the place of the Wall that encircled the “island” of West Berlin from 1961 to 1989, dividing it from East Berlin and the East German state that surrounds Berlin.”

Thailand has her own Cherry trees; the wild Himalayan which grow in Doi Khun Mae Ya in the far North.

image

This is a wonderful story from Japan retold by Alton Chung.

Come and sit with me under a cherry tree. Let us enjoy Hamani
(Flower picnic) together wherever you are in the world.

Once upon a time there was a very kind old man and his wife living in a certain village. Next door to them lived a very mean old man and his wife. The kind old couple had a little white dog named Shiro. They loved Shiro very much and always gave him good things to eat. But the mean old man hated dogs, and every time he saw Shiro he threw stones at him.

One day Shiro began barking very loudly out in the farmyard. The kind old man went out to see what was the matter. Shiro kept barking and barking and began digging in the ground. “Oh, you want me to help you dig?” asked the kind old man. So he brought out a spade and began digging. Suddenly his spade hit something hard. He kept digging and found a large pot full of many pieces of gold money. Then he thanked Shiro very much for leading him to so much gold, and took the money to his house.

Now the mean old man had been peeping and had seen all of this. He wanted some gold, too. So the next day, he asked the kind old man if he could borrow Shiro for a while. “Why, of course you may borrow Shiro, if he’ll be of any help to you,” said the kind old man.

The mean old man took Shiro to his house and out into his field. “Now find me some gold, too,” he ordered the dog, “or I’ll beat you.” So Shiro began digging at a certain spot. Then the mean old man tied Shiro up and began digging himself. But all he found in the hole was some terrible smelling garbage-no gold at all. This made him so angry that he hit Shiro over the head with his spade and killed him.

The kind old man and woman were very sad about Shiro. They buried him in their field and planted a little pine tree over his grave. And every day they went to Shiro’s grave and watered the pine tree very carefully. The tree began to grow very fast and in only a few years it became very big. The kind old woman said, “Remember how Shiro used to love to eat rice-cakes? Let’s cut down that big pine tree and make a mortar. Then with the mortar we’ll make some rice-cakes in memory of Shiro.”

So the old man cut down the tree and made a mortar out of its trunk. Then they filled it full of steamed rice and began pounding the rice to make rice-cakes. But no sooner did the old man begin pounding than all the rice turned into gold. Now the kind old man and woman were richer than ever.

The mean old man had been peeping through the window and had seen the rice turn to gold. He still wanted some gold for himself very badly. So the next day he came and asked if he could borrow the mortar. “Why, of course you may borrow the mortar,” said the kind old man.

The mean old man took the mortar home and filled it full of steaming rice. “Now watch,” he said to his wife. “When I begin pounding this rice, it’ll turn to gold.” But when he began pounding, the rice turned into terrible smelling garbage, and there was no gold at all. This made him so angry that he got his ax and cut the mortar up into small pieces and burned it up in the stove.

When the kind old man went to get his mortar back, it was all burned to ashes. He was very sad, because the mortar had reminded him of Shiro. So he asked for some of the ashes and took them home with him.

It was the middle of winter and all of the trees were bare. He thought he’d scatter some of the ashes around his garden. When he did, all the cherry trees in the garden suddenly began to bloom right in the middle of winter. Everybody came to see this wonderful sight, and the prince who lived in a nearby castle heard about it.

Now this prince had a cherry tree in his garden that he loved very much. He could hardly wait for spring to come so that he could see the beautiful blossoms on this cherry tree. But when spring came he discovered that the tree was dead and he felt very sad. So he sent for the kind old man and asked him to bring the tree back to life. The old man took some of ashes and climbed the tree. Then he threw the ashes up into the dead branches, and almost more quickly than you can think, the tree was covered with the most beautiful blossoms it ever had.

The prince had come on horseback to watch and was very pleased. He gave the kind old man a great deal of gold and many presents. And best of all, he knighted the old man and gave him a new name, “Sir Old-Man-Who-Makes-Trees-Blossom.