Growing Old in Rural Japan ～Time with 5 Elderly Friends～
どーんと鹿児島 お日さまに照らされて～私とふるさとの先輩たち～ [MBC]
｜Length : 45 ｜Year : ｜
As younger people move to nearby cities, the population of rural Japan continues to shrink and age rapidly. This documentary takes a close look at the lives of 5 elderly people (ages 84 to 94) who are living in rural Japan, on the southern island of Kyushu. It follows them in their daily lives as they grow vegetables, ride the local bus, do rehabilitation work, socialize with their friends and share their feelings about aging and dying.
The following five individuals are the main focus of this program:
Yoshi (94) lives alone, farms, and takes the bus to the hospital. Her son visits every weekend to help with his mother’s farm. Chikayoshi (90) is a retired plasterer who is forever making or growing something and shares his philosophy – his wisdom – about life and death. Himo (91) lives alone. She farms and socializes with the many friends who stop by her house. She doesn’t want to grow old. Toshio (84) is in the hospital after suffering a stroke. He wants to regain his strength so he can return to his home and die there. Aya (90) lives alone. Her husband died 50 years ago and she raised her kids on her own. She gardens, cares for her cedar trees and continues to drive wherever she goes.
Discovering Japan | High School Working Poor ～Beginning a New Journey～
高校生ワーキングプア 旅立ちの春 [NHK]
｜Length : 34 ｜Year : ｜
Despite Japan’s image as a wealthy economic power, there are Japanese children who live in relative poverty. In particular, “High School Working Poor” who must work to support their families are on the rise. One high school girl works day in and day out for her family’s sake, giving up on going to college despite her high grades. Wishing to help her single mother raise her younger siblings, she’s instead decided to pursue vocational school to work as a flight attendant. Meanwhile, two brothers have worked part-time jobs to support each other after the death of their single father. The older brother works during the day and attends evening school in order to protect his younger brother. To return the favor, the younger brother works part-time after school. In spring, with gratitude towards each other in their hearts, the two brothers finally graduate high school and get real jobs, taking their next step together into society. We follow the journeys of these high school working poor as they strive to move forward in life.
Discovering Japan | Rice Ball Revolution ～ Farmers Pursing New Roads～
｜Length : 34 ｜Year : ｜
Beginning in 1971, a Rice Acreage-Reduction Policy has been in effect in Japan for nearly 50 years. With the abolishment of this policy, farmers will be able to grow rice freely, but will lose subsidized funding that was provided by the government. As a result, many farmers are deeply concerned, not knowing where this development will lead. But among them, one farmer from Akita Prefecture is gathering attention: Takayuki Suzuki. Though not from a farming background, Suzuki has opened a chain of specialty shops selling rice balls made from rice he grew himself. Now, Suzuki is considered a prodigy in the rice industry y. A veteran farmer, Kenjiro Sato, assists him in his endeavor, placing his trust in Suzuki in order to protect the future of rice farming. As the times change, we explore the thoughts and struggles of these farmers as they work together to pioneer a way to live on rice.
A Passionate Challenger | Master Chef of Fermentation Refining the Taste of Tradition
｜Length : 25 ｜Year : ｜
Near Lake Yogo in Shiga Prefecture, there is a little treasure of a restaurant named Tokuyamasushi where its owner-chef Hiroaki Tokuyama has devoted his life to the ancient method of “narezushi” - salted fish packed with rice and fermented to produce a uniquely delicious aroma and taste. Tokuyama is the guardian of the traditional local cuisine that dates back a thousand years, but he is also a pioneer, adapting a myriad of ingredients into innovative dishes, raising the art of fermentation to a whole new level. Connoisseurs from around the world seek out the hidden restaurant where reservations must be made months in advance.
For nearly a year, our cameras followed Tokuyama who thrives amidst the seasonal bounties of the woodlands. Using the delicacies from the lake and the mountains, Tokuyama has honed his technique and knowledge. Enjoy the wonders of “fermentation” which preserves and creates such exquisite tastes, and revel in the scenery of Japan’s yet-unspoiled nature.
A Passionate Challenger | Medical Innovator Revolutionizing Medicine with Virtual Reality
｜Length : 25 ｜Year : ｜
Like a scene out of a SF movie, surgeons wearing head sets study 3D images of organs that hover above the patient on the operating table. Then with precision accuracy, the lead surgeon removes the lesion. A futuristic world has opened up in the medical field with VR technology that was pioneered in games and entertainment. Naoki Sugimoto has applied it to develop a system that can be used in surgery. Named one of the winners of Apple’s Mac 30 – Thirty Years of Innovation in 2014, this medical doctor is in high demand throughout Japan, providing support as a surgical navigator in complicated cases, and also travels widely as a lecturer and advisor. Despite the challenges of making inroads in the medical field, especially in surgery, this medical innovator is fervent in his belief that “Japan is a breeding ground for VR medicine” and passionately continues his quest.