We coined the phrase “The upper area of the Kiso River thinks about the lower area, while the lower area appreciates the upper area.” With this in mind, we started co-operating in 2008 engaging in different joint activities. Already more than 10 years have gone by. Each year I visit Kiso more than 20 times. I don’t think of it as sightseeing and I don’t plan to move there. What is so attractive about the upper part of the Kiso River? My motivation to go there is that it feels just like going to meet a person.
One annual project is wooden toy making. This involves third grade high school students at a school in the upper Kiso River area, who make toys that we make available at the Nagoya City Science Museum. We have found that kids really enjoy these toys.
I am always impressed by the sensitivity and fresh approach by these high school students. It is interesting to talk to them and hear them describe their efforts. It is a fun time. This year, three of the students are working hard with the project. I really enjoy meeting the people who live and work in the upper Kiso River area.
Another project that has been going on for 10 years is growing soybeans in fields where the Kiso River has its source. Through this project, consumers can feel a connection with the farmers and get to know their faces, in addition to making the area everyone’s favourite place. We make miso from the soybeans which are made with ingredients from the Koike Koji Store in Kiso Town.
I feel I have developed as a person thanks to these relationships. “Happy values” can be discovered. “People move, stuff moves, and the heart moves,” thanks to the relationships between the upper Kiso River area and the lower area all the way to Nagoya City and Ise Bay from Nagano, through Gifu, Aichi and Mie Prefectures.
By Kawasaki Norio, CUJ Board Member