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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

typhoon and the elderly

The weather has suddenly become cooler.

Although the season's 16th typhoon passed away near Japan, the 15th typhoon is predicted to make landfall on the country's main island.
The Kii peninsula in Wakayama prefecture suffered severe damage from the 12th typhoon. More than 100 people were left dead or missing by the typhoon. In the area, the five mudslide-formed barrier lakes are likely to collapse due to the approaching typhoon. Threats of landslides, mudflows and flooding continue in many areas including the area around Shinmoe-dake (新燃岳) where ashes fell by the eruption of the volcano in Kyushu. Many people have been evacuated in various areas.

The third Monday in September is Respect-for-Senior-Citizens Day.

Many of people aged 100 or over living a long healthy life were featured in a TV program before. They get physical activity, have a balanced diet and live without any stress. Some of them have been working on a farm, cook and eat fresh home-grown vegetables and have a chat with the ease of old friends.  Some cook or sew for their families or friends every day, play instruments, go to shopping on foot and look after a shop.
Some got into hobbies in their sixties or seventies and achieved to a high level at the age of 100. Impatient, selfish, prejudiced, lazy, pessimistic people are unlikely to live a long healthy life.

People aged 65 or over accounted for over half of the tsunami victims. It is said that lack of physical strength and their experiences of the former tsunami prevented impeded immediate evacuation.

There were many multigenerational households in Tohoku Region. Some people evacuated with elderly family members, but some of them could not outrun tsunami. If they would have run away and left elderly family members, they could have survived. But, can we leave our family memebers?

Old companies have overcome numerous difficulties such as wars, natural disasters, fires and change in people's senses of values. Time-honored shops and companies receive respect from people in Japan.

Yagisawa Shoten(八木澤商店) in Iwate Prefecture was founded in 1807 and had sold soy sauce, miso(fermented soybean paste) and Japanese pickles. However, its shop and factory were swept up by the tsunami on March 11th. A section chief who had been working for the company for 30 years went to close the dikes as a member of a volunteer fire company and lost his life.

Fermentation agents are essential to make fermented food. They live not only in barrels but inside wooden buildings. The company was thought to be beyond restoration, but the agent was found in the tsunami-driven barrel. The company resumed selling their products by the aid of others in the same trade and small investors.

Many small shops and companies were swept up by tsunami and many of them once gave up efforts to rebuild their businesses. Their customers were the ones who pushed them forward to continue. They owed their energies by feeling needed.
Teikoku Databank(TEIKOKU DATABANK, LTD.) reported in August of this year that 24,847 existing companies were founded by 1912(the last year of the Meiji period), 2,613 were founded in the Edo Period(1603-1867) and 165 were founded before 1602.

It's based on their database containing corporate information of 1.39 million compamies. The ranking's top ten long-running companies are as follows:

1.Kongougumi(金剛組) founded as a traditional wooden building contractor in Osaka in 578,
2.Ikenobo Kado Kai(池坊華道会) founded as Japanese flower arrangement instruction in Kyoto in 587,
3.Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan(西山温泉慶雲舘) founded as a hotel in Yamanashi Prefecture in 705,
4.Koman(古まん) founded as a hotel in Hyogo Prefecture in 717,
5.Zengoro(善吾楼) founded as a hotel in Ishikawa Prefecture in 718,
6.Tanakaiga Butsuguten(田中伊雅佛具店) founded as a Buddhist objects manufacturer in Kyoto in 885,
7.Nakamura Shaji(中村社寺) founded as a a traditional building contractor in Aichi Prefecture in 970,
8.Syumiya Shinbutsuguten(朱宮神仏具店) founded as a Buddhist objects retailer in Yamanashi Prefecture in 1024,
9.Geto Onsen(夏湯温泉) founded  as a hotel in Iwate Prefecture in 1134,
10.Sudo Honke(須藤本家) founded as a liquor company in Ibaraki Prefecture in 1141.

The oldest company in Tokyo is Shiose Souhonke(塩瀬総本家) founded in 1349, and the second oldest one is Toraya(虎屋) founded in 1521. (Refer to Respect-for-Senior-Citizens Day and Japanese Confectionery Day for more information on them.)
The third oldest is Nishikawa that started to sell mosquito nets in 1566. Now that company specializes in the manufacture and sales of bedclothing.

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