Monday, December 29, 2008

Akabeko (Red Cow)

The year 2009 is that of cow in East Asian calenders. I have therefore drew this paper cow on the efuto which will reach the addressee in the new year.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Chocolate and Tie

My friend in New York sent me Christmas gifts in a cardboard box. I reciprocated his kindness with this efuto containing some of the gifts.
- MT

Monday, December 15, 2008

Murasuzume (A Japanese Sweet)

These are crepe-like sweets containing bean paste. The word murasuzume means "flight of sparrow." - MT

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Radish Drying

In Japanese countryside in winter, you may see farmers putting white radishes in lines to dry them. Cold winds from snow-capped mountains are good to make pickles. - MT

Monday, December 08, 2008

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Monday, December 01, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fallen Leaves

Fallen leaves in autumn never cease to impress me with their brilliance of reds and yellows. I picked these leaves on my way to office. I sent this efuto to my Facebook friend in Brazil. Hope it reaches him.

- MT

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mikan (Mandarin Orange)

Mandarine oranges are one of my favorite fruits. They are handy and easier to eat than ordinary oranges with thicker skin. I ate a few of them in car on the way back from the lecture meeting in Yokohama.

- MT

Monday, November 03, 2008

Roly-Poly Monaka

A monaka is a Japanese sweet -- bean paste covered with thin, light skin made from rice. These monaka represent the famous Zen monk, Darma, who is said to have been always meditating.

- MT

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Rev. Seicho Taniguchi Makes His Transition to the Spiritual World

The President of Seicho-No-Ie, Rev. Seicho Taniguchi, passed away quietly at his Presidential Residence in Tokyo, Japan on October 28th at 10:21 p.m. (JST). He was 89 years old. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to him for all the love and kindness he gave through the teachings and his life, and I sincerely hope that he will continue to guide the Seicho-No-Ie Humanity Enlightenment Movement-International Peace by Faith Movement from the Spiritual World. Rev. Seicho, thank you very much for leading us so long.

   Rev. Seicho collapsed suddenly during the February 20, 2005 Group Spiritual Training Seminar held at the Seicho-No-Ie Main Temple in Nagasaki, Japan. He was taken to the Japanese Red Cross Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Hospital, and, after a period of hospitalization, was taken back to his home in Tokyo to convalesce. Throughout his convalescence, Rev. Seicho continued to write articles for the Seicho-No-Ie magazines. The last article he was to write was entitled, “About True Love” which was published in April of this year in the three magazines for propagation. The date, January 10, 2008, is indicated at the end of the article.

Rev. Seicho Taniguchi assumed the responsibilities of the second President of Seicho-No-Ie in 1985, following the death of the Seicho-No-Ie Founder, Masaharu Taniguchi, and for the next 23 years—globally, from the end of the 20th Century and into the 21st Century, and in Japan, during the turbulent years from the Showa Era into the Heisei Era—he continued as the center of the Seicho-No-Ie movement worldwide to teach and communicate the eternal and indestructible teachings of the Truth. Especially during the 46 years between September 1948 and March 1994 during which time the Seicho-No-Ie Public Lecture Meetings were conducted by him, Rev. Seicho traveled throughout Japan to all of the Missionary Areas, disseminating the Truth and realizing a countless number of healings and saving many. He also traveled abroad visiting Hawaii, the North and South American continents in 1956, Brazil in 1970 and North and South America in 1977, and along with spreading and sharing the teaching of the oneness of all religions all over the world, he brought salvation and gave encouragement to many members living overseas.   

In reforming the organizational movement within Japan, he created a system whereby the women’s organization, the White Dove Association, was able to show tremendous growth. He made reforms in the Brotherhood Reader’s Association, a bottom-level organizational unit, which was managed and operated in such a way that men were using women, making it difficult to bring about a Movement that brought out the unique characteristics of women. This reform made it possible for female members to become independent and engage in a Movement with their own unique characteristics and the Movement expanded greatly. Additionally, through his having positioned the Regional Lecturer’s Society as the “blood of the organization,” he clearly defined the relationship between the three-party system of the Brotherhood Association, White Dove Association and Youth and Young Adults Association” and “the teachings.” Moreover, Rev. Seicho sensed the harm and danger of involving the Movement deeply in the politics of the 1970’s, and in 1983, by deciding to bring the activities of the political organization, the Seicho-No-Ie Political Alliance, to a halt, he established the foundation of the Seicho-No-Ie “faith Movement” of today.

In addition to his writings, lectures and organizational management, Rev. Seicho Taniguchi contributed greatly to the growth and development of the Seicho-No-Ie Movement. That is through the lyrics and music he wrote and composed. Rev. Masaharu Taniguchi wrote the lyrics to many wonderful Seicho-No-Ie hymns; however he did not compose music. Rev. Seicho played the violin, piano, and organ, and also composed music. About a third of the Seicho-No-Ie hymns today are Rev. Seicho’s compositions. More specifically, of the 68 hymns that are included in the “New Edition, Seicho-No-Ie Hymn Lyrics” published in 2003, 20 are pieces with lyrics by Rev. Seicho, and of those 20, 15 were hymns that he also composed. Rev. Seicho’s compositions were not caught up in form, but were filled with religious originality that deeply moved those who sang them. I feel this can be said not only about his lyrics but also about the musical composition themselves.   

In addition to music, Rev. Seicho was also interested in photography and Japanese calligraphy. Particularly when it comes to photographs, there are many he took during his travels to different areas in Japan he went to in order to speak at the Public Lecture meetings. He used them on the covers of the books he authored, and are also left to us enjoy in collection of photographs, “Seicho Taniguchi Collection of Photographs: Taken for Some Reason or Another” (Published 1991 by Sekai Seiten Fukyuu Kyoukai). He also was responsible for the cover photograph of the “Words of Light” daily calendar that is published each year. The cover of the “2009 Issue” is the last of his published photographs. This photograph was taken last Fall when he went outside of his library in his wheelchair and focused his lens in the direction of the bamboo thicket and took one shot of the foliage in the autumn colors.

Masanobu Taniguchi

Monday, October 27, 2008

Airport in the Evening Glow

Another efuto by Rev. Teshigawara arrived from New York. The gorgeous sunset colors the entire airport. The two planes look like some animal hiding from the heat from the sun. Thank you for a beautiful moment.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gyao's Thoughts to Himself (3)

Today I’m gonna tell you about Big Pants, the stuffed rabbit.

I already told you how, in Mikey’s world, Big Pants is the Good Guy and I’m the Bad Guy. I told you how Big Pants and I are friends, too. The problem is why I have to pick on my friend, Big Pants. I told you about this, too, but I wanna explain things more cuz there’s a very deep-seeded reason for this, and I want you to understand this.

You see, I pick on Big Pants because I wanna make Mikey happy. Maybe, since I do this, you can’t really call me Big Pants’ true friend. But I think big Pants is patient with me cuz she understands where I’m coming from. And it’s not that she has to be patient for very long. When I pick on Big Pants, the Loan Ranger comes out fast and fights with me. Big Pants only has to wait until then. When things get dangerous, the Loan Ranger goes running off to the bank, gets some secret power there and comes back to finish me off. That makes Mikey happy. And it makes me happy to make Mikey happy. That’s why I close my eyes for a while when my friend, Big Pants, is having a hard time. I can’t help it.

But, when Mikey’s not around, Big Pants sometimes talks like this—

Big Pants: “Gyao, you’re spoiled and you’re a coward cuz you do things for Mikey when you know they’re not right.

Gyao: “I’m sorry, Big Pants. But both of us love Mikey; that’s why we take it and do things that are hard for us to do. Right? That’s right, isn’t it, Big Pants?”

Big Pants: “I don’t. When you’re picking on me, and it hurts, I yell, ‘Help! It hurts!’ That’s when the Loan Ranger comes and rescues me.”

Gyao: “You’re acting, though, right? You’re just pretending that it hurts, right?”

Big Pants: “I’m not pretending. It really does hurt. It really is painful.”
Gyao: “But there has to be a bad guy for the Loan Ranger to come out. I’m the bad guy so I have to pick on you.”

Big Pants: “That doesn’t make sense. That’s really weird.”

Gyao: “Maybe you can’t understand this cuz this is really mature, grown-up logic.”

Big Pants: “I don’t understand it at all. What you’re saying is really strange.”

I can’t make Big Pants understand this logic. But Big Pants and I love Mikey, so we don’t say anything more. That’s where our argument ends.

In this world, good things don’t happen unless you do something bad—that’s how things go. That’s really hard, grown-up logic. In our case, if I don’t pick on Big Pants, the Loan Ranger doesn’t make his entrance. This is an immovable and undeniable fact, so there’s nothing I can do. But Big Pants says something different. She says the Loan Ranger will come out even she and I are friends and get along. And she says, he won’t fight but will play together with us.

I think that logic is too naive. There’s no way that Mikey is going to like it if everyone gets along and plays together. Mikey wants to be the Loan Ranger who comes to save the day for justice. For there to be justice, there has to be evil. And justice crushes evil. That’s why I hold back my tears and play the Bad Guy so Mikey is happy. I “play” the Bad Guy, but I’m not “bad.” I’m a dinosaur and definitely not a monster! I really wish my friend, Big Pants, would understand this complicated, mature, grown-up logic.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Gyao's Thoughts to Himself (2)

Let me tell you a little about Mikey.

Mikey is our master. A master is greater than those who serve him. A master looks after them. He plays with us, and he controls us, too. By “control” I mean he gives us life. He makes us move and talk and helps us to think we’re really “alive”. What I’m trying to say is that Mikey is like God. Our master is God and we’re his servants.

That’s why both Big Pants and I are happy to do what Mikey tells us to do. It doesn’t matter if it’s playing a Good Guy or a Bad Guy. But usually it turns out that Big Pants is the Good Guy and I’m the Bad Guy. In other words, Big Pants is weak and I’m strong. Then the Loan Ranger appears to punish me and teach me a lesson. But, you know, this guy is really the problem.

Mikey can control us as if he were God, but he can’t enter the stuffed animal world as he is. That’s because he’s bigger than us. He’s much, much, bigger than any stuffed animal in the whole world. That’s why the only way he can come into our world is by manipulating the stuffed animals. So, when he’s controlling the Loan Ranger, the Lone Ranger is Mikey. The Loan Ranger is really a snob, but since Mikey is inside controlling him, there’s nothing we can do. I pretend like the Loan Ranger beat me. But he’s really not the one who beats me; I’m letting Mikey who’s inside of him beat me. If I think of things in that way, I can take it, and I’m happy to take it, too.

The thing that does matter, though, is whether or not Mikey, when he’s the Loan Ranger, understands how we feel. Like when I’m the Bad Guy and go after Big Pants. That’s when the Loan Ranger comes in….

Loan Ranger: “Hey, Gyao, you mean and violent guy. Leave Big Pants alone!”

Gyao: “Mind your own business, you obnoxious guy, you! Big Pants is my servant, so I can be mean and violent with him if I want.”

Loan Ranger: “Stuffed animals are all equal. Big Pants has the right to live a free life.”

Gyao: “What do you mean by ‘right’? If there IS such a thing, show it to me.”

Loan Ranger: “You can’t see ‘rights’ but they exist and everyone has them.”

Gyao: “I don’t believe in things I can’t see. And I don’t care about things I don’t believe in.”

Loan Ranger: “Well, then, do you believe in money?”

Gyao: “I can see money and use it, too, so, sure, I believe in it.”

Loan Ranger: “Then here’s 10,000 yen. I’ll give it to you, so let Big Pants go.”

Gyao: “What? 10,000 yen? What can you buy with that?”

Loan Ranger: “You can buy about 100 mermaid-shaped sweet breads!”

Gyao: “That’s great. And where can I buy those mermaid-shaped sweet breads?”
Loan Ranger: “At a bakery in Shibuya called “Little Mermaid.”

Gyao: “Ok, then go and get them right now. I’ll let Big Pants go when you come back with them.”

Loan Ranger: I’m the Loan Ranger, so I only give the money out. Go buy them yourself!”

Gyao: “It’s too much trouble to go all the way to Shibuya!”

Loan Ranger: “Well, then, I’ll give you the cab fare, too.”

Gyao: “It’s too much trouble to try and find a cab!”

Loan Ranger: “What’s up with you, you, you MONSTER!”

I’m a dinosaur stuffed animal, not a monster. What I hate most is being called a monster. So, I get mad and go after the Loan Ranger.


This is how, for example, the Loan Ranger and I start fighting. At first, I win, and then the guy goes running off to the bank. He gets powered up there and comes back and tries all these tricks and stunts on me. And I end up losing. Then, like he always does, the Loan Ranger shouts like this—

“My money has the most power in the whole market!”

But, you know, to be honest, I don’t like playing this part. Big Pants is my friend, so I don’t like picking on him and giving him a hard time. But Mikey tells me to “pick on him” so I do it, but my heart’s not really in it. Bad Guys do bad things for the people they love, but they’re actually crying on the inside. So, when this play is over, I wish Mikey would say, even if it’s in a whisper…

“I’m sorry, Gyao. I know you’re really a good little guy…”

- MT

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Gyao's Thoughts to Himself

I’m a stuffed toy dinosaur and my name is Gyao. I’ve spent quite a long time tucked away in the closet so I’m smelling a little moldy. The dad in this house brought me out for the first time in a while today, so I’m in a bright, sunny place now.

I’m very happy! Gyaooooooooooo!! (That’s dinosaur-talk!)
But, when he sat me on top of the table, the missus said,
“Don’t put that dirty thing on the table!”
He didn’t say a word.

I wish he had said something. She’s got her nerve calling me “dirty”! I’m dirty cuz I played a lot with their kids. Getting dirty is my job! I’m happy to get dirty cuz that means I’m popular. That means they’re going to play with me.

I had a friend who was a stuffed toy rabbit whose name was “Big Pants.” I played with him a lot. He was a pink rabbit with a pair of huge sky-blue pants on. His face eventually got grey. That’s cuz they used him as a pillow. Even then, he was happy cuz he got to be with little Mikey all through the night. I was the bad guy and growled, “Gyaooooooo” and went after Big Pants. That’s when the “Loan Ranger”—he was the good guy—would enter. He had eyes like eggs and wore a shiny, kinda glittery, jumpsuit. He thought he was so cool. He thought he was like Ultraman.

The Loan Ranger and I would fight.
At first, I’d get him good. Really good.
But the Loan Ranger would get stronger whenever he went to the bank.
Then he’d kick me in the shins or come back at me with an uppercut to the jaw.
Actually, I could beat that Loan Ranger up very easily. But Mikey, whom I love a lot, always tells me “to lose” so I pretend to.
That’s when that Loan Ranger, who thought he was so cool, shouts that he’s the winner: “My money has the most power in the whole market!”

I don’t really know what a “market” is. But I think it’s the same as the world.
The most powerful thing in the whole world isn’t money.
Mikey’s happy cuz there are stuffed animals like me and Big Pants who play with him until we’re all dirty.
Mikey turns into the Loan Ranger, saves Big Pants and finishes me off.

But Big Pants is my friend so I go easy on him.
I hit him but I’m not really hitting him.
I pretend like I bite him, but I’m not really biting him.
Big Pants and I are like actors.
We both are happy to do what Mikey tells us to.
That’s because we love Mikey.

Then our Mikey grew up and left us behind.
The missus said he started working at a securities company.
I wonder if Mikey is shouting, “The power of money is the greatest in the world!” there, too?
I wonder who’s playing the good guy and the bad guy now?
I think I wanna ask the dad of this house soon.

- MT

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Rising Sun in Toronto

To my pleasant surprise, an efuto by Rev. Teshigawara arrived today from Toronto. The big morning sun dominates the entire scene with bright golden rays. She says she is on the way to conduct the spiritual training seminar in Puslinch. I sense her confidence in the drawing.

- MT


Monday, October 06, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday, September 08, 2008

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Monday, September 01, 2008

Saddle Maker

When I went to Takigawa City in Hokkaido, the Northernmost large island of Japan, I visited a saddle maker which also makes bags, purse, and other leather products. There I found this emblem hanging on the wall.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


A small gourd was sitting on top of the television in the room where I stayed. I liked the shape and colors of yellow and dark green.

- MT

Monday, July 21, 2008

Roof Tile

This is a tile used on the roof of Kaichi Primary School in Matsumoto City, Nagano. Width and hight of it exceed one meter. I saw it when I visited the old wooden school in mid-July and was impressed with its size and complex design. Nowadays, no primary school has luxury of being decorated with such elaborate roof tiles. It may show the intense zeal for education in earlier days.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hotel Buena Vista

This is the hotel in which my wife and I stayed on business in mid-July. It was a clear day and we took a walk around a shopping center near the hotel in the late afternoon. The sky was blue and the greens of trees around the hotel were conspicuous. I took a picture or two of the hotel and drew this efuto from them. While drawing, I changed the color combination rather drastically.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Water Bottle

Sometimes the summer heat in Japan gets almost unbearable with its high humidity. Many people therefore carry water bottles during the summer to ease their thirst that comes from perspiring so much. Since the Japanese archipelagoes are mostly mountainous and covered with forest, Japan produces good-quality water. Tap water in most areas is good for drinking. But, for some reason, trendy people here prefer imported water, such as this one from France, despite the global water shortage. At my house in Tokyo we put purified tap water in used plastic bottles to help cut CO2 emissions.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Old Town Hall

Echizen City in Fukui prefecture was formed recently by joining a few towns around Takefu. It may sound as if the area is growing. But, according to what I observed of the area in the evening in early July, it seemed to be declining both in economy and population. I got this impression especially when I saw this old town hall of Takefu. They had an art exhibition in the building but I saw no one entering or exiting. The shopping arcade around the hall was dark and most shops were closed even thought it was Saturday evening. The hall itself, however, was shining in the sun.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


My wife and I went to Echizen City, Fukui, on July 6. At a supermarket I suggested to my wife that we buy this watermelon because of its colors. The combination of the yellow rind and red inside is rare among Japanese watermelons. However, it was rather expensive compared to the other ordinary types around it. As we were discussing prices, a clerk came to us and changed the price tag to make it more affordable. We thanked her and decided to buy it .

Monday, June 30, 2008

Steam Locomotive (2)

This efuto was created from a photo I took from a hotel room at the end of June. It is the same locomotive I drew previously. The smoke engulfed almost the entire train and I could not help imagining the misery of passengers if the train windows were open upon entering the tunnel ahead.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Steam locomotive

A steam locomotive gives us a sense of power and industriousness. It also reminds us of the day when human efforts to conqure nature were never questioned but received with enthusiasm. I saw this locomotive when I went to Kitami City in Hokkaido at the end of June. It was a special occasion on which this old machine was revived to carry fans and tourists marking the beginning of Summer.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Kamaboko (steamed fish paste)

Toyama Bay produces an abundance of marine products--fish, squid, shellfish, sea urchin, and seaweed. Despite being a city boy, I have acquired the taste for them largely because my grandmother, born and raised in Toyama prefecture, shared her favorites with her grandchildren, including me. Kurozukuri, chopped squid marinated in its ink, was one of her favorites. It is salty but tasty. I used to love it, but nowadays, I try to avoid salty food. I was therefore glad to see my wife buying kamaboko, which does not contain salt, as a souvenir at Toyama airport.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Piggy Censer

On June 16, I stayed at the official residence of Seicho-No-Ie Head Temple in Nagasaki prefecture. On the tatami mat of the corridor of the residence I found this pig-shaped mosquito-coil hanger. It looked familiar and made me feel a little nostalgic. I briefly recalled my boyhood when I used a similar-shaped hanger while studying or reading. Nowadays, we rarely see this type of hanger. I liked the color combination, too.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Wooden Cat

My eldest son recently came back from a vacation in Bali. His souvenir to me was this green wooden cat. Not one, but three cats of the same form with different sizes. Seeing them, I realized the face of the three is almost identical to that of other wooden cat I bought several years ago at a shop in Tokyo. I was happy to realize that we share the same taste.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Cocoon Animals

Before WWII Japan was famous for its silk production. Nawadays, however, you seldom see people raising silkworms in rural areas. In the late 1960s, Mikijiro Murata in Morioka, Iwate prefecture, came up with the idea of creating toy animals from silkworm cocoons. This turned out to be a long-lasting popular folkcraft.

I bought these three animals at a souvenir shop in Morioka station. These are three of twelve kinds, (from left to right) monkey, wild bore, and dragon, representing the twelve signs of the Chinese/Japanese zodiac. Aren't they cute?

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Piggy Pot

I saw this pig-faced pot standing by the window of a small house when I visited the souvenir shop in Aomori City. The name of the shop was Kohgen-Sha, and it was not merely selling souvenirs but it was a compound consisting of a souvenir shop, a pottery, a small museum, and a coffee shop, all related to the poet-storyteller Kenji Miyazawa. This particular pot, however, did not seem to have anything to do with Miyazawa. It even looked foreign to my eyes. I simply assumed that it was an imported pot, probably from Africa. But for some reason it matched well with the place where Miyazawa's numerous fairy tales were once published.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Apple Cookie

Aomori prefecture is famous for its great many apples. It produces about one half of Japan's total output of appr. 842 thousand tons (in 2003). Naturally, products made from apples make good souvenirs from Aomori. My wife bought apple cookies and other sweets for her friends. I drew some of them in a way that they somehow represent the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. China is the world's top apple producer, with its 2003 production of 20 million tons.