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Tsuruta's Blog (August 2023)

Hello, I'm doing well, thank you. This summer is hot, isn't it?
It's even hotter than the human body temperature,
so it's tough. But I can feel the approaching autumn.
The humidity seems to be decreasing, don't you think?
In the Yoyogi area where I live, there are fewer cicadas singing
and dragonflies flying, but there's a sense
that we're gradually moving towards autumn.
Am I the only one who wishes this hot summer would pass quickly?
Forty years ago, there were hardly any non-Japanese people in Japan,
but recently, there are many foreigners,
and according to the newspapers, 2.89 million foreigners are working
in Japan. It's said that they are supporting
the foundation of Japan's economy and society.
It will be important for us to establish a cooperative
relationship with the people working in Japan and to address
the significant issues that arise from differences in education,
companies, lifestyles, and the social changes
that will occur among the Japanese in the future.
Today, Japanese women have started working alongside men.
About 70% of women are now working, and this will undoubtedly
have an impact on Japan's politics and economy.
For women, working means receiving wages from companies or the government.
The role-sharing between parents taking care of their children
while working will need to be carefully considered.
There will be both positive and negative aspects resulting from these changes.
When mothers work in various companies, they naturally receive wages,
which may lead to them enjoying their time at work,
spending more time with co-workers, and not paying as much attention
to their children. In the past, many Japanese men worked tirelessly
while most women devoted themselves to taking care of the household
and raising children. Times have changed, and now 70-80%
of women receive wages from companies or the government.
Decisions about taking care of the children should be made through
discussions among family members. Not all families can provide
their children with a proper education.
The problem is whether they can afford to spend enough money
on tutoring, sports, music, and other extracurricular activities,
which will determine whether their children can attend middle school,
high school, and university in the future. Educational disparities
among students have been widening in each prefecture.
As I mentioned before, for example, in the third grade of elementary school,
some children can't keep up with the curriculum while others are
already studying at the level of junior high school at tutoring schools.
The situation requires teachers to deal with students' growing dislike
of studying and dissatisfaction with school. We need to come together
as a nation and find solutions to these problems, not just sticking
to the current methods but also considering fundamental and innovative approaches.
With approximately 2.89 million foreigners in Japan, including many foreign children,
effective communication with these students will be quite challenging.
The one-size-fits-all education system seems outdated. We need to collectively
address these issues and find ways to adapt and change as the world continues to evolve.
Japan's workforce is currently shrinking, and many small businesses are
struggling to survive. Many of them are going out of business. However,
if Japan faces a high inflation rate and becomes financially tight,
it might not need foreigners anymore, and at that point, I hope Japan will
avoid the racial discrimination that has happened in Europe.
Japan has changed significantly over the past 40 years and will change even
more in the next ten years. We must be prepared to make continuous changes
from now on. Foreigners are efficient workers. They work in snowy countries
during winter and enjoy the summer in beautiful seaside countries.
Work patterns have also changed considerably.
Working in countries with lower taxes, they can work from anywhere
as long as they have a computer. It's an era where people can work remotely
if they have the necessary skills and discipline.
The times will continue to change in this way.
After World War II, many Japanese swords were taken abroad,
especially to the United States, the United Kingdom, France,
and Australia, mainly by the Allied Forces stationed in Japan.
Exported swords spread throughout those countries, and there are now
many people collecting them. Recently, foreigners have been buying Japanese
swords from Japan after studying the subject extensively. I
t is likely that many famous Japanese swords will continue
to flow out to foreign countries and be carefully preserved.

How to purchase a sword:
. Consider carefully what type of sword you want to buy.
. Whether it's a katana, wakizashi, tanto, naginata,
yari, or small props, take your time and carefully consider your purchase.
The same applies if you wish to purchase a sword set (koshirae).
. Listen to the seller's story well,
and if you might be forced to sell it in the future, ask how much they would buy it for.
. To avoid unpleasant experiences after the purchase,
having an appraisal certificate for the sword is recommended.
Among the reputable certificates are the ones issued by the Society for
the Preservation of Japanese Art Swords (NBTHK), including the Hozon Token,
Tokubetsu Hozon Token, Juyo Token, and Tokubetsu Juyo Token. Other trustworthy
appraisal organizations include the Sukehiro Yoshikawa's Shuzo Kai,
which is no longer issuing certificates, and the Fujishiro Appraisal.
I wish you all the best. Please cherish your grandparents, as growing
old can be challenging. As you take care of your spouse, how about going for
a relaxing walk in the cool mountains together during this hot summer?
Be kind to your children and teach them cheerfulness and frugality to raise them
into good individuals. During summer vacation, why not go camping with your family,
set up a campfire, and immerse yourselves in nature? On the last night,
sit around the bonfire and share stories with your father, mother, and children.

Kazushige Tsuruta.