Tsuruta’s Blog (January 2024)

This year’s seasons have turned out to be unusual. Hokkaido, the Tohoku region, the Japan Sea side, and the Sanin region have been hit by heavy snow. On the other hand, the Pacific side has been blessed with a warm winter, with little rain and almost clear skies. Next year, climate change is expected to be more severe than this year, bringing a hot summer.

The summer climate is becoming more intense, with snow in Greenland and the Russian continent starting to melt, along with glaciers and permafrost. It has been pointed out that new viruses might be discovered from the thawed areas. The impact of these newly discovered viruses is unknown, but we hope they won’t have a significant effect.

This year, the war between Russia and Ukraine remains unresolved. Whether the U.S., which has supported Ukraine, will continue its aid, and whether Russia will agree to a ceasefire, are major issues. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) includes two North American and 29 European countries. Ukraine wishes to join NATO and has participated in military exercises, but is not yet a full member. NATO has provided considerable assistance to Ukraine, but its effect has been limited and the costs high, so there is no aggressive stance.

The war between Israel and Gaza is also a headache for the U.S. Many Israelis (Jews) run numerous businesses, including banks, in the U.S., so it seems that the U.S. is giving active directives regarding the war in the Gaza region. This too harbors the seeds of a potential long-term war and won’t be easily resolved. It is believed that a solution cannot be found without going back to the post-World War II era. Next year, wars may break out in various places around the world.

In relation to the problem with the Political Funds Control Law within the Liberal Democratic Party factions, there was a mistake in the recording of party tickets, leading to an investigation by the Public Prosecutor’s Office. The incident, where Shiotani, a leader of the Abe faction, was voluntarily questioned, must have had a significant impact on the Kishida cabinet. Prime Minister Kishida should have the freedom to select his cabinet members, yet it raises the question of why he chose someone who could potentially violate the Political Funds Control Law. There should have been time for investigation. This should be an opportunity to ensure fairness through transparent financial reporting and disclosure, and to support the reforms proposed by the opposition, clarifying the flow of funds and bank transfers. I hope both the ruling and opposition parties will put forth solid proposals. Even with Prime Minister Kishida’s earnest efforts, the Liberal Democratic Party, being composed of many factions, might not be able to conduct politics as desired. However, the people are watching closely, and I hope they continue their utmost efforts.

Recently, a customer brought in a slightly flawed wakizashi (short sword). They wanted to sell it, and it was a very rare piece by Bando Taro, but it had a flaw in the middle. Apart from that, it was a high-quality piece. The handle was also in good condition, and when lightly brushed with a metal brush after applying oil, the dirt in the inscription came off, revealing a beautiful signature. The reverse inscription was also cleaned beautifully. When shown to the customer and their spouse, they were delighted as if they had made a new discovery and decided to keep it instead of selling it. I advised them to preserve it carefully. By not focusing on the minor flaw and maintaining it well, it can last for decades, or even centuries.

The year is almost over. Various professionals visit our company.

A pear farmer decided to quit his job, unfortunately. He had been managing it for years with his son but decided to retire due to age.

A pediatrician who visited is knowledgeable about Korean pottery and owns some wonderful pieces. They enjoy tea and make their pottery, drawing soft and enjoyable pictures. During their last visit, they had a great time looking at Korean pottery shards in a hibachi. They are unpretentious, and their simple paintings give a warm and pleasant atmosphere.

Another customer, who has been enthusiastic about business since their twenties, used to fly first class with Japan Airlines to America and Europe, and now spends their days playing golf. This dapper customer, wearing silk trousers, never speaks ill of anyone and enjoys their time calmly and pleasantly. Occasionally, they express concern for my health and invite me to golf, but I refrain considering their age of 83.

So, to everyone, fare thee well. Please get along with your grandparents. To the husbands and wives, stay well and enjoy your time together. Treat yourself to a relaxing hot spring and a delicious meal. Treat your children with kindness and love, and let them live a modest life. They will surely grow into wonderful young people. Today, when I was at Takashimaya, I saw young men and women in the elevator holding the door open with a considerate and thoughtful attitude for those entering. I prayed for good things to happen to them.

Kazushige Tsuruta


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