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Learning from the Edo period

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thomas

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Science X takes a favourable look at the isolationism of the Edo period: a plea for a slow life and self-sufficiency. And for a type of frugality that can still be found in many aspects of modern Japanese life.

This allowed the country's unique culture, customs and ways of life to flourish in isolation, much of which was recorded in art forms that remain alive today such as haiku poetry or kabuki theater. It also meant that Japanese people, living under a system of heavy trade restrictions, had to rely totally on the materials already present within the country which created a thriving economy of reuse and recycling). In fact, Japan was self-sufficient in resources, energy and food and sustained a population of up to 30 million, all without the use of fossil fuels or chemical fertilizers.

The concept of time was different, too:

Another characteristic of the slow life was its use of seasonal time, meaning that ways of measuring time shifted along with the seasons. In pre-modern China and Japan, the 12 zodiac signs (known in Japanese as juni-shiki) were used to divide the day into 12 sections of about two hours each. The length of these sections varied depending on changing sunrise and sunset times. During the Edo period, a similar system was used to divide the time between sunrise and sunset into six parts. As a result, an "hour" differed hugely depending on whether it was measured during summer, winter, night or day. The idea of regulating life by unchanging time units like minutes and seconds simply didn't exist. Instead, Edo people—who wouldn't have owned clocks—judged time by the sound of bells installed in castles and temples. Allowing the natural world to dictate life in this way gave rise to a sensitivity to the seasons and their abundant natural riches, helping to develop an environmentally friendly set of cultural values.

 
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it's an old video.
Educational video for elementary school students about recycling in the Edo period.

環境教育ビデオシリーズ 江戸のリサイクルに学ぶ 
Environmental education video series Learning from recycling in Edo


環境教育ビデオシリーズ 江戸のリサイクルに学ぶ
作品概要
製作:東映教育映画部
カラー 16分6秒 主として写真と絵画による映像作品
300年前世界一の人口100万人を抱えた江戸の街がどのようにして生活物資の供給、ゴミや汚水処理をしていたかを解説する作品。
コメなど生活物質は東京湾から、下街を張り巡らした堀により運ばれ、飲料水は玉川上水と神田上水から水路を介して共同井戸へ。
一方、下水は堀や川を介して東京湾へ流され、のりや魚の餌に。共同トイレの糞尿は農家に買い取られ肥料として、また紙は業者に買い取られて再生紙として、台所からでた灰は、肥料、染め物、酒造、洗剤として活用されていた。街は毎日清掃され、世界一清潔な街との評価を得ていたようだ。
使い古した衣服や家具は修理され、再使用されていた。現在のリサイクル活動は江戸時代にその原点があり、また現在の東京湾のゴミの埋めたては、江戸時代に始まった(1655年)と言われている。
監修
全国小中学校環境教育研究会
副会長・研究部長 小此木房雄(東京都渋谷区立笹塚中学校長)
スタッフ
脚本/演出:米内義人
Environmental education video series Learning from recycling in Edo
Outline of work
Production: Toei Education Film Department
Color 16 minutes 6 seconds Video work mainly made up of photographs and paintings
A work that explains how the city of Edo, which had the world's largest population of 1 million people 300 years ago, supplied daily commodities and dealt with garbage and sewage.
Rice and other daily necessities are transported from Tokyo Bay through the moat that runs through the downtown area, and drinking water is supplied from the Tamagawa and Kanda aqueducts to a common well through waterways.
On the other hand, sewage is discharged into Tokyo Bay through moats and rivers, where it is used as seaweed and fish food. The excrement from the communal toilets was bought by farmers and used as fertilizer, the paper was bought by traders and used as recycled paper, and the ash from the kitchen was used as fertilizer, dyes, sake brewing, and detergents. The city is cleaned every day, and it seems that it has earned a reputation as the cleanest city in the world.
Worn-out clothing and furniture were repaired and reused. Today's recycling activities have their origins in the Edo period, and it is said that the current landfill of garbage in Tokyo Bay began in the Edo period (1655).
supervision
National Elementary and Junior High School Environmental Education Study Group
Vice Chairman/Research Director Fusao Okonogi (Principal of Sasazuka Junior High School, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo)
staff
Screenplay/Director: Yonai Yoshito
 

Majestic

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This Japanese watchmaker made a watch that keeps "temporal time", i.e. the changing length of "hours" throughout the year. Fascinating.

The idea of regulating life by unchanging time units like minutes and seconds simply didn't exist. Instead, Edo people—who wouldn't have owned clocks—judged time by the sound of bells installed in castles and temples. Allowing the natural world to dictate life in this way gave rise to a sensitivity to the seasons and their abundant natural riches, helping to develop an environmentally friendly set of cultural values.

Somehow, I feel the need to poke a bunch of holes in these sentences, but I can't find the energy yet.
 
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thomas

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This Japanese watchmaker made a watch that keeps "temporal time", i.e. the changing length of "hours" throughout the year. Fascinating.

Can this be adjusted to shorten work hours? 😆

Anyhow, this was a stunning series of handmade watches.
 

Majestic

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Yes it looked like a really cool achievement for this watchmaker. And I hadn't known about the Japanese system of keeping 12 hours, and lengthening the daylight hours (and consequently shrinking the nighttime hours). But Jesus what a nightmare that would be in the modern world.
 
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