Explore the City with Malte 13: All Good Things
All good things must come to an end. I’ve had a year full of laughter, a year of exploring the city, and many incredible encounters that I will never forget. But even this wonderful time must end eventually. In March, I successfully graduated from the University of Tokyo, leading me on a new path. I will continue to strive for the realization of my dreams and wishes. However, with a heavy heart, I must, at least for now, do so apart from the Kashiwa Information Center.
…Welcome to the dark side
“What? You are leaving the Kashiwa Information Center for good?” some of you might think. Even though I will stop working here regularly, I will still, from time to time, stop by to check in on everyone. I might even drop an article here or there. So, stay tuned to hear from me again in the future. It might sadden some of you but this article series must come to a closure.
The last article I wrote in this series feels like ages ago since a lot of crazy things happened in between. Foremost, the world sank into corona frenzy and all our lives have been turned upside down ever since. To minimize exposure, I couldn’t go anywhere for coverage and all events were canceled anyway. People have been stuck at home, from remote work to self-confinement. All we crave is the freedom to go out and enjoy ourselves.
Back into the light
I feel like I’ve been telling a dark and ominous tale up until this point. Let us try to look back towards the light at the end of the tunnel and recapitulate last year’s positives. Let us rediscover Kashiwa’s unknown. Last year, I fell in love with the people of Kashiwa all over again. It was a year full of learning, new experiences, and eating.
Culture that bonds
The first article I put out in this series was, without a doubt, also the most demanding. Every year at the beginning of May, people in this area gather to participate in the Tokatsu Inba Daishi pilgrimage. For five consecutive days, 88 Shinto shrines are visited by the people in the pilgrimage. I joined the pilgrimage for one day of around 22 kilometers by foot, being fascinated by Kashiwa’s beautiful nature the entire time. The weather forecast for the day showed rain, so I was prepared for the worst. In the end, not one drop of rain fell upon us. Instead, we were blessed with a clear blue sky. In my endless wisdom, I did not even put on 1 gram of sunscreen. We walked from 9 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon. After I got home, I collapsed on my couch and start snoring right away.
During Tegabayashi, it was raining all day. Nonetheless, many people from the area gathered up. In areas with lots of cultural events, people also seem to get along very well. Having the same values and loving the same environment facilitates a strong bond between people. In the Tomise area, covering the Hassaku Sumo Tournament, I felt the same kind of love for the community. The elementary school students fighting in the tournament, though inexperienced in the art of sumo, they fought with a passion that even touched the hearts of the adults.
Scientia est potentia
Scientia est potentia – Knowledge is power. However, it is also important to translate that knowledge into wisdom. In our modern world, there are many places where we can acquire knowledge. Science, Nature, Music, and Art are all are based on similar fundamental principles. We only live once and we should try to look into many different directions to find the world’s underlying truths. In just one year, I’ve learned a lot. I went to Kashiwa City Library in search of the mysteries of the universe, visiting Kashiwa Planetarium and befriending its members. I went to the library festival and even took home some colorful picture books from the book recycle bazaar.
At Nakamura Junji Art Museum, I was touched by paintings, pottery, music, and acting. Talking to the director Mr. Nakamura about the importance of community was entertaining and eye-opening.
I ventured out into Kashiwa’s rich and beautiful wilderness. Joining the Kashiwa Tourism Bureau for a Teganuma Walking Tour, we strolled through the forests and visited historical buildings. I made friends I still go out with to this day. Visiting a Satoyama village, Shitada no Mori, I was completely engulfed by nature. I’ve included one of my favorite pictures below. The butterfly picture. Even without proper equipment, I’m pretty proud of that one.
If you feel happy, time flows by in the blink of an eye. I’m happiest if I can eat something delicious. And I must honestly say, this year passed by far too fast. Going to Ame no hi no coffee and Tribal Cacao, I delved into the world of high-class coffee and chocolate beans. At the newly opened Path – Travel and Eats, they offer delicious bubble waffles to satisfy your sweet tooth and colorful smoothies for a healthy body. Their new leather collection is worth checking out as well.
The Kashiwa Whiskey and Cocktail Festival 2019 was an event that adults could enjoy to the fullest, a place where you could drink a great variety of cocktails to your heart’s content. I tasted more than ten cocktails. A hard day at work.
Just like that, I’ve spent a year full of happy moments. But no matter how happy of a time we spend, eventually even that must come to an end. Together with this series, my time at the Kashiwa Information Center has come to a temporary end. Even though a farewell is sad, I must concentrate on the new things that await me in the future. At this point, I will leave you with a “see you later”, rather than with a “goodbye”, so that we may walk the city together again.
Hey! I’m Malte, the weird Germany guy. I moved to Kashiwa at the end of 2012 and have been living here since.
Graduating from Reitaku University in 2018, I entered the University of Tokyo’s graduate school to do some additional research.
I absolutely fell in love with the kind people of Kashiwa. Everyone welcomed me with open arms, and I got financially and emotionally saved more than once. Through my articles and pictures, I try to show everyone what kind of beautiful place Kashiwa can be.