Japan Rediscovers Granny's Wisdom
Tuesday, November 21, 2006 Posted: 09:22 PM JST
A book titled "Honke, Obaachan no Chiebukuro" (Gramma's Collection of Wisdom, Standard Edition) was released on August 31, 2006. The book was edited by a Japanese NPO and published by Gakken Co. for the purpose of spotlighting traditional Japanese wisdom and customs passed down for generations.
The NPO was established around 1996 with the aim of collecting the old Japanese wisdom being lost under social changes, such as the increasing appearance of nuclear households. After screening several thousand potential items from all over the country, the organization selected about 650 items for inclusion.
The book consists of four parts: cleaning, cooking, home remedies, and washing/storage. In the cleaning part, the book says "Polish genuine-leather sofas with banana peel. The leather keeps a good shine thanks to the tannins in the banana peel." In a section featuring charcoal, it suggests "Put charcoal into water before boiling. As charcoal absorbs the chlorine dissolved in tap water, the water will taste better after boiling." It also suggests keeping charcoal in closets, chests or rice stockers so that they are kept at an appropriate humidity owing to charcoal's moisture-adjusting function.
As for home remedies, the book recommends thick sugar water for painful bruises. It says "Mix some sugar with a few drops of water on the palm and apply it to a bruise. Sugar removes the heat from the affected area." Such ingenuity with readily available materials makes our lives more comfortable. The collected wisdom shows that older people practiced recycling and lived more eco-friendly lives.
First published in November 2006 by Japan for Sustainability (JFS). Many thanks to JFS for their kind permission to reprint the article at iKjeld.com.
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