[permaculture] Satoyama: Japan's Secret Watergarden (BBC Natural World)

Lawrence F. London, Jr. venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Thu Jan 13 18:28:31 EST 2011


Satoyama: Japan's Secret Watergarden (BBC Natural World)

Each home has a built in pool or water tank that lies partly inside, 
partly outside its’ walls… A continuous stream of spring water is piped 
right into a basin, so freshwater is always available. People rinse out 
pots in the tank and clean their freshly picked vegetables. If they 
simply pour the food scraps back in the water, they risk polluting the 
whole village supply. However, carp can scour out even the greasy or 
burnt pans. They do the washing up in Satoyama villages. This 
traditional arrangement is called the riverside method. It’s used all 
over Japan. Cleaned up by the carp, the tank water eventually rejoins 
the channel.

Imagine a realm where the season’s rhythms rule, where centuries of 
agriculture and fishing have reshaped the land, yet where people and 
nature remain in harmony. Sangoro Tanaka lives in just such a paradise. 
At 83, he’s the guardian of one of Japan’s secret watergardens.

Over a thousand years, towns and villages have developed a unique system 
to make springs and water part of their homes. From inside their houses, 
the stream pours into Japan’s largest fresh water lake, near the ancient 
capital of Kyoto. This is a habitat so precious, the Japanese have a 
special word for it, satoyama, villages where mountains give way to 
plains. They are exceptional environments essential to both the people 
who maintain them and to the wildlife that now share them.

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