“Through the Lens,” Fujingaho Magazine, October 2020
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Photos and text: Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado
English translation: Asia Club, a WBSJ volunteer group (YOKOYAMA Kazuko, KASE Tomoko, Ueno Naohiro)
The days when I traveled abroad so freely and frequently seem long gone thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak. This time around, I’d like to show you some photos I took of Prince Edward Island, Canada, in the hope that these far-flung views will make my readers feel refreshed, if only marginally. In addition to those recorded last year, I have selected a few from 2004 that were recorded during a previous visit to the island.
Prince Edward Island is located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the east coast of Canada and is widely known in Japan as the setting for Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novel “Anne of Green Gables”. It is a scenic place with a vivid color contrast between the fertile reddish soil and the green meadows. Particularly famous are the steeples of churches that stand out against the beautiful blue sky and several unique lighthouses along the coast. The local staple foods are potatoes and lobster. You may see lobsters as a fancy treat, but for the locals, I’ve heard that they are a common food. Historically, the island is the birthplace of the Federal Government of Canada as it was the location of the first meeting of the Canadian Confederation when the country gained independence from England.
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In the northern part of the island there is a national park which is not only a habitat for wild animals but also a leisure destination for people who want to enjoy the cultural heritage and beautiful nature. While many seabirds breed here, including the plover Charadrius melodus (Near Threatened), the coastal areas are open to fun. In the most important points there are signs with instructions such as “no buggies” or “keep your dog on a leash”. Plover and tern eggs, in particular, are well camouflaged and so difficult to spot that they can easily be trampled on. Therefore, visitors must pay extreme attention when photographing such birds. I have learned that many of the species’ breeding efforts have borne fruit, but others have not worked as expected due to climate change and other disruptions. Shortly after I flew to Montreal, a major hurricane hit the island and caused serious damage.
This national park contains many attractions, such as the birthplace of LMMontgomery – author of “Anne of Green Gables” and the series of novels that followed – and many other Anne-related places. As such, a large number of Japanese tourists visit it. In fact, there is no country in the world where Anne of Green Gables is more popular than Japan. It was 1939 when the original “Anne of Green Gables” was presented to the Japanese writer and translator Hanako Muraoka. Two years later she began translating the novel into Japanese when World War II broke out in Japan. Since it was considered dangerous to have only one book in the language of the enemy, Hanako kept the book to himself and had completed the translation after the war ended. The book was published in 1952 and was instantly and widely accepted by Japanese readers. It is easy to imagine how Anne, who lives happily and positively, no matter how unreasonable she is treated, moved the Japanese post-war heart. What lies behind the continued popularity of this book is the universality of Anne’s words, which continues to give us courage and hope in the 21st century.
Anne was always grateful for everyday life and placed her hope in the possibility of tomorrow. In her words; “It was my experience that you can almost always enjoy things if you firmly decide that you want to. Of course you have to make it tight. “
I feel that these words have the power to encourage and cheer us up in the current limited life we are all in.