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Satoyama Japan's Secret Garden - parts 1 & 2

Movies : Documentary
DVD Rip : English

Part One - Japan's Secret Garden

As night falls, a spectacular drama unfolds--ethereal-looking dragonflies grow wings before your eyes; monstrous male stag beetles lock horns in a battle for supremacy; water scorpions pounce on unwitting young catfish; and giant waterbugs prowl their domain for unsuspecting prey. It's not an outrageous '60s sci-fi film--it's a hidden world found in the immaculately terraced rice fields of Lake Biwa, Japan's largest freshwater lake.
Forged from centuries of man's cultivation and nature's adaptation, the rice fields are delicately balanced ecosystems which remain equally vital to both the people who farm them and the remarkable creatures which come to it in the thousands each growing season.
Written and narrated by David Attenborough, and filmed in vivid high definition video, this spectacular film chronicles one eventful year in the life cycle of a rice field. With breathtaking detail, you'll see how this unique habitat springs to life and thrives in unexpected ways. Japan's Secret Garden is a stunning glimpse at the abundant life and diverse creatures of a rarely seen world.
For at least 2,000 years, a unique way of life has flourished around the shores of Japan's largest freshwater lake - Lake Biwa - fed by more than 500 rivers that descend from the rugged, forested interior of Honshu Island. To exploit the abundant mountain water, generations of farmers have transformed the foothills surrounding the lake into a maze of ingeniously engineered terraced fields. The balance between humans and nature is reflected in the Japanese name for the cultivated areas: satoyama (sato—"village/people" and yama—"mountain/nature"). This documentary captures the subtle lessons and lush abundance of Satoyama.

Part Two - Satoyama: Japan's Secret Watergarden

This 52-minute film documents one season of human and nature interacting in a village near reed marshes supplied by Lake Biwa, Shiga Prefecture. (Lake Biwa is Japan's largest freshwater lake and one of the world's oldest lakes.) Much of the documentary focuses on the life of a single villager, Sangoro Tanaka, an old man who fishes the reed marshes using a traditional net trap fishing method, and part of it follows the lives of a few of the animals that share the waterways as their home. The houses in the featured village are all designed so that fresh spring water from the village's water system is piped directly into each house, a unique system called "kabata" that ties the health of the village directly to the well-being of the water. "Satoyama" is the word for a unique ecosystem wherein man and nature live in balance. ("Kabata" is just one part of satoyama.) Even something as simple as washing dishes becomes part of this balanced system: Fish that swim freely between the village waterway and each home's stone sink consume the leftover bits of food from the dishes. In this way, the waters stay free of unsafe bacteria.

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