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Ban single-use plastic shopping bags, straws to save our oceans

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July 15 was "Umi no Hi" (Ocean Day), a Japanese national holiday that falls on the third Monday in July.

Beaches and ocean waves are common enough poetic themes, but the sentimentalism of "Yashi no Mi" (Coconut), by poet/author Toson Shimazaki (1872-1943), is one of a kind.

The poem goes like this: "From a faraway island whose name I don't know/ A coconut has drifted to this shore/ How many months have you been bobbing on the waves/ Since you left your home shore?"

The notion that the ocean "connects" one with a distant world inspired the poet to visualize the land of the coconut's birth. He goes on: "Is your tree still standing and flourishing?/ Are its branches still providing........

© The Asahi Shimbun