30 August 2005

Tochigi-ken, the Buckeye Prefecture

Tochigi Prefecture, in which Ashikaga is located, is named after 栃の木 (tochi-no-ki), the Japanese horse chestnut, Aesculus turbinata Blume, a close relative of the Ohio buckeye, Aesculus glabra, and the European horse chestnut, Aesculus hippocastanum L. Marronnier, the French name for horse chestnut shows up in would-be glamorous commercial names here and there in the prefecture. I've seen it in Nikko, Utsunomiya, and Ashikaga. For some reason, "Horse Chestnut" does not seem to have the same appeal, or at least I've yet to see it in our Tochigi travels.

Much, much more on this subject can be found on an Imaginatorium web page authored by Brian Chandler, one of the hundreds of English teachers in Sano, judging by their literary output on the web and in print.

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