Camping and Tayasumi

Also in May, a family joins us from Tokyo to get out of the city, enjoy some camping in a nearby shrine, and the main event – our annual tayasumi (rest after planting the rice) and bamboo shoot festival which is held every year on the morning of June 1, to allow everyone to take [...]

More Mud Play

Ta-ue and Doronnko

Although we did not have our own tanbo (rice paddies) to plant and play in this year, Mona was invited to several events with other children, so she at least had an opportunity to get her feet, and more, muddy. After the mud play and planting, she and I decided to walk several hours back [...]

Where did May go?

May. What happened in May? Wish I had kept the blog going. I didn’t so I am writing it now – in October. Probably the biggest thing I remember about May is that we did not, for the first time in six or seven years, tend to rice fields. It was sad a first, as [...]

Camp Tama

Last week Mona and I traveled to Saitama to go to a camp with some other mixed nationality families. I was a bit sad that despite having mountains and trails and camping areas literally a ten minute walk from our front door, we had to travel five+ hours on the train, but it was worth [...]

Rice Shoots

These are rice shoots being prepared for planting. They are grown in trays that fit into the planting machines. This was taken only about ten days ago and already most of the fields are planted while ours sit sad and dry, probably wondering why they have been forgotten by the tilling machine this year. The [...]

Poor Little Future Olympian Girl

At school-bus stop: Neighbor: Oh good you made it on time today. I saw you walking the other day. Me: Yeah, that was by choice. Neighbor: Kawaiiso! (Poor little girl) Me: No, we choose to walk. Neighbor: (Chastising me for being selfish) *You* may like to walk, but walking is not good for the children [...]

Yomogi Mochi

One of the most preliferous wild vegetables in our area is yomogi (Japanese Mugwort). A few years ago we had calculated that we could work hard for a few months in spring, and cruise by the rest of the year on all the money made from foraging and processing/selling this weed. And in fact there [...]

Last Year / This Year

Last year Mona was still a girl. She did not know that you are not supposed to walk outside barefoot, she did not know that you can’t eat with your fingers, she did not know that getting dirty is wrong. Somewhere along the way she has learned these things, and now, when I try to [...]

Sad Year

There is something even more sad than not being able to grow my own rice this year – even more sad than the fact that I will still be called on to mow down the weeds in and around the field (which is almost as much work as, or more, than growing rice, as we [...]