Friday, June 24, 2005

Taue 田植え– Rice Planting

For the past two years Eden and I have been going to a rural region of Kumamoto City to participate in traditional Japanese activities. It is part of the internationalization part of our JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Programme experience. Last week we got to help plant rice. In China the farmers toss the rice seedlings into the mud while standing erect (much easier on the back). But in Japan it isn’t good enough to have rice growing this way or that, each seedling must be placed in neat, evenly spaced rows.

The two small flooded, muddy fields we planted we’re alive with leeches, larvae and frogs. It wasn’t the easiest thing to ease into, but luckily the leeches didn’t bite. All in all I’m not sure if it’s something that I’d choose to do again but am glad that we did it once. The poor old men and women who’ve done this there entire lives are bent over with their backs nearly horizontal, partly due to the hard work and I think partly due to a lack of calcium (traditionally Japanese people don’t consume dairy products, they get all their calcium from fish bones).


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