Experience traditional rice harvesting and “Hazakake”

29 participants experienced harvesting and drying rice under the sun in Tochikubo, Minamiuonuma on October 17th – 18th.


The weather was nice. Let’s start harvesting!
The weather was nice. Let’s start harvesting!

The 5th class of “ABC in a Rice Paddy” in this year was held on October 17th – 18th with 29 people, including students, business persons and families from metropolitan area. This time, university students occupied a half of the group.

On the 1st day, participants had a lesson from local persons, Mr. FUEKI Akira and Mr. FUEKI Kensaku. Participants learned that the quality of rice is different each year with observing dried rice plants. In the lesson Fuekis also talked about the current condition of agriculture and challenges in village areas, and there were vigorous questionings.

Before the lesson, participants joined Tochikubo ecology research, which is conducted almost every month. They walked around the village and observed creatures. They felt rich ecosystem linked to the life of villagers in Tochikubo.

On the 2nd day, everybody predicted rain, but it was sunny from the morning, and they harvested rice under the blue sky.

Mr. FUEKI, Minoru, a local person, is an expert. He harvested and bound straws very quickly.
Mr. FUEKI, Minoru, a local person, is an expert. He harvested and bound straws very quickly.

In addition to workers at “Tochikubo Panorama Farm” who are helping every time, Mr. FUEKI Minoru and Mr. HIGUMA Kenkichi, both are in late 70’s, came and assisted the members. Thanks to those support, participants finished the work in about 2 and half hours.

Because it often rained before the program day, the rice paddy was really muddy. So it was difficult even to walk. But various plants and insects appeared as rice straws were being cut with sickles, and children were happy to catch flogs and “kanahebi,” or Japanese grass lizard. If we had used big machines to harvest, we couldn’t have done such things.

In the questionnaire after the program, many participants commented, “I felt rich nature in this village,” and “Communication with local people was heart-warming.” Repeating participants appreciate beautiful sceneries changing by seasons and grown relationship with villagers very much.