Tag Archives: Agriculture

Erecting the Kakashi/Scarecrow at Ryunan Primary School Rice Paddy

Ryunan Primary School has been organizing a traditional Festival for the last 40 years: Scarecrow Erecting!

This Festival takes place on the first morning of the second semester of the scholar year.
As I had been invite to attend (I coach cricket there, too) I found myself meeting the kids at 10:40 a.m. in blinding heat!

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The school was founded 46 years and is still a large one by Shizuoka City standards in spite of the declining population.

I told you it was really hot (33 degrees celsius) and the teachers (and I) were wearing bandanas! As for the kids caps are compulsory!

But some kids managed to forget them, which shows that Japanese society is not that much different! LOL

For once I was allowed to take pictures of the kids as this was a public event, and the kids loved the attention (all those V signs!)!

The kids were divided into 21 groups of 5th graders looking after 2nd graders.

The kids who had forgotten their caps were already having second thoughts!

The school rice paddy is located behind the school at a distance and across a wide street.

It is a large rice paddy, by scholl paddies standards, and thekids could walk across it thanks to elevated narrow paths.

That “kakashi/scarecrow” is about to get a sun-tan (or sunstroke!)!

The kids plant their own rice in May.
Until two years ago they used Asahi no Yume/朝日の夢/Morning Sun Dream variety. But they have switcged to Hi no Hikari/ヒノヒカリ/Day’s Sunshine.

I must say were very disciplined and were waiting for their turn to bring their kakashi into the rice paddies with a smile!

Each group went to a preordained spot and waited for their teachers to give a hand (and a hammer) to ercet their charges.

Some kakashi wer cute!
Incidentally, the teacher is not a scarecrow!

This one might scare the crows (loads of them here!) but not the kids!

I’m afraid this one will be eaten by the birds!

Now, what are those red eggs?
The teachers explained that they use only a minimum of fertilizer and pesticide so as not to interfere with the ecology.

-“The eggs of a jumbo Ta Mushi!” as repied one of the kids, taking one of them out to admire…
Big slug!
Actually the paddy is full of life, and the kids have no qualms chasing them!

Smiles everywhere!

The kakashi will stay there for people to admire and birds to avoid until October when the kids will harvest the rice and cook it themselves for school lunch!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope; Jacqueline Church; The Foodonymph (in Dubai!); Alchemy, Simple Ingredients, magical Food (in Ireland!); Curious Foodie; Mr. Foodie (London/UK)

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Shizuoka Agricultural Products: Mrs. Toshiko Otsuka’s Fig Orchard

Mrs. Toshika Otsuka/大塚敏子

Figs have been very popular in Japan for eons.
They were introduced in Japan at the beginning of the Edo Era (17th Century) in Nagasaki (Kyushu Island) from Persia through China.
Interestingly enough the Japanese consume only a little quantity of dry figs that they mainly use in cakes. They prefer their fruit fresh and eat them either as appetizers (with sesame dressing/gomadare) or as dessertfruit.

They are grown inside greenhouses or in open air, depending on the variety and growing method.
Mrs. Otsuka grows hers exclusively inside greenhouses on a total area of 240 tsubo/~750 square meters.

Once again my good friend, Natsuko Koyanagi/小柳奈津子 was on hand to help with introductions.
It was quite a distance away from her usual area as figs are grown only on the right bank of the Abe River due to the needed sun exposure whereas Natsuko lives on the left bank. We knew we had arrived before we discovered the greenhouses as the cloying smell of the figs had wafting around us into our car very quickly!

Mrs. Otsuko grows a single variety called Masui Dofin/マスイドフィン, a Japanese hybrid.
Do you know how the Japanese write “ichijiku” for fig? 無花果/No flower fruit! At least knowing the kanji characters meant I was not going to make the mistake asking when flowers were supposed to bloom!

Her trees are pretty old by Japanese standards (these can live a long time indeed!) as she first planted them 27 years ago. Her orchard is her own supply of cash to the homestead as her husband has his own job. Nevertheless, he gives a hand before leaving to work and after coming back from work. Either he is a tough guy or a loving one! (or both? LOL).

Watering is done through a pipe system snaking over the whole grenhouses.
As for fertilizer, she told me in with almost naive honesty that she asks a specialist every year to check on her orchard and decide what’s best!

I saw quite a few figs I would lay my hands on!
Actually, Mrs. Otsuka explained me that Summer is not so much the right season to really savor them. Although she harvests them everyday and “ship” them to the Cooperative, the best season is the Fall when figs are at their best and do not spoil easily.
As she accepte personal orders, you can be sure I will visit her again in a couple of months!

Aluminum foil sheets are spread on the soil along each row of fig trees not so much to protect the soil but to reflect the sun and provide more exposure and heat. And I can tell you this is sweat work!

Trees are trimmed completely of their branches around January and you can count each year going along the scars left on them!
Fruit bearing branches do have to be supported and are tied with twine to the roof to keep them erect and give as much as vital space as possible to the fruit.

Harvesting is always done in the morning when the temperature is lower. The fruit will keep their umami/balance then. Fruit are calibrated and carefully put into boxes before delivery.

Mrs. Otsuka pointed out an interesting detail: when harvesting one has cto cover herself/himself completely, especially arms an legs as fig leaves are really tough and their rims can cut through your skin if you are not careful!
And one has to constantly clean the soil of fallen leaves as they rot easily!

Greenhouses have to left open on their side for better air circulation, but all openings have to be netted or birds will have a feast!

Certainly learned a lot again and am ready to be taught more!

Mrs. Toshiko Otsuka’s Fig Orchard
Sshizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Fukudagaya, 123-1
Tel.: 054-294-9787
Personal orders accepted

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope; Jacqueline Church; The Foodonymph (in Dubai!); Alchemy, Simple Ingredients, magical Food (in Ireland!); Curious Foodie; Mr. Foodie (London/UK)

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Shizuoka Agriculture Portal: Agrigraph

AgriGraph Japan is an enterprise commissioned by Shizuoka Prefecture.
It is a project aiming at making the agriculture (and also tourism, esppecially green tourism) in Shizuoka Prefecture known to the whole world in real time through IT-related tools.

Shizuoka Prefecture is a region blessed with nature thanks to its famous mountains such as Mount Fuji and the Southern Alps to the north, its rich sea to the south, and also with a great economy due to its privileged location along the east-west axis from Tokyo to Nagoya and Osaka.

Therefore, no less than five reporters will scour the whole Prefecture every day in an endeavor to help everyone discover the agriculture and rural villages of this rich “Fuji no Kuni Shizuoka/Shizuoka, the Land of Mount Fuji” through live blogs posted through iPhone in Japanese and immediately delivered in English, Chinese, Korean, French and Portuguese by qualified native staff translators to convey the true meaning and nuances of the reports. No automatic translation whatsoever!

If you wish to promote your own agriculture and farm(s) and create a new relation with other producers abroad, do please join us through our interactive blogs as guest participants. All blogs about agriculture from any country are most welcome!

Check the following links:

AGRIGRAPH (Entry Homepage with acces to all articles and languages)

AGRIGRAPH ENGLISH BLOG

AGRIGRAPGH FRENCH BLOG (FRANÇAIS)

AGRIGRAPH PORTUGUESE BLOG (PORTUGUÊS)

AGRIGRAPH KOREAN (관하여)

AGRIGRAPH CHINESE (中文)

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope

Please check the new postings at:
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Agricultural Products: Bio Jam

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日本語のブログ
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As I visited Yui City (soon to become part of Shimizu Ku), a city famous for its “Sakura Ebi”, I discovered some interesting local agricultural products.
More and more famers/growers in this Prefecture choose not to use any additives, colorings, preservatives, sucrose or whatever finishing in “tin” or “peptin”.
One of them at Matsunaga Koen, Yaizu City, concocts great jams with local fruit and no artificial ferilizers or man-made additives as mentioned above.
I chose two particular ones among his array:
(as above) Lemon jam:
Name: Marugoto Marmelade Lemon
Ingredients: lemon, sugar
Weight: 200g
Bottled: August, 17th, 2007

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Great natural colour. True lemon taste. Acidity as expected (remember, this lemon!).
Perfect on toast this morning!
Would make great ingredient in sauces or even dressing!

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Biwa (Loquat) jam:
Name: Tezukuri Jam Biwa
Ingredients: loquat, sugar, lemon
Weight: 200g
Bottled August, 10th, 2007

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Beautiful dark orange colour. True loquat taste. Sweet, but not overwhelming.
Great on its own, with cheese, cheese cake. Could also be added to sauces. Plenty of possibilities!

Matsunaga Koen (Matsunaga Kyoko)
Shizuoka Ken, Ihara Gun, Yui cho, Nishi Kurasawa, 98-1
Tel.: 054-3752297