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The Beauty of Joetsu

Listening to Staralfur by Sigor Ros

 Speeding through the Joetsu region of Niigata Prefecture  I often wonder what life would've been like had I lived here.   The only realization I came to was that the only thing to do here is work, and that the work never ends.    Toiling away in the fields is the only way to eat and  live in this sometimes harsh and unforgiving climate.   Sometimes it's the most beautiful and scenic locations that seem to  have the harshest conditions to survive in.   You wake up in the freezing wee hours of the morning and have this gorgeous mountain view, but because you have seen the same view every single day for the last 60 years the only realization is that you have to work, and that the work never ends.  

Farming is the only honest work left in the world.  You cannot trick the earth into yielding its own fruit.   You have to do things the right way from the beginning in order to get a harvest.    You could pump chemicals into the soil, but this will only ruined the soil.  The soil has to be turned and treated properly after every harvest season the natural way.     I can sit down in my comfortable seat in an air-conditioned  super express train with my sake, and can appreciate how fortunate I am.    The  food tastes good when it's grown the Japanese way here.  
Canon 60D Tamron AF 70-300 F4 1/800

During the winter when you cannot work in the fields, you are busy shoveling snow every single day and making sure the water lines are not frozen.  You have to make sure there's enough firewood and if not then you need to go out and cut some down.    At night you have a warm gas heater that heats the home, there you can make babies with your wife, and if you are extra romantic you can do it near a warm fireplace while listening to the flames lick the wood as little popping noises echo from the fireplace.   

Occasionally, if you still have any energy left you can ski.  Joetsu is the birthplace of skiing in Japan and home of the father of the Japanese postal system - Meajima Hisoka.    This shot was taken mid April and there's still snow on top of the peaks.  

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