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Showing posts from May, 2017

The Beauty of Shizukuishi!

The month of May is when some breweries plant their rice stalks, so I decided since it was Golden Week to head up to Iwate Prefecture to take part in my bi-annual rice planting work.  I enjoy the manual labor of planting individual seedlings in neat rows two at a time.  It's back breaking work, but it's fun as hell.  Watch the video of the Akita Shinkansen passing by our rice field.  It's so close!




In the picture above is the Akita Shinkansen passing our rice terrace.  So close you could touch it.  People were poking their heads through the window when they saw me, some in awe.  No visit to Japan would be complete without taking part in a rice planting event.   This one was epic.


The rice that was planted is called Miyama Nishiki, a true sakamai ( sake rice) which has been used to make a number of great world-class sake.   Think Nanbu Bijin! ( southern beauty).   This is a very hardy and robust rice grain that has been refined over the years.    First, everybody stands s…

Mapping the Country. Saving its Soul.

No.  He and I are not buddies, but I could say we are at least acquaintances.  Every now and then a gentleman will come along and greet me.  He'll ask me the same questions a hundred others like him ask me.  And I'll give the same responses I always give every person like him who asks me.   In other words, I will always be a foreign guest in Japan no matter how long I live here.   And that's okay with me.  I like being a  guest.  

Although this post is not necessarily about this person, but more of a lead up to what I want to blog about.   Mr. B is what I'll call this guy.   Japanese men have a refined dignity about them that they show in how they dress and how they carry themselves.   Most are pleasant and polite with the occasional crazy person sitting somewhere neatly dressed.   Mr. B is an alright guy to me though.


So he stands up out of his chair and opens his jacket to reveal his physically fit midriff to me.   I thought I said Japanese men were dignified...?  …