Cool Days in Early August Mean 2009`s Rice Crop Will Not Match Up to Last Year`s BUMPER HARVEST
By Avi Landau
In Tsukuba, since it hardly ever snows, we rarely get to experience the thrill of waking up in the morning , drawing the curtains, and finding that the mundane late autumn scenery of the previous day has been transformed into a new world- dazzlingly bright and COMPLETELY WHITE. Still, there are at least two times a year in which we too, those of us who live in Japan`s NO-SNOW ZONES, are given a jolt of surprise by a sudden and dramatic change in the landscape.
The first, and by far the more impressive for its beauty, is in early May when the dull, brown and straw colored expanses of lifeless winter fields are suddenly transformed into a glistening WATERWORLD as they are flooded for TAUE- the rice transplantation. ( I have writen about this in detail here:)
The second sudden transformation, and less endearing from an aesthetic point of view because it actually brings about a DECREASE in the beauty of the surrounding area, occurs in mid-September, when the rice is harvested. For those of us who for FOUR MONTHS have DAY BY DAY watched the sparse looking seedlings, which at first stood limply in the water, grow into lush, adundant fields, first a deep green and then a heavy-headed yellow, always rolling gracefully with the breezes, it comes as as shock to one day turn around the bend expecting to enjoy this comforting scene, but instead finding that your favorite valley has turned into a landscape of STUBBLE, stretching out into the distance.
A big OTSUKARESAMA (thank you for your efforts) to all of Tsukuba`s rice farmers. The temporary loss of the beautful scenery is more than adequately compensated for by the thought of a bowl of Ibaraki grown SHINMAI (new rice).