TsukuBlog

A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Cool Days in Early August Mean 2009`s Rice Crop Will Not Match Up to Last Year`s BUMPER HARVEST

Higan-bana (spider lillies) in Tsukuba`s Higashi-Oka 2009

Higan-bana (spider lillies) in Tsukuba`s Higashi-Oka 2009

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:)

http://blog.alientimes.org/2009/05/tsukuba-becomes-a-waterworld-as-rice-transplantation-taue-gets-underway/

Harvesting Rice In Tsukuba 2009

Harvesting Rice In Tsukuba 2009

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.

Loading the truck with rice

Loading the truck with rice

This is the sort of surprise I experienced yesterday, heading towards the University, walking along one of my usual paths  which takes me through a woods and then down into Higashi-Oka and Saiki`s (two neighborhoods in Tsukuba City) rice growing district ,which lines both sides of the Hanamuro River. While deep in the wooded area, I noticed that the spider lilies ( Higan-Bana), symbols of mid-autumn had sprung up in the shadows (see above). Crouching down to appreciate this amazing flower, a deep rumbling of machinery gave away the scene which would soon unfold before me. I emerged from the wood at the top a ridge looking down on the valley, giving me a view of the farmers finishing up the last of reaping.
I chatted with the farmers, who said that though this years harvest was a good one, it could not match last years BUMPER CROP. They attributed this to the cool weather we had in early August. Still things looked good and everyone seemed happy.( Read about last years crop andmore about harvesting rice here: )
Rice Harvest in Tsukuba Onozaki 2009

Rice Harvest in Tsukuba Onozaki 2009

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).

Now you see it

Now you see it

Now you dont !

Now you dont !



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