Organic farming, Japanese recipes

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Today's tsunami in Japan

Our hearts go out to everyone who was affected by today’s earthquake and tsunami.  As you probably know, the magnitude 8.8 quake was the most powerful here in 140 years, and the tsunami reached 10 meters high in some places.  We’ll be glued to the TV set tonight, praying for the comfort and safety of the survivors.


The day I didn’t want to end

It wasn’t an earthshattering or lifechanging day, but it was one with lots of accomplishments.  It’s getting on toward the end of the afternoon and the daylight is waning a little.  I’ll be cleaning the house until dinnertime and after will probably work on taxes—both American and Japanese—so it’s hardly bedtime, but the bulk of the work is over and I’m both satisfied and also already a little nostalgic since today was a bit of a milestone.

For the first time since we got back 9 days ago I dragged myself out of bed.  The jet lag is gone, and that means no more getting up before the sun.  It also means no more falling aleep by 9 p.m., so I’ll have to be careful about not staying up too late.

The weather forecast was for rain and the restaurant forecast was for a busy day, so we arrived by 8:30 to help with breakfast and assumed we’d be inside all day.  Both forecasts were wrong, though, and by 10:30 I was out in the sun getting a tractor lesson from the local Kubota rep.  I got the garden tilled, and after a quick lunch took the tractor to till one of the furthest fields.  It used to be a rice field but was filled in for use as a garden.  We’ll plant potatoes there but first I have to go through it with a rake to remove bits of old plastic sheeting (I hope to be the kind of farmer who cleans up after himself) and then till in some manure and steamed bark.

After a long washing of the tractor—today’s mud was easy, but the caked on dirt was hard—the aunt who runs the restaurant with us brought out green onion cuttings and some lettuce from a pot.  We planted those in the first row of the garden that I’d just tilled, and those little green onion roots were my first endeavor as a farmer in Japan.

My feeling of satisfaction isn’t just from planting my first plants here.  Since we’ve arrived I’ve been champing at the bit to clean and get working on the gardens and fields, but when it was sunny I had a cold, and when I got better it got rainy.  Also, just as we had a bit of a shock getting back into this culture, some family members were shocked to have us back.  It hasn’t been an entirely smooth week and our optimism about our future in the restaurant and on the farm hasn’t always been strong, and today was the first day where it all came together.

The evening chime and announcement are just now playing over the loudspeakers: “Hello our townspeople– How was your day?  Kids, it’s time to go home.  Let’s look forward to a fun tomorrow!”

My feelings exactly.