It is 6am and I definitely do not want to go watch rice planting this early in the morning however it is not a common experience one gets to learn about often, as such I rolled out of bed and into the field. Having had breakfast I went to see what the family was doing. The sheer amount of land area was amazing and in only 4 hours they would be able to plant 6 fields of rice.
After that they would focus on the flowers while the rice plants grow. At one point in the growth they would take the water away otherwise the rice plant grows over its limit.You might see how there are some fields that have been already planted while some are not, that is simply a logistics between the people so that not everyone has to harvest at the same time and congests the whole process in the town.Having said my goodbyes to the family we made our way to a Buddhist temple. You might have had the chance to watch in Kyoto or Tokyo a Buddhist ritual at one of the temples and wondered if there was a place to actually join. I finally got found a place that is open to teach a little about how part of the training goes. I will not tell you what I think as everyone will have a different opinion and the idea is that you try it for yourself.
The surrounding area is peaceful and you can definitely take your time to enjoy the sounds of nature. The monk explains the rituals, the trainings they go through and the meanings behind them. Again, if I gave you all the good information you might miss the chance to find experience this unique moment.Day 6;
So there is this game which looks like this
Two teams face each other and try to put all the balls as fast as they can into the net above. The first team to finish advances to the next round facing off against the winners of the other sections. Unfortunately due to my newness I dragged my team down and we ended up in 3rd place from the 6 teams.The activity was carried out for only 15minutes as a break from work before everyone went to lunch.
We chose instead of going to lunch straight away, to go strawberry picking for 30minutes for 1,500Yen and eat as much as we can, because strawberry that’s why. There’s not I can tell you about this experience as it is very straight forward, but let me tell you this, Japan is not just about rice. You could enjoy the strawberries with condensed milk or simply without. I had never eaten so much fruit in one day. The strawberries were everywhere! They called out to me and I simply could not refuse.
If the 30mintues was not enough to make you full you can still buy some more strawberries to eat later or do the experience one more time. In my case I could not take it anymore. At one point I had to lie down to let all the strawberries find space together. Definitely not what I would expect to find in Japan, at least not the “typical” japan one always imagines.Following our stomach filling experience we were still lacking the salty side of lunch, so we went for soba and tendon (tempura shrimp with rice) before our final event of the day. We would go and meet Bon Odori high school students enthusiasts whom will soon become full fledge the pride of Ugo’s festival. Aside from the initial shyness of the students, everyone gave it their all after getting used to a foreigner in their class. Again, anyone that is into music this is your chance to show your foreign skills for the next 2 hours.Around 6pm school activities began to end and it was time to leave. Since there was no plan afterwards it gave me the chance to think about anything that I would want to take back home as a souvenir from what I have learned and found around town. Starting from the dyeing shop to the liquor stores. There is a great selection of fashion clothes that are only available here in Ugo so I went out to get something for my mother.
How I became Japanese – Ugo Experience Day 5&6