2007/05/02

Rice Planting Season

This time of year the rice paddies get flooded and the young plants that farmers have been raising in plastic covered "green houses" get put onto automatic planting machines, like the one pictured below.

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I spent Monday afternoon walking around Mito City and Lake Senba (while K was having her hair done) trying out my new camera and its many features. One drawback of buying it Japan is the lack of an English language instruction manual.

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Mito City - I didn't notice the Hummer (or Dhummer as I call them) until I downloaded the picture.

I have the manual on the computer now, having downloaded it from the Canon website, but as it is 175 pages long, I'm not about to print it out. So, when I've got the camera out "in the field", I don't have access to the book. When I figure out what is essential, I'll print a few pages for handy reference until I've learned it well enough. My initial impression, by the way, is that it is an excellent camera.

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Swan on Lake Senba with Kairakuen park in the distance.


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Anyway, it was a beautiful day at the lake and I did learn a few things about the camera (and reminded of how tired my legs feel the day after walking for three hours straight).

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Tuesday, May 1st, there were major demonstrations in Tokyo for peace (and for keeping Japan's peace constitution intact). You can see some pics over at Martin's blog: Kurashi News from Japan.

Locally, we saw a demonstration of a different sort - at Kashima Jingu shrine. It was the very exciting martial art of Yabusame - ritual archery on horseback!

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Next post...

10 comments:

Don Snabulus said...

Congrats on the new camera..and the Kashima Jingu action ipc was well-done.

Believe it or not, I spent a about week in Mito in the early 90s. There were no Hummers around then. I stayed at a friend of Moody's and lived out of the local 7/11. We played a lot of D&D, drank a new thing called iced coffee (now prevalent in the USA) and I munched on Octopus Dumpling, and various rice snacks. The Japanese 7/11 is just as junky as an American store, but the choices are different...however, I doubt they are any healthier.

Here is to a bountiful harvest of rice on Japan this year.

Pandabonium said...

Thanks, Don. I am very pleased with the camera. It is much more than I hoped for.

I just changed the pic from the one you commented on though - that wasn't mine. Conditions were not that good yesterday, which I'll explain in the post. I did get some cool pics, however.

That's great you stayed in Mito. I don't like cities per se, but Mito does have wonderful parks, museums, and lake Senba, all of which I like to visit whenever I can. Hope you guys can come out for another visit some time.

Here's to the rice crop indeed. I especially hope my organic rice farmer friend up north has a good year, and that the people farming K's family lands (where all of our rice comes from) take a lesson from him. ;)

The Moody Minstrel said...

I agree with Panda's take on Mito. It is a city with plenty of character, and it's neither too crowded nor too artificial to be livable.

Hey, Snabulus, Japan's 7-11s have onigiri (rice balls), and those are a lot healthier than your usual convenience store plastic meals!

ladybug said...

Sounds like an all-around stimulating weekend! We also call them "Dummers", but it's for the driver/owners as well as for the vehicle itself.

QUASAR9 said...

Amazing that rice paddy fields were sown by hand, bacbreaking
now each individual plant is lovingly inserted in the mud by a machine - doing how many an hour?

Love the pics - Swans
Love the exciting martial art of Yabusame - ritual archery on horseback!

Pandabonium said...

Ladybug - it was 'good fun', as they say in Hawaii.

Quasar9 - I think they can plant about 7 acres in one hour. I don't know how many seedlings that represents. Some farmers still do plant by hand, especially in mountainous areas where paddies are small, oddly shaped, and on steep terraced hillsides.

More archery pics coming soon.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

What lovely pics especially the one of the swan.
Do you know anything about the Byakko Shinko Kai in Japan? We have some members in Geelong and they are organising a Peace rally on May 20th here. I met them through our Inter-faith group. Apparently between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. there will be good vibrations in many parts of the world, especially beneath Mt Fuji.
We need them in Fiji hey!
w.

Pandabonium said...

Wendy - thanks. The people of Mito are fortunate to have such a wonderful park and lake.

Byakko Shinko Kai was founded by Masahisa Goi (1916-1980), said to have been a spiritual master. He wrote many books on everything from world peace to Lao Tsu and the Bible, and founded the World Peace Prayer Society which puts up multi lingual peace poles around the world. Their philosophy is said to be related to Shinto, but I've not read any of his works, so I don't know what they mean exactly.

I am generally wary of such organizations, as some have ulterior motives (like Sun Myung Moon), but this one seems legitimate from what I can tell. President Carter, Mother Theresa, and the Dalai Lama have all dedicated "peace poles".

Sometimes focusing on a simple concept like praying for peace accomplishes more to raise awareness than angry shouting and banner waving could ever do.

If putting up a peace pole helps, let them be everywhere.

Reena said...

Loved the paddy field picture. Out here in India, farmers still do it by hand. Back breaking work!

Pandabonium said...

Reena - India and rice - reminds me of delicious basmati.