It’s raining here in Ten-Sho-An today…fortunately, I didn’t encounter much rain on my bike ride to and from JAFAREC office. However, I couldn’t do field work, so I had to postpone my planned work of planting potato seeds.

Then, I chatted with a neighboring community supporter who happened to be visiting us. He’s not really an old man, he’s over 80 years old though, but he works hard at his farm every day, he’s cheerful and friendly, and he has a lot of knowledge and skills about farming. He kindly provides us, amateur farmers, with detailed instructions.

Thanks to the efforts of people like him, a rural village with few young people can barely function as a base for agricultural production. However, if people like him disappear, it may only be a matter of time before that base collapses.The Japanese government does not take into account the security of the food supply chain, even though it is known that Japanese agriculture will eventually decline.

How can the people of Japan let such a government run the country… I wonder what they think of it. As for me, I would like to acquire not only the little field in Ten-Sho-An, but also the neighboring fields if I can, to increase my own food self-sufficiency rate, and for that purpose, I would like to have the community supporter teach me various knowledge and skills for agricultural production in this area.

I chatted with the staff and the community supporter for about two hours about such things. After he left, we started to cover the ceiling of the Ten-Sho-An Hall. I cut and sewed together a piece of fabric that Koji san, one of our staff members, had brought with him, and installed it on the ceiling as a test.

Ten-Sho-An Hall, a former dirt floor, has been converted into a hall with wood flooring. However, behind the vaulted ceiling is a 55-square-meter wood-burning storage area, and the window at the back is always open. In winter, cold air blows in directly from the ceiling, and the warm air from the Dick stove leaks out. So the idea was to cover the ceiling with a cloth so that the warm air would not escape.

Today was just a trial run, but later I will buy the necessary cloth and cover the entire ceiling with it. We didn’t get it done in time for this winter, but I’m sure the warm air from the Dick stove will warm up the whole hall next winter.

There was a lot of work to be done, not just this time, but most of the work that we could do ourselves was done by the volunteer staff. I myself am a kind of volunteer who works for free every day, but of course, everyone else also works for free. Even though it’s free, I’m grateful to them because they enjoy the work itself.

We all chat about what we can do and what we want to do, and work together to get the job done. It’s quite random, but that’s what makes it so enjoyable. I guess everyone sees Ten-Sho-An as a place where everyone can have fun together, like their parents’ home or a secret base… I appreciate it.

We didn’t get a chance to plant potatoes today, but we plan to do so next week. The potatoes are supposed to start sprouting when the temperature rises above 15 degrees Celsius, so they should be sprouting by the beginning of April. If all goes well, we should be able to harvest them by the end of June…hopefully. In any case, I can’t wait for spring to come… Come spring to Ten-Sho-An!

Originally posted on March 13, 2021

English text translated with DeepL (Japanese to English) and checked by Mina.

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