This weekend I headed down to Yamagata with members of the aikidō that I belong to, for a special weekend training. I hadn’t been out of the city for a few weeks. I was surprised to see that the rice fields, that were so dark, dark green just a few weeks earlier, had now become brown and dried, like hay.
From deep green to gold–
rice fields turned an autumn hue.
Driving to Tendo.
(Between Akita & Yamagata, 9/27/2014)
I live in faculty housing located in a rather residential area. At the corner of my street there is a small park. I pass by it everyday, whether going to my office or going to the grocery store.
Above me blue sky
under foot crisp leaves crumble.
Children laugh and play.
In Rausu I used to see fish and squid hanging outside people’s houses drying in the sun. That was a fishing community. Now, in Akita, an agricultural community pink salmon, silvery mackerel, and pearly squid have been replaced by orange persimmon and white daikon hanging outside people’s homes and from their sheds. In both cases, the purpose is the same: to prepare for a ling, harsh winter when food is scarce.
hanging drying in the sun.
Winter soon will come.
The silver crescent
moon hanging low in the west.
Mt. Taihei’s foothills.
Farm life is so connected to the seasons. Living in the country so close to farming communities has really intensified the changes each season brings. In the fall, people pull up Japanese radishes, daikon, and tie them in series using twine. Then, they hang the daikon outside from their windows or from eaves/ overhangs to dry them out for winter. Daikon look like massive, white carrots, and grow like carrots, too. Whether or not a lot of daikon stay in the ground and go unharvested is unknown to me. What I do see though, as I drive around are persimmon, or kaki, trees with loads of perfectly ripe persimmons still on the branches and littering the ground below. How can they let such good fruit go to waste? Isn’t there anyone to eat them all?? Actually, Akita’s population is the quickest declining population in Japan. So, perhaps there really isn’t anyone to pick and eat these persimmon.
Branches bending low
by the weight of persimmon.
Families grow fewer…