Living in Katsura I see things people in the heart of Kyoto don't see. Situated along the Katsura River it is a semi-rural community with small farms occupying as much real-estate as homes and businesses. This means I see farmers at work doing their thing. I see the land tilled, seeds sewn and the crops harvested. I imagine for the average Japanese person this is terribly mundane. But for a non-native city boy it is all very interesting.
When I arrived last September the kome (rice) was ready for harvest (see my post from October 18). I watched through the winter and spring as these fallow fields were plowed and harrowed over and over. Small sections of the less than one-acre plots were planted with different vegetables: cabbage, beans, etc., but mostly the land lay bare.
At the end of May something curious happened. Following days of intense ploughing, the fields were suddenly flooded with water. There is a complex network of little channels that seem to criss-cross every street in Katsura. I assumed these functioned as kinds of storm drains. This may be. But they also function as an irrigation system diverting water from the river to the rice paddies.
|Rice seedlings at planting|
The frogs arrive about the same time as the rice seedlings. As soon as the sun sets each day they begin singing. It is a hilarious chorus that fills the warm nights interrupted only by a passing dog. Where did they come from I wonder. And where do they go during the day? I've yet to see one of these raucous amphibians.
|Rice plants after 3 weeks|