A Hokkaido dairy farmer closes his farm following earthquake, writes poems to show gratitude

HOKKAIDO, Nov. 6 – “No more sound of buckets No more sound of cows mooing No more sound of milkers No more sound of bulk coolers Every sound of production is completely gone Silence Desolation Tears Tears” Shoichi Narita, 77, a dairy farmer of Nemuro, Hokkaido, wrote this poem to thank his cows, his farm and his fellow farmers who supported him, after he sold all his cows and gave up farming in October. Narita had been running his farm which his grandfather reclaimed in the Meiji Era, keeping 120 cows on a 100-hectare land. But following a major earthquake that hit Hokkaido in September, Narita, his wife Hiroko, 73, … Continue reading

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[Our Noh no Ikebana] “I’d like to celebrate the coming of the autumn,” says Michiko Sekimori, 70, from Chofu, Tokyo

“I’ve been enjoying Noh no Ikebana for almost 13 years. One day, I saw the arrangements of the No-no-ikebana group in Tokyo at a gathering among female farmers in Tachikawa, Tokyo, and thought I want to do it myself. “Look, you are going to be a star. Let’s have fun on the stage together.” I always talk to the flowers and materials silently while I make arrangements. The theme of this arrangement I created this October is “Fall finally came!” It’s been a very hot summer, so I used Japanese silver grass and persimmons to express my happiness to welcome the autumn. I would like you to pay extra attention … Continue reading

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“Honnyo” stands in rice fields as symbol of rice growing culture in Kurihara City, Miyagi Prefecture

It’s believed that the name “Honnyo” has come from “honio,” the name of the method of stacking freshly-harvested rice plants, or from “honioh” from the shape that looks like a temple guardian. To make Honnyo, you assemble four bunches of the rice plants in the shape of a cross and hung them around a cedar pole of two to three meters long which stands in the rice fields. Usually, you can place around 30 of them per 10 are. Farmers in Nagasaki region do it a little differently, by making triangles with the rice plants and assemble them on the pole in an angle so that the tips of the … Continue reading

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US removes import restrictions on shell eggs from Japan

TOKYO, Oct. 17 ― The United States has lifted its import restrictions on shell eggs from Japan with requirements of temperature controls. The move comes as Tokyo has been requesting Washington since 2004 to allow shipping Japanese-grown shell eggs to the U.S. territories such as Hawaii and Guam. The Japanese agriculture ministry said on Oct. 16 that the U.S. concluded that Japan has an equivalent inspection system for shell eggs. According to the ministry, Japanese eggs need to be chilled at a temperature below 7.2℃ from 36 hours after being laid until their arrival at a U.S. destination.

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Japan’s Abe says no greater market access for US farm goods

TOKYO, Oct. 25 ― Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reiterated that a new trade negotiation with the U.S. will not ask for greater agricultural market access than Tokyo had given in other free trade deals, including the Trade-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Abe delivered his policy speech at the outset of an extraordinary session of the parliament that started on Oct. 24. This is the first session since Abe’s reelection for a third term as leader of the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and his cabinet reshuffle. As Japan and the U.S. are set to kick off the negotiation for a trade agreement on goods (TAG) as early as January next … Continue reading

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