Category Archives: Photos

[Our Noh no Ikebana] “We at midwinter long for the coming of spring,” says Matsuno Tsuzuki, 79, from Agui Town, Aichi Prefecture

“I began Noh no Ikebana more than 35 years ago. First, I joined the class given by a master of Noh no Ikebana, Toshie Yokoi, from an agricultural cooperative in Higashi Chita (JA Aichi Chita) at her visit at our female members’ group event. When she made some adjustments, vegetables in my arrangement suddenly looked so beautiful, fresh and lively. That moved me a lot I remember. Soon, I joined the club of the female members in Agui. Currently, the club has 19 members, but it’ll be nice if we can have some younger members, too. I always look for the materials for my arrangements, while I’m at my farm … Continue reading

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Japanese farmer keeps alive tradition of treating hoe mindfully

TOYAMA, Jan. 12 ― Hikohiro Motoyoshi, an 83-year-old farmer, and his wife Hiroko keep alive tradition of serving sake and the New Year’s food to their hoes respectfully. Their hoes — one is flat hoe and the other is three pronged cultivators — are sitting on zabuton cushions, treated like guests of honor, in the largest room in the home of the Motoyoshi family in Toyama. And the couple let their petitions be made known to the hoes for a good harvest and the safety in the coming year. “They have promised me another good harvest this year,” Hikohiro Motoyoshi smiles, after talking to the hoes, a tool designed to … Continue reading

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Japanese gentian grower hopes business will bloom in winter

HACHIMANTAI, Jan. 10 ― Gentian, a brilliant blue flower, grows best in sunny conditions. But Ayumi Miyano, a 36-year-old gentian grower, has tried her luck and experimented with the herb, finding a way to keep her business going even in the freezing temperature in winter. Miyano and her 10 part-time female workers make products, such as candle and herbarium, out of the herb in Hachimantai, Iwate prefecture, known for its gentian-growing region in Japan. They cut the plant when the flowers are just beginning to open and then hang them up for some time. “I’m hoping this can be a place for us to survive in winter,” Miyano smiles.

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Surprise your partner with wagyu steaks for Valentine’s Day

TOKYO, Jan. 28 ― Surprise your partner with a heart-shaped wagyu steak gift for Valentine’s Day. That was the idea the high-end Japanese department store, Takashimaya, in Tokyo came up with to make Valentine’s Day a special event for customers. The department’s meat sales section is offering online delivery services of these special steaks through Valentine’s Day. It cuts wagyu beef in a heart shape and sells a pair of 120-gram set for loin slice at 6,912 yen and round slice at 4,752 yen.

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Welcoming the year of the pig with susuki grass in Shizuoka

KAKEGAWA, Jan. 5 ― Japanese tea growers have welcomed the year of the pig in the Chinese zodiac calendar with a giant pig made of “susuki” pampas grass. A group of about 20 tea growers installed the 5-meter-long and 3.5-meter-high pig shaped object at the top of Mt. Awagatake in Kakegawa, Shizuoka prefecture. They used 500 kilograms of silver-colored susuki pampas grass, which is also known as “chagusa,” used for tea cultivation providing natural fertilizer in Shizuoka, a main producer of Japanese green tea.

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