Our challenge in this year is to help our partnered farmers with their work.
Last Sunday, one of our tour conductors Keiko joined in their field.
In the west side of Lake Biwa, where we live, the mountains and lake are close together and the farmland space is limited. People cultivated the mountains and made rice paddies on the hillsides.
The natural rice terraces are a beautiful sight on their own, but for farmers, they are nothing but inefficient and inconvenient as it's not easy to manage things on the slope including the water control or machine handling.
The day's work was tilling the soil. We hand tilled the corner of the rice fields where the machine couldn’t reach and found it was hard to balance in the mud while hoeing up the soil. In old days, the entire fields were done by hand and it must have been a heavy labor.
There is a legend in Japan that if you leave even a grain of rice, you will receive a punishment of going blind by God. It teaches us that we should not treat God's precious blessings poorly which is recompense of the hard work.
Now Keiko digested the meaning of the words that her grandmother told her in her childhood.
Keiko was born and brought up in Osaka, living in Shiga for more than 20 years. She loves yoga and nature and enjoys the beautiful natural surroundings that Shiga offers. Almost every morning, she visits her favorite beachside park, takes amazing photos and indulges in conversation with the mother lake.
Although she adores Shiga, her bright and cheerful “Osakan spirit” always reminds her to entertain people and lead fun tours. Those of you whose tour leader is Keiko, please look forward to a delightful time with her!