Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fall rice harvesting season

2012-08-23 17.51.05

Now back to something a bit more culturally focused than beer. Over the weekend I was fortunate enough to notice the owner of the field adjacent to my parking lot was harvesting his rice field.

Rice harvesting, at least where I live, is commonly done throughout the month of September and even part of early October. The guy who owns the field behind my apartment seems to do it during early September when he drains the field one week earlier and lets the field dry out for him to safely use his harvesting vehicle in it.

In these times of modern technology, even something as back breaking and tedious as rice harvesting can be improved. Many rice planters in Japan do still do their harvesting and planting by hand but every passing year I see more and more of these machines in the fields to speed along the labor. I am certain the increase of machine usage has a lot to do with the age of the farmers. It really doesn’t seem to change the end product in the end so good on them.

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After the field was completely harvested by the machine, it was completely bare except for a few piles of straw which he burned on the spot. It’s still OK for farmers and home owners, at least in the countryside, to burn their green waste. It has a very pungent smell and creates a lot of white smoke if its still wet. It’s one of those things that triggers my thoughts of Japanese country life. The smell of burning field grass… Weird right?

2012-09-12 15.44.02 2012-09-12 15.44.07

I don’t have much more to say than that. I did take pictures of a different field not more than five minutes away that employs the classic method of hand harvesting. I still want to try planting and harvesting one day. It just seems like something worth trying at least once.

Here’s a video of the machine in action! It’s a lot faster than I thought it would be. You can clear a field out in less than a day if you have enough help unloading the rice into bags.

I suck at narration.

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