Friday, June 12, 2009

Sara - Rice Planting

On May 31st, Patrick and I went to plant rice. In Japanese it's called Taue (Tah-oo-eh)田植え. We were invited by our friend, Mr. Kamura, who is the owner of a restaurant we frequent.

Patrick had done it last year and I was unable to attend because I had fractured a bone in my foot. I was very happy to go with them this year.

The rice field was for making sake and it was being maintained by a group Mr. Kamura's friends. It was a very friendly atmosphere. I've never planted rice before but it was really fun. I took off my boots and went into the mud barefoot. The mud was warm and felt pretty good under my feet. I was almost knee deep in it.

But before we went into the mud, there was a tractor that planted rows of rice. We were to plant to remaining rice plants between the rows. Planting rice was pretty easy. You don't plant seeds, but the actual plant. This is because the fields are flooded with a lot of water and a seed would just wash away. Instead, the rice are grown elsewhere until there are several inches tall. Then you take the plant and gently place it in the mud. You have to give it a slight twist when you plant it to make sure that it stays in the mud and not just be sitting on top of it.

After we planted the rice, we went and had a great lunch that included great sake. Here are some pictures that I took of the rice planting.

This is the field before it was planted.

This is the rice tractor.

These are the rice plants in bunches.

This is the field after we planted the rice.

This is a close up of the rice.

Sara - Tea Ceremony Luncheon

On May 23rd, I went to a luncheon with my tea ceremony class, for class. We went to a sushi restaurant that had a tea room in the back. We were served many delicious by Ms. Obara.

Ms. Obara is an advanced student in my class and was practicing a tea ceremony luncheon. Part of the practice included writing out invitations. There are specific things that had to be written and she went through several drafts before giving us the final one. My teacher, fellow students, and I practiced being guests. There a few mistakes made by both host and guests, but it was the best lesson.

The food was amazingly beautiful and delicious. Unfortunately I was unable to take any pictures because I was concentrating so hard on the eating order that I forgot to take out the camera. I had to keep track of where I placed lids, chopsticks, sake cups, and which way to pass serving dishes.

Each food item had a meaning and reflected upon spring. The flower arrangement on the wall also reflected upon spring. The flowers also have meanings, but I was a very bad student and didn't keep track of that.

I did put together a quick video of what I was able to capture of the ceremony. I didn't get all of the moves, but you can watch Ms. Obara make Ousu (light green tea).