Yasuko (L) and Sheena getting muddy
History was made in May 2003 in the nearby city of Kariya where Sheena became the first foreigner to take part in the annual public planting of rice.
Reporters from local newspapers as well as the national daily The Chunichi Shimbun and KATCH Cable TV were on hand to record this historic event.
The event is organised by JA (Japan Agriculture) at their originally named Rice Centre in rural Hekinan a short drive from Chiryu, where we lived in central Japan.
In 2002, on a mountain hike, Sheena and John expressed interest in rice planting to their friend and student Yasuko Fukushima. Yasuko remembered this and took the trouble to put their names down at JA.
Along with Yasuko and about thirty others, Sheena spent about thirty minutes wading through the deep mud of a flooded paddy field planting rice by hand.
There were fears that Sheena would not be able to take part due to her only having boots and not tabi, kimono socks which are recommended for paddy wading. Once in the field though, Sheena was able to make sure, if slow, progress walking.
She did admit though that the strength of the mud suprised her. "I didn't think it would be that strong." she said.
This event was the first of a series that lasted all season culminating in a successful harvest in September. We were still eating the rice in late 2004 after we had moved to Korea!
Updated, Saturday Dec 18th, 2004
About Rice Planting