Off-the-Eaten Path Food Experience in Japan. "Meet the People and Places behind your Plates! "

Sunday 24 August 2014

Edible landscape (1) Shifting cultivation in Shizuoka

2 nights stay in the remote village in Shizuoka to see "Yakihata (shifting cultivation)" led me ancient time of japan.
Long long time ago, sacred foods ("nie" or "minie") and clothes (yuu) are offered to the Heaven. 
Mankind can survive without a house, but never without the food and the clothes, which are offered for God.

the word of farm "hatake(畑)" consists of fire"hi(火") and paddy"ta(田)".
the kitchen farm which is not burnt is called "hatake(畠)".
paddy fields are irrigated recently, and in the remote village, shifting cultivation is still inherited from ancestors.
shifting cultivation increases soil fertility, and prevent weeds and diseases.
the traditional methods of farming and indigenous knowledge are disappearing.

Now, the villagers try to revive the ancient method of "yakihata".

Several varieties of millets are preserved in Aoi district in Shizuoka.
Orange cucumber, tree nuts, native Azuki variety, small persimmon for dried snacks...

It is quite interesting to see offerings inherited from ancient time for religious rituals.
"Saka awa" a variety of foxtail millet (Panicum italicum L.) is stuffed into the stomach of mountain trout "Iwana", and offered to the "Hokora", the small wayside shrine.

rituals are inherited to male, and seeds are to female...
"Saka awa" is secluded in the hidden place for seed collection which is preserved from the past.

there are several varieties of millets in the village fields.

the another variety of foxtail millet, called "Nekoashi" (cats foot) appears similar to cat's feet.
It also looks close to native bristle grass (Sataria viridis). That two varieties are easily cross-breeded.

"a low simmering flame is better than a strong fire. warming up the soil is important"
Said an old farmer in the village.

in the past, the villagers set fire at nightfall to clear the falling sparks.
it continues to burning for 2-3 days.
There is a cabin to watch fire.

"in the past, we had to cooperate together even with a repellent fellow for those exchange labor"
the village is a big family. built a house together, cultivated together and prayed together...

at that night, we slept under the sky in the sleeping bag,  feeling the breath of the earth.
I got up refreshed in the next morning.

Do I really need everything I have now?

food and clothes. these two were used for offering.
yes, we only need the two.
if not enough, that is acceptance.
tend to forget in the busy daily life, but would like to keep it in mind...