As most of you may know, rice is a staple food for the Japanese people. Sushi, Onigiri (rice ball wrapped in seaweed nori), Tendon (Tempura on a rice bowl), Curry rice (Japanese-style mild curry with rice), to name a few. Without rice, perhaps Japanese people could not survive. To them, it’s a taste of mother, childhood, school days, lunch boxes, and it continues to be something that gets their energy going until the last day of their lives. This rice has been treasured and carefully farmed in Japan since the earliest ages of human history.
Well, have you ever heard of or witnessed Taue, a seasonal event of rice planting in Japan?
Taue refers to ‘rice planting’ and it starts at the end of May, usually before the rainy season begins in June. When you look at the farming fields in Japan, there are two types of them – paddy field for rice farming and dry field for other use such as growing vegetables and fruits. When Taue season kicks in, you will see water pouring vigorously into the fields. These become paddy fields and they create nice watery ground for rice planting. Although it varies from place to place, traditionally, water they use for rice farming comes from a natural river. Therefore, during Taue season, people see the change of water levels in a river. This reminds us of the concept of sharing. We do not live solely without nor independently from the nature.
More and more farmers get to cultivate their fields by machines. There are special vehicles available for rice farming and unique events are held to attract more attention to rice farming such as volleyball in a mud! Even though it looks tiring and for sure it is physically demanding, the way farmers plant rice hand by hand is graceful and charming. I find this to be one of the unforgettable sceneries in Japan. Taue has been and will be a call of early summer in Japan and it keeps reminding us of the harmony we live in.