I received a reply rapidly from Takekawa Hidenori-san 竹川英識 of Sainone: he said he wanted to make it clear that he spoke no English but added that, providing I was able to communicate in Japanese, he would be happy for me to come along for a nōgyō-taiken 農業体験 preliminary farming experience and did still have a place for a kenshūsei 研修生 intern. I took that as a good sign and got back to him straight away, making a phone call to reassure him that my Japanese was good enough to understand orders and engage in ordinary conversation. That seemed to do the trick, so I arranged to come visit the following friday, getting the early (arriving at 8.24) train from Tokyo to Kazusa Ichinomiya Station 上総一ノ宮駅 where Takekawa Maiko-san 竹川麻衣子, Hidenori's wife, picked me up in her car, small son in tow.
To those of you who have been following this blog since I created February, as well as to those who have very kindly liked the associated page on Facebook, I owe an apology. I had hoped to post on a regular basis, to document each and every meaningful step on my journey to becoming a farmer in Japan, but it didn't quite happen as I had expected. The reason is, quite simply, that all of a sudden things started to happen a little fast - almost too fast - and that I quickly found myself unable to find either the time or energy to post. So, by way of an apology, here is a little post to let you know what I have been up to but also, I hope, to get me warmed up and ready to post more often.
The first book I have chosen is “Travels In Dreams: One Fat Foot In Front Of The Other,” the auto-biography of Bill Mollison (the co-founder of Permaculture). As you might expect, it touches on a great deal of different subjects (it's far from being a manual), giving a pretty good idea of the nature of the man himself - by all accounts a quite exceptional human being - and, by extension, of Permaculture, its aims and its approaches.
We Are The Farm. How could you resist eating at a restaurant with a name like this?! Not only does the name sound great - like a rallying call to lovers of healthy food and cutting-out-the-middleman - but what I read about them seemed to indicate an operation dedicated to bringing good food to the masses, making vegetables fashionable, and advocating a return to good, old-fashioned organic farming.
Well, after about five years of my wife making noises about wanting to move back to Japan, after about one year of wondering how and when we would do it and where we would live, after three months of waiting for an impressive amount of books, pots and pans, wine and spirits, tea and honey (oh, and some clothes, too) to arrive, and then another two weeks to take them all out of the 150 cardboard boxes they came in, tidy them away, and start using them again, we can finally call our little flat in Tokyo home.