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.