Tuesday, September 18, 2007

paddy view

paddie view
Originally uploaded by touzanka
This is a view of our paddies from a higher vantage point. You can't really see the bottom two, because of the slope.

tall grass

tall grass
Originally uploaded by touzanka
This is the grass, partially cut, on the southern-most of our three rice paddies. This was the easiest of the three to cut, because most of the plants were relatively low. The other two were covered in similar species but with much of it over two meters in height. The middle paddy also had a hornet nest. I cut around it so as to avoid having to kill all of them. I felt bad cutting all this. Lots of bugs and frogs had their homes there. I hope their offspring will find the new look appealing

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Bicycle helmet laws

It looks like Kyoto is coming out with the first bicycle helmet law in the country. They will make it mandatory for children who are riding with an adult in a child seat on the bicycle to wear a helmet. The local government is also encouraging bicycle sellers to emphasize safety and periodic safety checks at point of purchase. The goal, according to the NHK radio news this morning, is to make cycling safer. There are arguments for and against helmets for cyclists, just as there are arguments over helmets for motorcyclists. I have seen no conclusive evidence that wearing helmets is safer than no helmet, and I'm in favor of keeping the lawmakers out of our lives as much as possible.

If Kyoto really wants to make the place safer for people, they should make sure that cyclists have a safe place to ride, pedestrians a safe place to walk, and automobiles a safe place to drive. As it stands, in the downtown areas cars have huge amounts of space for their use only, and pedestrians and cyclists are forced to share the same crowded spaces. In many of the areas that tourists frequent, everyone shares the same space. Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Lots going on out there!

Wow! There's lots going on out there in the world of agriculture as the Japanese citizen watches its agri-cultural wither and be prepared to be sold off to the highest bidder. Two great sites that I happened on today. One is the Land Stewardship Project. They have a useful podcast, too.

The second site is one much closer to home, Shinji Shumeikai. This organizations headquarters are in Shiga Prefecture, just west over the mountains from here. Sounds like a must-visit spot. Their statement on the environment at their web site says:

The greatest expression of Shumei's deep concern for the health of our Earth is its commitment to the practice of the Natural Agriculture method of growing food, a method that emphasizes the integrity of nature and the purity of soil, water, and air.

They have also made a partnership with The Rodale Institute to cooperate in developing natural farming practices.

Interview with Japanese farmers' and consumers' cooperatives representatives - Rural America / In Motion Magazine

Interview with Japanese farmers' and consumers' cooperatives representatives - Rural America / In Motion Magazine

Good interview that details some of the major farming issues in Japan.