I've spent the last few days hanging out at home holding down the fort while Mizuka has been busy with other stuff. I'm still adjusting to the local time zone. It is primarily an agricultural area so everyone goes to bed at 8 pm and wakes up at 5 or 6 am. Yesterday, the a few of the women from the village came by at 7:30 am to tell me it was my turn to help clean the assembly hall. "When?" "Um... Now." "Sorry, I've got to take my friend to the station and take care of a few things." "Oh... Well, you can do it with the next group." "What day?" "It's not decided. They'll come by to pick you up on that day though." "Uhh.. Oh. OK."
Later, I visited the woman and apologized for not being able to help out with the assembly hall clean up. Then I wandered over to the mayor's house to say hi and told him that I'd be seeing the governor the next day. The mayor gave me a bunch of stewed takenoko (bamboo shoots). (Guess what we'll be having for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next few days...) I mumbled to him about how I had hit a rock and broke my tiller.
A few minutes after I was home, a farmer wandered over to my house. "Do you have a hammer? How about a crowbar?" Smack, crank, bang. The tiller was fixed. The farmer stayed for a chat and I grilled him about what I should be doing in the yard. "It always takes city folks two or three years before they figure out how to manage their yard." The climate in Japan causes it to be perfect for bugs and vegetation including weeds and trying to deal with the onslaught of bugs and weeds without chemicals is a challenge. When I told the farmer our organic aspirations, he smiled, shrugged and gave me that, "You won't last" look. He explained that he had worked on the construction of our house and told me some of the history and even pointed out which of the planks of pine came from the village.
This morning at 7:30 am, the mayor called to tell me that he had picked some takenoko this morning and prepared them for me to take to the governor's house and that I should pick them up around noon. "Uh.. OK."
A little jingle plays across the village PA at 11 am to tell everyone it's time for lunch and at 5 pm to tell everyone it's time to call it a day. On the one hand it's quite relaxing working in my yard with my puppies, bugs, birds and the occasional visitor as my only input source of information, on the other hand I realized that taking care of a yard and managing our relationship in the village is a full time job.