How to Travel Japan On A $40 Budget – Day 18 WWOOF 3/10

Where are we today in Japan?

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Keihoku, Japan. It's Saturday, October 27, 2018, a beautiful and chilly day. This is our third day WWOOFing in Japan.

What did we do today for WWOOFing?

With a full work day before us, we already felt hungry. We broke our fast with a bowl of oatmeal, with crumbled-up vegan cookies and a banana mixed in. Full of energy, we set off to the farm and…

We harvested edamame in the misty morning fields

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We began the day by tending to the edamame crops. Our host instructed us to sort through the plants and select the beans that were plump and green. We plucked and sorted through them all, inspecting every bean to ensure it met or exceeded standards.

It was getting tiresome after some time, considering the majority of the beans were yellow and frail. It took a lot of attention to detail, leaf after leaf, digging through the shadowy confines of the corners. In the end, we managed to harvest 5kg worth as requested, and were off to the next task.

We plowed plant beds to clear weeds in the fields

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Although not the most exciting of tasks, weeding is still essential in maintaining a healthy garden. Sifting through the plants and discarding the pesty weeds, our backs and knees already started to feel a little tender.

We were able to deal with the irritability through our eager youth, but we could see how the labor could be detrimental over time. Plenty of elder farmers we have seen have spines that look like a lowercase n. A lot of toiling in the soil produces fresh and delicious veggies but wreaks havoc on the body. There’s an important balance here to maintain, and we’re sure to find it soon.

We washed plant bed covers in the irrigation canal 

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These long sheets of plastic help keep the bugs out of the plants. They were rinsed free of dirt in the canal and hung along the fence to dry.

We can see why it would be much easier to spray pesticides and fertilizers on the crops to manage pest control. Yet, with the deterioration of the ecosystem and pollution of the environment that it in turn causes, that practice is obviously banished on this farm.

The rich, moist soil here beams with life; insects and critters of all kinds live amongst themselves, baby frogs and beetles alike. You wouldn't quite see that on a regular farm, as pests and friendly critters would be wiped out the same.

We ate another superb vegan meal with our hosts

Chickpea burgers, sweet potatoes from a neighbors farm, and farm-fresh veggies were on the menu tonight. Having talks with our hosts has become a daily joy. From chatting about ladybugs to the practice of Zen Buddhism, our topics are diverse!

After dinner, we browsed through a visual novel left behind by another WWOOFer. It's quite an experience to be here, and also to see how each individual interprets the same thing.

We all see the world in many ways, but ultimately we share the experience of life itself.

How empowering it is to see life from the lens of others, as it teaches us more of ourselves than anything.

Only by removing our personal boundaries may we connect much deeper with one other. WWOOFing has definitely helped to close that gap for us.

We sorted the edamame and prepared it to sell to retailers

We witnessed the amount of effort and labor that goes into producing flourishing crops, from maintaining the quality of the rich soil, building and weeding the plant beds, harvesting the vegetables properly, and packaging and distributing the goods to local retailers.

It's a lengthy process from start to finish, but seeing the whole picture has opened our eyes. Seeing an item on the shelf in the supermarket will never be quite the same.

With that, we shuffled through the edamame from this morning, and measured 5kg to sell to local retailers and chefs, eating the remaining beans that didn’t make the cut. Not a bad deal! 

How much did we spend budgeting in Keihoku?

Food: $0

Transport: $0

Lodging: $0

Sightseeing: $0

Other: $0

Today: $0

Did we make our $40 budget today?

As much as we wanted to dash off to the supermarket for some snacks, we held back our urges so that we could come back and say yes! Meeting the budget is important, and turning away immediate satisfaction for the end game is what matters most.

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Until next time, safe travels!