Where are we today in Japan?
Keihoku, Japan. It’s Monday, October 29, 2018, and our fifth day WWOOFing with our generous hosts.
If you haven't yet decided whether or not WWOOFing appeals to you, it's totally worth it!
What did we do today WWOOFing in Japan?
We harvested two more rows of edamame
Little did we know that edamame were soybeans; the only differing factor being the maturity of the bean when harvested. It still boggles our minds how little we know about the foods we eat everyday.
We used to eat a lot of edamame at our favorite sushi restaurant in San Diego, RB Sushi. We'd easily consume several bowls worth of the stuff, but now, having personally harvested it, we appreciate the amount of effort required to produce such a delicious treat.
We cleared three beds of Japanese eggplant for the next seasonal rotation
What most surprised us was the forethought that went into this farming practice. Everything was recycled and reused in one way or another, from the plastic strings holding the eggplants upright to the wooden poles supporting them.
In this case, the eggplant season was coming to a close, so the plants were removed and organized into a compost pile. They will naturally decompose there and then offer a nutrient-dense mixture from which other crops can grow from in the near future.
The eggplants themselves were rather large, with thick roots reaching deep into the soil below. Pulling them out of the plant beds was a challenge as there were quite a bit!
We created a giant burn pile from discard
All of the damp vegetables were thrown into the compost pile, while weeds and dry twigs, on the other hand, got burned. The mineral-rich ash from the flames was to be collected and scattered amongst the soil.
We packaged bay leaves, mixed baby salad greens, and edamame
Farming is a full-time business, and we got to participate in the full spectrum of this farm's operations. Sorting, weighing, and packaging all of these veggies felt like we were part of Santa's workshop creating gifts for everyone.
We can’t imagine how the host does it without WWOOFers. It's a seemingly endless process, and requires a lot of skill to manage all of the technicalities that come with it.
We enjoyed our host's take on a local Japanese cuisine
Okinomiyaki, or Japanese meat and vegetable pancakes, are a delicious savory treat throughout Japan.
Our host whipped up a vegan version with fresh vegetables that was out of this world. Eggplant, butternut squash, and a variety of other vegetables were assembled and fried up together.
Another unbelievable lunch orchestrated by our host! We also enjoyed some green bean noodles and leftover chickpea burgers with the pancakes.
You'd be amazed at how a vegan lifestyle truly alters your mindset. With the right kind of energy to power you through the day, you don't have any ridiculous crashes in energy or cravings for sweets.
We practiced dissolving our ego through a mindful meditation practice
The endless conversations about the Zen lifestyle and mindful meditation around the kotatsu inspired us to do absolutely nothing.
Yup - nothing .
Our host shared his take on mindfulness with us, and the endless meditation he'd performed over two decades working in a Buddhist temple.
Often times, he'd sit on a cushion and face toward the wall. He'd sit there for several hours and let thoughts come and go freely, attaching zero energy or emotion upon the thoughts. He would sit there and simply exist.
After lunch, we sat on the porch and bathed in the warm glow of the afternoon sun. The impermanence of the moment highlighted the importance of the moment, and we were reminded that the only moment that exists is the present moment.
An hour soon passed, and we put back on our coveralls to get back to work on the farm. We felt fully present and ready to engage in the various chores mindfully.
How much did we spend budgeting in Keihoku, Japan?
Did we make our $40 budget today?
The good news is that we're at a daily average of $43. Not only did this WWOOF experience make traveling Japan at under $40 possible, but we've learned so much more!
These skills we've picked up and experiences we've had with our hosts will translate down our life until our time is up.
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Until next time, safe travels!