How to Travel Japan On A $40 Budget – Day 22 WWOOF 7/10

Where are we today in Japan?

Keihoku, Japan.

Today is Wednesday, October 31, 2018, and our seventh day WWOOFing. It's also Halloween for those in the U.S.! This year, we dressed up as farmers.

What did we do today WWOOFing in Japan?

A lot of chores on a farm can be repetitive and monotonous, but when mindfully engaged in the task at hand, time seems to disappear.

Being fully present in the moment, we practice mindfulness with every task, reaping every reward through honest intent.

We shuffled adzuki beans for worms and other bugs

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Some of the adzuki beans we harvested the other day had dried, so we began splitting the pods and organizing the beans into piles.

Small worms and other insects find their way into the beans and chew through them, preventing us from eating or selling them.

There are plenty of bugs all around, especially on an organic farm, so it's imperative that we sort through all the produce and double-check it.

We weeded three more plant beds for winter and chopped down okra

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Back on the field, we yanked out more weeds and cleared the plant beds of debris. The weeds sprout up like no tomorrow, so they must be constantly tamed.

The labor started to take its toll on us, as our backs became more stiff and uncomfortable.  We can understand now why elder farmers among the area are hunched over all of the time.

The okra plants stood tall and red, unlike the viscous green gumbo we were familiar with. Slimy inside and out, these things were messy getting rid of! Cutting into the stems to clean it up, the goo ended up covering the blade of the saw.

We weren't big fans of these smelly pods, but when our hosts prepared us his delicious vegan chili with the addition of fresh okra, it changed our mind instantly.

Ben lit up more fallow with the flamethrower

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Lugging around the flamethrower and torching the seeds, although a change of pace from other labor intensive tasks, still carried its own unpleasantries for the body.

The flamethrower takes awhile to heat up manually, and also required pumping of a valve every so often to ensure adequate airflow through the torch.  

After a while, it began to drizzle, dampening the field and making it difficult to catch flame. The wind shifted directions several times, blowing the heavy smoke every which way. Amidst the minor trivialities, Ben plowed through the task at hand, nearly scorching the remainder of the field until the flamethrower ran out of fuel. The remainder would be completed the next day.

It would be easy to abandon control of our emotions due to external circumstance, such as the weather. But, by remaining mindful in our daily lives, we harbor a clear mental state, and remain unphased in response to the incessant trials and tribulations of daily life.

We packaged baby salad greens and harvested more edamame

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We were tasked with reaping another batch of edamame - another 5kg, to be exact.

Having already garnered the majority of ripe beans, we were struggling to locate any more. We had to run back out into the field to grab some more, eventually reaching just below our target at 4.7kg.

We then helped with packaging the baby salad greens. It's a rather simple task for us WWOOFing, but quite a lot of work for one individual.

Our host, without our help, would spend hours doing this himself - not to mention harvesting the greens, sorting them, and then mixing all 13+ varieties together before finally packaging them. Wow! We have some big shoes to fill.

We enjoyed a feast of farm-fresh food and local Keihoku specialties

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Every meal we had while WWOOFing was magical. Our host, having mastered vegan cuisine after 30 years of committing to the lifestyle, shared his best dishes with us.

For dinner, we had natto mochi with udon noodles, fresh eggplants, edamame, baby salad greens, and some hot tea.

Natto mochi, for those that don't know, is made from natto (a fermented soybean) and mochi (a Japanese rice cake.) It is a local dish perfected in the mountainous town of Keihoku.

How much did we spend budgeting in Keihoku, Japan?

Food: $0

Transport: $0

Lodging: $0

Sightseeing: $0

Other: $0

Today: $0

Did we make our $40 budget in Keihoku today?

Yes!

WWOOFing has helped us reclaim our budget, of course, but has provided us with invaluable experience as well.

Today, our daily average comes down to $39. That's just below our budget of $40 for this trip! With a little more wiggle-room in our budget, we have a bit more freedom to indulge in activities we would otherwise skip out on (aka food!)

What would you do with the extra cash for your budget?

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Until next time, safe travels!