Where are we today in Japan?
It’s Thursday, November 1, 2018. We got woken up by the blast of alarm at 0600 sharp.
Every day, the town's alarm sounds at noon and 1700, but today, being the first of the month, it blasted in the morning as well.
We have two more days after today left WWOOFing. We can't believe it's already coming to a close!
This is where mindfulness helps us to stay present. Rather than getting caught up in our emotions, we may enjoy the moment for what it is as we are here.
What did we do today WWOOFing in Japan?
We began the morning with a cup of roasted green tea, and then got straight to business.
We weeded some more!
We meticulously sorted through the rich soil to manually extract pesty weeds and critters that threaten the flourishing crops.
Although some bugs are valuable to the garden, some worms like yotomushi will munch away at the plants until they all wither away.
On an organic farm, it is especially important to maintain a healthy environment for the plants to thrive. Weeding supports the plants in reaching their full potential, and has enhanced our ability to stay focused in the moment before our minds drift away.
It's easy for us to drift off in our minds due to the seemingly tedious tasks, moving from one plant bed to another, weed to weed. Yet, when you bring your attention to your body and how it shapes itself around the world at large—how the critters move, live, and reproduce—you're invited to an inside journey of bug and plant life. There's a whole world to see, explore and learn about.
We tugged at a greenhouse by truck to fix the damage of the typhoon
Natural disasters are a large concern in Japan. Without warning, the earth's crust can rumble and quake, the wind can pick up to atrocious speeds and wreck everything in its path, or mountains can erupt and spew molten hot lava for days.
With neither of us being caught in a natural disaster - beyond the occasional blizzard or hurricane - we were taken aback at the legitimate destruction these events cause. In this case, we witnessed our host's greenhouse bent and warped from the recent typhoon.
We attempted to hook up a winch to the posts on the greenhouse and give it a solid tug. Manpower simply wasn't enough, so we latched some straps on the back of our host's truck and floored it.
For a split second, the posts would attempt to straighten, but then the tension would pull the truck back. After repeating this for several times without progress, we decided to cut our losses and headed back to the house for lunch.
We stood in awe at the vibrant double rainbow
Nature's simplicities capture the beauty of this world. It started with a drizzle that soon gave birth to a rainbow caressing each mountain slope from side to side. Like reaching out to call the other, they joined hands for a brief moment in time.
Being mindful in the present moment led us to witnessing this event. We were in the process of weeding once again, four plant beds at that.
It's easy to keep our heads down and weed, weed, weed. Being aware of our surroundings gave us the opportunity to feel the rain, the shift in the wind, and ultimately the becoming of a double rainbow.
We used this time that nature sliced into our schedule to relax into the moment, recharging our vitality before going back to work.
It's these moments that bring great value to our every day, yet completely unplanned and unforeseen. It takes mindfulness.
We faced our fears of social barriers
Being in a new environment, especially one of a foreign language, puts us in a position of growth at every step. Every interaction is one of connecting with the other, pushing through our own limitations of language barriers.
You try to convey the ideas in your head, and understand those of another, with something always seeming to get lost in translation.
Even something as simple as making space for someone to put a tea pot down on the table ends up being miscommunicated as one asking for a cup of tea, and therefore receiving it kindly in return. This happened all night.
Our host had invited some friends and potential work partners over for dinner. Being two foreigners who know little conversational Japanese, it was rather awkward to simply be there among traditional Japanese folk. The tension was dissolved shortly thereafter as everyone was warm and welcoming.
The conversations, of course, revolved around farming. We had little knowledge to contribute in that regard, so our utterances consisted of our future travel plans. This lack of understanding put us in an incredibly strange position in our lives as we resembled a child attempting to mumble his first words.
This put into perspective that we really know very little of this world when you look at the big picture. While we might tackle challenges in one country and language, another location is a different story.
We are but small creatures in an enormous world, making our way through it in a seemingly random web of events.
It's living at the edge of our comfort zones that change occurs. We meet challenges, push through them, and come out stronger on the other end.
Even if we struggled our way through, we gained a new perspective that will support us on our journeys to come.
How much did we spend budgeting in Keihoku, Japan?
Did we make our $40 budget in Keihoku today?
Like they say, a penny saved is a penny earned.
We're grateful for our hosts and the hospitality we've received thus far.
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Until next time, safe travels!