Dreaming Big in Japan

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dream Seed

Es ist so weit!

We have finally found the inspiration for bestowing our dream with a name: 

Dream Seed 

The first of our many planned undertakings will fall under the auspices of "Dream Seed Projects" and include "Dream Seed Yoga" and "Dream Seed Farms." We added links to both sites on the right hand side of this page for your perusing pleasure.

Check out the first post on Dream Seed Yoga which details the yoga sessions Michie is holding next week as a fund raiser for those still struggling with the aftermath of the recent disasters here in Japan.

Also, we discuss our upcoming plans to attend a year-long Permaculture program on our Dream Seed Farms page. Permaculture is the umbrella idea we subscribe to for designing and building our farm, Bed & Breakfast and all the relationships that go along with it.

We will be posting whenever we get a chance and will try to keep things organized by the relevant topics on the relevant pages, so please check them all out when you get a chance.

In other breaking news, we have set a time frame to finally move to Ajishima Island. After we get back from our first PC workshop this weekend, we will be taking several trips to Ajishima while Michie hosts her yoga classes in between. We have to do it in installments because the docks in Ishnomaki City and on Ajishima were either washed away or laid to rubble by the tsunami, and there is no ramp for vehicles to board the ferry. So, we will have to hand load all our stuff box by box, then unload it on the island. Hopefully, we can borrow a truck from our friends or the hospital where Michie will work. Once we get to the island, we will have a little over an hour to drive to the other side (only a mile or so) unload the stuff into our house and drive back in time to catch the only return ferry.

The plan is to have the essentials moved in by the end of the month. On the last trip, Michie will stay on the island and start working at the hospital the first week of May. I will come back to Oshu City and stay at her mom's house for another week or so. The first week of May is called "Golden Week" in Japan, as there are three federal holidays. Most people travel to their hometown and partake in various ceremonies. It is also a time to start planting rice.

I am going to stay and help Michie's uncle plant several rice paddies. Last week they set rice in trays of dirt to sprout in an incubator the size of a garden shed. Early this week they placed several hundred trays on the ground inside long green houses. The rice will continue sprouting until it is about 20-30cm tall. When the weather is right during Golden Week, we will take the trays to the paddies and load up a planting tractor that can maneuver the flooded and muddy paddies while pinching off a half dozen rice sprouts, clumping them together and poking them in the mud. The fun part comes when we get to jump in the mud and fix all the parts the tractor messes up, especially the rounded corners of the paddies where the tractor cannot fit. We will plant a bunch of sprouts by hand. It will be hard, but fun. I have helped out before both with rice planting and harvesting, but always with Michie there to translate, so this should be a great experience if not a bit comical, what with all the gestures, miscommunications and vacant stares...

There will be a nice spread for lunch, but dinner every night will showcase the best rice grown last year, all the seasonal veggies from grandma's garden and ample supplies of beer will flow unabated into my mug!!! Nice!

Once the rice is in the mud I will head back to Ajishima and get started on our own garden. I am not sure what I will be able to plant this year, as we are about a month behind our planned schedule. But, it will be a refreshing change for me to just go with the flow. Michie will be able to jump right in and start helping the patients and residents of the island. I will have to seek out our friends help. I have asked them to invite me along and to have me help out with what ever they end up doing on the island. Our friends father is the island handyman and the son-in-law's family was born and raised on the island. This will help me introduce myself to the islanders as we help with the rebuilding of the island. About forty houses were destroyed and others were damaged, including our friends', so there will be lots of work to do for quite some time.

We had good news that the officials will test the water line next week to see if the flow from Ishinomaki is ready to resume service to the island. This would be amazing if it is up and running sooner rather than the projected six months plus! The electricity is still out, but we can live with out electricity. We just bought some water jugs at a second hand shop to fill from the well for drinking, cooking and cleaning. My mom just sent us two solar camp showers, so at least we won't stink too much!

The only other thing to contend with is the toilet situation. With no water to flush, and the thought of hauling buckets half way across the island (literally) without a vehicle just to flush it away is not appealing in the least. So, we are considering a compost toilet, where you basically do your business in a bucket and deposit it later on a compost pile. The compost, or 'humanure' in this case decomposes and cures for one to two years and can be applied to crops and trees as fertilizer. This concept is really quite something. You can read the Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins online, download it here, or buy it here.

I digress...

So, we will be living exactly the life we had envisioned ten years down the road: no mains utilities, just what we could harvest and produce ourselves. The only catch is that we will not have had the chance to build and tweak all of our systems (greywater, solar & wind power, food production) gradually over time. I am somewhat of a perfectionist and a procrastinator and have an all-or-nothing personality, so perhaps this is the best possible way to begin: start at our end goal and reverse engineer how it all works as we go along!

This dream has been the driving force that brought us to Japan and specifically to Ajishima. We are here to cultivate a brighter future for ourselves and everyone around us. There is no time like the present, and the present time is planting time! We take this seed, our dream seed, and plant it with love and intention. We nurture it while it grows and it will in turn provide all we need. This symbiotic, synergistic, virtuous circle is the ebb and flow of life, death and rebirth itself. We cannot help but be glad to be a part of it all right now.

What a time to be alive!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rick and Michie!!

    I was sooo pleased and relieved to read your email at WF informing us of your safety...we were all so concerned! I just learned about your blog tonight (Deb told me when I asked if she had heard from you)and look forward to catching up on all you are doing! Be safe and well...I miss you both.