Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Rice fields, ship wrecks, and sunset

Aomori Prefecture has rice fields as far as the eye can see. I've wanted to take pictures of every step of the process since planting began several months ago. I'll have to get the planting next year, but I was able to snag some shots of this harvest. Did you know that a farmer can harvest 8,000 lbs of rice per acre? There are so many fascinating facts about rice. I was surprised Japan is ninth in rice production. I figured it would be higher. Some more info from Wikipedia:

Rice production is important to the food supply, with rice being a staple part of the Japanese diet. Japan is the ninth largest producer of rice in the world. The rice seasons in Northern Japan last from May–June to September–October. In central Japan, it is from April–May to August–October. In southern Japan the rice season is from April -May to August–September. About 85% of the 2.3 million farms in Japan plant rice yearly. Improved varieties of japonica rice are grown in almost all prefectures in the country. The most widely planted variety is Koshihikari.
The average rice field acreage of a Japanese farmer is very small and rice production is highly mechanized. Due to small farms, rice production is considered a part-time occupation by many farmers. The number of Japanese farm households and farm population has declined in recent decades. Rice production has also declined. The decline came about because in 1969, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries has asked farmers to reduce rice acreage; under the Staple Food Control Act of 1942 the Japanese government is formally in charge of all rice production, distribution, and sales.[1] The most striking feature of Japanese agriculture, however, is the shortage of farmland. The 4.63×106 hectares (1.14×107 acres) under cultivation in 2008 has shrunk, with most farmers over 65.
However, the land is intensively cultivated. Paddy fields occupy much of the countryside, whether on the alluvial plains, the terraced slopes, or the swampland and coastal bays. Nonrice farmland share the terraces and lower slopes and are planted with wheat and barley in the autumn and with sweet potatoes, vegetables, and dry rice in the summer. Intercropping is common: such crops are alternated with beans and peas.[2]

After the quick pit stop by the rice fields, we headed to Shipwreck Beach. We had the beach to ourselves. The wind was pretty fierce, but the kids had fun running free again. The tide kept me from seeing the shipwreck, but the kids saw it(and weren't very impressed). More of a small fishing boat than a ship, but still cool. 

Do you see his autograph?

I'm not sure what these fences are all about. Maybe to filter debris in case of a tsunami? To help with erosion in some fashion? Anyone know? 

A mountain of shells. 

On the way back to Misawa from Shipwreck Beach, we spied this pull off and decided to stay for the sunset. 

I turned my camera over to Simon for a bit. 

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