Nora Shigoto is a new project to help volunteers who want to work on a farm and get out of Japan's busy cities for a day. The project has been sucessful so far with lots of people experiencing rice planting, vegetable gardening and animal husbandry for the first time. Many kids get a chance to get their shiny new boots all muddy and learning new games as well.
The project is waxing lyrical about how farm work can "reduce stress" and help young ladies get "smooth skin" - - "even better than going to a beauty salon!" If you are tired from sitting by the PC all week, "feel refreshed" after a day at a farm! Be that as it may, for most beginners, farming is pretty hard work and you should not expect it to be a picnic (although most farmers will invite everyone to join in a healthy dinner by the end of the day).
Keiko Takahashi explains how she likes taking the train to the farm where she usually helps out. The rice fields smell great this time of year, just before the harvest, and there are "dogs, goats, chicken and a lot of plants living together". Milking the goat sounds like fun!
This farm has eggplant, tomato, cucumber, and herbs including red perilla and basil. While not certified organic, Keiko appreciates that the farmer, Masahiro Goto, does not use pesticides and no artificial fertilizers.
WWOOF Farmstay in Japan
GenkiJACS is offering special courses for foreigners who want to visit Japan and learn Japanese, while also staying on a farm and helping out with some work. They have teamed up with Willing Workers On Organic Farms (WWOOF) Japan. Their WWOOF farmstay course involves two parts:
1. Japanese Study
At GenkiJACS' main school location in Fukuoka City, study the Japanese you will need to be able to participate fully in farm life. You will take four Japanese lessons per day, two in standard conversational Japanese, and two specifically geared towards living and working on a farm. During this time, you can choose to live with a Japanese family or in a private apartment.
When your study is complete, you will move to a nearby farm to begin your farmstay. As per the conditions of WWOOF membership, you can choose to stay for as long as you would like, up to a maximum of 6 months, or move to other farms within the WWOOF network.
GenkiJACS will arrange everything for you, from your accommodation during your study with us, to your WWOOF application, to helping you choose the best farm to start your stay.
Written by Martin Frid at greenz.jp