Stone Basin

Stone Basin
at Ryo An Jin

Monday, May 28, 2007

Last Day in Shizuoka

Got up early and took the bullet train to Shizuoka, about 2 hours away. The Shinkansen trains are so fast I am sure it's past the speed of sound. Sebastian and I just looked at each other and laughed hysterically. Our camcorders weren't fast enough to capture the train moving.
We were driven around by the head of the organic farmers' cooperative of which there are four farmers. There are each defined by a different terroir and source of water, which was of supreme importance. The farm we visited belonged to Mr. Saito, who has been growing tea for 37 years, and organic teas for 17. He is one of the pioneers that Slow Food Italy cited as an example of organic farming in Japan, which is certified by the JAS. Mr. Saito takes great care in re-fertilizing his fields using hay and other vegetation. What was fascinating to me though is the skin of the ino-shi-shi, a wild boar, put up as an example of boars who dared to ruin the fields again.
Mr. Saito has a moonshine room where he is experimenting with all kinds of fermented vegetables, including natto, for fertilization. He and his wife work their entire farm, and Mr. Hara, our translator, informed us that such tea craftspeople can not hope to survive in Japan without subsidy from the government, due to cheap Chinese tea imports.....

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