Insight into the life of a Japanese farmer

On Sunday I had the pleasure of helping on the BBQ provided by the Rotary Club of Port Lincoln, for friends and families associated with Japanese students from Muroto, who are studying in Port Lincoln at the present time. The function was held at Mikkira Station on a cold and wintery day of course.

I took a couple of ladies to the event, the first being my dear friend Shylie O’brien, who recently celebrated her 97th birthday, and who has been a great supporter of mine, with projects at Nyroca Camp.

The second lady was Kazumi Kojima, 43 years of age, and a farmer from Japan. Kaz’s family farm is about midway between Osaka and Kyoto on the main island of Japan. She is presently working at Nyroca as a volunteer under the Wwoof programme. She has a married brother who has five children, and together with her parents and her 93 year old grandmother, they work a farm growing rice, wheat, soy beans, spring onions and other vegetables. She attributes her radiant health to hard work and good food – she eats a raw egg at lunchtime – a practice I can’t bring myself to follow I’m afraid. She knew all about Muroto and said that it was the first place in Japan where the typhoons hit!

With some difficulty, because of language, we were nonetheless able to discuss the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and like so many Japanese, she abhors nuclear weapons – and for that matter she was quite hostile about the Fukishima catastrophe. Kaz had no idea that in 1914 a Japanese warship was called on to escort the First AIF from Albany to Egypt – as I fear that most Australians don’t realise either. She was most surprised however when I told her that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently came to Australia and addressed the Parliament.

I asked her about her religion – and she said she has no religion, and that most young people in Japan do not follow any religious pursuits. She said however that most of the older people in Japan are Buddhists. I put the proposition to her that the old people of Japan would have accumulated great wisdom and therefore young people should maybe follow their example and adhere to Buddhism too. She was dismissive of that, and so I guess there are similarities with life in Australia too, when it comes to religious faith.

The Muroto Friendship Group under the leadership of Chris Mantle, is preparing a programme to further strengthen the bond of friendship between Muroto and Port Lincoln, especially to celebrate the forthcoming 25 year anniversary.

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