As June approaches, summer draws near, but with the high temperatures in Japan over the last few days, one could be forgiven for thinking that summer had already arrived.
We live in a rural mountain village, surrounded by rice fields and tea fields, in which there has been a lot of activity lately.
The rice fields were planted this month, and the frogs were croaking loudly last week when some badly-wanted rain fell, much to the delight of the rice farmers.
In early spring, Mandy and I had the pleasure of visiting the home of our good Japanese friends, where they showed us how rice is initially planted, before the process moves to the famous Japanese rice paddies.
So this month on Japan Close-Up, I'd like to provide a pictorial explanation of the rice-planting procedure.
First, we need some rice seeds, usually collected from the previous year's harvest...