「わっとさむスクール」自習時間のお手伝い

9月1~5日にかけての4泊5日の通学合宿「わっとさむスクール」に一部参加させて頂きました。

これは和寒町の小学生希望者(今回は4~6年生、17名)のお子様たちが一定期間家庭を離れ、集団宿泊生活の中で協調性や望ましい生活習慣を身につけることを目的として行われた、北海道と和寒町教育委員会主催のプログラムです。

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道と町の教育委員会の方々と参加者のみなさんにごあいさつ

起床から就寝まで自主的に自分の身のまわりの準備をしたり、食事の準備・片付けを行ったり、しばしの間家庭を離れての生活ですが、みなさんうまく協力しあって「生きる力」を学んでいたように見受けられました。


私はこのプログラムの中の、3日と4日の午後の宿題や自由勉強を行う時間に、子供たちの質問に答えたりするお手伝いをさせて頂く機会を頂きました。

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みんな真面目に取り組んでいました。宿題が終わった後で「ピース!!」
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「わかるかな…?」「辞書を使って調べてみよう…。」

自習時間の後は、自由時間、そして晩御飯です。

ご一緒させて頂くことになりました。

お食事を用意して下さったのは三笠山大学(http://www.town.wassamu.hokkaido.jp/school-board/social-education/%E5%92%8C%E5%AF%92%E7%94%BA%E4%B8%89%E7%AC%A0%E5%B1%B1%E5%A4%A7%E5%AD%A6/) の方々。お野菜たっぷりでとても美味しかったです。

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配膳もみんなで行いました。
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「美味しいね。軽く焼いたお豆腐に大根おろしがのっているよ!」もぐもぐ…
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子供たちと和寒のことなど、色々なお話が出来た楽しいひと時でした。

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4日の晩御飯の後、みんなでパチリ!

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ホテルオークラ札幌の和寒町フェア

この夏、開業10周年を迎えたホテルオークラ札幌にて、9月1日より

「和寒町フェア」が開催されております。
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これは9月1日から30日までの間、ホテルオークラ札幌内の3軒のレストラン

「RESTAURANT CONTINENTAL」、「中華料理 桃花林」、「きょうど料理亭 杉ノ目」

にて、和寒町産の新鮮な食材を使用したお料理が味わえるという期間限定フェアです。

使用されている食材は、和寒町産のかぼちゃ、トマト、茄子、ズッキーニ、ゴーヤー等です。

和寒町は日本一のかぼちゃの産地であり(作付面積日本一!)、

また太陽の恵みをたっぷり受けた美味しい味にも定評があります。
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和寒町産野菜の温製サラダ 生ハム添え

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平目のグラタンは、8月の「(天塩郡)豊富町フェア」の際、和寒町産野菜とコラボした豊富町産の天然平目を使用しています

道産食材をたっぷりとご堪能下さい…

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赤肉メロンのガスパッチョ仕立ては、和寒町産の赤肉メロンを使用しています

上の写真は「RESTAURANT CONTINENTAL」の「和寒町彩りランチ」(お1人様2500円)のメニューの一例です。

詳しくはこちらをご覧下さい。

(http://www.sapporo-hotelokura.co.jp/restaurant/fair/index.html)

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北海道大学のフィールド研修

去る8月22日木曜日、北海道大学の大学院生と引率の先生達、約60名がフィールド研修目的で和寒町を訪れました。

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↑農業活性化センター前で

この研修に参加したのは主に北海道大学のPARE プログラム(http://www.hokudai.ac.jp/international3/ryugaku/pare/view/) とECOSUS Summer  (http://www.census.hokudai.ac.jp/strass/?p=1261) の大学院生で、道北エリアでの現地研修として、農林業や自然エネルギー関連施設を訪問・体験することによりそれぞれの地域の持続性についてレポートするというものです。学生さん達は外国人の方が多く、終日英語でコミュニケーションがとられたため、館洞は通訳兼ガイド補助として同行させて頂きました。

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↑農業活性化センターでの横井さんのレクチャー(通訳:館洞)

和寒町では持続可能型農業・生活スタイルへの試みを行っているため、農業活性化センターにて横井義雄所長による「和寒町の農業」についての概要、越冬キャベツ、土壌分析や試験栽培についての紹介や、バークを利用した堆肥循環システム、農業に欠かせない農業用水の要である貯水池や灌漑用水路、米の貯蔵施設(カントリーエレベーター)の見学を行いました。

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↑熱心に和寒の農業についての話に聞き入る学生さんたち

また、北海道の農業らしさである大規模な農地見学、実際に和寒町の農家さんを訪ねてのトラクター実演、水田に水を入れる様子の見学も行い、農家さんと直にお話しもしました。

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↑和寒の農家、中道さんの田んぼを見学させて頂きました

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↑実際に稲を目の前にして農家さんのお話を聞くのは貴重な体験です

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↑バーク工場も見学しました

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↑バーク粉砕実演もありました

夜は剣淵町のレークサイド桜岡にて、和寒町の地域おこしについて(館洞)、また持続可能型農業についての紹介(酒向勤さん)が行われました。

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↑剣淵町レークサイド桜岡で行われたトーク

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↑和寒町の特性(館洞)、和寒の持続可能型農業とエネルギー(酒向さん)についてそれぞれトークが行われました

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Making Udon Noodles at “Tone” Restaurant田舎酒家「冬音」で和寒産小麦を使用したうどん作りに挑戦!

~Blog by Akane~

Hello! The weather in Wassamu has become much more bearable to work, play, and relax.

My friend, Yoko, who is staying in Wassamu to experience farming from Kagawa, and I needed some time to chat and catch up with our daily updates during our busy and challenging days in Wassamu. So, we went to this restaurant we have always wanted to go called “Tone”. (http://toune.qee.jp/shop/)

Oh yes, this was the first time to go to an “izakaya” since I’ve moved here!こんにちは、館洞です。

和寒も涼しくなりました。
先日、農業実習生として和寒へ来て、農業を体験中のお友達、陽子さんと一緒に初めて訪れた和寒の素敵なお食事&お酒処、「冬音」。(http://toune.qee.jp/shop/)
美味しいお料理を頂きながら、諸々のことについておしゃべりするのは至福のひと時です。 続きを読む Making Udon Noodles at “Tone” Restaurant田舎酒家「冬音」で和寒産小麦を使用したうどん作りに挑戦!

Culture shock #2 The farmers are…カルチャーショック その2

~Blog by Akane~

It’s already September. Still very hot during the day even inside the building. My friends in mainland Japan tell me to be quiet when I say Wassamu is boiling hot. Surely, it is much cooler here compared to Tokyo or Okinawa. However, I need to remind you that there is very limited number of places in Wassamu that are air-conditioned! When it’s hard to bare, only the post office and the library will turn their air-conditioner on. I mean, when it’s about 31 C inside the office at Wassamu Town Office… We don’t even have fans, and I rely on my USB-connected desk top fan on desk.

Still hot, but it’s clearly turning to autumn.
I can see the wheat harvested weeks ago, rice turning golden and heavy, pumpkins harvested and in the containers, and there are still numerous different kinds of pumpkins to be picked up on the way. Oh, and there are also cabbages getting bigger and bigger. I’m rather impressed by the flow of agricultural procedures and fast growth in Wassamu, because it was only about three months ago when I planted those little pumpkins from the pots to the field. Now they are already yielding so many huge fruits! Summer in Hokkaido is short. Soon it’ll start snowing. People have to work fast and prepare for the long winter…

The farming is the vital force and the basic culture of Wassamu. Many people in Wassamu are farmers, and their caring, modest, quiet lifestyle is a lot to do with their way of life: preparing soil, ploughing, planting, weeding, watering, keeping their eyes on them day and night, and harvesting and again back to the start. I do respect people with different background and cultures. Although sometimes some things are unfamiliar to me that I get uncomfortable or get puzzled. I’m the one who has been treated as a strange Japanese person who eats raw fish and seaweed. That’s why I do not say farmers are “bad” or anything similar. They are the people who have sustained the human beings and our civilisation. However, to me, agiculture-based culture and ways of thinking are undeniably strange. So, this is about what makes the farmers the way they are, here in Wassamu, or probably in many parts of Japan that is living on farming.

Right to the conclusion first, I’m not a good farmer-spirited woman!
I’ve always been a ‘bad girl’ at school, or it was just that my innocent curiosity and spontaneousness made my teachers go mad. I was always considered being too different from others or simply stands out too much. I could not understand why I had to be punished by raising my hand and speak of my opinion that I never thought it would offend my teachers (and/or other classmates!)… As I grew up, I started to understand why I was different slowly. My parents were not the ‘average Japanese parents’ who teach their children to be the same as the others, and not to show their feelings or thoughts in front of the others. Instead, my parents always told me to ‘think and act with your own head and be responsible with your own doings’. This was, I didn’t know back then, but the most direct reason that I was not the favourable student. So, where was the major philosophy of the Japanese education coming from? Why do most of the Japanese teachers and parents tell their children (and even adults!) to be quiet and not to stand out?

Maybe, because the Japanese spiritual culture is coming from “agriculture as a community”. Of course, there will be people who’d say it’s Zen culture or else, and I still don’t know why the same agriculture-based European countries, especially the Great Britain with similar geological characteristics to those of Japan’s, such as being an island-country, acts almost oppositely. English culture teaches their children to be polite but as unique as they prefer to be, and try to encourage and extract the best part of each person from childhood. I’ve never been scolded by any British teacher for my expression of ideas or opinions, or even the way I painted pictures. Instead, I was sometimes told why I had nothing to express. Even the bad girl Akane in Japanese schools was lacking in her spontaneousness from many British teachers’ point of view…!

Anyway, I often felt unfair to be silenced to ask questions or say my opinions in mainland Japan but when I moved to Wassamu, I saw people who are surprisingly similar to my mentality. It makes sense that more people in Hokkaido have originality and spontaneous attitude compared to the people in mainland Japan, because of the history of pioneering and immigration from the mainland. Wassamu is a small, very conservative town with many farmers, yet the individual people are much more expressive and individualists. I see more people who are like my parents. It’s so interesting. My parents may have always been good ‘Hokkaiders’!

Seeing the expressive and more free mentality of people here, I see how they keep the superficial agriculture-spirituality at the same time. I could recognise what have formed the culture once again here in Wassamu that now I respect the people more and can accept my past, being scolded by Japanese teachers at school!

The farmers in Wassamu are mostly the descendants of the immigrants from different parts of Japan. They must have had compelling reasons to have decided to leave their home and move to the strange land with deep snow. Some were to escape from the natural disaster such as flood and crop failure, others were the brave people who wanted to start their lives anew in wild land. But they all shared the freezing cold weather, cut down the trees to make space for agricultural use. Furthermore, once they’d moved to Hokkaido, they couldn’t go home crying and saying the life on mainland was easier. Hokkaido was far when they didn’t have earoplanes or bullet trains. That’s probably why people are very practical here and they have less attachment to the ‘land’. They have survived the establishment of Hokkaido.

The farming requires a lot of work as we can imagine. I have experienced the small-scale farming for the first time in Wassamu this year and learnt that large-scale farming is indeed a hard work. The vast area to plough, plant, water, pest-control and harvest, and all with your responsibility and luck. If you don’t take care of them properly, you could see all the crops dying in front of you and won’t have any income but debt. It’s a risky business. And it requires physical fitness. Sleepless nights are usual during harvest time. Now, suppose you and your neighbour don’t get a long, but your neighbour is harvesting pumpkins all through the night till the morning. And in need of help. You’d feel the natural urge to help them even if you don’t like them. Because you do know how hard it is as the same ‘farmer’. Then, once you help them, they’ll thank you, even if they also didn’t like you much. This way, some inevitable bond is born and this has been like this since many generations ago. The agriculture is an endless game with nature, and farmers are bonded with unspoken agreement to help each other.

Farming is only possible during the warm, snow-less seasons in Wassamu, like most of the other parts of Hokkaido. Farmers have half the time for doing their works compared to the farmers in warmer parts of Japan. Needless to say, people have to rush at times. Also, agricultural fields are often attached to each other; some yours and others are your neighbours. Therefore, if you only think of your own rice field and spray pesticide right next to your neighbour’s pumpkins that need to be pollinated by bees, you are going to ruin your neighbour’s crops. So, you need to always be careful with the surrounding situations and what people are doing.

Always pay attention to what others are doing and don’t do anything too different…
Very much related to the farming.
Weeding nervously is also like trying to exclude and terminate different people from the school…
I’ve seen this before when I was at school… (Not sure if I was a weed, because I may not be that tough!)

Farming made people think and live this way.
But what about the farmers in Europe and America?
This is going to be an interesting topic to do some more research.

In the end, I don’t just criticise for complaining. I see, try to understand the fact along with the reasons behind the facts, then have my own taste, and personally, I always accept what it is like as a fact. I can like or dislike things, people or cultures, but I do accept them all.

I’ve come to compromise with my rather provocative, not-so-happy childhood in Japanese schools. Farming is important. And I respect farmers, and their culture.

See you soon!こんにちは。館洞です。

お盆も無事過ぎました。
すでに天国へ住民票を移し、幸せに過ごしているであろうご先祖様達に思いを馳せ、お墓参りをしながら、実はカルチャーショックというのは、ご先祖様達とも関係が深いなあと、しみじみ思いました。カルチャーショックを受けるということは、文化が異なるということで、文化は地域性や先代からの慣わしによって形作られるものだからです。私たち一人一人に家族や大切な人がいて、習慣的に取る行動が似て来る。これが文化(カルチャー)だから…。文化を否定されたり侮辱されたりすると、人は自分や大切な人達をまとめて侮辱されたような気がして、とても傷ついてしまうことがあります。 続きを読む Culture shock #2 The farmers are…カルチャーショック その2