Carolyn Stypka’s Japanese Adventures

 Carolyn Stypa

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Update 7:

Tadaima!! I am back! I returned to my stuffy apartment to my calendars
still set in July, sweat immediately covering my entire body, and my
plants shriveled up to a crisp. The hotter Kumamoto sun scorched my
babies, and my bet on nature taking its course of raining enough to
keep them alive failed.  Funny, as I was gone to work on a farm (rural
community leaders school and farm), learning all sorts of (small,
basic) organic farming techniques.  Abandoning plants in 33 degree
Celsius heat is not a recommended technique.

Love God. Love your Neighbor. Love Soil.

This is recommended.

My two weeks at ARI were simply wonderful.  I didn't tend to rice
paddies like I previously hoped I would be.  But I did tend to
chickens, cows and pigs a couple times.  Mainly, I planted, weeded,
tended and harvested.  I sang songs, played African drums, ate chicken
brains and feet, jumped off a rope swing into a clear blue swimming
hole, woke up sneezing from my old tatami mats every morning, and
dreamt about being able to dig my hands into the great Earth's crust
every day.  I participated in a gender roles skit, shelled maybe 1000
edamame, made blackberry juice and jam, and got a henna tattoo. I was
welcomed into the family of ARI, and received stories of joy and
hardships from Pakistan, Nepal, Indonesia, Kenya, Philippines,
Myanmar, Japan and many many others.  I learned much in my short stay,
and will return there again.


I left desperately needing sun and hard manual labor.  I needed
friends and to reconnect with the world outside of the Japanese school
system.  My farmer's tan and buyo (no-see-ums) bites are my omiyagi.
That, and my new songs in Japanese about potatoes (jagaiimo) and
another about acorns (donguri).  I am officially at kindergarten
level.

I was also given respite through old friends.  Tokyo and Yokohama,
baseball games, onsens, endless trains, days and nights of both
laughter and tears, oh the tears, have been great for the old psyche.
Body. Mind. Soul. Rejuvenated. Thank you!

If you find yourself in the Nishinasuno, Tochigi Prefecture part of
Japan come mid-October, be sure to check out ARI's fall harvest
celebration - HTC!  Teacher meetings at school begin this Friday, with
classes starting I think next Tuesday.  Hope I'm ready for it!



Love, Peace and Humidity,

Carolyn