Travel log: Farm stay outside Tokyo
I made it through my first day of working on the farm. I’m basically a glorified weed picker, but I did get to help weigh and bag veggies for the last hour (and was rewarded with an orange popsicle!). This farm supplies veggies to 2 French restaurants in Tokyo as well as Italian and Japanese, and to many families in the area. The family is very nice, only the son Yoshi speaks English, so we chat and he tells me what my duties are each day. The farm is quite large and is growing so many things, my favorites: gobo, kabocha, edamame, sweet potato, tomatoes, kale, all kinds of herbs, and lettuce. For each meal we eat only veggies from the garden. This is awesome, but working in the hot sun all day is not exactly fun. I haven’t been getting any protein, no beans here, but the mother did buy me tofu at the store today thankfully.
I’m leaving on Thursday when another wwoofer comes so I can go to another vegan meetup in Tokyo on Friday before heading to the next farm. I think 4 days is all I can stand of this at the moment. I’m hoping the Nagano area, where my next farm stay is located, has cooler weather. I’m taking breaks in-between each stay to enjoy the surrounding areas. I don’t want to be slaving on farms the whole time I’m here! The last farm outside of Osaka wants me to stay a whole week so I think 4-5 days for the next one will be just fine. At least I’m not spending any money while I’m here. I spent WAY too much while in Tokyo on food and train, but on the farm I don’t have to spend a penny, just the train ride to get here.
An exciting thing did happen today though. A journalist from the Tokyo newspaper came to interview me and Yoshi for a story on wwoofing. I hope they put it on their website so I can share the article with you (not that you will be able to read it!).
The mosquitoes are eating me up. I have bites all over my hands and wrists because that is the only part of me that is exposed most times. As I pick weeds and listen to my iPod I dream of the sunny beaches in Thailand that await me in less than 3 weeks and of cuddling with a special someone. Even though I’m surrounded by people it’s lonely, as I knew it would be. I’m glad to connect with people though couch surfing. I went to the vegan Tokyo meetup last Saturday and it was awesome. Nice people and the food was freaking amazing. 8 courses over a 3 hour period. The next one on Friday will have more people and what I’ve been told one of the best vegan buffets in town. I’m so looking forward to it. 4 more days.
Time for dinner, which will most likely be leftover ramen I made at lunch. Boring.
Actually dinner wasn’t so bad. I couldn’t find my ramen. Mrs. Watanabe made a special stir-fry with peppers, kabocha, green beans, and eggplant and cooked the meat separately. I also had edamame, corn on the cob, rice with gomasio, and fresh chestnuts (omg fresh chestnuts are so tasty). She is going out of her way to make sure I get enough food and it’s so kind. I’m really not eating much, and with all the working in the sun and the walking around Tokyo last week I thought I’d be losing some pounds.
After dinner there isn’t much to do except write and read. I wonder if they have any movies around here. There’s a ton of CD’s in the room I’m staying in, some really good classic ones actually (Fleetwood Mac, Simon & Garfunkel, Ultravox, Grease soundtrack, Journey, The Human League, U2), but I don’t see movies. I think I will ask Yoshi. He has 2 movies from the 70’s but they are Japanese and won’t play on my computer. Oh well!
One of my favorite things to do is watch Mrs. Watanabe cook dinner. The kitchen is tiny with 2 burners, but she manages to whip out a beautiful balanced meal for 5 in a matter of 15 minutes. Every night is something different too, this family is not eating the same thing over and over. I can’t eat half the stuff she makes but she is still fun to watch.
Today on my second shift picking weeds I had a welcome surprise; it wasn’t hot, it was perfectly overcast and I even got a little sprinkle while I worked. I looked up over the garden toward the mountains, the sun was shining and rain was coming down, it was so beautiful I wish I could have captured it on film for you.
I’m leaving the farm today. It’s pouring down rain outside and supposedly it’s raining in Tokyo too. Bleh. Mrs. Watanabe rangled up some more blueberries for me so I’m making another smoothie this morning for breakfast.
When I arrive in Tokyo I wait for Alisa to get home, she is letting me stay with her again. I buy groceries to make us dinner and here we are. Tomorrow is the vegan meetup and Alisa is taking me to my first proper Japanese karaoke!! Woot!