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[Serial No.11] Cute in Any Way, Anytime Oct. 2022

Community Saijiki literary calendar

【 Cute in Anyway, Anytime 】

坂井和貴(Kazuki Sakai)

“Mr. Sakai~, I'm home!”
Ah-chan arrived from Korea for the first time in two and a half years.

Yeomin, now four years old, looks up at us as we are talking.
"Yeomin, you've grown up," I said to her and she quickly hid behind Ah-chan.
Soon after, one-year-old Yeojung came up to us, moving her body from side to side.
"This is Yeojung,"


Ah-chan said.
This is Yeojung's first visit to Japan, of course. A smile is on her face.

Before the pandemic, when Ah-chan was saying goodbye to me on her way back to Korea,
"I will definitely come back again, Mr. Sakai," she said, running up to me and giving me a hug.

The next moment, Yeomin, who was two years old at the time, walked up to me and hugged me in the exact same way her mother had done, imitating what she had seen.
As I kneeled down and embraced Yeomin's tiny body, I couldn't help but feel a rush of love for the little girl, which eventually spilled out of me.
And now, Yeomin, who hides behind her mother, is also adorable.


In September, the Corona's waterfront measures have loosened up, and the back-and-forth with foreign countries is becoming more and more active.
・9/7 Kim Sayri from Korea for a 2-month practice program.
・9/8 Ms. Iwata returned from Brazil.
・9/10 Alex and Antje from Switzerland came to Japan for a 3-month practice program.
・9/11 Three students from Korea, Dong-Ha, Geum-Sang, and Jung-Ah, enrolled as associate Academy students .
(Yeomin, Yeojung, and Seomgyeol, along with their three children)
・9/13 Hiroko Katayama participated in the Ecoversities Alliance Gathering in Thailand.
・9/19 Leo, Mr. and Mrs. Tsukioka went to Brazil

Dinner at the community "Family Dining Zero" was very lively. Japanese, Korean, English, German, and Portuguese were spoken here and there. Such a scene is becoming more and more common.
Nowadays, the centerpiece of the family dining room, where everyone from infants to seniors can relax, is the freshly harvested "new rice".

Seed rice prepared during the winter is sown in nurseries, and the seedlings are planted in rice paddies at the end of April or beginning of May. During early summer, the rainy season, and midsummer, the seedlings grow roots to feed on the fertilizer stored in the soil, rooting firmly and growing thicker stalks, which eventually produce ears and fertile crops. Then, from late August to September, the harvest season arrives.
The first appearance of freshly harvested rice in the dining room was on September 3rd.
The menu that day was very simple: RICE BALLS made with the new rice.
The next rice ball was being tucked into one after the other, with exclamations of "this is so tasty!" being heard here and there, and before long, more than twice the usual amount of rice had been consumed by everyone.


"Sometimes, it's nice to eat a lot of rice like today."
We could hear Tamaki, a student at the Academy, muttering.
It was a day that made us think, "Rice is the best for those of us who live in Japan.
It reminded me of a distant autumn day in my mother's countryside, when I was a little kid playing around the rice field with many of my cousins. The smiling parents watching over us, a sky so blue I could almost be sucked into it, the fragrance of the harvest filling my heart, the birds singing echoing in the mountains, the firmness and brittleness of the rice plants when I stepped on them, the sweetness and astringency of the persimmons I ate, the tranquility and absolute peace of mind of the original landscape.


Last year, for the first time, we were able to grow of the rice used in our community and in our mother's lunch box company from our own rice fields. This means that we have achieved 100% self-sufficiency in rice production.
SUZUKA FARM Co., Ltd. was established in 2010, and even before that, Mr. Inagaki had been growing rice for years so that community members could eat rice feeling at ease.
In the beginning, he rented fields from aging local farmers, but old men and women who could not stand to see how poorly he was doing helped him out a lot. Sometimes, they even provided him with a combine harvester and other farming equipment.
Known as "Inachan Farm," Inagaki started his own farm, then started a company with a few young people in their 20s and 30s, and started working enthusiastically 12 years ago. However, they quickly came to a standstill. Both in terms of management and their relationship with each other. Some young people gave up and left.
However, that was the real beginning of the new SUZUKA FARM, which was started by one or two people who wanted to put down roots there. We have spent more than 10 years slowly and deliberately nurturing the farm to become a veritable family business for our community, by returning to the true purpose of what we grow rice and vegetables for, why we do this business, and what kind of company and society we are trying to create.
And all of our rice is now homegrown.
Of course, we're still on our way, but its been cheerful along the way!


Alex and Antje have been here from Switzerland for almost 3 weeks now.
Alex was born in Switzerland, but Antje was originally born and raised in East Germany and has lived in Switzerland since German reunification. In one of our meetings, they said something like this.
"In Switzerland and Germany, I sometimes feel that the social atmosphere we grew up in is very rigorous. Parents, teachers, and superiors always tell us what is right or what we must do, and they always warn, point out, and force us to do things. Even when we grow up, we continue to have that kind of relationship with each other. We keep an eye on each other skeptically."
As I listened, I did not hear that this was a Swiss or German thing, and I felt that I, being in Japan, had gone through a similar path. Discipline, education, correcting others...
Growing up, becoming a parent, I have unknowingly pushed that path to the next generation.
We don't know a human being, we don't know life, and we don't know or try to know any other way than that. The people in Switzerland and Germany who are trying to correct people in a harsh way overlap with me, I don't feel like a stranger.
I now wonder why I took such a stupid thing so seriously, but it is hard to realize one's own stupidity and shallowness when one is doing it unconsciously and for the right reasons.
Alex and Antje seem to be sensing a calm atmosphere in the Suzuka community today. It's like they're embraced, so they don't have to worry about what others think, and they're willing to be open about what they're thinking...


I am looking back over the past 10 years of my life and thinking about how I have lived in such an environment and soil.
It is thanks to the soil of this community that I have finally begun to live a more humane life at my age. It is not just that there is a warm environment and atmosphere, but also that there is always a guidepost and an opportunity to return to one's starting point and to live life in one's own way. The existence of parents who embody the kind of swerveless strictness that comes from such deep love.
And it is the subject of each individual, himself/herself, who moves forward there.

Well, Yeomin.
The last time she lived in Japan, she was with "Umi," who was born right around the same time as her.
After two years without seeing each other at all, we wonder if they remember each other.
What would it be like to see each other again?
Somehow, we were all thinking about that.
Here's what they looked like "then".


Umi and Yeomin
Glancing at each other?
They were playing in the water at a distance from each other.
But before they knew it, they were getting closer and closer.
Yeomin follows behind Umi with the same movement.
Umi follows behind Yeomin again, doing the same movement
And so on and so forth.
As they move in the same way, they become partners
It's interesting that they seem to be communicating with each other even though they don't speak to each other.


I heard that the emperor penguins in Antarctica, who couple with the same partner every year, synchronize and make the same movements when they meet each other for the first time in a year. I guess Umi and Yeomin are the same.
That day, Yeomin also told her mother, Ah-chan
"I played with Umi today!"
Ah-chan was surprised to hear the word "Umi" come out of Yeomin's head.
Not only Yeomin, but also Yeojung and Seomgyeol are already at home with the children in the community. They blend in so quickly. Seeing them like this, the adult relationships that have always been so distant seem unnatural.


Just as the harvesting of rice cannot be done overnight, the fact that people from Korea and Switzerland, including their children, are able to come here and live together as if they were at "home" is due to the existence of parents who have been listening, visiting, and caring for them for years and years, in order to make this happen.
"No matter what they do, they are always cute."
I am sure that everyone has glimpsed this state of being in his or her own mind.

No matter what they do, no matter what they cannot do, no matter what they are, no matter what happens to them, we just adore them.
The parent who wishes for the true happiness of their child, watches over them, and walks ahead of them.
Parental hearts and parental love nurture such happy people and lead to a gentle society.
The children who live in such a society. Each one of those days becomes the original landscape and starting point for each one of them.

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