Daily life at Mori no ie.
Ahh. The energy here is great! The food is amazing and the people are some of the kindest I have had the pleasure to meet. Breakfast [asa-gohan] is usually around 8am. Rie is the master chef and cooks up delicious, organic meals. I would describe her cooking as a mix of macrobiotic, vegetarian, traditional Japanese & Chinese, Indian (ayurvedic), and just plain simple delicious fare. She was a cook for 3 years at an Organic cafe & farm called Shalom Hutte.
From left to right: Rie! Ceion!(wwoof’er) Naomi!(wwoof’er)
Before each meal we say a short prayer/thanks. “Shizen no megumi to, tsuke kureta hito ni, kanshashite, itadakimasu!” This translates to something like [“To nature’s gifts and the people who prepared this food, we respect and give thanks, let’s eat!”] After each meal wwoofers wash the dishes. [wash the dishes = shokki wo araimasu.]
We often eat wild plants harvested very near the house. Masa is a master of wild plants and trained under a “mountain man” of sorts for 7 months. Every morning for these 7 months he walked into the mountains with his master, picked wild food, prepared, and cooked this food. He has taught me how to identify at least 8 or 9 wild herbs at this point. Most of which grow in the yard. To find some we must travel into the mountains!
^^^Picking wild herbs with Ceion-chan!
After breakfast work begins! I help feed the animals. 4 Chickens, a miniature pig named Buddah [buta = pig in Japanese, get it?], the dog named Gon, and the fish. Everyday is somethings new. Planting new plants, weeding, constructing some new project. Some days we just go in search of wild herbs. Everyday Masa takes the time to teach us something new; maybe a traditional Japanese method of doing something, a rocket stove, his SVO/WVO system, making beer, a permaculture lesson. Everyday is a new journey here.
At 12pm it’s lunch [hiro-gohan] time! Ita daki masu! Afterwards it’s dish time again.
Some days we have a short break after lunch, somedays we go right back to work. At anytime if we feel too tired we can ask for time to rest though. Masa never pushes us to work… personally, this respect he gives us makes me want to work even harder. I enjoy working hard for good, considerate people.
We usually work about 2 hours after lunch and call it quits around 3pm. 3pm is usually tea time! Rie often makes snacks and brings out herbal tea for us at 3 o’clock.
^^^ Aki-chan admires the steamed herby rice cakes. This was my first time to have steamed cake. It was heavenly.
When there are many wwoof’ers someone is assigned to fire duty each day. There is a wood fired stove/heater in the middle of the house which needs to be started, well, whenever it starts to get cold! The bath [ofuro] is also wood fired and the start time changes depending on how many people are staying. This can be as early as 3pm or as late as 6pm. either way, it only takes about 20 minutes to get a good fire [kama] going.
When many people are staying wwoof’ers help Rie prepare a massive meal. When it’s just a few people she’s fine by herself and we have lots of time to relax before we eat.
6 or 6:30 is dinner [ban-gohan] time! Ahhh, another fine meal. I’m going to miss the food at Mori no ie sooooo much. During meals we all get a chance to talk and connect. We talk about the day’s work, traveling, personal hobbies & interests, Japanese life, natural life. We learn Japanese, we learn about farming and family, we learn about eachother and about the world.
After dinner Masa talks about tomorrow’s work and always thanks everyone for today’s work. This simple gesture of thanks really keeps my moral high. I always feel appreciated at Mori no ie.
After dinner we take a bath and chill out. It is a pretty laid back way to live. We help each other when we can and no one has to work too hard. It is low stress and therefore healthy!