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We had visitors from Australia on Monday and Tuesday, and we had a great time.
First, we went to Watamuki Shrine, which is the main shrine where the Hino Festival will be held on May 3rd.
Then we had coffee at a cafe over looking Biwa Lake, which was hygge.
Takumi started speaking English a little, to my relief.
He was happy to play cards anyway.
On the first night, I cooked Ikigai Dinner. I served fermented brown rice in Hino-wan which is a bowl crafted by Omi-Hino-merchants over 300 years ago.
This time I cooked some wild herbs since it is just in season for Takenoko, bamboo shoot, and Kogomi fern. They are completely wild, and even more natural than vegetables grown using natural farming in that sense.
This is another advantage of living in Satoyama: We have access to a lot of wild plants like them.
In Japanese, the word Satoyama symbolizes ‘sustainability’. Sato means livable or arable land, and the word yama means mountains or hills. Satoyama usually describes an area that has mountains, forests, residence, rice, or vegetable fields. The reason why Satoyama stood for sustainability was its ability to self-sustain by circulating resources within an area.
What normally happens in a Satoyama is that the mountains that are sources of rivers supply water to the rice fields, and to the residence. The village then uses the trees in the mountains to build residences and furniture. The cutting down of trees also helps the forest survive because the spaces created gave way to sunlight that the young trees needed to grow.
The remaining wood from the trees is collected together with the fallen leaves where humans then use the woods as firewood and the fallen leaves as fertilizers for their rice fields. After the people harvest the rice from the rice field, they end up with rice bran that they can use as fertilizers.
As you can see, the ecosystem was highly sustainable since each party was beneficial to the other. We used to practice the satoyama economy, a localized economy where everyone depended on the circulation of resources. We farmed locally and grew different foods because that is what sustained the ecosystem.
As I stated in the book IKIGAI DIET, I think Satoyama living is the main factor of our health and longevity. Having access to a wide variety of wild herbs is one thing.