Well, it was really just fifteen minutes of the mayor of Inakadate praising the crowd turnout and good weather, followed by lots of motivational rice-themed dancing with the town mascots singing “kome kome kome kome” (rice rice rice rice) before all 1200 of us were unleashed into the fields. We had no idea what we were doing, then someone chucked us each a slab of rice seedlings, and away we went pushing them into the lines of holes that had been marked out for us. The mud was lovely and warm and squishy on my bare feet, but unfortunately gave me hobbit feet for nearly two weeks after, no matter how hard I scrubbed.
When the rice grows, it will become a lovely piece of art! We didn’t plant the coloured sections because I suspected we as volunteers couldn’t be trusted. Suspicions confirmed when teenagers started throwing the mud at each other and got a telling off from sensei. The tradition of rice art started here in Inakadate about twenty years ago, using different coloured rice strands to create a picture which is viewed from the top of the building next to the fields. Last year the rice art theme was Star Wars and Gone With The Wind (bit of a random combination), and this year it will be two characters from a Japanese drama I have no idea about, and Godzilla!