Fifth graders of Shinryu Elementary School in Hokuryu Town "Rice Planting Experience": They realized and learned the importance and difficulty of rice cultivation under the arrangement of Mr. Akimitsu Takada, an instructor of agriculture!

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

On Tuesday, May 21, from 10:00 a.m., 12 fifth-grade students from the Shinryu Elementary School in Hokuryu Town (Sadao Kamata, principal) had a rice planting experience in the rice paddies of Mr. Takada's company in Mitani, Hokuryu Town.

Rice planting experience for fifth graders of Shinryu Elementary School in Hokuryu Town

Rice planting experience for 5th graders at Shinryu Elementary School in Hokuryu Town

At the elementary school, fifth graders are learning about "rice cultivation (rice farming)" during their integrated learning time.

Arrangements by Akimitsu Takada, Chairman of the Hokuryu Agricultural Advisors Association

At the request of the elementary school, Mr. Akimitsu Takada (age 60), president of the Hokuryu Agricultural Advisory Association, arranged for the fifth graders to experience rice planting. The seedlings to be planted were "Nanatsuboshi" rice.

Under the guidance of Mr. Akimitsu Takada, Hokuryu Town's Agricultural Advisor!

On the day of the event, the weather was worrisome with light rain in the morning, but by the time the students arrived at the field, the rain had stopped and the rice planting experience started without incident.

Yasuhiro Sasaki, Mayor of the town joined with students

On the day of the event, Mayor Yasuhiro Sasaki joined the children in planting rice with their bare feet! In addition, Mr. Sadao Kamata, principal of Shinryu Elementary School, paid a pep talk to the children and took pictures with them! Mr. Kitajima from Sorachi Agricultural Extension Center and Mr. Kashima, a reporter of Kita Sorachi Newspaper also visited the event.

Mayor Sasaki, Principal Kamata, Mr. Kitajima from Sorachi Agricultural Extension Center, and reporter Kashima from Kita Sorachi Newspaper

Greetings on behalf of the students

I am very grateful for all the preparation you have done for us so far today. This is my first time planting rice, so I am nervous but looking forward to it. I will do my best today, so thank you very much," said a student.

All students cheerfully say, "Nice to meet you!" .

Greetings on behalf of the students

The surrounding rice fields had already been planted. A 5-meter-long field was left and prepared for the students' "rice planting experience.

Plots prepared for students' rice planting

Students, barefoot, cheerfully taking on the challenge!

Under cloudy skies, the students took on the challenge cheerfully in shorts and barefoot!

Challenge in shorts and barefoot!

Clutching as many seedlings as I could hold in one hand, I sank my feet into the muddy rice paddies, one step at a time.

Seedlings are removed from the seedling pots.

Hold it firmly in one hand!

Proceed slowly and carefully so as not to step on the small seedlings already planted.

Crikey, that's cold!" .
I can't move my legs! I can't move forward!" I can't move forward!
Be careful not to fall," said the teacher.

Crikey, that's cold!

Please plant the seedlings evenly spaced and firmly so they don't fall over," says Takada.

At first, their feet were caught in the muddy rice paddies, but they gradually became accustomed to it and moved their arms and legs smoothly forward.

Straight, slowly...

I'm getting used to it.
Mayor Sasaki also fights with his students!

I'm not feeling the cold of the water anymore. And I'm getting used to the muddy soil!" (from the "The Muddy Dirt")
The smiling students said, "It was hard work, but we planted well, and it was fun!
Finish by rinsing off the mud-covered limbs with a splash of water.

Wait in line for your turn to wash your feet.
Plots with rice planting completed

question time (e.g. in parliament, diet, etc.)

Line up and time for questions to Mr. Takada.

  • teacher
    Today was a valuable experience for me.
    I don't think I would normally go into such a messy muddy mess.
    In class, we are also learning about rice farming on the Internet and other sources.
    Do you have any questions you would like to ask your students?
  • Student.
    What is the hardest part of growing rice?
  • Akimitsu Takada
    The most difficult part is the preparation leading up to rice planting and the creation of seedlings.
    As with any crop, if you make good seedlings, you will have good crops.
    It is said that the quality of the seedlings determines how well they will do in the fall of the year.
    The best way to grow rice is to make good seedlings and grow them soundly. Seedlings are important for any crop.
  • Student.
    What are your tips for making rice?
  • Akimitsu Takada
    It is a matter of making good seedlings, planting them carefully, and then carefully managing water, temperature, weeding, etc.
  • Student.
    What do you do with the harvested rice?
  • Akimitsu Takada
    Rice is harvested by each farmer and delivered to the agricultural cooperative. The rice is stored in the cooperative's low-temperature warehouse and shipped to customers for sale over the course of a year.
  • Thank you on behalf of the students
    It was my first time in the rice paddies and it was hard to walk.
    I am looking forward to seeing how big it will be when I come back next time. Please take care of my rice plants from now on.
    Thank you for your time today!
Thank you for your time today!

This is a student who cheerfully expressed his gratitude!
We all said "Thank you!!!!" and thank you to everyone involved.

Thank you to all of you for your support.

We expressed our deepest gratitude to all those involved in preparing the event, and boarded a microbus to head back to the school.

Smiling and waving to the school by microbus

The "Rice Planting Experience" is an opportunity for local farmers to learn about the rice they carefully and wholeheartedly grow and to practice some of the rice production tasks.

With boundless love, gratitude, and prayers for the students of Shinryu Elementary School as they experience and learn the importance and difficulties of rice farming.

Praying for the healthy growth of these vigorous seedlings!

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◇ Reporting and writing by Ikuko Terauchi (Photography and editorial assistance by Noboru Terauchi)