(not quite a) Year in Japan

So, not much to post in this one, just thought I’d share some parts of what has been my day-to-day for the past 2 months (as of writing I have left the illustrious world of cabbage farming). And also apologies for the lack of photos – taking my most important possession (well, 2nd to my passport) to a cabbage field was not in my list of things I wanted to do.

5am – start work!

Wow, yeah, this was a…not so much a shock, rather it just took a little getting used to do.

In summer it wasn’t that bad, as it was already relatively warm (at least by UK standards) by this time in the morning, and fortunately I only got to experience a handful of days where it was legit cold, and riding in the back of a truck (FUN! No really.) on these days, usually accompanied by some rain wasn’t the *best* way to start the day.

5am – 7:30am – cut some cabbages!

Or rather ‘harvest’, but we just used cut (切る) as short-hand i guess, nothing to it – just cut the cabbage and chuck it in a pile…many hundreds of times. Even on dry/warm days it’s surprisingly ‘wet’ work – so waterproof clothes and wellies it is. Only real downside apart from being amazingly tedious, is the often encountered rotten cabbage – enough to turn anyone’s stomach – you just sort of get used to it…until one disintegrates in your hand and you begin to question all your life-choices up to this point. Anyway, moving on…

7:30am – Breakfast on the field!

A delicious homemade bento by the wife of the couple who run the farm – Taeko(妙子)-san. Always delicious, and always most welcome.

It is worth just taking a break from this seemingly-endless barrage of boring text to appreciate the scenery in which I was doing this job.


ok good? back to the tedium

8:00am-finish – Loading cabbages!

So, pretty much every part of lining up boxes, packing the cabbages into said boxes and then loading them onto pallets on the back of a tractor. I usually did more of the ‘lining up’ and ‘loading’ than anything else – you know because I’m a man (lol).

This did involve plenty of opportunity to drive a tractor, which was at times fun, occasionally terrifying, but usually just pretty ordinary. Oh yeah, proof:


Finish depended on a few things such as: the field (quality of cabbages, integrity of ground), and if we had any extra helpers (and how quick they were at cutting cabbages). Recently it was around Midday, but there’s been a few days that finished at 4pm (bleh), and a few that finished at 11am (yay).

And then?

Well, free time to see all that sights in Tsumagoi (嬬恋村)…so pretty much just reading, and studying.

Although depending on the other folks volunteering, I did end up spending a decent amount of time just chatting to the awesome people that were volunteering there or helping them learn English, which was kinda fun – please don’t take this to mean that I actually want to be an English teacher – this is most definitely not the case.

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