Photos, photo-essay's and short stories chronicling life in Okinawa Japan and the people who call this island paradise home...
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I know an Old Lady who lives in Izumi : Travel Photo Thursday 5/12/2011
As I'm sure you’re all well aware, farming is a seasonal business. In most cases, you plant in the spring and harvest in the fall with a lot of hard back breaking work in-between. Fruit trees can be both a blessing and at the same time problematic. They are planted once and relatively maintenance free. With a little tender loving care, you can reap the benefits for years to come. But what do you do in the mean time?
Another problem farmer’s face is that land is a premium commodity here on Okinawa. Tangerine or Mikan as they’re known locally, are largely relegated to the more mountainous areas of the island like the Motobu peninsula. The rugged topography doesn’t really make it easy to put down a second cash crop. The Mikan trees do provide a blessing in that normally un-tillable land can be utilized. The trees also provide stability and prevent landslides. But what do you do during the ten months or so that you’re not harvesting?
Fortunately the long growing season on Okinawa makes it excellent for growing flowers. Believe it or not, they're a main cash crop here. Farmers across Okinawa provide a steady supply of flora for the many flower shops throughout Japan. One thing that makes the Ajisai (Hydrangea) gardens of Izumi so special is that this farmer happened across a profitable enterprise and combined it with something they loved. That meant it didn't always seem like work.
The little old lady who started this garden is now in her mid 90's. Through the investment of a great deal of backbreaking work, time and a whole lot of love she and her family have turned these rugged hillsides into a work of art. Just one visit and the visitor gains an appreciation for the hard work and ingenuity of these intrepid people. The Ajisai gardens of Izumi are indeed a work of genius. Here you can enjoy a leisurely stroll through a work of art, take in the beauty, enjoy the fragrance and feel a sense of peace that only a masterpiece of art could produce.