Well obviously Meg and Amy are missing and the tractor has now moved waaaay down the eye chart in terms of visibility but for the incredibly observant agri-geek the left hand side of the field is slightly more red-brown than the right in the second picture.
And the reason why?
That's neighbour A and a two tonne truck full of chicken manure. We don't do things by halves around here! The manure has been fermented with a combination of rice bran and soy bean casings (? my dictionary says oil cake but that doesn't sound right.... 油かす) and is all crumbly and dry and has quite a sweet-sour smell. No, really! So five adults spent three hours with shallow two-hand scoops sprinkling manure over the field for the tractor to plough in.
It was quite the job and being Japan and all we first had to mark the field out into a grid and work out the ratio of manure per square and work out how many scoops that was and devise a system of even coverage and distribution of labour and and... I am really becoming quite Zen about it all I think. I don't even badger everyone with questions anymore. Just smile serenely and do my labour- while thinking all sorts of wicked things about pedants and Japanese decision making processes!
The manure will sit a week and then we will (hopefully- if there aren't any leaks!) flood the paddy in readiness for the baby rice. Which we will plant in rice trays next Sunday.
And so the riveting saga of the rice paddy continues!
And a random picture of Amy with a stick, an apple and only one boot to reassure my mum that she really was healthy enough to be out and about: