Yup, that is water receding. This whole flooding the rice paddy thing is turning out to be a lot more difficult than I imagined.
The water that runs into the rice paddy comes from a series of conduits that run all around the neighbourhood delivering water to each rice paddy via a series of weir gates that are raised and lowered to direct the flow of water. The amount water flowing is of course finite so the more water that is diverted from the main conduit the less that remains for those down stream. With everyone wanting to flood their rice paddies at the same time this is quite an involved process. Luckily for us, the style of farming we are doing- with ducks- means we are planting slightly later than most others and so can do the proper newcomer thing and wait till last to flood.
But still we should be a little wetter looking than in that picture!
There are four adults involved in the rice paddy project at the moment. When I check the paddy on my way home from work and the water is on at the bottom, then off then on at the top, then on at both ends I just assumed one of the others was adjusting the water.
I asked K if it was him.
Must be neighbour W and her husband then.
Then she called me and asked if it was us changing the water.
So who is it then???
We figured it must have been the rice paddy neighbour but weren't sure why. Were we breaking some water sharing rule? Doing something wrong? As the most in tune with Japanese social niceties we sent K to find out what was going on. Case in point while I was thinking of going down and ringing rice paddy neighbour's bell and asking straight out K took the scythe down and cut grass around the paddy at the time he knew the neighbour would swing by to check the water levels.
And the fluctuating water thing?
Rice paddy neighbour and his mother were very worried that our rice paddy wasn't flooding properly so every time no one else was using the water they diverted it all to our field. When even this didn't work neighbour's mother wanted her son to suggest to us that if we help out with planting and harvesting they would share their rice with us. Isn't that sweet??
But we're made of tougher stuff than that. We still have a couple of weeks until the paddy needs to be flooded and we will get in there and try and compact the earth a bit with a tractor and if worst comes to worst the front half is flooding well and we will just build another wall across there and halve the field- halve the work, too!
I really had no idea rice paddies were such complicated beasts!