We were on tv for 2 seconds today.

But national tv.

At the end of a morning serial drama a lot of people watch it seems.

Apparently the NHK morning drama holds records for the highest audience percentages. It gets 20% plus.

I thought it was mostly watched by old retired couples reminiscing about a simpler time (many many of the serials revolve around a slightly rambunctious and or hotheaded young heroine who grows and matures over a series of episodes ranging from unfortunate and embarasing to downright harrowing to emerge as a mature, able, confident and reliable young/ mature/ middle aged woman at the end. Yes, I know I said they're watched by old people but my secret's out- I get hooked on them too! It's only 15 minutes a day.....

Anyway the current one is about the founder of Nikka whiskey (Japanese) and his wife (Scottish) moving to and living in Taisho era Japan. As usual the female lead is a bumbling hotheaded woman who is learning slowly and painfully by her mistakes but it has the added curiosity of her being a foreigner going for it this time.

As a tie in NHK are scouting for couples/ families in international relationships to get a 2 second spot at the end of the credits. I applied and today was our 2 seconds of fame.

And fame it was! We had a neighbour drop in, two stop their cars to mention it, many many mails and three phone calls.

After I went to work a lady dropped by and managed to gesture- struggle out word by word

'Today! Fukase- tv!!'

Bit of excitement for a Monday.

Reflected glory went to another Aussie Heather whose colleagues were amazed she wasn't the only Heather in the great Southern land (and way more impressed when she said we knew of each other) and my mother in law who was very chuffed to be fielding her own calls and mails all day.

Someone else's turn tomorrow and life will return to normal....

How will I ever go back to being a nobody again???


my hero

I don't give K enough credit on here I think.

He grew up in the suburbs of a regional city, never did any outside work at all. His dad had a veggie garden the size of a carpark. Literally the size of a carpark as they converted their second carpark space into a garden.

Anyway- it's a long way from there to the tractor driving, rice planting, chainsaw wielding, chook cage constructing, hoeing, tilling, harvesting, hauling, planting and watering machine that he is now.

And the most knight-in-shining-armour aspect of the whole deal is he always helps first and questions later. This may not seem like a big deal but I am prone to get into awkward and difficult situations based on following a hairbrained idea without thinking it through. At times like that- you know when you just broke the car jack trying to lift the rice hanging frame up in the mud... or you're hooked by the crotch on barbed wire while tippy-toeing over a fence holding two chooks at a time.... well at times like that someone who just helps without asking how on earth you got into that situation is more valuable than precious metals. Probably rarer too!

Anyway... on to Monday and the reason for this (first in a loooonnngggg time) post:

We have had chook apartheid going on for about 4 months with the three old chooks and the six young ones in the same cage but separated by a netting fence. This is because chooks can be evil and vile to each other as they set up a pecking order and I prefer to have everyone alive and separate than together and injured/ dead. This system had to change soon as the old chooks have rain cover in their section of the cage but inadequate shelter for a Nagano winter.  On a whim I decided to remove the fence Monday around 11:30. I was going to be around the house till about 2:30 so I could watch for any OTT bullying and reasess the situation. Our chook cage is a ramshackle affair that we keep extending. I removed the top half of the internal netting wall thinking the old chooks would come flying over and start stealing food and chasing around the young chooks. I stood ready to protect and defend in the young chooks section of the cage keeping my eye on those cunning older chooks.

Could not have been further wrong. In literally seconds the young chooks realised they could now jump up onto the roof of the former cage and walk along the rafters and get to the (unnetted) roof of the new cage. In four months the old chooks NEVER did this so it didn't even occur to me.

It started raining.

Three of the new chooks are now at various places on the roof.

Completely free.

They haven't figured this out yet but it's a matter of time.

I start using the lid of the feed container to shoo them back into the cage while making dashes for netting, clips, ties and scissors. This is a farce of me lugging a ladder hither and there trying to stay calm and avoid the chooks realising that a) they are free and b) I am trying to pen them again.

I don't want to scare them too much either as I don't want them to panic and make for freedom and I don't want them to stop thinking I'm a nice person as it's easier to look after them if I can pick them up and also just because I want everyone to think I'm a nice person- even chooks.

I was getting almost no progress made on fixing the situation, was getting increasingly panicky and really rather wet as the rain was steady.

I realised it was now 12 and K was on his lunch break. While kneeling on the unstable and ancient roof of the chook cage, uncertain of whether it was safer to go forward or back to get off the roof and hoping I wouldn't be going straight down any time soon I called and gabbled out my problem (which was pretty unintelligible I'm sure) and the amazingly wonderful K said "I'll be there in 5" and came home, rescued me, helped pen the chooks and went back to work for a meeting as though nothing had ever happened.

My hero!


rice harvest

Look at the beautiful blue sky and yellow rice.


Well, perfect today but not so great actually as we had two typhoons bring heavy rain and the paddy is completely waterlogged. :(

Oh well. The machines couldn't get in so we hauled all the drying poles down there, distributed them around the paddy, set everything up then harvested all the mochi rice and some (a verrryyyyy smalllllll fraction) of the regular rice by hand.

Cutting by hand is no big deal. A hand scythe easily cuts through a tuft of rice.

Tying by hand is a hassle.

A reallllll hassle.

Not fun at all.

So I was sooo proud of the girls helping out!

Look at that cooperation!

Now if only the weather, the machines, the rice paddy and the helpers can all cooperate for another weekend so we can get it DONE!

Gratuitous shot of the helpers making clover chains with a friend: