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Grow Together!

Photo_6  On the first day of the Harvest festival volunteer project, all the volunteers helped with sewage improvement of the branch school and prepared the tree-planting ceremony.  Since we planned to plant the trees where we did last year, we first disposed of the grass, mowed and finally made 100 holes.  We created a fantastic board for the Harvest festival using the idea of decorating real radishes and carrots.

On the day of the Harvest festival, we all prepared for it by helping to cook miso soup with pork and vegetables, arranging Mr. Hashiba's residence for the symposium and bringing up some tables.  We also created bamboo skewers for broiling iwana (mountain trout) with salt and bamboo cups.

Finally, the Harvest festival started in the afternoon.  First of all, we did treasure hunting.  This is an annual event, but surprising treasures still remained in Iketani and Iriyama, which the villagers didn't realize existed.

Next was the Symposium "Let's think about the future of Iketani and Iriyama": this was the first symposium in the village.  We had Professor Nakajima (Tanada Network), Mr. Nagasaki (Chuetsu Fukko Network), Ms. Saiki (Toka-machi city hall), Mr. Tsukura (Iketani), Mr. Yamamoto (Toka-machi Regional Development Planning Committee) and Ms. Kiyama from JEN as panelists.  A heated debate was conducted.Photo_4

There were many constructive comments like "Iketani and Iriyama's rice is the No.1!  Next year, we are going to make a field with the volunteers!"  Visitors also gave us many ideas.

8 people from Betsuyama district of Nishiyama-cho where the Development Committee and JEN supported in Chuetsu-oki earthquake joined the event.  Both relationships have deepened since the last "Genki-Takuhaibin-Event".

After the symposium, we had another main event, the performance from the play group "Hishi-no-kai", who mainly perform in Tobitari area.  In their unique act, there was a lot of improvisation in which the audience got involved.  At the climax of the play, actors cheered up the villagers:

"We sometimes face difficulties but let's keep it up, Ikedan (nickname of Iketani and Iriyama)!"

We planted both fifty maples (Itaya-Kaede) and Guercus Serratas (Konara) the next day.  We look forward to seeing them grow and they will be our responsibility.  We felt relieved after the event, and all of us went to the Beech Forest to relax.

Photo_5 This year's "Village Development (Mura-Okosi)-volunteer event" was over, but we are planning our first Snow Clearing Volunteers to stay at Iketani branch school next January.  We would appreciate your help to Iketani and Iriyama in various ways.  Next year, we are going to make more plans so that the volunteers can make an even more significant contribution.  We thank you for your attention, as always.

November 8, 2007 in Niigata |