Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Farmers Of The New Age

Do you ever imagine a group of future engineers going to vegetable farms to plant sweet potatoes? That was exactly what we the international students in my kosen did a couple of weeks ago in a vegetable farm situated just behind my kosen. It was jointly organised by 地球ラボ (Chikyu Laboratory) and the Nagaoka City Council. Chikyu Lab is a centre established with the foundation from the Ministry of Education, Science and Application of Japan to assist the social needs of the student and it is mainly targeted at international students. Nagaoka Kosen became the first technical college in Japan to set up its first centre and received a huge amount of cash to carry out various programmes for its students.
Back to our sweet potato, it was thought that not many of us were interested in joining the trip, just like what happened during the tulip's trip before that. However, it was amazing that how one incident during the Japanese lesson, where one of us tried gave a slanderous hint to the rest managed to get the rest to take part in this trip.
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Honestly, I was a bit lazy having to wake up earlier than usual during the weekends, but I sacrifice my sleep that morning to join the rest to plant the sweet potatoes. Tokyo people, I know you guys are living in a big city surrounded by high-rised buildings and modern facilities, but you will never get this kind of activity in such environment surrounded by paddy fields and fresh air in your place. The closest you will get will only be catching lala (pun unintended). Haha ;)
Anyway, it started with a brief introduction by the representative from the city council and we got to work straight away after that. First was to loosen up the soil and create several rows of whatever they call batas in English.
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One thing that I find it rather difficult is that the hoe in Japan is not user-friendly at all. Not only that they are blunt, but the shape just doesn't make it easy for us to hold it, yet to break up the soil. Lucky thing the soil there was not that hard. So, I practically just pushed the soil to form the batas, although I was holding the hoe by its sideway, while recalling my experiences I gained by helping my grandma at her vege farms when I was still a small kid.
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The guy later showed us called us over.
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"Come here boys and girls, let gor gor teach you all how to plant the sweet potatoes the correct way. First you have to hold it slanted and placed it into the hole you have dug. Then cover it up with some soil and you shall get you sweet potatoes in thirty minutes."
Very funny hor? He thinks we are still small kindergarten kids isit? How can the sweet potatoes grow so fast? Dei, we all passed our Biology lah. But in the end, all of us the obedient kids just followed his instructions and did what he had shown to us earlier.
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I was among the last to get my potatoes' leaves because I was going around disturbing people when they were planting theirs. When they were finished planting their leaves, I pulled them out. They plant again, I pulled out again. Again they plant it, again I pulled it out. In the end, they got so pissed off with me and they pulled my hair =.= So, I left them alone with their leaves and I plant mine at another corner.
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Potato leaves also can camwhore with wtf.
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"May you grow into a big, fat healthy sweet potato so that I can eat you"
This time however, I didn't see anyone who came and take revenge by pulling out my leaves. So, I felt guilty for my mischievous act. Haha, now acting like so innocent. Anyway, when I was almost done, I spotted something which I thought I could make it as a side dish to our soba which we were making later that day. I called it brown Japanese udon. And it also gave me the chance to get into my second mischief of the day as I present the fresh udons to someone. I just wished my acting was a bit more real because just when I was to hand over it onto her hands, she already knew my evil intention.
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My new-found pet.
We will be eagerly waiting for autumn when we get to harvest the sweet potatoes ourselves. Before we headed to the building to make our soba, we had a group shot first at the farm. One of use suggested that we shall renamed our kosen from 長岡工業高等専門学校 (Nagaoka National College of Technology) into 長岡農業高等専門学校 (Nagaoka National College of Algriculture). Instead of becoming engineers, we will be turning into farmers when we return to Malaysia upon our graduation.
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We waited outside before everything got prepared, and some mini models of traditional Japanese wooden house caught the attention of some of us.
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We take a closer look at those houses, shall we?
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I should have taken one back as souvenir.

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A model of a performance stage, not a house.
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They used it for decorating the garden as well.
When everything was ready, we entered inside the building and started making our soba, a type of Japanese noodle which is made of wheat flour and soba flour. It is rather simple to make it but the tricky part would be the working on the dough because we need to make sure that there is no air trapped inside the dough. Even me who had tried on this before could not master the right technique which in the end, it made our dough the worst of the five groups. However, when we cut them, it didn't look as worse as it was.
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How the pro do it.
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But our soba came out quite okay.
Unlike during the cultural exchange programme in Mito last year, we got to boil our own soba this time. This part was quite simple as it doesn't require any skills. We just had to wait for the water to boil, and then dump the noodles into the boiling water and wait for about ten to fifteen minutes for the soba to turn soft and tender.
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The lady showed up the way first before we tried it ourselves.
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I know our soba was so damn super the fat. Technical error.
We had our cooked soba with light soy sauce and thin slices of seaweed, also known as nori.
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Some didn't really fancy the almost tasteless soba, that they asked for salt and sugar, of so many things. One even came out with a brilliant idea that he might as well asked for cili padi too. As for the rest who had worked so hard in the vegetable farm earlier that morning, our hungry stomach just didn't bother about how the soba tasted like and we just wallop them straight away. Finally, a group shot before we headed home;
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With autumn already in our minds.

22 comments:

syaza said...

yay! in d first to comment! hakhakhak...
first of all, cerita ni dah basi la calvin! lama gila baru nak tulis..ape la!!
2nd, tengok cacing tu terus faint..mati edi~
3rd, joann ada anak! dengan siapa? u story la~~ hikhikhik..gossip!

lyk said...

wow,why ur kosen got so many activities 1???but,cacing lala oso not bad 1 de.

syaza said...

d house super nice! curi 1 for me!

calvin said...

@ syaza:
1. it's true this story already expired, but i only get to find time to blog on it now >.<
2. does cacing make you lemah too? =P
3. that baby girl is joann's baby; with yan kuang. does that get any juicier? ^^

calvin said...

@ lyk:
why we have so many activities? that's because we behave ourselves and the kosen people love us ^^
i never said it is bad to catch lala though. hehe ;)

calvin said...

@ syaza:
mencuri itu dosa tau >.<

Kevin Tan said...

why never post picture of the kyoot baby!?!?!?!

syaza said...

then ill pinjam sekejap je~ pweety please~~ hakhkahkak..
x best la joann dengan yang kuang.. cakap la josh groban ka~

Anonymous said...

Yan kuang still same like last time....looks funny!

amalina aisyah said...

ur soba look like udon...beso bagak..

zhenhui said...

joann and YAN KUANG???????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

baocong said...

no, u r wrong calvin, our kosen did plant satsumaimo too in our ryou 3 weeks ago (but i din join la) :p

maybe i should suggest them to plant watermelon instead, since watermelon are so expensive in japan -_-

K3ViN said...

haha i see this pic b4...... anyway thanks 4 sharing it with us :P

calvin said...

@ kevin tan:
how did you know she was there?
okay, i will post the pictures next time ^.-

calvin said...

@ syaza:
joann with david cook will be much better, i suppose? =P

calvin said...

@ anonymous:
well, he looks funny, talks funny and acts funny ;)
and by the way, may i know who is this?

calvin said...

@ amalina:
actually, we'd cut it too thick and decided to keep it in that width 'coz if we cut them in different sizes, it will take different time to cook. anyway, taste-wise, it was still not bad :)

calvin said...

@ zhen hui:
yup, both still don't speak to each other till today >.<

calvin said...

@ bao cong:
really? o.O
paiseh hor, i didn't know about that.

but if there is some girl joining it, i think it would have been a different story hor? =P

and yea, besides watermelons, i would like to plant durians, mangos, papayas, pineapples and bananas too. in the end, i will graduate as a farmer. lols...

calvin said...

@ k3vin:
yea, glad you enjoyed it :)

Joyce said...

Hahaha...typical joann...keep wanting to hold baby nia.

isk isk...never knew u so naughty one. pull out other ppls leaves...

agree wif syaza. i WANT the house also. So nice. Reminds me of the log cabins fom GW. Huhuhu....

calvin said...

@ joyce:
when the baby is smiling, she won't let us go near the baby, but when the baby starts to cry, she will start to look around for people to pass the baby to. again, typical joann =.=

no la, i pull them out 'cos they planted the leaves upside-down ma =P