This is our house—at least the one on the left is. Well, not really. It is the Kazamaura Board of Education’s house. However, let us, for arguments sake, say that this is our house as it appeared this fine November afternoon. Nothing has happened to it since—I am sitting in it right now. Well, at least it may be said that I was sitting in it at the time of this writing. The fence along the left is a solar powered monkey fence, complete with electrified wire.
There are 2,816 people living in Kazamaura. Since less than two hundred of these people are in elementary or junior high school, I think it is safe to say that the vast majority are over the age of sixty-five. The ladies in that latter category are by far the hardest working people in the village. Many of them work from dawn until dusk in their perfectly groomed vegetable gardens. Incidentally, everyone in our village under the age of twenty or so may be said, for most practical purposes, to be useless in the generation of life sustaining labour. They do not help. Recently, Yuko and I received the first means for crossing over to the old ladies’ side. We have been loaned some land—a patch of earth to till and to toil and labour over. Lord willing, next year we shall eat (in part) from the fruit of our labour, food wrested from the earth by the sweat of our brow.
Behold our garden. The three furrows enclosed in red. The beautiful portions of this photo belong to the old ladies; except for the sea and Hokkaido beyond. The scrubby looking, unkempt square of earth is land leased to the junior highs school. It is in that square of earth that Yuko and I hope to transform our three furrows into a Garden of Eden Miniature.
Last year I began idle talk of wanting to borrow an unused section of arable land for gardening. Then, one evening, when Yuko and I were at the local bathhouse an elderly lady struck up a conversation with Yuko. In the course of that conversation Yuko communicated these vague aspirations of mine to her. This kindly old lady has a daughter in the municipal office. The next afternoon the janitor of my school reported to me, as if merely continuing a long ongoing conversation of which I was supposedly a part, that we were welcome to use an unused portion of the junior high school’s garden. This goes to show that one never knows what machinations may be set in motion by a naked elderly woman in a local bathhouse.
Now, to remember what our parents tried to teach us about gardening . . . .