Maika and Two Friends 2006-10-06
The other day we dropped by a farming area near the preschool. A couple of the families live there, and their kids came out to meet us. Several of the fields are dedicated to these flowers, and people had come from far and near to pick them (300 yen to pick your own bouquet). The flowers were nice, but stepping out of the concrete and steel of Tokyo into a field of flowers is the real wonder of it. The fields aren't crammed in next to apartment buildings, either, but they are in an area next to the foothills (in Shiroyama) that is protected from development. All the families who live there go back generations. I asked if houses ever become available to buy, and our friend said "no" with an expression that said, "Who would ever sell a home here?" I agree.
Anyway, these two local girls (our friends) led Mari and Maika right into a field of flowers (or maybe it was vice versa). They ran around having a blast, but then I realized they were trampling flowers. Our friend, a local mom, was there, so I was taking cues from her. We told the kids not to run, and then a farmer came over and said that particular field was off limits (reserved for the next day), so we moved the kids over to a neighboring patch where people were picking. Later Hitomi said that it's one of those things that I -- as a foreigner -- get away with. I thought I was taking cues from the local mom, but maybe (unknowingly) the whole scene revolved around me.
Whatever the case, it was a great evening. After extracting the kids, we walked along a winding road that normally serves farm vehicles and came to our friends' houses...
I learned a new word: Jimoto. "Ji" means "land" and "moto" means "foot of the tree/mountain". "Jimoto" refers to the original people of the land. The people in that area are all "jimoto no hito." The family whose home we visited can trace their roots in that land all the way to the 1600's, and that's simply where the record fades.