Kita (North) Nagoya and Kuwana

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About two blocks from the Kosaki's home north of Nagoya, rice fields run right up to the houses.  Helen explored the area one morning after enjoying the songs of the frogs the night before. There are very few full time farmers, most work regular jobs.  During the week, retired members of the family tend the fields, frequently commuting by bicycle. Helen tried out her very simple Japanese with one of the women.  Perhaps she understood that Helen was a teacher, but they had a fun time on a beautiful day. In this area they were just planting the rice shoots in early June.  They are first nurtured in these flats placed in the fields, then separated and spaced later. The green is so fresh and intense.  It holds this emerald color late into the summer when the stalks are full grown. Two women take a break beside their vegetable plots which are scattered between the rice paddies.  It seems the dog is familiar with this routine. Flowers line the edges of some rice paddies.  Many rows of vegetables alternate with flowers.  In the fall, lacy cosmos are a pink confection beside the fields. While plastic is everywhere, even on the farms, it looks like someone still carefully tends these traditional wooden barrels.  Let's hope they continue to use them. Helen's Japanese Art History students study the architect who designed this home.  In 1877 Josiah Conder, an Englishman, was the first Western architect to teach in Japan.  He designed this home for a rich Japanese merchant in Kuwana.  It's half Victorian wonder and half traditional Japanese.  Mr. Kosaki translated one of the signs inside which said that the family spent most of their time in the Japanese section. The extensive gardens are a wonderful Japanese stroll garden.  The iris were in full bloom and created a lovely frame for the building across the pond. Each time we turned a corner, we found another beautiful composition.  There were at least two tea ceremony houses, tucked under the deep shade of pine and maple trees.