NVNAD vol.3 NVNAD blog
by Voices from the Field Admin - Tuesday, 27 March 2012, 10:01 PM


September 21st – 26th

 Activity Report from Field Headquarters of Team North Rias

 The Team North Rias headquarters in Noda Village engages in many kinds of activities. Here are some recent ones in which the staff members of NVNAD took part. 


On September 21st, an event was held at the common room of the temporary housing complex located at Noda Junior High School with Mr. Tomio Yuki and members of the Miyagi Prefecture Naruko Rice Project as guest speakers. Mr. Yuki is a folk-lore researcher who is active throughout the Tohoku region studying the theme of food production/agriculture and the role of local communities. Noda Village is one such location in which he has been involved for a long time. The members of the Naruko Rice Project have undertaken community development projects with him through rice growing, especially in areas of Naruko where it is hard to grow rice because of their small scale. Team North Rias took charge of planning and organizing the meeting under the supervision of Mr. Kangyu, head of the field headquarters.

The event opened with Mr. Yuki’s humorous and witty talk, followed by an introduction by the Naruko Rice Project members about their activities, including an explanation of how to cook the Naruko rice. When these talks concluded, the Naruko rice, prepared by Noda Village residents was ready to be served. All participants got to know one another better while eating grilled tofu and “Happai jiru” (a kind of soup), both of which are Noda Village’s specialties, and the Naruko rice was presented at the end. Actually, the Naruko Rice Project donated as much as 600 kg of their rice to us. Team North Rias plans to deliver the rice to the residents of the temporary housing complex at Noda Junior High School who were not able to attend the event.

After the meeting, Team North Rias invited everyone to the field headquarters office for an informal discussion with Mr. Yuki and others about food, agriculture and food product development which are suitable for local communities. We deeply appreciate those who attended this event from as far as Miyagi Prefecture in spite of their busy schedule.


On September 25th an event called “Let’s walk along the Salt Trail” was held under a clear autumn sky. A local NPO “Noda shio beko no michi,” (named after the trails along which cattle used to haul salt from Noda Village) and Team North Rias jointly planned the event and invited residents from within and outside of Noda Village. About 50 people, including those from outside Noda Village such as from Hachinohe and Kuze, participated in the event. Elementary school children from Noda Village also joined. Noda Village has a long history of salt production. Sea water was boiled down on the beach to produce salt. The salt was then carried on the backs of cattle (called beko in the local dialect) deep through the mountains to as far as Akita Prefecture and Morioka in Iwate Prefecture. The trails to carry the salt were called “Shio no michi” and even now some remain in the mountains.


At this event, we walked 8.4 km along one of the trails that goes over the Shiraishi Pass. We took the paved prefectural road along the historic route, because some parts of the historic route had crumbled due to the earthquake and heavy rain and were too dangerous to walk. About a two hours’ walk finally brought us to our goal, the “Asian Square”. A thanksgiving market was being held there, and Japanese soba and udon noodles were served to the participants for free. We enjoyed grilled bull trout, grilled tofu and other delicious dishes. We also made rice balls with the Naruko rice which had been donated the other day.  


After lunch we went back to the village hall and dismissed. It was a wonderful day and we had a good exercise. This event used to be held twice a year, in spring and in autumn, before the earthquake. However, the event last spring was canceled due to the earthquake, so this time the event was held after a year’s absence. Many participants already voiced that they would like to join the event next spring. After the event, the members of Team North Rias held a debriefing meeting with the members of the “Nodashio beko no michi” NPO members and Noda village residents, and exchanged opinions about reconstruction of Noda Village.