SATOYAMA PROJECT - SEASON ONE - February 2017
February, 22nd, 2017
Rain came in during the night.
I received a message in the early morning saying we were catching the ferry to Ushima island. Still fighting with jet-lag, I stepped out of bed, grabbed my Barbour and Rosa Mosa boots - two essentials in Southern japan - and run off to the pier, 5 minutes away, to catch the Murozumi-Ushima ferry. Ushima island is a 20 minutes ride from main land, on Seto sea and home to a small fisherman community and seaweed harvesters.
Thanks to our Satoyama project, the island is seeing a regain of interest, a new load of visitors each day, a few ancient houses being restored and even restaurants opening !
I have done a few Satoyama expeditions over there and every time I was given a pair of garden gloves, I knew it meant “hard work”. Either cleaning the accumulated trash on the beach, sometime up to 1-meter-high or collecting seaweeds that wash off on the shore.
This morning, even if I was given the pair gloves, it was just a quick 2 hours trip to check out on the new pizza oven being built and look at the progress of the work we did on site last November. Our chief gardener, Master Yano san, had apply a few of his techniques to restore natural balance in our beautiful bay, giving way to nature to clear its self, restoring harmony between mountain, sea shore and human footsteps.
To our surprise, the land started to naturally reorganized itself – The grass bush, which was cut below wind level had started to clear a good 100 meters inland, well behind our original work. As for the 5 spring running down from the mountain into the bay, Master Yano had fill the river bed with wooden branches, charcoal and a large pipe at the junction of clear and salty water, bringing air and most needed oxygen to the soil, were coming to life again, clearing up from the trash that acted as a plug and sewage dump for the past 10 years. It was just amazing to see the transformation that was taking place in such a short time in this beautiful spot.
More on “Satoyama” techniques as soon as i learn a few more words....
“Nihongo, ben kyo shima su”