New Year for Small-Scale Farmers in Japan

Since welcoming his wife into the family, Second son’s visits to his parents’ house have significantly increased. In the approximately 11 years of living alone until marriage, he rarely planned visits, apart from staying over for the New Year’s and when invited by Grandma and Grandpa.

Well, not just during the New Year’s, even though he lived within an hour’s drive or a train ride from home, he seldom showed his face, never took the initiative to call, and only returned home casually during leisure time, showcasing his lackluster son behavior.

However, since getting married, he has been diligently visiting every year, bringing along 2-1, and staying over with his wife. Though his wife often stays for just one night, both Second son and 2-1 take advantage of the extended stay, enjoying their time without reservation. This year, they spent their break at Grandma’s house until the day before returning to work.

However, being at home also meant being summoned to work by Grandma, as it is a tradition at Grandma’s house to plant vegetable seedlings for harvest. Following the command that “vegetables won’t grow unless you plant them,” he found himself dragged into outdoor work from January 4th.

Grandpa and Grandma, originally pig farmers, cultivate all their vegetables in open fields. Naturally, outdoor work in winter is bitterly cold. Yet, adhering to the personal rule of not refusing work when asked, Second son, along with 2-1 who was occupying the cable television at home watching the anime channel, ventured into the backyard.

Saitama, ranking 39th in land area nationwide, apparently holds the third-highest broccoli production in the country. Supported by the fifth-largest population, the agricultural population also stands at a reasonably comfortable 12th place. Understanding this peculiar fact, the broccoli they planted as the first crop of the year is expected to be ready for harvest around April.

Japan has 47 prefectures.