芋焼酎プロジェクト ~芋掘り~, potato harvest in Joyo

On Wednesday, the 3rd of November 2010, the potato harvest in Joyo took place. Planted nearly four months before, it was now time to get the potatoes out of the ground. Later, Shōchū (Japanese liquor similar to vodka) will be made out of them. 
When Otani-san, Saito-san, me and Lynfa-san, our lovely guest from Wales, arrived in Joyo after having passed a beautiful landscape with streets surrounded by a dense forest, some workers had already begun to remove the tarpaulin and the greens from the field and to loosen the soil. As time passed, more and more people came to help. In the end, we were around 40 helpers, under them little children as well as older workers.
It was a great atmosphere; everyone seemed to have fun despite of the quite hard work and all of them gave their best. Luckily, the sun was shining nearly all the time and created a beautiful view over Joyo from the hill.
At 12:30PM it was time to get lunch at the children’s museum’s restaurant, afterwards we went back to work and noticed that there was still much left to do. The potatoes were gathered in bunches, classified (the smaller ones were put away) and stored in boxes. While harvesting them we had to be really careful not to damage or even break the potatoes with the working tools (what actually happened quite often). At about 3:30PM work was finished and everybody could collect some potatoes for personal use. The working equipment was put away and Otani-san thanked everyone for the hard work. We all went home with the good feeling of having been successful this day.

(written by Julia)

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