Rice, potato, and corn are the world’s 3 staple foods. Among these, rice is eaten by about 2 billion people, which is 30% of the world population. The popular types of rice are Indica, Javanica, and Japonica. Indica rice is the thin and dry type of rice mainly grown in southern China, Southeast Asia, and America. Indica rice accounts for 80% of the world's rice production and is the most popular type of rice. Javanica rice is a large and a little sticky type of rice, which is grown in America, Indonesia, and Southern Europe. Japonica rice, as the name suggests, is grown in Japan, northern China, and the Korean Peninsula. Compared to the other 2 types, Japonica rice short, thick and sticky. This type accounts for about 20% of the whole rice production.
Akita prefecture is one of the most famous rice-producing areas in Japan. Akita’s popular rice brand is "Akita Komachi", which was named after Ono no Komachi, who is said to be one of the world's most beautiful women. Akita Komachi rice was developed in 1984 from the most common Japanese rice brand "Koshihikari." Akita Komachi is famous for its good smell and chewy texture and is delicious even if cold. That is why it is now so popular that its planted area in Japan ranks in the top 5.
Ugo town, Akita, invites international students every year and provides them with rice planting experiences. Although the modern rice planting system is mostly mechanized, in this program rice is planted manually so that the students will deeply understand Japanese rice culture. First, they use a traditional farm implement used for plowing the rice field to line out the field. And they make a line on the edge of the field with rice seedlings in their hands and plant them by hand along the lines on the soil. The international students enjoy the farming experience as they stumble over the muddy ground of the rice field.
I experienced rice planting during my farm stay. I have planted rice before in Thailand, so I knew well how to do. A difference between Japan and Thailand is weather. The weather is very hot when we plant rice in Thailand, but it was very cool in Akita. A farming machine to plant rice evenly in a paddie looked very interesting to me.