On September 8, 2012 Yayoi and I got out our cameras, hopped in the K-truck and drove out to the "tanbo" or rice field. Okano-san had already taken his larger truck with a special rice collection box on the back. At the field a man was driving a harvester around the field which was still quite muddy. His wife was walking ahead of him cutting clumps of rice plants that the machine would miss. Later she fed these errant clumps to the harvester. We managed to fill the truck box twice on one and a half fields. This raw rice or "kome" almost filled a tall dryer in the machine shed, so the rest of the harvest was left for later. The rice dryer was turned on and left running overnight.
On September 10, 2012 I joined Okano-san in the machine shed and he got the rice husking and bagging machine working. The husked rice was fed into the bagging machine. When this reached a certain level I pulled a lever and rice would empty into paper bags until the electronic balance measured 30kg. At this point the flow of rice was automatically stopped. Okano-san checked the quality of the rice, tied the bag shut and I placed them on a stack. I am still a little sore today.
Thirty years ago the rice would have been cut by hand over a period of a few months, dried in bundles on special frames and then threshed to extract the grains.
Click on tanbo to see earlier BLOG of spring planting.
Click on Rice Harvest to see photographs on Picasa.