Becoming a farmer at the age of TWELVE

Updated: Oct 4, 2020

Hello everybody! Welcome to my blog and thank you so much for reading my very first post! For years, I have been thinking about writing my own story, so yeah, let's get started!

You might be wondering why I have chosen to write about farming. But, trust me this is very much connected to how I become the way I am today; I have leaned a lot from farming more than ever I can do from text books.

This is a true story, 100% based on my teenage life and I did even get the third prize in The 2nd Art & Design Younger Generation Competition.

The sky of mine

In Japan it is considered that going to Junior high school and High school is absolutely essential. However, I didn’t go to either of them, instead I decided to become a farmer as this had been my dream since I was a child.

When I was twelve years old, just before graduating from elementary school, a sudden flash of inspiration came to me, rather than go straight to junior high school, I would take another direction: to gain experience of growing vegetables in order to become a food specialist, creating new recipes for other people .

On the other hand, despite having the idea, I was faced with a dilemma: should I wait till graduating from junior high school then go to agriculture college or do it immediately?

The idea of spending three years on something which I didn’t want to do seemed to be a waste of time. So, as a result , I decided to move to the countryside although this would mean leaving the rest of my family behind in my home town. I spent the next three years living and working with five other adults who had come from Tokyo to become farmers.

During that time, I learnt how people could become as self sufficient as possible by growing vegetables, rice, looking after hens and baking bread using a firewood oven. When spring came, I ploughed my fields to sow seeds. Everyday in summer, I would spend time weeding and cultivating the land. Autumn was the time when I would harvest the crops and prepare for the coming winter; then the cycle would begin again.

It had become apparent to me that most people worked simply to live. I on the other hand, wanted to devote my time and energy towards something that I was passionate about.

When I reached the age of fifteen, I went back to my home town; However, once again I did not choose school but instead I rented a field , from a local land owner, which I ploughed in readiness for sowing.

But at that time, a darkness was beginning to form in my mind: my certainties were beginning to unravel; I no longer had the same degree of certainty regarding my future as I had had before.

I began to sink deeper and deeper into a well of depression. The dark clouds which had gathered about me now seemed a permanent feature of my days. I had to fight with myself to work out who I was.

A part of me started to regret the choices I had made: perhaps I should have just gone to school like everyone else. And then-just maybe, I wouldn’t have felt so alone.

For the first time in my life, I began to feel that distancing myself from society -as I had done – had been a terrible mistake. As a result, I wanted to hide from everyone, even myself.

However, as time passed, along with much soul searching, I realised that the only course open to me was to return to the countryside- as that was where my heart lay; I must be remembered that I was still only eighteen years old.

On my return, I was met by a long hard winter, which was made all the more difficult as the house that had been chosen for me – at this point, I was living alone – had none of the basic requirements that we have come to expect, such as electricity, running water and gas. To make matters even worth, I didn’t even have a mobile phone. Nevertheless, in spite of all these undoubted hardships, I was still determined to make a go of it.

Everyday, I would draw water from a well which had been dug in a corner of the kitchen; and I would plough the fields in front of my house. In addition ,once or twice a month ,I would borrow a little car, which despite its diminutive size, was capable of carrying a surprising amount ,and drive to a publicly run saw mill to get wood to use in a wood burning stove and for having a hot bath. At night, I used an oil lamp to have dinner and read some books.

My life in this place continued for a little over a year. During that time, given the fact that my days were very long and tiring, I would retire early to bed and rise again with the coming of the new day. In all honestly, I was a mess of emotions: sometimes the feeling of isolation would become overwhelming; but at the same time, I felt a joy of living which was much stronger than I had ever felt before.

Now, I do not sleep in such a dark place; and a sense of peace has once again found a home in my heart.