After Tokyo, we headed North to the Yamagata prefecture, which is quite rural and not usually on the tourist trail. We went to help on a rice farm and stayed for two weeks with the welcoming and sweet family. We ended up working on various crops, including aubergines, edamame beans, asparagus, persimmons and of course rice.

We had to get used to the early rising (breakfast at 7am, and sometimes some work before breakfast) and were often going to bed at 21h after a hard day of work! The rice collecting was the most physically demanding because it means carrying lots of rice, straw and poles, as well as working with loud machines.

Sometimes on our free time we would go explore the area, which has really cute villages, temples and impressive mountains, especially beautiful with the autumn season. And lots of onsen – hot volcanic sources – particularly nice after a long day of work!

What also made this an unforgettable experience was the little moments we shared with the whole family (from the grand-parents to the grand-children) and other staff and helpers. We had all our meals together (rice 3 times a day, of course 😛 ), went to the onsen, cooked, sang, and did silly things like aubergine battles.

Here’s a little video summary of our time there:

And here’s some pictures from our “work” as well as “play” times.

And now we are on our way South where the weather should be warmer.  We rented a big van in which we can sleep and will be travelling around Japan for another 6 weeks 😀