Inakadate, Japan

Like much of rural Japan the village of Inakadate has a declining population. The main occupation is rice framing.

Rice is so essential to Japan that all rice consumed in Japan must come from Japan by law because they recall times of starvation, and this and other factors make them nearly self-sustaining—food wise. In fact, very few advanced economies are self-sustaining.

The only European country that can feed itself is France. Sweden produces half its food and the Vatican comes in dead last at close to zero. Rumor has it that there is a small kitchen garden for the Pope. This Pope fellow lives a pretty lush life in a huge house with lots of servants and he gets to wear a comfy mumu all day and now and then stand on a balcony waving. I would have made a terrific Pope but I think it’s too late for me, plus I’m not a Catholic.

Although rice cultivation in Japan remains sufficient, mechanization has caused many small towns to fall into decline. Schools and shops shut down and the average age of a rice farmer is 65.

Back in the 1990s a school teacher named Atsushi Yamamoto hatched a plan to revitalize his town. He started with a simple rectangle of one color of rice set against another color. Today he has created a tourist destination visited by 340,000 folks in 2019.

He uses a computer to design elaborate themes and two are planted each year by hundreds of volunteers. The images are foreshortened and have to be seen from a viewing platform for the full effect.

Atsushi isn’t the first one to used foreshortening and a viewing tower. Thomas Mole did something similar in the 1919 in the U.S. It seems America was getting ready to send yet more tens of thousands to fight the war in Europe.

But the war came to a sudden end and there were all these soldiers milling about so Mole set up these amazing tableaus. There are ten of them and they are composed of from 8,000 to 30,000 men. If you zoom in and look carefully you will see some scamps with their hats over their faces or backs turned. KP duty for you!…or a firing squad maybe?

One photo here has a man circled in red. An elderly lady once came to visit me at Buck’s and we sat where one of the photos on the wall. She pointed out her father.

There are other folks working on a big scale as well. Crop circles appear all over the world and some folks claim that they are made by aliens from other planets or dimensions. In 1991, two self-professed pranksters, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley, made headlines by claiming that it was they who started the phenomenon in 1978 with the use of simple tools consisting of a plank of wood, rope, and a baseball cap fitted with a length of wire to help them walk in straight lines.

“Well, sure,” say the ‘cereologists.’ “Doug and Dave might have made the ones they claim to have done but there are thousands all over the world where the grain is bent or snapped as with a laser or some unknown technology. Also, no one ever sees them being made.” Well, except for the thousands of participants who look decidedly human. And one person’s laser is another person’s 2X4 and a piece of rope.

One thing is for sure. Crop circles which ruin the crops don’t occur in poor countries where they need the food. Well, duh! The aliens aren’t monsters, fer crissake.

Now one more thing. Texas has been itching for independence from the United States since it was jerked away from the Mexicans in the 1840s. I say it’s high time they are granted it. FREE TEXAS! In Texas there are a great many crop circles and if Texas is an independent country then I would have to admit that the circles were indeed made by aliens.

Subscribe to Pacific Voyages

Voyage to distant locales, right from your inbox.

Leave a Reply

Created by Captain Jamis MacNiven (Editorial) & Chief Officer Ryan Sport (Design)

© 2020 Pacific Voyages