As the Chairperson’s wife, she leads the women of the village in working together. When we arrived for the first time at our accommodation, we found a beautiful flower arrangement from her in front of the house. This was very touching to us.
The 83 year old says:
“I am just growing for fun - every year planting new things. It is a pleasure to give the harvest to people. However I don't give things to anyone who doesn't feedback positively on my produce”.
She doesn't complain of any having any physical problems, “just I am getting old”.
With 120 bonsai occupying his front garden, he says:
“In June I am going to go mad, replanting all those bonsai in to larger pots day-after-day. Once I've started I have to finish. They cannot wait.”
One of the 'young lads' in the village, he is currently the only bee keeper. He is also Chairperson of the planting program team, supported by the local government. Grizedale Arts will work with him and the village community to establish a new bee farm.
The younger sister of Ms. Isomura, her every-day work varies from harvesting to delivering produce to the market. One thing she doesn't like to do is digging for bamboo in the mountain by herself. However one day she did go alone and brought us back a big basket of bamboo.
A retired business man and one of the younger men of the village - he grows grafted fruits and vegetables. He is interested in the different foods and cultures of the world, as well as camping. One of his most recent successes was hosting a family of wild Japanese bees in his garden.
She comes from a non-farming family and so initially people said she was "too skinny and white; too weak to work the land". However sixty years later she is still small, healthy and farming!
Management Secretary of the committee, he is an 83 years old, retired businessman. His post-production ideas for the seasonal harvests include a bamboo factory and black garlic (which gives him the physical health of someone twenty years his junior, a guarantee from his family doctor). Importantly, he is one of two people who manage the Kiwanosato Gathering Group email.
A retired mechanic, he is Chairperson of Kiwanosato Gathering Group. One of the top producers of the village, his organically-grown, massive mountain potatoes are the size of your head.
A retired police officer, he has now become a carpenter and house painter. His old family house was converted into a modern-style living space.
She is kept busy looking after her grand-daughter, as well as cooking, growing and preserving harvests. Yet somehow, she still makes time to decorate her house with an abundance of flower arrangements.
At 88 years old, she is the eldest member of the village. She still works in the fields, growing rice and various vegetables. Her cooking is legendary; she is the old-school domestic cook. Originally from another village, both her and her sister came to the village through marriage.
Neighbour of the Kiwanoyado house, she gives us a great smile whenever we meet her. Despite leg pain, she works in her garden everyday. She is one of the committee members and has been a volunteer cook for the village meals for ten years.
“Since cows have no holidays, I cannot have holidays either. We'll work for 365 days a year….until we give up!”
Her Nukadoko is legendary as being 280 years old when she moved to the village for marriage: "So, yes, it will be over 300 years old by now!". Its flavour is incredible; the beauty of fermentation.