Exploring Akiyamago, home of Matagi with KEEN in autumn

TSUMARI DIARYPosted : December 13, 2017

On Sunday 12 November 2017 the sky was gray and little drops of rain fell during the opening ceremony. However, we had 30 participants and decided to go ahead with "exploring Akiyamago with KEEN" as planned.

Participants put on KEEN shoes, hopped on a bus to the starting point in the wood. The weather was slowly improving and they follwed the guide by walking on thick layer of fallen autumn leaves.

Everyone was so excided to find nameko (mushroom). The shiny nameko looked like jewely and they also saw mukitake (another kind of mushroom) which best tasted in a soup.

The landscape changed all of sudden as they continued to walk and reached ishigakida (stone-hedge field). Ishigakida is one of the best 100 farm landscapes across Japan. The field in this region only had stones but local residents invested effort in digging these stones out and transferred these piece of land into field from the Meiji period. Despite such history we saw quite a few fields not being used as it is still impossible to bring in large farming trucks and there is less people to take care farming

The long-waited lunch time was one of the highlits of this walk. As the weather was not perfect for eating outdoor we decided to use gymnasium space of Katakuri House. Katakuri House staff served delicious lunch featuring seasonal local ingridients whereas the local festival support team, Tsunan Art Moriagetai members brought warm kinoko-jiru (mushroom soup). Three "Ketto Rice Girls" (local women living in Ketto village) were also there to make onigiri (rice ball) for the participants.

After enjoying lunch, participants walked across the Mikurabashi (hanging bridge) and walked up the hill.

After taking little longer it should be (as we were very full), we finally arrived at Mikura village. The sound of gun for bear protective echoed regulary while we saw well-looked after gardens and fileds - evidences of humble life that local people were leading. I can't help remembering what the guide said: "how much longer if this village could exist after the current four households get old and dissapear."

We then arrived at the end of the walk. We all felt content and realised that our foot were not tired at all. It must be because of the KEEN's shoes - the one I rented was designed for female and how it fit in your foot, its weightlessness and water-proof are amazingly good. Cick ≫here to find out about the KEEN shoes.

Those who wanted to check out the artwork "DEAI" by KEEN and their supporting artist. They enjoyed the tour by space-designer, Bubb and live-painting unit, Gravityfree followed by cooking mushroom soup using freshly picked mushrooms.

It got dark already - we had such a busy but entertaining day.

We hope we will be able to organise another walk to welcome visitors again to Akiyamago to enjoy its distinctive nature.

Mayumi Miwa, staff member of NPO

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Staff member of the Echigo-Tsumari Art Field.

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