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Takayama Rice Planting & Matcha Tea Event (June 4, 2022)

 NAIST and Ikoma city held a rice planting and matcha tea event on June 4th where NAIST international students and local community members could experience planting rice by hand and then relax and enjoy matcha and Japanese sweets.

 The event opened with an explanation of how to plant the rice correctly by Toshihiro Kogita, the local Takayama farmer who prepared 2 rice paddies and rice seedlings for the event, and following this, 26 students and 11 community members entered the rice paddies and began planting the seedlings. Planting the rice while maintaining their balance in the mud was quite difficult, but all of the participants managed to stay mostly dry as they worked in the paddies. As this first part of the event finished, another farmer started planting rice with a tractor nearby and many students took pictures and compared its speed to their own work over the previous 50 minutes. All the participants then moved to the nearby Chikurin-en (a bamboo garden and museum) and divided into 2 groups to enjoy tea and tour a traditional tea room. Each participant made his/her own tea using tea whisks (The Takayama area has been a center of Tea whisk production for hundreds of years.) and they compared their tea and talked about the rice planting. As the tea was being made, Ikoma's mayor, Mr. Masashi Komurasaki, made a surprise visit to the event and expressed his hope that NAIST students will enjoy their life in Japan and in Ikoma through events such as these offered by NAIST and Ikoma.

 NAIST has concluded a cooperative agreement with Ikoma city in 2021 and this was the first collaborative student-community event held as part of this. We will continue to plan activities to help international students gain new experiences in Japan and to build ties with Ikoma citizens, so that international students can make the most out of their time at NAIST.

Planting rice while maintaining their balance in the rice paddy
Participants learning about the history of bamboo products in the Takayama area
Participants viewing the traditional tea room with Mayor Komurasaki