Toida-san started farming when he was seventeen years old. His family owned land from their house (north of ours) all the way down to Tama River. Before World War II, the land where our house now stands was an orchard of mulberry trees for silk worms. There are no mulberry trees around here, but I actually saw a silk moth in the garden here thirty years ago. It was the first time I had ever seen one.
Toida-san and his wife farmed the fields behind our house until he retired at 90 years old. I watched them for years from our windows and roof garden. After I got a digital camera in 2006, he gave me permission to get closer to take photos. I photographed every season before he retired. I used the photos for reference for Beyond Me. I will post more photos here. It is bittersweet to go through them and it is hard to choose among them. Meanwhile, if you are interested, check posts at Here and There Japan under the categories “urban farming” and “vegetables.”
I miss watching Toida-san and his wife work in the fields. I miss eating their fresh vegetables. The farmer who rents their fields does not sell his vegetables locally.
By the way, the photo above is the only time I saw him take a break in the field. And this one is the first of two times he posed for me.