where the magic happens

bizenyaki

Pottery Artist Ritsuko Moore shares her Bizen Yaki experimental work. She wraps her pieces with rice straw (top left), and she loads them to the Noborigama kiln (bottom left). Full of curiosity and excitement, their new appearance is revealed after 70 hours (right).  As you see, the rice straw wrap remains in the final presentation as a dark brown stain. This is the natural organic color of rice straw!

another way to use…

© EunYoung Sebazco

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Another way to use the rice plant is for Japanese traditional New Year decorations. On the house entry door or on the porch to prevent malicious spirits from entering, a special knitted rope is made from rice straws called Shimenawa (しめなわ, 注連縄). Rice Straw: This brings hope for a good harvest season, Tangerine: Continue great descendants, Pine tree twig: Works against evil spirits,  Mizuhiki: Traditional Knot, Hope for great connection and Shide: Paper Deco, Symbol of a sanctuary. Great Workshop Conducted by Master Florist Yumi Ichihashi of Baum at Globus Washitsu.

Nothing goes to waste

© EunYoung Sebazco

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I have explored about the rice plant more and more. Who knew dry rice straw has been using as Japan’s oldest pottery making technique which is called “Bizen ware“. Rice straw wrapped around pieces creates red and brown scorch marks while in woodfire. Ceramic Artist Ristuko Moore is trying Bizen Yaki with Rice Straw from NY! I can not wait for her Bizen Yaki.

true golden color

© EunYoung Sebazco

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I feel gratified in this month of October. I think that this stage of the rice plants are the best appearance visually if I could see them as ornamental plants. Mature grains are turned in to a golden color and they reflect on the lime green leaves which cheer up the fall season. I also love to see the drooped panicles which makes me bow. Now, it will begin to celebrate the Harvest season.

Go go summer

© EunYoung Sebazco

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News! Rice panicles (heads) are developing- They have been visible to the naked eye. Since we have had a cold summer season, the growing stages have shown up very slowly. It had made me nervous, but FINALLY I see the small grains. Hope this hot summer feast will be continued for a few more weeks for Koshihikari. Go go summer, no Autumn yet.

rice companion plant

© EunYoung Sebazco

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Duckweeds could be a rice companion plant, a sustainable practice on the small rice paddy!

What the duckweeds do. They clean the water, provide bio-fertilizer, allege control, and limit mosquitoes. These are things that humans are not able to control without adding chemicals. Also, duckweeds contain high amounts of protein, more so than soy bean. Duckweeds are a good food resource in some parts of Asia for both animals and humans. Duckweeds spread quick, colonies of them could cause a problem of oxygen. But, don’t worry, we have a solar air pump and other good friends working together in the water.

Duckweeds call in Korean ” Keguri bap” means ” Bullfrog’s rice”. A lot of time Bullfrogs live in the rice paddies. The duckweeds are extremely dense on the surface of the water that when they swim out of the water, their face is covered with duckweeds. So, it looks like bullfrogs are eating the duckweeds. That’s how we named it? In Korea while the little children are eating rice and if they leave some rice on their face, the parents say ” You have bullfrog’s rice on your face”. I love the sound of word “Keguri bap”.

inspire us

© EunYoung Sebazco

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Two of my best friends visited the rice program today. Yoshi Kousaka (Sushi Master) is an executive Chef at Jewel Bako and MiHyun Han, the GM at Don’s Bogam. Chef Yoshi demonstrated how to make Onigiri (rice ball) and fresh Tsukemono (pickled vegetable). Summer camp youths enjoyed the process of making and then tasting. Chef Yoshi and MiHyun have consistently participated since I started the rice project. I believed that dining and cooking with the rice was important to understand why we grow rice all over the world. To see a product truly grow from a seed into a nourishing meal is an important aspect of our program. I cannot thank them enough for what they brought to us, accomplished with us and how much they inspire us.