Few young Japanese wish to live the life of a tea farmer in the beautiful and remote mountains of central Honshu. As a result, many farms are abandoned and left untended after the aging farmer dies or decides to retire. This tea field was likely abandoned within the last year as the shape of the plants is still distinct yet the rows are clearly overgrown and no tea has been harvested. Within another year the tea plants will likely be completely overgrown and the site barely recognizable as a tea field. I sometimes happen across such fields which have been completely reclaimed by the forest, with the only sign of man’s former presence being the distinct stone walls of the field’s terrace.
After I filmed this video I wandered down the road another 100 yards to a dead end where a lovely old farm house was found. The home was modest yet full of charm and life, all of which was the doing of a spry old woman who is the home’s sole occupant. I would not have troubled the woman had she not been outside tending her garden when I passed by. She was very happy and talkative and clearly delighted to have a visitor. Her garden was lovely with a modest vegetable plot and many potted plants and assorted bonsai. Water from a nearby stream trickled through pipes to fill a small carp pond. And a small cemetery plot could be seen above her home which is often a sign that the family has been living in this spot for a very long time. I was a bit uncomfortable as I feared I was intruding so I did not try to film or ask her any prying questions though I gathered that the abandoned tea field in this video may belong to her, and as it seems she was living alone I suspect that her husband may have passed recently and this may be the reason the field is untended. This is speculation to be sure though the pattern is one I have seen unfolding often in the remote villages of these high mountains.
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