Aug 11, 2011

Green Tourism Monitor Tours in Semboku City (Experiences at Jinkichi in Tazawako)

The Semboku City's Green Tourism Monitor Tour has just started in July. The second group enjoyed several outdoor activities and stayed at a Noka-Minshuku (農家民宿), a farmer's inn, in Tazawako Area.

Mrs. Taguchi of Jinkichi and the monitor tour participants.

On Day 1, the participants experienced canoeing at Lake Tazawa, radish harvesting, pizza-baking in stone bake oven, and BBQ. On Day 2, they learned to make Keiran(鶏卵), traditional rice cakes on bamboo leafs. They later harvested Moroheiya (Molokhiya) in the greenhouse before calling it a day.

An important task required to the participants was to posts updates on twitter and share it with hashtag #semboku_gt . The participants shared lots of excitements and useful information on what you could do in Tazawako Area.

Staying at Jinkichi, a Farmer's Inn at Lake Tazawa:

Jinkichi (甚吉)is a farmer’s inn with a great agricultural foundation. The family cultivate various types of vegetables and sell them in and out of Semboku City. It is a family-owned inn, which has been hosting students and tourists for many years. Mrs. Taguchi is designated as a Female Agriculture Specialist by Akita government, and her husband, Mr. Taguchi is a schoolmaster of local Ski School. They both are very hospitable and make sure that you feel at home -- That is why the guests call them as "Okasan" (mom) and "Otosan" (dad).

Learning to Make Traditional Sweets and Harvesting Molokhiya:

On Day 2, the main activity was to make Keiran, a traditional steamed rice cake in Tazawako region. Keiran (鶏卵) is made during the hina-matsuri, the doll festival, from late February to early March. Mrs. Taguchi has prepared the white dough and colored dough.

White dough (rice flour, wheat flour) and Colorful doughs (food colorings, sesame paste)

First, Mrs. Taguchi explained the procedure and ingredients. She showed an example step-by-step: measure the white dough 50mg, and wrap 30mg anko bean paste inside; make a smooth ball; create your own using the colored dough.

@akitagt Jul 31, 9:57am
“Okasan”shows us how to make Keiran, Sweets from Tazawako. We girls get more excited! Marveled at how skillfully she makes it! #semboku_gt


Measure, roll, and decorate to make their own Keiran.

After steamed for 14 minutes, they were immediately cooled in running water and placed on top of prepared bamboo leaves. The group created many character shapes as well as more traditional shapes like peaches, flowers, rabbits, etc.

Traditional Shapes

@VIOLETTA_116 Jul 31, 12:01pm
#senboku_gt We are trying to make some Keiran! The delicate work make us speechless! LOL 
郷土菓子・けいらん作りに挑戦しました!細かい作業にみんな無言! (笑)

Later, the group was taken to the back of the house, where they experienced harvesting Moroheiya in a greenhouse.

Amazing view!

Mrs. Taguchi tells stories about agricultural life. Very interesting!

@semboku_gt Jul 31, 4:19pm

@semboku_gt: We were amazed at how versatile and flexible Jinkichi-san is!  RT@akitagt: We are sure that we could all meet again. That is why I was able to say “see you” to Okasan. We enjoyed the monitor tour in Tazawako. Thank you.
今回の甚吉さん 農家ならではの多彩な応用力、感服しました RT @akitagt またこのメンバーで会える気がするから、民宿のお母さんにも笑顔で「またね」ができました。田沢湖で過ごしたモニターツアー楽しかった #semboku_gt

@yachu5088 Jul 31, 8:41pm

I’ve noticed that many farmers who bend the bodies in U-shape in the field are mostly elderly people. It takes so much work to harvest one vegetable. In a few minutes, we felt so exhausted. It must be a normal work for those farmers. It is admirable!
休みの日、腰をUの字に曲げて畑仕事をしている方達は高齢者の方が多いなーと感じてました。野菜一つ育てるのも収穫するのも大変な労力。たった数分収穫しただけであの疲労感。農家さんは当たり前なんだろうけど、頭があがりません。 #semboku_gt

The Semboku City Green Tourism Monitor Tour still continues until December. The tour dates are announced about a month in advance. It is easy to sign up and worthwhile for all of the people who love a simple, rural lifestyle of Japan.

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