Sosei Partners (Shimokawa) Days 5 to 10

Sosei Partners (Shimokawa) Day 5


Snow rained down once again after a brief soothing period of calm and spring-like weather. Today we visited two fruit tomato houses and met the experienced local farmers of Shimokawa. Although each has their own stories and values, all seem to share one single important goal: to dedicate themselves into making a product that they can be proud of. 


Without a doubt, visiting local vegetable farms won’t be complete without actually trying out the product. While Shimokawa fruit tomatoes won’t be available during this period, both farms had prepared us foods which make use of their tomatoes. The result, you ask? Apparently, we won’t be appreciating our tomato juice from convenient store for a while…. 


最後に、今回下川町の町長、一之谷様にお会いすることができました。下川町がどのような姿であるべきなのか、そして今回我々の仕事がどのようにすの「ビジョン」に貢献できるかということが話しの中心となりました。外国人として日本の町の町長と話す機会はいうまでもなく非常に珍しいといえるでしょう。そのため、我々SOSEI PARTNERSメンバーは自分の役割を忘れず、きちんと責任を持って掲げた目標を必ず達成しなければならないと考えられます。

Lastly, we also had an extremely rare opportunity to meet Shimokawa’s town mayor today to acquire some additional insight regarding the direction of the town that he wishes to achieve and how our work here as foreign visitors can contribute to the whole picture. 
It seems that the amount of expectations keep growing as our project starts to take shape. We would do well to never let our guard down and squeeze every bit of our commitment and dedication to achieve the results that everyone is hoping for.

By Jade (Thailand)

Sosei Partners (Shimokawa) Day 6




Today was an enriching day! We thanked the host family that took care of us for five days as we would be moving to a new host family. In the morning, we reported on our current state of research to the town promotion departments, where we spoke about our ideas and also received feedback on how to carry on from here. In the afternoon, in order to experience how to make essential oil, we went to the forest to get raw materials from the trees.

In its sustainable lifestyle, its wood-workshops and scenery, Shimokawa is defined by its forests. In the forest walking experience, participants head into nature to learn about the forest eco-system and forest management. Forest walking engages all the senses - smelling ‘todomatsu’ fir sap, spotting animal prints in the snow, counting tree rings and perhaps even helping to maintain the wood by pruning the low-hanging branches of the trees. 

We then took the branches of ‘todomatsu’ fir trees indoors for a distillation process in order to create natural, relaxing aromatic products. The process requires care and attention, keeping the equipment cool and carefully syphoning off the sweet-smelling water until only the droplets of oil remain.  


By Joy (China)

地方創生パートナーズ(下川町) 7日目
Sosei Partners (Shimokawa) Day 7

今日「SOSEI PARTNERS」メンバーは通常通り共有スペースのコモレビで集合。先日ホームステイ先がかわったため、皆が新たな絆から生まれる発見を積極的にシェアしました。今回北はるか農業共同組合理事長の藤原様にお目にかかり、下川町のもう一つのスペシャルティー、ホワイトアスパラガスについてのお話を伺いました。太陽の光を完全に与えずに真っ暗の環境で育つという生産方法は驚きでしたが、下川がホワイトアスパラガスの供給の8割を占めているということはやはり推測できませんでした。


Today, Sosei Partners members gathered at Komorebi shared space as always, packed with interesting stories to tell about their new host family. We then went to visit the head of kitaharuka agricultural association, Mr. Fujiwara, to learn about the town’s another specialty: white asparagus. While the growing process which requires the asparagus to be unexposed to sunlight at all time is indeed very surprising, the fact that Shimokawa supplies more than 80% of the total white asparagus was totally unexpected to us. 

Later on, we returned to Komorebi to continue on our project. The end of our research period in Shimokawa is approaching. It is only right that we Sosei Partners remain observant and make use of the remaining time as productively as possible in order to achieve what we came here for.

By Jade (Thailand)

地方創生パートナーズ(下川町) 8日目

Sosei Partners (Shimokawa) Day 8

下川での調査の終了まであと3日間。今日私たち「SOSEI PARTNERS」はそれぞれの国のコンセプトを最終確認を行った後、今後の流れ確認や報告会の準備をスタートしました。昼に佐藤咲子さんのシラカバワークショップに参加させていただきました。森との愛着と佐藤さん自身のパッションがそれぞれの作品に明確に現れていると感じます。またシラカバに関する知識も詳しく教えていただき、非常に勉強になりました。

3 days left until the end of Shimokawa research trip. Today, we spent most of the time finalizing our concept and began working on the grand presentation coming up this Sunday. In the afternoon we participated in Satou Sakiko-san’s woodcraft workshop using beautiful white birch as the main material. Her passion and dedication clearly show on her works and we’re glad to have the opportunity to experience woodcraft from such a talented person. 


Another intensive working session soon followed suit, yet our resolve never faltered, for we know that a fun drinking party is waiting around the corner. That’s just how motivation works, apparently.

By Jade (Thailand)

地方創生パートナーズ(下川町) 9, 10日目
Sosei Partners (Shimokawa) Day 9-10


As we prepared for the final presentation in the evening, we had managed to squeeze some time out during lunch to participate in a monthly activity, known as Mikuwa no Hi. Every month, a few families gather near the woods around a campfire, preparing a dish for everyone to share. While the dish is being prepared, a walking tour into the nearby forest is conducted. When the tour is over, everyone gathers near the campfire and enjoys a nice warm meal together. This month's theme was stew, so we managed to enjoy some nice potage for lunch. After that, our team pour all our efforts into the evening presentation and enjoyed a pot-luck feast to end the night. At last, our time here in Shimokawa has come to an end.


To everyone who has taken care of us throughout our 10 days here, our team would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We will definitely remember the warmth that you shared with us despite the subzero Hokkaido temperatures. Should we have the chance, let us meet again!

By Charles (Singapore)