My First impression of Konohana
Aug 8th, 2013
As time goes by I have been living in Konohana family for nine days, my impression of this community is very good. As the life schedule is relatively full, please forgive me for not sharing the infomation with you till today.
Konohana Family is located at Fujinomiya, Shizuoka, 250 km far from Tokyo,the famous Fuji Mountain is nearby. Fujinomiya is a very beautiful and serene small town with small population, it’s clean and tidy everywhere, which gave me a very nice impression.
I arrived at Konohana at around 1pm in the afternoon, a member who is responsible for guest care picked me up at the bus station, I felt familiar with her and she was very friendly and nice. When we arrived at the community, some members can call my name directly which quite surprised me, hehe! (Later I was told that everybody knew from several months ago that a community called the Second Home in China would send exchange member to live with them for some time, they’re excited and interested in knowing more about us.) People working in kitchen also kept the lunch for me, a very nice and good-looking Japan style meal,(see photo below), and all materials are 100% organic, very delicious!
My room is a sharing room with four other community members, it’s not a big room but clean and ordered. Here everybody lives together with other members, basically with two or more than two in each bedroom.
The afternoon I arrived, Michiyo( she is responsible for international communication and also the president of GENOA) gave me a brief introduction of the community, and in the evening I attended the first meeting of Konohana. Before I came I read the daily schedule of the community and knew that they had a meeting every night, and I was curious why they had meeting every day and wondered what's the content of the meeting. After I come, I know that every night’s meeting is a very important part of this community both for personal improvement and the community building. Although I can’t understand Japanese, there’s members who can do translation for me, this helps a lot for me to know more about Konohana, hehe! I’ll share more in my following reports.
A very similar part of Konohana Family with our community is that they also have clear division of roles on daily life and production. There are people who grow vegetables, who pack and send vegetables to the local shopkeeper, there are cooker, cleaner, beekeeper, and people who do promotion etc. Everyone has a specific job to do. The second day I was placed in the vege fields, till yesterday I’ve worked there for one week. Every day the job is different, such as cover films , remove films , weeding, mulching, plant cucumbers, pick watermelons, save seeds for tomatoes and bitter melon etc. What impressed me is that people here are very diligent, I never seen anyone who is lazy. Although there is no supervision, people work very hard and pursue the best performance in their work. Probably this is a very important reason to explain why they can have such a successful permaculture practice in their community. After job 十finished，everybody will clean the tools and put it back to the right places.
Like our community Konohana also has two meals each day, one is at 12pm, the other at 7pm. In the morning the kitchen will prepare hot rice and traditional Japanese soup, anyone who feels hungry can go to have some before work. The morning work starts from 7:30am to 12:00pm, with a break of 30 minutes. During the break everybody will sit together and talk, have watermelons, drinks, sometimes there are self-made deserts. Although the first lunch will be served till 12:00pm, I don’t feel hungry when working. From 12:00 pm to 2:30pm it's time for lunch and rest. Now the weather is hot, many people will have a nap. In the afternoon work begins from 2:30pm and end at 6:00pm. Also there is a break for about 30 minutes.
Dinner time is a good time for relaxing, people sit together, eat and talk. Same as our community, food are served in a buffet style, and all people here are vegetarian, all food material are grown by the community, include diverse fresh vegetables and eggs. The basic food style is Japanese, sometime there is also western -style food.
After the dinner, people will help the kitchen to clean everything. Then there will be a short time for kids to interact with the adults, and kids will share the happy things in their daily life. Even very young kids of 2 -3 years also do it !
The meeting begins from 9pm, usually ends after 11:30pm at night. After attending many days' meeting, my feeling is that their meeting is like a combination of values study and life meeting in the Second Home. By the way, Konohana family also has a spiritual guide and they also focus a lot on spiritual development. There are much more similarity between Konohana family and the Second Home than I have imagined, and some of their values are just the same as Lifechanyuan values!
Well, I've talked a lot, now it’s time to share the photos!
To be continued..
my first meal in Konohana Family, isn't it wonderful?
Canteen and the activity room
One of the main building
Do exercise before working
eggroll, really delicous!
Cookers are preparing the lunch
find a big watermelon in the field!
happy break time
practice Japanese dance after dinner
more than eight kinds of self-made honey
the one in photo is Isadon, the spiritual guide of Konohana
introduce the Second Home to Konohana
ready for going to school