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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Shannon reflects on her time in Japan

***This week, the National FFA Officers will be blogging from Japan where they're learning about Japanese culture and touring agricultural businesses." ***

Throughout our time in Japan we have witnessed many different elements of Japanese culture. One phrase we learned from a traditional Japanese tea ceremony was to cherish the importance of harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility within relationships. Today, day three of our international experience in Japan, we developed a better understanding for the definition and meaning of the word, awareness.

We started off the day by visiting Toyota Motor Company. We met with the Project General Manager and the Project Manager for the Overseas External Affairs Division. For one hour, we discussed Toyota`s history, locations, strategies, sales, and philanthropic contributions to the community. Toyota Motor Company began in 1937. Twenty years later, the Toyota Motor Sales USA began. Prior to the start of Toyota, Sakichi Toyoda labeled one key value as, "Respect the spirit of research and creativity, and always strive to stay ahead of the times." Keeping key values such as this in mind, Toyota has grown to be one of the most well-known companies in the world. The American branch of Toyota is a silver sponsor of the National FFA Foundation.

For lunch, we traveled to Saitama Farm and had the privilege of experiencing traditional Japanese cuisine. However, before we could enjoy our meal, we first had to help prepare it. At the top of the menu was "Mochi-Tsuki", a traditional rice cake. "Mochi-Tsuki" is made by pounding sticky rice grains with a large wooden mallet until thick dough is made. After all of the National FFA Officers and staff took their best swing and the right consistency was met, the rice dough was grouped into little balls, coated with different spices and flavors and served with Miso soup, pickled vegetables, and Japanese oranges. After lunch, we toured the farm’s organic vegetable fields, which included everything from lemon fruit trees to tea bushes and from greenhouse radishes to broccoli.

Tomorrow we leave Tokyo and head for Nikko, Japan, where we will visit Taishi-Food, Inc. and then stay in a Ryokan (traditional Japanese-style hotel) tomorrow night. From global influence at Toyota to local contribution at Saitama Farms, Japan has been full of exciting adventures that have been blessings in themselves. Today, we certainly broadened our perspective and increased our appreciation for Japanese agriculture. As we bring the day to a close, we encourage one thought, “How can we, as American agriculturists, promote agricultural awareness in our hometowns?”

On behalf of the 2010-2011 National FFA Officer Team, I hope you all have a great day!! Thanks for reading!



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