Last weekend, we attended a rice reaping event held at a roof top garden in one of the Roppongi Hills buildings. There were about 100 people, many young children, who attended, as well as some press coverage. The children (and some adults also tried) were able to take part in the activities.
Rice is a basic staple food in Japan and in most Asian countries so it is an important part of the diet, eaten almost daily. More importantly, you need it to make sushi (^_^).
A company from Kyoto (sorry, I don’t know the name) explained and demonstrated to all the participants, in Japanese (no translation), on the process to reap the rice from the fields. First step is to use a curved knife to cut the rice stalks from the field.
You then tie the stalks together, split it and hang to dry on a horizontal pole as shown below.
Once dry, you use a special machine to remove the rice grains from the stalk.
Finally, using a stick and a plastic bottle, you pound the rice grains to remove the husks.