Jan 20, 2020

Interview with the Owner of Joyful Farm Unoike

AMAKI EIGO - this spritely and energetic 82-year-old farmer works 5.30am to 4pm every single day, with no time off.

How big is your farm and what does it grow?

It’s 10,000sqm in size and we grow strawberries, oranges, sweet potatoes, Japanese radishes and grapes. Our main crops are strawberries, which are grown in greenhouses.

What does the name of your farm mean?

“Unoike” means “the pond of cormorant”. The cormorant is a native bird of our region and is considered a treasure of our community — its waste is a valuable fertiliser for our crops. This has been recognised from the Edo period. We have earned money selling it to neighbouring areas, enough money to build an elementary school. Because of the bird, the use of guns is prohibited here — the sound of it scares them.

You also run a restaurant called Unomi. Why?

I wanted to serve oshizushi, or pressed sushi, which is a regional speciality. It is a celebration food, made for the new year or weddings. It is time-consuming to make — it takes four people one hour to do one plate. And with the rising demands for speed and convenience, people have stopped making it so it is getting harder to find. But I think it’s important to preserve the tradition.

Joyful Farm Unoike: 10 Nakashinden, Kaminoma, Mihama, Aichi 470-3231