Can You Dig It?

Can you dig it? Because we don’t seem to be able to.

Potatoes, I mean.

Are you confused yet? Okay, I’ll back up and start over.

Many schools in Japan have an annual “potato dig.” One of the schools I used to work at had their own potato patch, but the schools here in The Hama usually take the kids to a “farm,” where, for a small fee, the kids can dig sweet potatoes and take them home. Depending on the school, some places make a campfire and cook the potatoes right there. Japanese sweet potatoes are sweeter and less stringy than the ones we have in America. It’s actually a totally different plant, so much so that the first time I saw them I had no idea what it was. Anyway, they are sweet and filling just roasted plain, and the skins are thin enough to eat, although most Japanese peel them. They peel everything, actually, including apples, grapes, pears, and peaches, but that’s the subject of another post.

We have been scheduled to attend the potato dig for five years in a row. How many times have we been? A big, fat zero.

The reasons are all reasonable enough. Year #1)Had newborn baby and no babysitter Year #2) Both kids were sick with mycoplasma, though we didn’t know that was what they had till almost three months later Year #3) Dead grandpa, mine. Year #4) Dead grandpa, theirs. Year # 5) Today. Stomach bug.

No one is dead, that I know of, so this is a good year, relatively speaking.

Maybe it’s karma, because I don’t get this whole potato thing. I mean, excuse me, but we are paying 560 yen to do manual labor. The sweet potatoes are way cheaper, and probably less radioactive, if we buy them at the grocery store.

This kind of thing was a chore when I was a kid, usually part of some scheme Dad had thought up which inevitably ended with us wearing our “poor kid clothes” and selling veggies on the side of the road. Not wanting to do this is one of the main reasons I went to college, for goodness sake.

Gotta give some respect to the “farmers” who have thought of this scheme. It’s pure, evil genius!

I’m sure it’s lots of fun for the city kids who don’t have to do it at home, and only get out into the garden every once in a while. We went to a birthday party at an outdoor restaurant once where you picked your own veggies and they cooked it for you right there. The kids loved that!

I guess you feel differently when you spent a good portion of your days as a kid shucking corn and flicking the worms off, or spent two entire summers working in the garden growing green beans. I still can’t eat green beans, they taste like wasted playtime and sweat to me. Oddly enough, I’m okay with the corn in spite of the worms….but I guess I may have ruined it for some of y’all city folk who didn’t know about that. Oopsie, my bad.

Maybe we’ll have better luck next year and get to say we “dig it” at least once before the preschool days are over. As far as today goes, Me Too seems to be feeling better stomach-wise this morning.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. gaijinwife
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 09:45:21

    Our potato did is next week and mothers aren’t invited :) Grandparents are though so Granny K will get on her gloves, floral arm protectors, big bendy hat and scarf round her face.


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