This is my very first visit to the Agricultural and Forestry Research Center. Before that, all I
heard about ichinoya is “kowai”. Bizarre trees, bumpy roads, bugs, crows… Completely dark at
night, easy to get lost. However, after went there by my own, it is “kawaii” for me rather than
I have seen so many small, cubic, both space-saving and fuel-saving cars after I came to japan.
But it still surprised me when I saw those small agricultural machineries in a small garage. As the
guiding teacher said, Japanese farmlands do not have that much space to hold the machines as big
as those in other countries.
The way they grow apple trees interested me. Instead of let each tree grow independently, they
connected the trees by inserting one’s trunk top to the next, and tied the joint on an iron wire hung
along the tree row with specific height. This method allows those trees to grow horizontally rather
than vertically. Since the trees are lowered to a reachable height, it is easier for the workers to pick
the apples. It is not only a smart way to save labors, on the other hand, these lowered apple trees can
be more protected by the higher trees planted around the orchard, which functioned as shields
keeping out the cold wind come from the top of Mt. Tsukuba in the winter.
Except for plant farming, they also breed animals such as cows, chickens… However, the cows
are not for milking anymore. There are basically two different ways to feed the cows: In order to
make them strong, the farmers feed them with large amount of dry grass; and they feed the calves
with fresh food which have more calories and vitamins to make the them grow. The professor said
that animals do not care about the taste of their food. It is a little bit doubtful, because pigs have
even better sense of taste than human because they got more taste buds than we do. And about the
chickens, unfortunately, because of the bird flu, they are now for experimental use only. So the
chicken houses is isolated from the rest parts of the research center, and that was why we could not
go and see the chickens.
Refer to the Central Library, to be honest, I have never been to a library which is as big as this
one. And it amazed me that all the facilities in the library are so well-considered. Self-help
circulation machine, different kinds of computers for different purpose… What impressed me the
most are the automatic bookshelves: after push the button on a certain shelf, the others start to move
and form an aisle, where you can reach the books you wanted to read. It is a both space-saving and
power-saving method, since there are no aisles between every two shelves and the lights can be turn
on only after the aisle formed.
There are so many so many bookshelves which contain hundreds of thousands of books: from
Japanese to English, art to science, old to new. It surprised me that they have newspaper collected
form all over the world covered a long time period: Asahi, the Chosun Ilbo, People’s daily and so
on. Our guide also took us to a little book gallery, where there the precious ancient books and
scrolls are all under glass covers. There is a book which have only four originals in the whole
world, although the one on exhibition is duplicate, one of the original is kept somewhere in our
Except for the bookshelves, the public areas on each floor are well-designed as well. Chat areas
where you can discuss with your friends while studying, rest rooms to drink water and enjoy your
lunch, and small cubic study rooms for only one person each! This is so amazing, but unfortunately
we undergraduate students cannot use them. There even has mini call-box for us to answer the
So many people are here in the library to help us. Not only the library staff, but also volunteers
who can help us in finding books. During certain time period, a senior student would be sitting
beside the computer area to solve our problems about using the computers. It was happy to see the
“English is ok!” Sign in front of the support desk.