The Suitcase Lady


September 22, 2020, 9:44 am

Sometimes one good thing leads to another. That is exactly what happened when I was reading an article about a unique mural project.

The mural was in Japan where a tiny, unassuming 70 year-old train station was in need of refurbishing. The town hired a young local artist and he created a whimsical transformation of every surface of the station’s interior. Here is the delightful result of his artistry.

The article noted that the station was close to the “rice paddy art fields”. Since I had absolutely no idea what that meant, I did a search and discovered this mind-boggling art.

Rice paddy art began in 1993. Various natural and hybrid colors of rice are hand planted to create massive pictures in the paddies. In other words, the pictures are grown.

The motivation to do this painstaking work was “to take advantage of the tradition of manual work in rice cultivation to give people an opportunity to learn more about rice farming and agriculture.”

The designs are chosen, sketched on computers and turned into blueprints. The subject matter of these supersize murals is wildly eclectic, everything from goddesses, Samurai warriors, anime characters and Hollywood film stars. Then, many local people and “rice tourists” help to map out the fields and plant the rice seedlings.

As the rice grows and matures, over 20,000 visitors come to see the results. Viewing is done from observation platforms on the edge of the paddies. The rice is eventually harvested entirely by hand…..and it is eaten, making the murals the world’s largest edible art project.

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