Ainoukai hosts celebration of “inochi” (lives)

Bonded together by the theme “Inochino Rizumu Wotorimodosou” (Regain the Rhythm of Life), around 400 people attended the national convention organized by Ainoukai (an AFA member in Japan) last February 2-3 at the Minabe Loyal Hotel in Minabe-cho, Wakayama prefecture, which is famous for its citrus and plum.

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The habit of eating in small amounts

On the first day, medical doctor Mitsuo Koda, who is an authority on Natural Medicine in Japan, delivered a keynote speech on the topic “The habit of eating in small amounts can help save the world”. In his speech, he narrated how he recovered from serious diseases by fasting. He has also saved many patients from incurable diseases by introducing them to fasting and the method of eating in small amounts.

Koda said that “the habit of overeating is causing diseases,” and that “we are forgetting the feeling of gratitude towards food.” He added that, “If all the people practiced the habit of eating small amounts, then sickness will disappear from the earth and food and environmental problems will also be solved”.

A concert straight from the womb!

After the keynote speech, the participants were treated to a wonderful concert by Yae, a daughter of the famous Japanese singer Tokiko Kato. Yae introduced herself as “half-farmer, half-singer,” following the wishes of her deceased father who dedicated his life to organic farming.

In the concert, she sang great songs praising agriculture, where many lives are born and nurtured. She actually was not alone while singing. Inside her, there was another life growing. She was 9 months pregnant! Ainoukai was not sure she could attend because of the pregnancy, but the presence of a new life in her womb was a blessing to the concert and to the convention.

Workshops and a banquet

The concert was followed by several workshops with the themes “Organic movement nurturing lives”, “Kotani and Koda’s messages to our age” ,“Life-nurturing child care”, “Rhythm of peace is rhythm of life,” etc. Participants chose which workshop they wanted to join, depending upon their interests.

At night, the participants had fellowship banquet. People met old friends and made new ones. Friendships were deepened and expanded.

Natural apples, supreme grapes, vigorous village!

On the second day, Mr. Akinori Kimura, an apple farmer who uses the natural farming method, spoke to the convention. His sharing on the “footsteps of his life”, how he suffered through 8 years of no harvest and in poverty, but with a never give up attitude, and the emotion he had on the first harvest, touched the hearts of the participants. Now he is attending to his apples everyday with words of “arigatou” (thanks).

After that, 2 graduates of Ainou high school presented their efforts.

The first one was Mr. Nasu who is producing grapes for wines. He spoke about his life story, how he achieved supreme grapes and the supreme wine produced out of it. “His wine is really great!” remarked Ryoko Tsuboi, editor of Ainou magazine, after tasting it.

The second one was Mr. Jun Soeda (who attended AFA’s 3rd General Assembly last March 3, 2008). The participants learned about his initiatives to revitalize his villages by bringing many new young farmers in and keeping them there by supporting each other. His village, which was once called “Marginal Village,” with no more youth and so, no more future, is now full of vigor, with the voices of 9 babies crying!

A lively close to a blessed undertaking

Lastly, songs of the “Okatanaka Pichi-Pichi Girls” (Pichi-Pichi is an adjective used to describe fresh and lively beings) heated up the hall and the 2-day convention came to a close.

According to Ryoko, participants to this year’s national convention came not only from Ainou members or high school graduates, but many non-Ainou people also joined. Their ages also ranged from very young to really old. And because it set the participation fees too low, and also due to some unforeseen circumstances, Ainoukai ended up with a deficit. “But the convention was blessed with something making up for it and we surely could even get some changes,” Ryoko reflected.

Ainoukai believes that the conservation and sound development of agriculture is an indispensable way to attain world peace. It aims to construct ideal rural villages where Love and Peace prevail. It conducts a course on organic farming to anyone interested in farming; acts as a certification body for the Japanese JAS organic agriculture food standard; runs a preparatory school for would-be-farmers; holds an agricultural technological training program on forestry and agriculture based on the Ainou spirit; publishes a monthly newsletter, and organizes an international exchange program.

Ainoukai will have another national convention next year from January 31 to February 2, back to back with Ainou High School graduates’ 45th year memorial assembly.

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