Last morning at the farm: No sunrise showdown in the stalls, the nugget-hunt was delayed until after breakfast. Instead, I accompanied the Green Knight to 6am meeting of local branch of Ronrihojinkai, The institute of ethics (J). 60,000 branches in Japan. Held in reception room of posh hotel in Kaminoyama. Mostly men in suits and factory uniforms. I wore my cleanest shirt. And wooden sandals.
I was lent an ethics bible, Joy for All by Toshio Maruyama and instructed to sit in the front row. The meeting began with a chant. The chairman then stood up, strode to the rostrum, pausing once to bow to the flag of the Kaminoyama branch, before making a short speech about the sanctitude of water.
Then the chairman called me forward. My wooden sandals clunked with every step. Too shocked for nerves, I quickly introduced myself then legged it back to my seat.
A reading was given from Chapter 10, the Joy of Work. At fixed intervals, volunteers shouted out “Hai” to take over the reading.
The guest speaker had not arrived. The Green Knight was called on for an impromptu speech. He talked about health and horse-riding: “Spending time with horses is healing and stress-relieving. People suffering from atopic eczema and depression benefit from spending time with them. ”
He continued: “Horses are gentle creatures. They respond to kindness with kindness.”
“Obbbbbbbbbjection!!!!!” I silently screamed.
Later, I joined the members breakfast. Treated like an honoured guest. The table laid out with a lavish selection of seasonal local treats. I tried hard to restrain my instinct to eat like a greedy pig.
Left the farm in the afternoon. Sad to say goodbye. His family made me so welcome and I loved the farm. I will miss the `joy in work`.
Before leaving, snuck down the hill to watch the Green Knight ride his horse around the paddock. Incredible animals to ride. They are still wild beasts in my mind. Not in his. His back was as straight as a rod, totally in control. He intends to keep running the club until he can no longer ride himself. Hopefully that won`t be for a while yet.