Of Rice and Reproduction

Fascinating article on Japan’s rice culture (a term which in this sense has multiple meanings) in the year-end double issue of The Economist. OK, it’s only very tangentially related  to health care, or nursing, but this caught my eye:

Symbol of fertility

Yet this rice is among Japan’s best—the snow, it is said, gives the local rice, known as minami uonoma, a particular purity. Surrounded by the stillness of snow, the most productive rice seeds are kept through the winter months in an outside storehouse. The building is so closely associated with the nurturing of new life that mothers traditionally used to go there to give birth.

A deep cultural connection between the land and the workings of rice production, and human reproductiona motif, I know, common in many cultures over many millenia. The scientific part of my brain dismisses this as nonsense and superstition. But the right brain wonders that with our relentless focus on the technological fix in health care, something ineffable was lost: our connection with the processes of the natural world.


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