Akinori Kimura Miracle Apples

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Transcript of Akinori Kimura Miracle Apples

Akinori Kimuras


by Takuji Ishikawa

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Intro by Yoko OnoDear Friends, It is my greatest pleasure to present this book MIRACLE APPLES to you for your consideration. Let me explain how I came across this book, and what the book is about. I was sitting in the lounge of JAL in Tokyo waiting to go back to New York. I picked up this book from the newly published books displayed in the corner. Once I started to read the book, I could not put it down. The attendant of the waiting room told me I could take the book with me, so I read the whole book on the plane to New York, and immediately wished there was a second book on this subject. This book is a revolution. It is a true story of how an apple farmer worked for 10 years to find a way to grow apples without using any insecticide. I assume the method he has discovered does not just apply to growing apples, but any plants raised with insecticide. As he worked year after year, people of the village and his friends all started to think he had gone crazy. At first, the apple orchard he inherited from his ancestors was destroyed by his not using any insecticide. Clouds of insects came to his orchard from other orchards which used insecticide. His two sons quit school to avoid being teased by their classmates. He lost all his savings, and had to be a bouncer in a local bar for a while. His wife did not say anything, but every day she delivered her handmade lunch in a beautiful lunchbox to the field where he was sitting by himself, unshaved, not doing anything anymore but watching the sky. After ten years of this, he finally thought he had been wrong in starting this incredible journey. One full moon night, he went up a hill to commit suicide. He sat on a stone, and wondered how he could do it. Then suddenly a distant tree caught his eye; the tree was shining in the moonlight. It was an apple tree! Why would a single apple tree be here on this hill? he thought. He ran to the tree and found out that it was not an apple tree, but the tree gave him inspiration. Thats right! The apple trees in the orchards are all raised at first in a green house and then replanted; the natural roots were cut off. You need the natural roots to raise a strong and healthy tree. So he got apple trees with natural roots, and sprayed little amounts of vinegar instead of insecticide. The strange thing was that the insects did not come around the apple trees in his orchard anymore. After this discovery, he was interviewed on TV. A documentary of his story was made, and he became famous. Every day he gets many emails from people wanting to buy his apples. He refuses to massproduce them, so the apples are sold very slowly to people who line up for them. The Miracle Apples also do not deteriorate, since there is nothing bad in them. I think thats how our bodies could be if we didnt have any poison in them. If his method is used to raise fruits and vegetables, it will save our children, our grand children, and us, from getting unnecessary illness. Thats why I call this book a revolution. I hope you will feel the same. Sincerely, yoko

Yoko Ono July 2010 New York City www.IMAGINEPEACE.com

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The mans name is Akinori Kimura. The first time I met him was at the end of 2006, some twenty years after the time hed spent days staring at inchworms under his fruitless apple trees. Miracle apples was what people called them. Miraculous or not, getting hold of them was certainly difficult. With a third of the apple juice made from his apples being bought by a certain politician, and a French restaurant in Tokyo serving an exquisite soup made with his apples, his order books were full for one year ahead. Id heard endless such rumours. He has spent the best part of thirty years growing apples without using pesticides. I was sure hed be the cranky type, but when I called him from Tokyo to ask for an interview, he sounded charming. Kimuras home is in Iwaki-ch, about thirty minutes by car from the Japan Railways Hirosaki station in Aomori Prefecture. It used to be an independent town known as Iwaki-ch in Nakatsugaru District, but in February that year it had become part of Hirosaki City following municipal reorganization. He said he would come to the station to meet me since his place was difficult to find by taxi. I arrived at the agreed time but there was no sign of Kimura. His home phone was continuously engaged and his mobile just rang and rang. I eventually got through after an hour. Sorry, sorry. Someone just dropped in. Im on my way now, Im really sorry. Kimuras voice at the other end was so loud I instinctively jerked the phone from my ear. There was no need for him to be so apologetic. I was the one who had requested the interview. On top of which there seemed to be something in the intonation in his strong Tsugaru accent that could melt the heart. I completely forgot that Id been made to wait for an hour in the falling snow on the roundabout in front of Hirosaki station. Kimura said hed come and meet me straight away but that Id still have to wait twenty minutes or more. I eventually decided to get a taxi to his house. Leaving the centre of town along a road which runs beside the moat of Hirosaki Castle, famous for its cherry blossom, and crossing a bridge over the Hirosaki River, a breathtakingly beautiful, majestic mountain dominated the horizon. Mount Iwaki. As its nickname, Tsugaru Fuji, suggests, the shape resembles Mount Fuji. A so-called composite volcano formed by volcanic activity, it may well be a sibling, but Mount Iwaki is Mount Fujis younger sister rather than a younger brother. The graceful flanks of the mountain, which descend to the plains in a gentle arc, are frequently compared to the formal, twelvelayered kimonos worn by princesses in the Heian Period (794-1185). The mountain has special significance for those who live in the Tsugaru Plain area, and has been an object of worship since the earliest times. Iwaki-ch, the town where Kimuras home is located, lies at the foot of the mountain. When their town was merged with Hirosaki City, nothing changed in the way folk in Iwaki-cho made their living from agriculture based mainly on growing apples and rice. Typical Tohoku scenery studded with farming villages surrounds Iwaki-cho in every direction.4|P a ge

He said it was difficult to find his house, so Kimura came out in the snow to meet me at a nearby petrol station. He seemed to be in his late fifties, with a sprinkling of white in his short hair. Of medium build, he was typical of his generation, with a lean, tough frame characteristic of those who spend much of their life doing manual labour. This might give the impression that he was the reticent, impassive type. His character, however, was further from your typical Japanese than you could possibly imagine. Although it was our first meeting, he greeted me with an open, beaming face. From the moment I met him, he gave me the feeling he was an old friend Id known for many years. His cheerfulness was infectious. Kimura radiated good-humour. Being taken through the living-room-cum-work space in Kimuras house, I realized why phone calls didnt get through. Faxes were coming through non-stop. Kimuras apples werent distributed through the usual channels. He sent them directly by courier to customers who ordered by postcard or fax. From grower to consumer, direct from the farm. Being so famous, production had for many years been unable to satisfy the demand. Faxed orders didnt stop the entire time I spent interviewing him that day. Id heard stories of how, as a result of their struggles with organic apple growing and other difficulties, the Kimura household had endured a life of poverty for many years. But this had been more than a decade earlier. He was now famous enough to be featured in newspapers and on television, and had devotees throughout the country. He was in fact travelling overseas, as well as around the country, to teach agriculture. On top of which, sales of the apples he produced were soaring. He should have been making money, but looking around the room there was no evidence of this whatsoever. Akinori Kimura had absolutely no interest in luxuries. His was the life of a simple farmer. It looked as though he hadnt changed the tatami mats or fusuma sliding doors for years. He would look after every stray cat in the neighbourhood, with the result that their house was full of them. He probably didnt bother changing the fusuma or renewing the tatami because, even if he had, they would have been promptly savaged by cat claws. An ancient computer used for managing clients stood on a low table. He still used an MS-DOS machine. Apple orders lay piled next to the computer. It appeared that the volume of faxed messages of encouragement and requests for advice addressed to Kimura had escalated dramatically in the recent past, along with the apple orders. Phone calls and faxes from all sorts of people started after I appeared on TV. Loads from young people, and others from folk in various lines of work head priests of temples, doctors. Then, the other day, there were these three scary guys who turned up at the house in a big foreign motor. It was really creepy. I had no idea what they were up to Kimura mentioned the name of a big city in Aomori. They said theyd come all the way just to meet me. When I asked them what they wanted, they handed me a mobile phone and said Could you have a word? The person on the other end sounded like their boss, and I was just wondering what we would talk about when he said5|P a ge

Watching the television brought tears to my eyes. It was the first time hed shed a tear in ages. He said hed sent these three over to say this. You and me should have a drink some time he said. Kimuras life had been introduced on the NHK program Professional Shigoto no Rygi at the beginning of December that year. You know, all sorts of peopl