Every November in Cambodia, a harvest festival is held for three days before and after the full moon for the purpose of appreciating the blessings of nature. Cambodian refugees observe the holiday as well, and this year in Japan, the festival was held at a meeting place in Isehara City, Kanagawa Prefecture by the “Cambodia Community in Japan (CCJ)“.
Held on September 27, it was attended by the Cambodian Ambassador to Japan, H.E. Mr. Ratchana, FWEAP’s President Dr. Fujiwara, RHQ’s General Director Mr. Iso, the official members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Hiratsuka City as well as the many Cambodians living in Japan. Following the guest greetings, an Om Bok was made according to Cambodian tradition and distributed to all participants. Om Bok is a food made by roasting harvested rice in a pot and crushing it with a rice mill and a cane. It has a cereal-like texture, and is known for its smoked flavor. Om Bok is made as an offering to the temple and many find freshly harvested rice to be especially delicious.
From left, Cambodian Ambassador to Japan, H.E. Mr. Ratchana, The monks form Cambodia are staying at CCJ
FWEAP’s President Dr. Fujiwara, RHQ’s General Director Mr. Iso, and they are for the Cambodian people’s peace of mind
FWEAP’s Director General Mr. Ogawa, Member of the city council
of Hiratsuka City, etc.
Threshing the harvested rice The aroma of roasting rice spreads President Fujiwara making Om Bok with a rice mill and
a rice cane from Cambodia
This year, for the first time, Om Bok was made using rice grown by Cambodian refugee Mr. Lee, who after studying Japanese at the Yamato Settlement Promotion Center, working for 20 years at a special nursing home. After that, he started cultivating rice in Fujisawa City six years ago by renting a neglected rice field. According to local landowners, the number of uncultivated farmland is steadily increasing because the number of heirs to cultivated farmland is decreasing. Despite this, the local economy of the region began to boom as a result of Mr. Lee’s rice cultivation, which was conducted on a rented plot of land which was 2,400 Tsubo large (7933.87㎡). In the year Mr. Lee started rice cultivation, he received free seedlings, fertilizers, cultivation machines, etc. from the union and received guidance on Japanese-style rice cultivation. In addition to this, Mr. Lee was suggested to participate into the residents’ association and the community cleaning activities of the city. Thanks to that, Mr. Lee was warmly welcomed by the locals without any major troubles. Mr. Lee looks forwards to cultivating three times as many rice fields with his friends next year because there are many requests from Cambodians living in Japan who want to purchase his harvested rice.
Mr. Lee using the rice harvester rented for free The Cambodian Embassy staff in Japan also helped with the harvest
The local landowners and the union members who are People celebrating a good harvest of rice this year as well
supporting Mr. Lee