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Japanese Village Farm Life

Travelers on Japan's coastal railway during the June rice planting season are treated to a vista of shimmering wet paddies that fill every flat plain all the way to the mountains. The importance of rice cultivation to Japanese villagers is still very real, and although less than 10 percent of the national work force is involved in agriculture—a reduction from 50 percent at the turn of the century—inevitably, many of Japan's traditions are still based on agricultural events and products.

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