My parents immigrated to Canada from Holland. When they got there they worked in British Columbia as farmers. They had a lot of farm hands, especially on my father’s side, where he was one of 16 siblings. As they grew up my uncles and aunts left the family farm, married, had kids, and started their own farms. In the Groenewold clan, there have been dairy farms, chicken farms, pig farms, strawberry farms, and all kinds of animals and vegetables grown on the land.

I was never a farm kid myself, as my parents left to start their life in the city. But every couple of years or so we would visit relatives on their farms. I loved it. It was like visiting another planet, and also a good experience to learn and see where our food comes from. And it was great to get to know my fun cousins too. So, even for my very limited experience, I understand the relationship that people have with animals on farms. Animals are raised, cared for, treated well, and then brought to markets after being slaughtered and prepared.

Here is Japan, while most of our tourist experiences are more in urban areas, or religious sites like shrines and temples, it is sometimes also important and interesting to see what happens in the countryside. In Shikoku, in the prefecture of Kochi, we can find the custom of bull sumo. Check out this video to see a little more.

The thing that always amazes me is that these are giant animals. Huge, muscular, powerful, and despite having the capacity to physically overcome their keepers, they permit themselves to be led. I have always felt the same about horses too. We farm these animals, but with that in mind there needs to be a respect for them as well.

If you have a chance come on down to Shikoku and check out the sumo events in Kochi prefecture too!