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To eat is to live.

To live is to create.

To create is to feel.

To feel is to transcend national borders.

Through food, agriculture, art, and Korea, I depict "people.


These are the words I wrote on my new business card when I quit my job as an editorial reporter for a local newspaper six years ago.

From my late thirties onward, I would like to live a semi-self-sufficient life and write about my own experiences and the people living in the present while focusing on the themes of food, agriculture, art, and Korea. I made this business card with this in mind.

half farmer, half writer



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What are your dreams?

12.5 2021


Kim Mina

What kind of life do you really want?


Up until then, I had been leading a life unrelated to farming.

I commuted two hours each way to work, and only came home to sleep every day.

I worked overtime and ate irregularly, and always suffered from chronic stiff shoulders, back pain, and reflux esophagitis.

The work of an editorial reporter was very enjoyable, even though it involved a lot of birth pains.


I was receiving more and more words of appreciation and praise from clients and readers, and I was finally starting to feel confident that maybe this job was my calling.

However, the other me was always puzzled.

"What do I really want to do, what kind of life do I want? I asked.


"I don't want to spend my days working and going home to sleep. I don't want to just work and go home to sleep. I want to cook my own vegetables and enjoy my meals while savoring them. Besides, I can't get food without money, and if the electricity stops, I won't be able to work at all. Don't you think that's very weak for a living being? I always feel threatened that if we humans continue to live like this, we will only lose the wisdom and technology that our ancestors left us..."

The other me asked, "So what do you think we should do?" Without a clear answer, I began to try to change my life little by little.


I started making things.


One time, I baked a pound cake as soon as I got home and fell asleep to the sweet aroma.

At other times, I designed curtains based on the Korean patchwork technique called "Bojagi" and sewed them stitch by stitch.

I did it! I can do it if I try.

The joy she felt when she completed the project was extraordinary because she had assumed that she was too clumsy to do anything.

Even if it was a little awkward, I loved everything about it.


Finally, I was thinking of starting a balcony vegetable garden in spring.

I heard about the Organic Farming School from a colleague at work, and I started to go to Satoyama landscape twice a month on weekends for a year.

My first farming experience was a series of surprises, discoveries, and impressions.

The clean air, the smell and feel of the soil as I stepped on it, the freshness of the wind blowing through.

While witnessing the powerful life force of the crops, I also learned about the fragility of life, which decays at the slightest touch.

It was the first time for me to roast barley and make barley tea.

It was the first time I had ever roasted barley and made barley tea, and the rich, savory flavor soothed my tired body after the work!


No matter how tired I was, I felt invigorated when I went to the fields. I bathed in the sunshine, exercised my body, and went home with freshly picked vegetables.

Washing, cutting, boiling, and baking.

Even with a simple seasoning, I was able to create a delicious dish.

The taste and aroma of the freshly picked organic vegetables were so rich and beautiful that I, who used to love to eat but hate to cook, was willing to stand in the kitchen.


“I work as an editorial reporter on weekdays and farm on weekends. Isn't this a great life!"


Just when I was relieved that I had finally found my ideal way of life, the other me made a face of disapproval. "What is it that you really want to write about? Do you really want to continue to make an information paper? I asked myself.


The answer I asked myself was "no".


If I had only three months left of my life.


There are not only famous people, but also fifty thousand ordinary people who live wonderful lives.

Everyone has their own unique history and their own unique words.

Since I was 20 years old, I have always wondered, "What does it mean for a person to live? Since I was 20 years old, every person I met through interviews was a living textbook and teacher to me.

However, no matter how many wonderful people I hear about, it doesn't mean that I can become like them.


For example, even if I learned the secret of making good bread from a baker, if I didn't start doing anything, I would never be able to make my own bread.

I was beginning to think that I would like to become a person who could make bread myself, instead of just covering the secrets of bread making and writing about it.

What happened when a person who never thought making bread at home took up the challenge of baking bread one day and kept at it? What did I feel, what did I gain, what did I lose, and what did I leave behind?

I wanted to write about my experiences and pass them on to future generations.

My mind was made up when I finished reading a book that I borrowed from a colleague who told me about the agricultural school.

In the book, "Half Farmer, Half X," published in 2003, the author Naoki Shiomi wrote about "a way of life that balances semi-self-sufficient farming with the work you want to do".

If I only had three months left in my life, I wanted to live that way.

Then I left the company.


When I write and share my thoughts, life begins to move.


As I told people what I wanted to be, strangely enough, people started to appear who were interested and supportive.

People would say things like, "Here's a book about food and agriculture," or "Why don't you write an article while working in our farm and create a weekend morning market with us? Or, "Speaking of agriculture and Korea, why don't you contact this person? And so on.

As I dealt with these encounters and opportunities one by one, I unexpectedly ended up going to Korea for a three-month farming experience.

After returning to Japan, I would like to go on a trip to visit organic farmers in Japan and compile my essays into a book.

That's what I was thinking.

Korea is a country with which I have close ties, as I studied there for a year in my early thirties.

When I landed at Incheon International Airport, I was so excited to be able to live there again, even if only for a short period of time.

At that time, there was a strange Korean man beside my friend who came to pick me up.He came every weekend to help out to the farms where I was staying, and that winter he became my husband.


It has been four whole years since I moved to Korea after an unexpected international marriage.

I am now raising a three-year-old son, running my own business with my husband, and occasionally helping my parents-in-law in their farm, while writing essays and poems about my thoughts that can only be written now.

This is how I spend my days.


Longing for a life with agriculture since I was a teenager


When I was in junior high school, I couldn't narrow down my dreams to just one, so I wrote in my graduation book that "I wanted to be a double bass player", "teach social studies at a junior high school and be an advisor to the brass band", "be a grandmother with lots of laugh lines", and somehow "become a member of a farmer's family".

My dream of becoming a musician was cut short early on, and I went off the rails to become a teacher, but I lost sight of my purpose in life and started living in a pension in Teshikaga, Hokkaido for four months.

This was when I was 20 years old.

People who ran their own pensions and cafes worked without a break during the summer tourist season, while they traveled, painted, and made things when the snow was falling.

I got the sense that they were living their lives creatively, doing what they could to adapt to the changing natural environment and making what they didn't have with their own hands.

I wanted to live like this in the countryside someday.

It was at this very moment that my new dream was born.


After that, it became difficult for me to leave Hokkaido, and I transferred to a university in Sapporo after coming across a sentence written by a professor  who would later become my mentor: "This is a place where human beings are the object of study from the viewpoint that human beings learn and develop".

After graduating, I began to search for answers to the question, "What does it mean to live? I began to work as an editorial reporter, where I ​could meet various people's lives by just a business card.

At the time of my employment, I had completely forgotten that I had written that I would become a farmer's family, but when I reread my diary before graduating from university, I found that I had written these words.


-- I have a great admiration for a life lived with as much wisdom as possible. "A life of living for the sake of living". I want to live a life where we make our own food, fix things when they are broken, and make what we don't have ourselves. That's why I yearn to live in the country.

More than ten years have passed since then, with many twists and turns.

The husband I met in Korea was not a farmer, but he was the son of a farmer who had made a living running a farm and orchard.

In other words, I had achieved my dream of becoming a farmer's family, which I had written about when I was in junior high school.

After all, if I put my thoughts into words and tell people about them, they may someday come true.


Dream will surely lead you to the future you need to go forward.


I had no interest in foreign countries since I was a child, but how did I end up visiting Korea on my first overseas trip in my first year as a working adult, becoming fascinated with Korean food and culture, and even studying Korean abroad?

When I started reporting on agricultural experiences in Korea as a half-farmer, half-writer, I felt that the farmers had given me the answer.


"Two of you are very much resembled. You are like a married couple who have been together for many years. In Korea, a meeting like yours is called a 천생연분 (a match made in heaven)".

It's embarrassing to put it into words, but I'm sure that my whole life was meant to meet my current husband and son.


The balcony garden I try every year keeps failing, and I can't go to my parents-in-law's farm because of Coronavirus, so my days are far from my ideal semi-self-sufficient life.


A life that goes according to plan is good for a sense of accomplishment.

However, it is also interesting to live a life where you are led to a future beyond your imagination by the power of something unseen.


I still have a long way to go, but I have a lot to write about.

I would like to publish my essays, poems, novels, and other writings someday, and through these books, I would like to meet people from all over the world, as well as people who will be living 100 years from now.


I believe that by writing and sharing my thoughts in this way, my wish will gradually come true.

So, everyone, please write down your thoughts and feelings.

Feel as if your wish has already come true, and write freely and happily.

What is your dream?

text and photo - Kim Mina

half farmer, half writer

Kim Mina

Born in Kyushu in 1982 and raised in Kansai. In 2006, in her first year as an editorial reporter for a local newspaper, she made her first overseas trip to Busan, South Korea, where she studied Korean from 2010 to 2012. After returning to Japan, she worked as an editorial reporter again before going freelance in the fall of 2015. Started working as a "half-farmer, half-writer" who portrays people through food, agriculture, art, and Korea.

In 2017, she got married internationally and moved to South Korea, taking the opportunity of covering agricultural experiences in South Korea. Currently, while searching for a life as a half-farmer, half-writer, she works hard at raising her children, running the family business, and teaching Japanese conversation, and her life's work is to express her thoughts in essays and poems that can only be written now.

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I can be more free.




11.5 2021

I don't have a lot of accomplishments as a dancer.

I don't have many spectacular achievements as a dancer, nor do I have great physical abilities.

Was it my personality that wasn't suited for it in the first place, or was it just a lack of effort?

I had spent most of my life in dance.

I wondered if I had left anything behind.


This sense of defeat and inferiority has always haunted me.

I have no self-confidence.

But I'm determined.


Somehow I've become good at finding reasons why I can't do something.


Year 2020

The Corona disaster has limited her life.

I want to feel that I am working on something with my own hands.

I would like to live in a way that allows me to have a little more of what is called "self-affirmation.

I want to find a way to live in a way that allows me to have a little more of what is called self-affirmation, without cheating.


I spent endless hours thinking about it, and I was stuck in a quagmire of confusion.


Previously, I

The time I have spent dancing can be divided into three major periods.

The modern ballet class I attended from the age of five until I graduated from elementary school.

At that time, I was invincible.

I was the first to recognize that praise makes a child grow.

I was able to meet a wonderful teacher who quickly recognized this trait.

I truly believed that I was the best at what I did, more than anyone else.

I really believed that I was the best.

Later, when I was a junior college student, I started going to a major dance studio.

I went to a major dance studio from the time I was a junior college student and performed in many of the studio's recitals and club events.

The other time was after I became a teacher and choreographer.

I had a female dancer who had been my teacher for more than 10 years since I was about 20 years old.

She taught me not only how to dance, but also how to think, how to talk, what to wear, and even how to type emails.

I was influenced by her not only the way she danced, but also the way she thought, the way she talked, the clothes she wore, and even the way she typed emails.

I even wanted to be a copy of her.

There were many wonderful dancers, but

There are many wonderful dancers out there, but I think my teacher is the only one who made me want to be his exact copy.

With his choreography, I performed in studio recitals and club events.

I've also been involved in choreography as an assistant.

Having followed his footsteps and watched his choreography and teaching from close quarters, I can say with certainty that he is the only person who can do what he does.

Now that I'm in a different position, it's definitely alive in me.

I've been able to change my mind from thinking that I have to do things this way to thinking that I have to do things that way.

Play more!

I was always told that my dancing was boring.

I now understand why I was always told to "play more" and "dance is boring.

The time I spent with my teacher and the friends I danced with was intense.

The time I spent with my master and the friends I danced with was rich and irreplaceable.

The time I spent with my master and the friends I danced with was intense, irreplaceable, and an important time that permeated my every cell and made me who I am.

But I was not always confident.

I thought that it was because I had a master that I was able to experience so much.

The thought that it was never my own strength.

I always had a rootless anxiety.

I had been in an environment where I was surrounded by almost all of my peers.

The difficulty of building trusting relationships and asserting my own ideas made me feel low.

I hated myself for that.

I swallowed my frustration and took a step back.

It's my weakness to swallow my frustration and take a step back, which is filled with the cowardice of escape.

Even if my position changes, the sense of defeat and inferiority will always be with me.

How long am I going to be like this?


The future me

The Corona disaster has left me in a quagmire of confusion.

I was forced to change the way I think about work and the way I work.

I was literally lost, but

But it was not all negative for me.


Let's expand the world a little more


It's not that I was conscious of it.

But I wondered what it was that I liked to do, without thinking about profit and loss.

I'm sure I've been thinking about that softly.

Last summer, when I had too much time on my hands, I found a social networking service called "note.


At first, I didn't plan to connect with anyone.

I had no intention to connect with anyone at first, but I felt satisfied just by writing down my self-centered thoughts that I couldn't write on Instagram or Facebook.

I was satisfied just by putting them into words.


But the world of note was much kinder than I had expected.


In the real world.

In the real world, there are many people in fields that I have never had the chance to meet before.

I've found that connecting with people through writing is a great way to

In the real world, there were many people in fields I had never had the chance to meet before.

It's a mysterious way to build a relationship of trust.

Reading the articles, learning about the thoughts and ideas of the people, and

By reading the articles, learning about the thoughts and ideas of the people, and being exposed to cultures that I had never heard of, my interests are greatly broadened.

And then there is the generosity of people who gently accept the diversity of each individual.

Even I, who expose myself to the world as a dancer and spell out this and that selfish thought.

It was as if she was discovering something about me that I didn't know.

I felt that way, and it became a stronghold in my heart.


At the same time, when I received some kind of response to the articles I wrote

My mind became more and more organized.

I began to take pride in my past experiences as a dancer.

I began to take pride in my past experiences as a dancer.

I was able to put my new dream into words without shame.


I wanted to feel that I was working on something with my own hands.


This wish started to take shape in an unexpected way.


Temple x Dance

In an article I posted on note

The image that you keep in mind when dancing or creating choreography

World view and concept

and my attitude toward dance in the future.

and my attitude toward dance in the future.


I want to continue dancing in the future.

I want to continue dancing in the future, and I want to further develop this worldview.

I want to be a player, a choreographer and a director.

And one more thing.

I want to step out of theaters, clubs, and other places where people dance in dance performances and dance events.

I want to step out of theaters and clubs.


I want to step away from theaters and clubs, where people dance in dance performances and events.

Most of the people who have the opportunity to see a dance performance or dance event are either dancers, people who love to watch dance, or people whose family or friends are performing.

I think most of them are dancers, people who love watching dance, or people whose family or friends are performing.


In a note I wrote about dance, I wrote

As I wrote about dance in my note, people who had never been involved in dance before gave me fresh responses.

As I wrote about dance in my note, people who had not been involved in dance before responded to it in a fresh way.

I believe that dancing in places other than so-called places to watch dance will provide an opportunity for something new and interesting to be born.


When I wrote the article, I was still vague about it.

I was still vague when I wrote the article, but NOTE gave me an unexpected opportunity to think about this as well.

I was still vague when I wrote the article, but the note gave me an unexpected opportunity to talk about this as well.

There are quite a few temples that hold projects and events

There are quite a few temples that hold projects and events to support artists and exchange with the community.

The person who gave me this information was a woman who is an architect who read my note article.

When I checked, I found out that there was a temple not far from my house.

I found a temple not too far from my house that was holding a project to support artists.

I'm a coward who is good at looking for reasons why I can't do something.

Even though the application period for the project had already passed

Even though the application period for the project had already passed, I made a last-ditch effort to contact the temple.

I made an appointment to visit the temple for a consultation.

I wrote a proposal.

This time, it was a Corona disaster.

This time, because of the Corona disaster, we were not able to have an actual performance with an audience at the temple, but


Temple x Dance


I consulted with a video creator friend of mine about filming, and

I was given the opportunity to create a video work as part of an art project.

I felt that I was working on something with my own hands.

What pushed me forward was

What pushed me forward was a new encounter that gave me a new perspective and a new response.

I don't want to just sit back and watch.

Now that I am 40 years old, I can finally be myself.

I'm finally starting to regain the excitement of being myself, without fooling myself into thinking I'm not.

I think I'm starting to get my excitement back.

Thinking back to those invincible days in elementary school.


I was too caught up in the past.

I'm sure I'll be able to be more free from now on.


text and photo - Saki





Modern ballet 7 years

Jazz dance: 15 years


Appeared as a dancer and choreography assistant in Fuji Television's SMAP×SMAP.

Backup dancer for NHK's 2008 Kohaku Uta Gassen (Red and White Song Contest).

Danced in NHK's "Silent Night with Kiyoshi".

Backup dancer for Miyuki Kawanaka and Eiko Segawa in NHK's BS Japan Songs.

Choreography assistant for the musical "Nakano Blondies".

Backup dancer for m.c.A.T corporate event in 2015.

Choreographed and danced in Mariko Takahashi's concert "Grandpa" at the Tokyo International Forum in 2018.

Choreographed and performed as a dancer in Mariko Takahashi's concert "Grandpa" at the Tokyo International Forum in 2018.

Choreographed and performed in the single "Saison of Happiness" at @jamexpo 2019.

 Performed in a CG video using motion capture.

Dance instruction for "Seiza Hyakkei".

Dance instruction for Up Up Girls (2).

She appeared in the music video of "Last Message - The Last Bouquet" for R!pp V!bs in January 2020.

July 2020: Appeared in Shinya Tama's "Let's meet at a live house" music video.

In addition, she is active in dance events and exhibitions around Tokyo.

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The First Departure


In the fall of 1995, I had just graduated from a music college in Tokyo and was at Narita Airport, excited about my life in Vienna.

I remember feeling torn between anticipation and anxiety as I looked at my mother, who, as usual, was worried about me and picked up a boxed lunch at the airport souvenir store (even though I told her I didn't need it because there were in-flight meals on the plane).

I said to my mother, "I'll call you when I get there," and as we passed through the departure gate, I turned around and witnessed her unexpectedly defenseless behavior.

My mother's eyes widened like a child's at that moment, and like someone who has just witnessed a shocking scene, she looked "unbelievable" and almost started to cry, cupping her face in her hands.

It was a scene I had been dreading like a nightmare, and it was also the moment when my faint hope that I might not have to see it was completely betrayed.

Perhaps it was only my mother who foresaw on that day that what was originally planned to be a "two-year" study abroad trip would turn out to be a 25-year long journey.

Rather than fading away in the relentless muddy waters of "time," the scene of that moment lives on in me more and more colorfully and with deeper pain, perhaps even more clearly than when I actually saw it.



Even though I have lived in Paris and Milan since then, I have always felt that Vienna is a very unique city.

It may be a little different now that globalization has advanced, but at least 15 years ago, Paris and Milan had already broken away from the idea of "tradition" and were on the road to globalization.

In other words, at a time when the word "tradition" was becoming obsolete, the city of Vienna survived by using tradition as a weapon.

The "coffeehouses" that can be found all over the city are perhaps the best example of this.

Like many other international students, I frequented these beautiful and tranquil places with my books.

Speaking of attending, I also attended many concerts (this is the most recommended method of studying music for international students in Vienna).

In those days, tickets to concerts were really cheap in Vienna, and you could get a standing-room-only seat for the price of a small snack.

On top of that, the State Opera House and other historic concert halls hosted top-notch "super" performers on a nightly basis.

It was truly a "city of music" as the Japanese travel agencies claimed, and while I spent my days immersed in music in such a city, I was tormented by a sense of frustration that I had to make a career in music soon.

This was because there were many music students around me who had been living in the city for six or seven years and were having a hard time finding work.

Then one day, I took a chance and passed an exam for an Italian orchestra.

It was the summer of my fourth year of studying abroad.

Sachiko Kuroiwa

8.2 2021

Violinist / Teacher


Sachiko Kuroiwa


Four Years of Youth

If I had to summarize my life in Milan, I would say "four years of youth.

Whether in Tokyo or Vienna, the center of my student life was always violin practice.

I went to the occasional movie or concert with my closest friends, but there was none of the drama of adolescence that many other students experience, such as part-time jobs and love.

My lonely life changed drastically in Italy.


I had my first job, my first boyfriend, and my first group of friends.

I can say that my adolescence began at this first job.

The language problem did not turn out to be as bad as I had feared.

The people in the orchestra, who were friendly and full of curiosity, easily brushed off my fears with a smile, and I can only say that I was fortunate to have been given so much kindness and love that I could never repay them.

But it wasn't until much later that I truly appreciated my good fortune.

At that time, I had only childish ambition (or perhaps youthful indiscretion), so I did not realize the value of what I had acquired.

In the second year of the orchestra's existence, financial difficulties arose, and my meager salary began to be delayed every month.

At first it was one month.

Then two months.

Despite this, the orchestra, led by one of the world's top conductors, was ostensibly a glamorous affair, and I was so busy performing with big-name soloists every week that I had no time to think seriously about anything.

The orchestra members, whose average age was around 30, could not stand the situation and quit one by one.

They were all very talented people.

And I, too, became tired and frustrated with the uncertain future and began to think of quitting the orchestra just like them.

Of course, I had bigger dreams for the future.

"Of course, I had bigger dreams. I'm going to join a better orchestra with better benefits.

This ambition and the city of Paris, which I had longed to visit, gradually became my guiding light, and eventually became my only ray of hope after a long day of work.

And as with all choices, I never dreamed at the time that it would lead to the first major setback and learning experience of my life.





Paris is not Paris.


I have lived in Paris for 17 years now.

When I was a student in Tokyo, I saw Godard's films and many other Nouvelle Vague films, and Paris became my "absolute holy land".

From these films, I learned all sorts of things about fashion, philosophy, art, and various values, and my tastes and way of thinking were formed.

By the way, the first cigarette I smoked at the age of 18 was "Gitane," of course under the influence of Serge Gainsbourg, but I was indeed fed up with the strong taste.


I threw it away in the helicopter on the veranda, but my mother found it when she came to dry the futon.

I clearly remember the strange shock I felt when I first visited Paris.

As Taro Okamoto wrote in his book, Paris is a society of people who do not hesitate to express their love for each other in public, and I was surprised to find that the unique "sensuality" that has become a common theme in French movies was not staged for the movies, but could be felt even from the lady in the bakery.

Can we say that the city of Paris is inhabited by a group of people who are practicing "individuality" to the very limit?

However, I came to this city in my early thirties with a single violin, and over the next few years, I faced the unexpected difficulties and competition of "joining a new orchestra" and finally realized how tough it is to compete on the world stage.

The only thing I could do was to keep on learning and challenging myself, which would have been impossible without the people who were always there to encourage me and give me confidence.

By the time I won a part-time job at the Paris Opera Orchestra, the "Paris" I once knew had changed into something completely different.

It was no longer the fashionable Nouvelle Vague or the bourgeois Paris of Sagan's novels, but simply a place where I could live a hard life.



In fact, the country of France has undergone a major transformation in the past few years.

Terrorism, large monthly strikes followed by coronas.

And now, with the regime making vaccine passports compulsory, the country is about to take an eerie turn toward "control" that will deprive the people of their choices.

I wonder how the artists of Paris, who once loved freedom and equality, feel about this suffocating situation.

And what values should I, as an artist, choose in the future?

These are the questions I live with today. 

text and photo- Sachiko Kuroiwa


Violinist / Teacher

Sachiko Kuroiwa


Lives and works in Paris. After working as the first violinist of the Milan Symphony Orchestra, she moved to France.
She has been active as an orchestra and chamber musician in France and abroad. In recent years, she has been passionate about teaching young musicians in Paris.

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