It was almost dark. “Ooame desu ne,” said Yumiko Sakuragawa barely audible, as she gently placed the final two bowls amongst the myriad of others on the small table, and took her place on the tatami mat floor opposite her husband. He sat with his gaze fixed through the open shoji doors, beyond the polished pine veranda, out across the patchwork of rice fields, colourless now in fading light and heavy rain. Two weeks ago he would have said, “It will be a good crop.” The temperature and the humidity were favourable. But he had become uneasy. It was near the end of tsuyu, the rainy season, but the old man in his ninety one years, had never lived through a downpour of unceasing weight. Such rain is not sympathetic to rice saplings. Since morning stories he had heard when he was young, that the old people told, of a deluge that washed away the rice and the villages, had come to him. He nodded pensively. “So desu ne. Ooame desu.” Yes. Heavy rain.
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