Apple Farm /リンゴ栽培

The Yonesaki apples grown on the slopes between the inland mountains and rias-styled Pacific coasts in the Yonesaki region of Rikuzen Takata city, Iwate Prefecture, have a history of 120 years. However, the farming areas have diminished rapidly due to the ageing population of farmers, the lack of successors and the damage done to the farmlands during the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. LAMP was established by a group of enterprising and spirited farmers in an attempt to pass the tradition of Yonesaki Apples to the next generation, to increase the population of people involved in apple farming, and to make the region a better place to work and live.

Two designers- Gook from Thailand and Jefferson from Indonesia, together with a student interpreter, spent a few days with LAMP to learn more about them. Dive into their stories and find out about their motivations for joining, experiences during this program, and thoughts after participation.





In August of 2016 I was invited to be a part of Door to Asia program along with 7 others designers from neighboring countries. I was both really nervous and excited to go on this short journey, and it was a very fulfilling and memorable experience indeed. I was very glad I got to know many amazing and kind people and be apart of this dearing experience.

2017年8月DOOR to ASIAにご招待いただき、ほかの7ヵ国のデザイナーと一緒に参加させていただきました。今回のプログラムに参加するにあたってわくわくするとともに緊張しましたが、忘れられない充実した経験になりました。この素晴らしいプログラムの一員になれたこと、そして優しくて素晴らしい方々にお会いできたこと、とても嬉しく思っています。

We were invited to the Tohoku region, the town Rikuzentakata (the name I was really glad when I finally got it right). Rikuzentakata was affected by the tsunami in 2011, it was unfathomable what had happened but I was in awe and impressed with the town and the people by the progress they have done so far to restore the town. It was a very eye-opening experience since in Thailand we also faced similar tragedy before in 2004. It was my third time visiting Japan, everytime I was always touched by the people here, very kind, deligent, organized, and full of compassion. We had a very warm welcome by the staffs (a very funny team) both from the program and the Hakoneyama terrace house who took really good care of us throughout the stay. All the amazing meals, friendly people, with such comfortable stay, though with much pressure for good works, we were pampered all the way to the finishing line.

最初は、東北地方の陸前高田(やっと名前覚えられたときの嬉しさ、未だに覚えています)に行きました。陸前高田は2011年の東日本大震災で甚大な被害を受けました。信じられないほどの被害の大きさでしたが、町の復興に向けて地元の人々が今までやってきたことを見て感心してしまいました。実はタイも2004年に大きな災害があったので、東北地方の復興状況からたくさん学ばせていただきました。今回は3度目の日本でしたが、みなさんの優しさ、勤勉さ、規律正しさと情熱に感化されっぱなしでした。今回もDOOR to ASIAや箱根山テラスの優しくて面白いみなさんに歓迎してもらい、大変お世話になりました。美味しいお料理、快適な空間を提供していただき、良い作品を作り上げるプレッシャーの中でなんとか最後までやり切りました。

We were paired up with another designer to work for a selected local company that might need visual communation to help further or support their business. I was paired with Jeff-san from Indonesia and the company we initially got to work for was LAMP, the apple farm/NPO who helps people with social anxiety through apple farming. We got to know Takashi-san who was the head of LAMP and got to home-stayed with him and his family for 3 days. There we learned all the details and process of apple farming, and the specialty of this town apple, Yonesaki apple. After much discussion with the family, Takashi-san, the LAMP members, and our trusty consultant Kato-san, we learned that the core problem to the overall scene is the awareness itself on Yonesaki apple and misconception of apple farmers. We realized that it was like one thing affecting another, and becoming an endless loop that leads to the overall decrease of apple farming in the area. Though really business-wise, they had no problem surviving but it’s the future of wanting to continue the apple farming that became the problem. So our solution is to rebrand both the Yonesaki apple and the perception of apple farmers, to raise awareness and hopefully regenerate the overall apple farming business.


Our aim was quite big and there is so much that we can do, so we know that it must be the first little step that can actually make it work. To raise the awareness of Yonesaki apple, we first make the logo for the apple, that we want all the farmers in the area to incorporate into their package (in the most practical and simplest way). For at least the people who see the apple will know and recognize that this is “Yonesaki” apple (Not Aomori, Nagano, nor Iwate) The uniqueness of Yonesaki apple lies in the location, the apple farms here are the only one situated in the coastal area, facing both land, sun, and sea. Inspired by the word from Masumi-san, “Megumi” which means blessing from nature which we kind of have it all ;), I created a logo that put this uniqueness into one form. And our most basic solution is to get this logo out publicly as much as possible. In the souvenir shops, on all the apple boxes, all the packages, all the media, through simple and cost-effective ways such as stickers, stamps, or basic paper tags. Hopefully with this simple first step from all the efforts, Yonesaki apple will eventually become the apple that all Japanese acknowledged.


I was very grateful to Takashi-san and his family, the grandpa, grandma, Masumi-san, and their amazing kids, the warm welcome and one of the best experience in homestaying. I never had such full on home-made Japanese food and stay in a real Japanese home, we were both really touched and in awe with the stay. Also Tsukasa-san who took very good care of us and all LAMP members, we really appreciate their efforts and passion for apple, it makes me never look at an apple same way ever again! So I hope somehow our little effort can help maybe one way or another.


As for all the designers and staffs, I was just really happy we crossed paths and got to be friends. It was such a rare opportunity to get to know so many people from many countries at once! For the designers it was amazing how we connect really fast, it wasn’t as awkward or scary as I thought lol. I feel like I have a long long way to go as designer. I really did learn a lot from all of you. And the staffs, thank you so much for your hard work I can’t imagine how hectic and stressed it must have been lol. Thank you so so much. I already miss everyone alot and hope somehow we will see each other again. I wish you all the best and always root for everyone all the way here from Thailand. Good luck and take care! 🙂

最後に、ほかのデザイナーやDOOR to ASIAのスタッフのみなさん、このように出会い、友達になれたことを嬉しく思っています。色々な国の友達がひとつの場で出会えることは珍しいし、なにより初対面にもかかわらずみんながすぐ仲良く慣れたことが不思議でした。私はデザイナーとしての道のりはまだまだですが、みなさんからたくさん学びました。そして、スタッフの皆さん、私たちのためにどれだけ苦労したか想像もできませんが、本当に心から感謝しています。みなさんとはまたいつか、どこかで会えることを願っています。タイから応援しています!お元気で!




DOOR to ASIA was my very first experience for International Exchange, to be honest at first i was terrified at the idea of meeting new people, getting out of my comfort zone, the pressure, and last but not least, to be able to work within these conditions. But to my surprise, i thoroughly enjoyed every second of the experience and i found myself feeling grateful and very lucky indeed. Yes, there’re moments where the stress level was very high due to the pressure again, but overall i had a blast of a time there. The exchange with all these super talented Asian designers as well as the case study’s designers was very inspiring, it was eye-and-mind-opening and i learnt more about the design scene in other Asian countries and came back a better designer from this program.

This is my second time to Japan and my very first time to the Tohoku area. Of course i knew about how devastating the 2011 Tsunami was, it was all over the news back then and i also did some more research before coming here. But being there and seeing it with your own eyes, not just the devastation part but also looking at how the people and the town of Rikuzentakata trying to rebuild their city and their community, was a very inspiring and humbling experience

DOOR to ASIAは私にとって初めての国際交流でした。正直、新しい人と出会い、自分の居心地の良い環境から外へ一歩踏み出すことは、最初プレッシャーで、とてもおびえていました。しかし、私はこの経験を思いっきり楽しめたし、今となってはこんな素晴らしいチャンスをいただけてありがたいと思っています。たしかに、たまにストレスを感じた時もありましたが、全体的に思う存分楽しむことができました。アジア各国の参加デザイナー、そしてケーススタディで出会った日本の優秀なデザイナーの皆さんと交流して、沢山の刺激を受けました。アジア各国のデザインを学ぶことができて、視野が広がりました。このプログラムが終わって帰国したとき、参加前の自分よりもずいぶん成長したなと感じました。

LAMP, which abbreviation stands for Lively, Agriculture, Movement, and Party, is a Non-Profit Organization set up to maintain the existence of Yonesaki Apple and help connect it to the future generation. This group of people are very passionate for the apples that grow in Yonesaki area and wanted people to be able to continue eating Yonesaki apple forever. They also feel that these apples can be a beacon of light to the town of Rikuzentakata.

But LAMP and Yonesaki apple are facing a huge roadblock ahead, statistics have shown that the number of apple farms and apple farmers has decreased significantly over the last 10 years. There’re several causes to this situation but one of the main reasons was the lack of human resources (farmers), which when we (me and Grittiga) dig deeper, found that aside from the general problem Japan has, like the aging population issue, Yonesaki Apple also face another huge problem with the lack of awareness outside of Yonesaki area, and the general perception of how hard farming life can be.

今回担当させてもらった事業者『LAMP(Lively, Agriculture, Movement, Party)』は米崎りんごを存続させて、そして次世代に継ぐために設立された非営利団体です。LAMPの皆さんは米崎リンゴに対して熱い情熱を持っていて、米崎りんごがこれからも食べられ続けるように活動しています。そして、東日本大震災で被害を受けた陸前高田にとって希望の光でもあります。


Both me and Grittiga spent three days staying with the Owada’s family who owns Aino Orchards. Mr. Takashi Owada is the fifth generation who currently runs Aino orchards and also serves as director in LAMP. We’re received with warm welcome and plenty of delicious food. We also spend one day with the LAMP crew working on their orchard and although i’m sure it didn’t help much, we managed to cut grasses around 2 rows of Apple’s trees. And yes it was hard, but when does anything worth having comes easy?

After interviewing everyone we met about Yonesaki Apple and what does it mean for them, we believe that this issue was caused by a cycle of misperception of farming life and aging population, which led to a lack of Human Resources issue, which led to a decline in apple production, and thus created a low awareness for Yonesaki apple. Both me and Grittiga decided to collaborate together because we believe that this is a kind of special case that needed more than one angle to try to help the situation. Grittiga would be responsible with the lack of awareness issue and i would focus on the misperception issue.



During our interview with Mr. Takashi Owada, he stated he wanted more young people to take up the farming life and that when asked about what Yonesaki Apple mean for him, he said that Yonesaki Apple is “Nakama – 仲間”. For those of you who don’t know, there’s a difference between Friend (Tomodachi – 友達) and Comrade (Nakama – 仲間). For Nakama, you don’t necessarily like each other or want to hang out with each other, the friendship that binds them comes from having common goals and values rather than enjoying each other’s company.

We experienced and witnessed first-hand how passionate these people are towards their apples and their city, they are having fun while growing apples. We think this is very admirable and inspiring, and definitely a story worth sharing.

I believe that people want to part of a good story, that’s why i decided to design an awareness campaign for Yonesaki Apple farming life. The campaign will tell the story of Yonesaki Apple and the farmers, It will also contain messages from the Apple farmers on what apples meant for them such as love, blessing, and family, and also how hard work can be fun when done together with your Nakama. This campaign will need to be directed towards the current “young” generation (16-35 years old) and also the next generation (5-15 years old), this is because we feel that besides helping the current situation we also want to prepare the next generation to be ready and willing to take up the mantle when the time comes.




Thank you so so much for everything, your warm welcome and kind hospitality during my stay and also for your trust during the interview. I really hope that one day, everyone in Japan will be able to know and enjoy Yonesaki Apples. I will always treasure this memories and if possible i will try to visit you all in the future. Please take care and stay healthy! ’til we meet again, Nakama!


Thank you so much for inviting me to this program and also for taking care of me during the 2 weeks. I’m truly grateful for the experience. I’m also sorry if i caused you all some lack of sleep due to my bear-like snoring ^^. All of you are very admirable and inspiring for me, so please keep the program going and i will always try my best to support it in any way i can. Thank you very very much!


Thank you everyone for being such an inspiration! you guys are awesome. I really hope this is just the beginning of a lifetime friendship and we can all become “Nakama” in our field! Take care and be well, cheers!