Part 4: Jack and the Magic Tomato.

I don’t see the point in old stories and fairytales. They may be relevant to the era when they originated but how does one justify telling them to children?

Let’s take a look at the plot of Grimm Brother’s most famous tale, Hansel and Gretel for instance. Mom and dad abandon their kids in the forest because they cannot afford to feed them. The children find their way back but being the kind of monsters that they are the mom and dad take the children back ino the woods and leave them yet again. While looking for food to escape starvation, the children end up in the candy house of an elderly witch. The evil witch captures them and locks the boy into a cage and feeds him so she can later on eat him; while forcing the girl to do the errands around the house. These children however work together and push the witch into the oven and kill her by burning her alive. Then they steal her golds, and—remember those parents who abandoned their children to their death in the woods not once but twice?—the children find their way back to them and they all live happily ever after with the gold they stole from the witch they burned alive.

A tale that gives you chills. Points for children to take away; if we go through tough times we abandon you in the woods for you to starve. Never come back home because we will take you back there. Strangers may put you in a cage. But no need to worry since you will not starve in the cage, only that they will eat you alive once you’re fed up. If you’re stuck, you may kill someone. Here’s a suggestion: maybe burn them alive in an oven. And since they’re dead anyway it is okay to steal their money. I want to say even Freddy’s nightmares sound like fairytales compared to this but the thing is this is a fairytale… I am at a loss for words for a metaphor to articulate what i want to say since the probably most innocent one among the old tales contains such intense gore followed by a traumatic scenario. Now, reconsider the story of Snow White or Cindrella with this point of view in mind. You will no doubt be petrified.

Please recall the story of “Jack and the bean stalk” from the same generation. Jack and his mom are extremely poor. Jack goes to the market to sell their only possession, a cow, however somebody Jack runs into while on his way, tells him that he will give Jack magic beans in exchange for the cow. Jack gives away the cow in exchange for the beans. But when he comes home and shows his mom the beans in his hands he is chastised by his mom who throws the beans out the window. Lo and behold, the beans in fact are magical; as soon as they touch the ground, they turn into a tree that rises all the way up to the clouds. Jack, climbing up the tree, encounters a married couple of giants. You know how Jack is poor—he steals the golds of the giants. While he is climbing down the tree the giant follows him down but Jack being already on the ground chops off the tree. And the giant who falls down the tree dies.

Lovely, isn’t it? Steal the gold, kill the giant. All of them human values that we want to pass on to our kids…

Shigeo Nozawa doesn’t have magic beans, but he has magic tomatoes. He is one of Japan’s most respected scientists.

17,000 tomatoes in one crop…

Have you ever heard that you can do agriculture without earth?Shiego Nozawa has obtained 17,000 tomatoes from a single crop, from a single tomato seed, with a method he developed himself, without genetically modifying the plant and without using chemical fertilizers or hormones—you heard me right, seventeen thousand.

On the left, you’re looking at an ordinary tomato crop. The maximum number of tomatoes you can obtain from this crop is around 15-20. And on the right we have Nozawa’s crop…

Nozawa has named his methos “Hyponica”. It follows a fairly simple logic. Traditional agriculture is based on the principle of the environment controlling the plant, whereas Nozawa has chosen to manipulate the environment based on the needs of the plant. We would all think that there can be no agriculture without the earth but Nozawa knew that the plants fundamentally need water, minerals and an anchor as well as carbondioxide and sunlight. Once the contained growth limitation of these three fundamentals is overcome, the tomato crop has reached an extreme size. Its roots were inserted into a water tank instead of soil. See how the roots have proliferated once the size-limiting aspect of the soil was removed from the picture. It is unbelievable but this really is just one crop of tomato. 

It is obvious that a single crop cannot carry the weight of 17,000 tomatoes. Nozawa therefore has built the metal platform in the above picture. And the tomato crop has thickened in width just like the stem of a tree.

Finally, Nozawa has kept the water under control at all times by enriching the water with minerals needed by the tomato and circulating it. It is rtruly incredible how crucial the minerals are. In the pictures below, you can see the consequences of calcium deficiency in tomatoes. If we were to see these tomatoes in the market we would think they are either rotten or diseased. But in fact they are totally okay to eat. It’s just that they were lacking in calcium during development.

The photos below are when the tomato cannot absorb enough potassium from the soil. Until I did this research, I would have thought that the type of tomato in the picture was so variegated. I would associate a cracked tomato with abundance, so it is such a good tomato that I thought it cracked from growing. However, it could not absorb potassium from the soil.

The need of plants for soil is because the soil a supplier of anchor, water and minerals. Nozawa has saved the roots of the tomato crop from the size constraint of soil and provided it with the water and minerals that it needs. Once the branches of the rapidly growing tomato were supported by metal frames, the plant containing 17,000 tomatoes and enormous branches became capable of resisting gravity.

With the plenty of carbondioxide in the air and solar energy, once minerals from the limiting entity of soil, limiting the three variables which the plants needs for a living, was provided without restraint, 17,000 tomatoes grew on the body of an ordinary tomato crop.

Nozawa, it turns out, climbed to the top of the plant once the crop has reached an extraordinary size. There, he encountered a dragon with 7 heads. The eyes of the dragon were from diamonds and he was snoring as he was sleeping. His eyes were closed but Nozawa figured out that they were emeralds. After all the guy is Japanese: he immediately got a hold of his Samurai sword and plucked out the eyes and took the emeralds without waking the dragon. Then he was curious what his belly would be like given the eyes are emerald. He cut the dragon’s belly from end to end. From inside his belly, Red Riding Hood and her grandmother were expelled. Without waking the dragon, they flled the belly with hot pepper and rocks and sticthed his belly. The awakening dragon started exhaling fire from the pain from the peppers and fried the grandma. Nozawa got so angry and he chopped off the heads of the dragon one by one. Then he fell in love with Red Riding Hood, married her and lived with her happily ever after thanks to the emeralds. 3 tomatoes then fell from the sky. All three of them right on top of my head that made up this ridiculous tale…

You have to admit—I tried. Though it wasn’t nearly as deranged as Hansel and Gretel.

Continue Reading…

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