At the moment there is big action in the rice fields just across the stream from us. Diggers appear to be demolishing what were 3 different rice fields. In actual fact they are doing just that and then they will combine all three and make one big rice field. This is a growing trend here. In the past a lot of the land was covered in small rice fields (like the ones in the photo) which often belonged to different people. People could easily make a living out of growing just rice. However it is getting more and more difficult to make a living solely from rice anymore. The government sets the price for the rice each year and pays subsidies to people who are growing things other than rice. The amount of rice you can grow is also controlled by the government due to surpluses. More and more people are doing other jobs during the week and working in the rice fields in the weekends. There are also a lot of people who have simply given up growing rice and the land is being taken over by weeds.
One way to make the rice farming easier is to make the rice fields larger (as our neighbour is doing) and therefore planting, maintenance etc. is made a lot easier. He hasn't planted the rice fields for a few years now so I hope it will prove to be a nicer scene to look out at than the weeds we have been facing the past few years!