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Sep 23, 2015 9:33 PM

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For those of you who loved the setting of Non Non Biyori and liked seeing the photos of similar real-life locations after the credits, I'd like to share a Japanese documentary I first saw 15 years ago. I enjoyed Non Non Biyori (even) more because it reminded me of the documentary, and I imagine the reverse would also apply. I've taken some screencaps to illustrate what I mean.

It's called Satoyama: Japan's Secret Garden, filmed by NHK (Japanese public television), narrated by David Attenborough from the BBC (British public television). I first saw it when it aired as an episode of NOVA on PBS (USA public television).
http://docuwiki.net/index.php?title=Satoyama:Japan%27s_Secret_Garden

I grew up watching many nature documentaries and this is one of the most memorable I've seen, particularly because it shows how wildlife has adapted to centuries of rice farming. Many animals' annual cycles of breeding and migration depend on it. When farmers flood the dry paddies in spring, they are quickly populated with insects and fish, and birds time their migration to coincide with this suddenly accessible food source. Catfish and turtles come up from the lake to lay eggs. It's one of the best examples of sustainable coexistence in the world.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pII_2VbgheI

There's also a discussion about the manga author's inspiration here: http://myanimelist.net/forum/?topicid=696727

Some scenes that look like Non Non Biyori:






Harvesting and drying persimmons, as seen in NNB series 1 episode 8, "We Cooked Rice at School" -



Large catfish laying eggs in the rice paddies, after migrating up from the lake -


Children watching a stag beetle fight (yeah, maybe too violent for NNB) -


A Japanese emperor butterfly, the national butterfly of Japan -


What Renge's cicada nymph would have looked like just after molting in series 2 episode 6, "We Made Friends With Fireflies" (children playing with sparklers in background) -


For years I deeply regretted not taping it when I first saw it. Then I bought a VHS copy, and then I found it online. Glad to have the internet for things like that.
 
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