Taken on the same day as yesterday's image, in a different place. It gave me hope.
In the foreground, this little pine (若松) with attached fern leaves is a traditional decoration found outside the door of many houses at New Year's. They are also placed (but not planted) in the northeast corner of the rice fields at New Year's to ask the gods for protection and a good harvest.
The Japanese traditionally believe that the northeast corner is the direction from which evil spirits come. This is one of the reasons that Kyoto was chosen as the capital over 1,000 years ago: because it has an auspicious alignment of geographic features including a large mountain (Mt. Hiei; 比叡山) blocking the city's northeastern approach.
Seeing this little pine and others like it in scattered fields despite the constant build-up of homes gives me some hope that farmers will continue to plant these lands, and that the gods will continue to bless their labor.