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Lightning could be behind rice mystery

Date Posted: 2006-06-30

A mysterious black circle has appeared in the middle of a farmer’s rice field in Okinawa’s southern Yaeyama area.

The 10 meter wide circle in a field on Ishigaki Island, in the Arakawa area, was discovered by the owner farming the land. The farmer says he was working in the field when thunder and lightning began, forcing him our of the area. Upon his return after the storm, he discovered the black circle.

Weather reports confirm heavy thunderstorms with lightning over the same area of Ishigaki Jima, and meteorologists say “this black spot might be the result of a bolt of lightning. That could be the reason the rice became black.” There were reports of lightning striking electric poles that same evening.

The rice field owner says “at the black spot, the rice leaves and stalks had withered around the circle.”

He has taken rice from the blackened area and is checking to see what impact the lightning may have on the rice. Test cultivations are underway. Usually, black rice is ten times as expensive as normal white rice.

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