Friday, September 19, 2014

Lovely and delicious heirloom appleas at the Portage Farmers Market in Wisconsin.
Welcome to the most farmers-market-y weekend of the month! A glorious selection of spots to go for the foodly minded among us. Groaning tables abound at each and every one, although this weekend is the last for Oiso's Night Market. A lovely extravaganza of food, art, and music it should be given serious consideration. The other usual culprits surely will be as terrific as ever. Check out a recipe, make a list, and head on out!

Ebisu Market
Sunday, September 21st
Don't miss the opportunity to head to a nifty part of the city where on these sweet Sundays you'll find farmers and producers galore. (One even comes from Okutama with a lovely array of vegetables and a vegetable-based spread that will knock your socks off.) It's worth noting, too, that Do One Good, an animal NPO will be on hand with some of the cutest dogs ever waiting to go home with you!
11am to 5pm
Map

Koenji Farmer's Market
Saturday, September 20th
A new market I spotted while riding the train on a Saturday morning into the city center. That circle of red awnings in front of the Za-Koenji Public Theatre could only mean one thing! Sure enough, I found a small group of area growers and producers, and the bounty surely continues!
11am - 5pm
Map

Nippori Farmer's Market
Saturday, September 20th and Sunday, September 21st
Another great market in the city found with a little help from friends, this one is sure to not disappoint. A small but lively market, particularly on Saturday, it is well worth the trip. Plus, Tohoku growers are on hand sharing their best-of-the-best, so come on out to be part of the recovery and get something good to eat.
No map, but just head out the east exit and look for the green awnings!
10am to 5pm

Oiso Farmers Market
Sunday, September 21st*
This little gem of a community shindig is one of the best things going outside of the Earth Day Market, and I don't say that lightly. A nice little community affair started a handful of years ago, it blossomed into a full-on monthly festival that just happens to feature Shonan area produce in its fresh, seasonal form as well as pickled, dried, and prepared-hot-in-a-bowl. In summer it turns into a night market, but in fall it will swing back to regular daylight hours. More than worth the trek down to see what's going on!
5pm - 9pm
Oiso Port Building
*Last night market for the year!

Sunday, September 21st
I could go wax on forever about how great this market is and how important it is for the future of Japanese farming and global food security. Instead, I'll just insist that folks go and see for themselves what great things the market and these innovative growers are doing. This month the market will be a bit of its wonderful normalness. If something exciting comes up, though, I promise to alert folks. Planning is in the works, so who knows what Fairtrade excitement might be in the air?
10am to 4pm, Rain or shine!
Map

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

Every Saturday and Sunday
A massive weekend affair that is great fun and features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Plus, there's a most excellent selection of food trucks offering everything from salad to zingy curry to roast chicken to falafel!
10am to 4pm

Every Saturday
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

Yurakucho Farmer's Market
Every Saturday and Sunday
Smaller than the UNU Market, Yurakacho features a particular region of Japan each week along with an excellent selection of seasonal fruit and vegetables. Growers from nearby Chiba, Kamakura, and Saitama are also on hand to help fill the larder.
11am to 5pm
Directions: Turn left out of Yurakacho station and cross the courtyard toward Tokyo Kouku Keitan. Look for the fun under the overhang!

Know of a market? Give me a shout and we'll add it to the list!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday Snapshot: Making Kuntan

Making kuntan after the rice harvest.
Farming is my great joy and pleasure, so last year when we were able to help harvest rice in Nagano I jumped at the chance. Before and after our days work I spent plenty of time roaming the village to see how other people did it and what other things were happening. One of the most common sights was this: the making of kuntan. The momigara (rice hulls) are piled up around a fire, which slowly charcoalizes them. The black hulls are then spread on the fields in spring to help melt the snow and arm the soil while also giving it a nice energy boost. Brilliant.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bassanova Ramen Review in Metropolis Magazine

Scrumptiousness defined at Bassanova Ramen.
Ramen is not one of my favorite foods, but because my favorite spouse has a particular passion for it I end up eating a fair amount. One could say that I am something of an accidental expert.

One of my top three ramens is Bassanova in Shindaita. (I'm salivating now just thinking about it.) So it seemed only logical that I would write a review of it for Metropolis Magazine. Iitadakimasu!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Tokyo and Yokohama Area Farmers Markets: Saturday, September 13th and Sunday, September 14th

Glorious bouquet at the Vang Family Farm table.
Portage Farmers Market, Wisconsin.
A lovely holiday weekend awaits with a nice selection of the usual markets ready to serve up fresh seasonal vegetables, fruits and more to those venturing out. Eggplant, squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes should still be available, although keep an eye out for seedlings of some winter vegetables. Nashi, too, should be making a strong showing, and that should not be missed. My mouth is watering at the thought...

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

Every Saturday and Sunday
A massive weekend affair that is great fun and features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Plus, there's a most excellent selection of food trucks offering everything from salad to zingy curry to roast chicken to falafel!
10am to 4pm

Every Saturday
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

Yurakucho Farmer's Market
Every Saturday and Sunday
Smaller than the UNU Market, Yurakacho features a particular region of Japan each week along with an excellent selection of seasonal fruit and vegetables. Growers from nearby Chiba, Kamakura, and Saitama are also on hand to help fill the larder.
11am to 5pm
Directions: Turn left out of Yurakacho station and cross the courtyard toward Tokyo Kouku Keitan. Look for the fun under the overhang!

Know of a market? Give me a shout and we'll add it to the list!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thursday Snapshot: Blooming Port-a-potties


Morning glory curtain
I have long stated that my favorite toilet ever was a toilet set on a hillside behind my friend's house in Guatemala. There were no walls or roof, just me and the valley swooping away before while the far green mountains ran along the other side. If it rained, I took an umbrella and sat. If it was sunny, I wore a hat.

The entrance.
This set of port-a-potties comes in at a close second, though, with its drapery of cool green leaves and bright blue blossoms. I gave serious thought to 'taking a rest' here even though I had no real need. Across the street from an elementary school and next to a mechanic's shop, I am sure it is something of a neighborhood constitutional institution.

Friday, September 5, 2014

September Tokyo and Yokohama Area Farmers Markets

Casing out the heirloom tomatoes at the Portage Farmers Market in Wisconsin.
September arrives with a bit of heat, a bit of rain and wind, and hopefully will round out with some cooler temperatures and bright days. We've been wining our way about the American Midwest savoring good beer, good food, a few early apples, and enjoying our first summer in six years. Delightful and wonderful barely cover how wonderful it has been. However, I am looking forward to getting back to the markets here and seeing what's happening. See you there!

Tokaidaigakumae Organic Market
No word yet on a market for this month after a well-deserved August break.  Ginger and Pickles is worth a visit any time, though!

Ebisu Market
Sunday, September 7th and Sunday, September 21st
Don't miss the opportunity to head to a nifty part of the city where on these sweet Sundays you'll find farmers and producers galore. (One even comes from Okutama with a lovely array of vegetables and a vegetable-based spread that will knock your socks off.) It's worth noting, too, that Do One Good, an animal NPO will be on hand with some of the cutest dogs ever waiting to go home with you!
11am to 5pm
Map

Market of the Sun
Saturday, September 6th and Sunday, September 7th
The newest of Tokyo's farmers markets, Market of the Sun professes to be one of the largest. A short walk from Tsukiji Market and its wonderful surrounds, it's worth a stop for a selection of foodly and crafty items that rivals that at the UNU Market.
10am to 4pm
No map but step out of Kachidoki Station exits A4a and A4b

Koenji Farmer's Market
Saturday, September 20th
A new market I spotted while riding the train on a Saturday morning into the city center. That circle of red awnings in front of the Za-Koenji Public Theatre could only mean one thing! Sure enough, I found a small group of area growers and producers, and the bounty surely continues!
11am - 5pm
Map

Nippori Farmer's Market
Saturday, September 20th and Sunday, September 21st
Another great market in the city found with a little help from friends, this one is sure to not disappoint. A small but lively market, particularly on Saturday, it is well worth the trip. Plus, Tohoku growers are on hand sharing their best-of-the-best, so come on out to be part of the recovery and get something good to eat.
No map, but just head out the east exit and look for the green awnings!
10am to 5pm

Oiso Farmers Market
Sunday, September 21st*
This little gem of a community shindig is one of the best things going outside of the Earth Day Market, and I don't say that lightly. A nice little community affair started a handful of years ago, it blossomed into a full-on monthly festival that just happens to feature Shonan area produce in its fresh, seasonal form as well as pickled, dried, and prepared-hot-in-a-bowl. In summer it turns into a night market, but in fall it will swing back to regular daylight hours. More than worth the trek down to see what's going on!
5pm - 9pm
Oiso Port Building
*Last night market for the year!

Sunday, September 21st
I could go wax on forever about how great this market is and how important it is for the future of Japanese farming and global food security. Instead, I'll just insist that folks go and see for themselves what great things the market and these innovative growers are doing. This month the market will be a bit of its wonderful normalness. If something exciting comes up, though, I promise to alert folks. Planning is in the works, so who knows what Fairtrade excitement might be in the air?
10am to 4pm, Rain or shine!
Map

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

Every Saturday and Sunday
A massive weekend affair that is great fun and features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Plus, there's a most excellent selection of food trucks offering everything from salad to zingy curry to roast chicken to falafel!
10am to 4pm

Every Saturday
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

Yurakucho Farmer's Market
Every Saturday and Sunday
Smaller than the UNU Market, Yurakacho features a particular region of Japan each week along with an excellent selection of seasonal fruit and vegetables. Growers from nearby Chiba, Kamakura, and Saitama are also on hand to help fill the larder.
11am to 5pm
Directions: Turn left out of Yurakacho station and cross the courtyard toward Tokyo Kouku Keitan. Look for the fun under the overhang!

Know of a market? Give me a shout and we'll add it to the list!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thursday Snapshot: Crocosmia or the lovely orange flower

Crocosmia crocosmiliflora in bloom
This little orange bloomer is a member of the iris family that started out in South Africa and has since wandered the globe in ever varying forms. It is not a native, of course, of Japan, but can be found in almost every garden. I do love those cheerful blooms, a hallmark of summer that I enjoy inifinitly more than the oppressive heat and humidity. September will see them start to fade, but I'll eagerly search them out next year when summer drives me out in search of ice cream.