Monday, November 20, 2017

Sanmu Project Tambo Art Rice for Sale!

Isn't that beautiful? Freshly harvested rice from a tambo art project.

Good news! Project Sammu Tambo Art in Chiba has made the rice from this year's project available for hungry art lovers! Send them a note (English ok) via their Facebook page, and they will get in touch to send along some tasty grains. Let it feed your creativity!

(Japanese, borrowed from Project Sammu Tambo Art, follows English.)

Rice from our tambo art project is for sale!

The harvest is over and the threshing is done. Thank you for your help and support this year. We had a good harvest and have decided to make it available!

Organic rice, weeded by hand by the farmer and volunteers in the heat of summer, and harvested by the farmer and volunteers in the cool of autumn, it is bound to be delicious. We can't bear the thought of all that work and fun going to waste. Try some and then join us next year to be part of the next masterpiece!

5kg 2,500 yen
10kg 5,000 yen
(+ shipping)

Thank you for your support!

\お待たせしました!
田んぼアートの新米を販売します!/
無事に稲刈りが終わり、
お米の脱穀も終わりました。
参加してくれた皆さんのおかげで、
美味しいお米がとれました!
そこで、2017年新米!
田んぼアート米を販売させていただきます!
田んぼアートの背景部分はコシヒカリ。
しかも無農薬ですよー!!!
せっせと手で丹念に草取りをした
ツヤツヤのコシヒカリ!
食べないなんてもったいない!
5kg ¥2500
10kg ¥5000
(+送料)
欲しい!という方いらっしゃいましたら
こちらにコメントもしくはメッセージを
お送りください。
どうぞよろしくお願い致します^^

Friday, November 17, 2017

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, November 18 and Sunday, November 19

Orcharding family at Onomichi Daidokoro Market.

A day of rain and a day of sun are predicted for this weekend, and hungry shoppers shouldn't hesitate to head out for the bounty that is autumn in Japan. Sweet potatoes in all shapes, sizes and colors, will be available, and who can resist a homemade daikon pickle? (Or is that just me?) Snuggle up with some kaboucha (squash) for a steaming bowl of soup or whip a vibrant bowl of greens to ward off the colds that seem to be making the whole world sniffle just now. Either way, see you at the market!

Kichijoji Harmonica Yokocho Asaichi
Sunday, November 19
Early birds on Tokyo's west side should count themselves lucky to find this little market in the warren of shops just north of the station. While fruits and veg are a bit lacking, the market is big on craftsmen and women doing interesting work, excellent baked goods, miso, rice, and other tasty treats. It's worth noting that a number of places offer breakfast deals in the market!
Look for my review in Outdoor Japan's Spring Traveler!
7am - 10am

Koenji Farmers Market
Saturday, November 18
Spotted a handful of years ago while riding the Chuo Line, this little market is still going strong. A circle of red awnings in front of the Za-Koenji Public Theatre marks the spot where friendly folks with good food and interesting stories await.
11am - 6pm
Map

Nippori Farmers Market
Saturday, November 18 and Sunday, November 19
This charming market in the heart of old Tokyo abounds with a sense of community and friendliness as well as good food. Small but lively, particularly on Saturday, it features a monthly geographical theme although regular vendors include Tohoku growers and some of the best steamed manju in the world.
No map, but just head out the East Exit and look for the green awnings
10am to 5pm

Yokohama Kitanaka Marche
Saturday, November 18 and Sunday, November 19
One of the best markets going in the Yokohama area, and it's perhaps no coincidence that they are only moments away from Baird Beer's Bashamichi Taproom. Started by the same folks who created the Market of the Sun, the Kitanaka Marche to be growing steadily with tasty offerings of fresh seasonal veg, fruit, baked goods and preserves. Read my other review over at Outdoor Japan's Traveler Magazine for the full scoop.
10am to 4pm
Bashamichi Station, Exit 2*
Note that the market has moved, so come out of the station, turn right, and take the next right turn. Keep walking past the construction site and keep an eye out for the white tents running along next to the river.

Oiso Farmers Market
Sunday, November 19
This little gem of a community shindig is one of the best things going outside of the Earth Day Market. 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 varieties. In summer, it transforms into a night market, while year-round a much smaller version takes place every Saturday. Lee's Bread alone is worth the journey. Read my full review at Outdoor Japan's Traveler Magazine.
10am to 2pm
Oiso Port Building

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
This market is an absolute treasure of a small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in or nearby another one of Japan's former capitals. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal-infused bread while you're there. They also make an excellent cup of coffee.
7am until sold out
Map

Ebisu Market
Every Sunday
A small handful of years ago, the Ebisu Market became a weekly Sunday event. Part of the original Marche Japon movement, this market carries on with a nice selection of regional farmers, seasonal veg, baked goods, and the addition of arts and crafts. It does bill itself as all organic, and there are some; however, I recommend asking vendors to be sure. I also recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen to fortify yourself with some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town.
11am to 5pm
Map

UN University Market
Every Saturday and Sunday
A massive weekend affair that started out as the flagship market for Marche Japon busted out on its own a few years back. Now one of the most happening places on the weekend, the market features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Winter vegetables can be found here, but produce offerings do vary in amount by season. There is a most excellent selection of food trucks whipping up everything from salad to zingy curry to roast chicken and falafel! Oh, and don't forget the craft beer truck, too!
10am to 4pm
Map

Hills Marche Farmers Market
Every Tuesday and Saturday
The Ark Hills Marche in Roppongi is perhaps one of the best things going in this part of Tokyo. Originally created to serve residents of the nearby high-rise, it is a bountiful and booming event. Don't miss the chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji, take in a little music, and sample a variety of other seasonal delights.
Saturday, 10am to 4pm
Tuesday, 11am to 7pm
Map

Yurakucho Farmers Market
Every Saturday and Sunday
Smaller than the UNU Market, the Yurakucho Market takes its cue from the antenna shops located nearby and 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 do come weekly, though, with some excellent treats.
11am to 5pm
Directions: Turn left out of Yurakucho 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 I'll add it to the list!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, November 11 and Sunday, November 12

Organic treats at the Greenmarket Sumida!
Autumn is in full swing, and as the leaves turn and fall it is time to look and see what delights are on offer at the farmers' markets around the area. Sweet potatoes and satoimo are on offer, and the last of the eggplant can still be found, too. The UNU Market is having a sake festival of sorts this weekend, and Taiyo Marche (Market of the Sun) will surely have a number of seasonal delights, too. Happy eating!

Sunday, November 11 and Monday, November 12
One of Tokyo's newer markets, Market of the Sun (a.k.a. Taiyo Marche), professes to be one of the largest. A short walk from Tsukiji Market and its wonderful surrounds, this market is worth a visit for its lovely selection of foodly and crafty items that rivals the goodies found at the UNU Market.
10am to 4pm
Step out of Kachidoke Station at Exits A4a or A4b and look for the tents.

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
This market is an absolute treasure of a small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in or nearby another one of Japan's former capitals. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal-infused bread while you're there. They also make an excellent cup of coffee.
7am until sold out
Map

Ebisu Market
Every Sunday
A small handful of years ago, the Ebisu Market became a weekly Sunday event. Part of the original Marche Japon movement, this market carries on with a nice selection of regional farmers, seasonal veg, baked goods, and the addition of arts and crafts. It does bill itself as all organic, and there are some; however, I recommend asking vendors to be sure. I also recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen to fortify yourself with some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town.
11am to 5pm
Map

UN University Market
Every Saturday and Sunday
A massive weekend affair that started out as the flagship market for Marche Japon busted out on its own a few years back. Now one of the most happening places on the weekend, the market features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Winter vegetables can be found here, but produce offerings do vary in amount by season. There is a most excellent selection of food trucks whipping up everything from salad to zingy curry to roast chicken and falafel! Oh, and don't forget the craft beer truck, too!
10am to 4pm
Map

Hills Marche Farmers Market
Every Tuesday and Saturday
The Ark Hills Marche in Roppongi is perhaps one of the best things going in this part of Tokyo. Originally created to serve residents of the nearby high-rise, it is a bountiful and booming event. Don't miss the chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji, take in a little music, and sample a variety of other seasonal delights.
Saturday, 10am to 4pm
Tuesday, 11am to 7pm
Map

Yurakucho Farmers Market
Every Saturday and Sunday
Smaller than the UNU Market, the Yurakucho Market takes its cue from the antenna shops located nearby and 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 do come weekly, though, with some excellent treats.
11am to 5pm
Directions: Turn left out of Yurakucho 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 I'll add it to the list!

Monday, November 6, 2017

HealthyTokyo Bento Review

The food from HealthyTokyo upon arrival.
A few weeks ago I was contacted by HealthyTokyo, a somewhat new company on the food delivery and lifestyle scene here in Japan, to see if I might be interested in trying one of their frozen organic meals. I'm a big advocate of getting people to eat well, and while I would prefer that people go to farmers markets, sign up for a CSA, or cook using raw ingredients, I well remember my own early forays into such things. Some days, I ordered pizza or invited myself to a friend's house for dinner. I know how it goes, so I decided to give it a whirl.

I chose the Back to School Set - Japanese Obento Lunch Box as the included dishes sounded good.

The Food

Chicken Teriyaki

The Chicken Teriyaki was tender and tasty and cooked up pretty easily. I'm not a big boil-in-the-bag fan as hot plastic freaks me out a bit, but I was pleased with the results. I cooked all of it up in one go as my husband and I shared it, which worked out very well as the portion sizes are generous.

Edamame

The edamame were crisp and good. I added salt so it would better go with my beer (not included in the set but a nice pairing).

Kaboucha salad

The kaboucha (pumpkin) salad, I admit, drew me to this set. I am a huge fan, and it is in season at the moment. It was pleasantly sweet, but the kaboucha was a little bit overcooked. The texture felt more like a kaboucha whip, but it was still tasty with the mix of raisins and walnuts.

Kinpira rice burger with edamame and beer in the background.

The kinpira rice burger was tasty, very tasty and nearly resulted in a spousal battle. We served it the wrong side up, but that had no negative impact on the taste at all. Yum.

Half of the maki roll

The maki roll was really nice, too, and was perfect for sharing. The directions recommend microwaving it, but if I had to do it again, I would take that as optional advice. I think it would be just as satisfying served cold.

Overall Impression
I liked it. It was a nice balance of dishes, ingredients and colors and definitely a nice amount of food for the price.

The presentation, I have to say, was a bit lackluster. It was simply a cardboard box with the food rattling around inside. Call me sentimental, but I wanted a note or a recipe handout or some sort of biodegradable packaging to make it feel less industrial.

Would I buy it?
If I didn't already make much of this myself, there is a good chance I would buy this if I wanted to start investing in eating healthier. The ingredients come from various places - chicken from Brazil, edamame from Taiwan, and the walnuts and raisins from the U.S. - but much of it is from Japan. For people who don't cook much for themselves but who want to give themselves healthier choices, HealthyTokyo is a good place to start.

It is also possible to custom order your bento, which I think could be fun and tasty as they have a nice selection of greens and the staff are very helpful.

Recommendations for Use
I split the bento with my husband, which mostly proved to be just fine as the portions are pretty generous. Single people will find, for example, the Chicken Teriyaki in individual packages nice as they can save some for later.

There were no instructions in English, which was not a huge problem for me, but might prove a bit daunting for others. I double-checked the instructions on the website, which was reasonably straight-forward, but my recommendation would be to plan ahead and have it ready. Nothing was very complicated, but a PDF of the cooking instructions for each included item would be easy to put together for a set like this. I could simply check a box when I order and have it included.

Friday, November 3, 2017

November Farmers Markets in the Tokyo and Yokohama Region

Hirayama Rice Farm and Hirayama-san at the Greenmarket Sumida.

Full moons and cooling temperatures are characteristic of these shortening days. The markets now feature new rice and plenty of lovely sweet potatoes, which are perfect for roasting or popping in soups. Look for mabiki of daikon, a seasonal favorite that makes use of the thinned plants, and some early kabu, too. Take advantage of these bright days to explore and taste something new!

Greenmarket Sumida
Saturday, November 4 and Sunday, November 5
Just over the bridge from Senso-ji is the newest market in the heart of the city. A collaborative effort between the local government and the same folks who manage Market of the Sun and Yokohama's Kitanaka Marche, Greenmarket Sumida aims to fill the supermarket gap in this old neighborhood. An excellent selection of food trucks nourish weary shoppers while the Beer Truck is often on hand to slake their thirst.
10am to 4pm
Asakusa Station
Exit the station and cross the river towards the Asahi Building. Turn left and follow the path to the pocket park on the right.

Sunday, November 11 and Monday, November 12
One of Tokyo's newer markets, Market of the Sun (a.k.a. Taiyo Marche), professes to be one of the largest. A short walk from Tsukiji Market and its wonderful surrounds, this market is worth a visit for its lovely selection of foodly and crafty items that rivals the goodies found at the UNU Market.
10am to 4pm
Step out of Kachidoke Station at Exits A4a or A4b and look for the tents.

Earth Day Market
Sunday, November 26
I could wax on forever about how great this market is and how important it is for the future of Japanese farming and global food security. However, I'll just insist that folks go and see for themselves what great things the market and these innovative growers are doing. Come find some good food and fun!
10am to 4pm, Rain or shine
Map

Kichijoji Harmonica Yokocho Asaichi
Sunday, November 19
Early birds on Tokyo's west side should count themselves lucky to find this little market in the warren of shops just north of the station. While fruits and veg are a bit lacking, the market is big on craftsmen and women doing interesting work, excellent baked goods, miso, rice, and other tasty treats. It's worth noting that a number of places offer breakfast deals in the market!
Look for my review in Outdoor Japan's Spring Traveler!
7am - 10am

Koenji Farmers Market
Saturday, November 18
Spotted a handful of years ago while riding the Chuo Line, this little market is still going strong. A circle of red awnings in front of the Za-Koenji Public Theatre marks the spot where friendly folks with good food and interesting stories await.
11am - 6pm
Map

Nippori Farmers Market
Saturday, November 18 and Sunday, November 19
This charming market in the heart of old Tokyo abounds with a sense of community and friendliness as well as good food. Small but lively, particularly on Saturday, it features a monthly geographical theme although regular vendors include Tohoku growers and some of the best steamed manju in the world.
No map, but just head out the East Exit and look for the green awnings
10am to 5pm

Yokohama Kitanaka Marche
Saturday, November 18 and Sunday, November 19
One of the best markets going in the Yokohama area, and it's perhaps no coincidence that they are only moments away from Baird Beer's Bashamichi Taproom. Started by the same folks who created the Market of the Sun, the Kitanaka Marche to be growing steadily with tasty offerings of fresh seasonal veg, fruit, baked goods and preserves. Read my other review over at Outdoor Japan's Traveler Magazine for the full scoop.
10am to 4pm
Bashamichi Station, Exit 2*
Note that the market has moved, so come out of the station, turn right, and take the next right turn. Keep walking past the construction site and keep an eye out for the white tents running along next to the river.

Oiso Farmers Market
Sunday, November 19
This little gem of a community shindig is one of the best things going outside of the Earth Day Market. 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 varieties. In summer, it transforms into a night market, while year-round a much smaller version takes place every Saturday. Lee's Bread alone is worth the journey. Read my full review at Outdoor Japan's Traveler Magazine.
10am to 2pm
Oiso Port Building

Kamome Marche
Saturday, November 25
Set on the upper level of the Yokohama Bay Quarter, this little market offers nice variety given its size. Vendors from Yamanashi, Yokohama, and other parts of Kanagawa brave the steady ocean breeze and offer everything up from fruit to wine to fresh vegetables.
11am - 5pm
Map

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
This market is an absolute treasure of a small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in or nearby another one of Japan's former capitals. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal-infused bread while you're there. They also make an excellent cup of coffee.
7am until sold out
Map

Ebisu Market
Every Sunday
A small handful of years ago, the Ebisu Market became a weekly Sunday event. Part of the original Marche Japon movement, this market carries on with a nice selection of regional farmers, seasonal veg, baked goods, and the addition of arts and crafts. It does bill itself as all organic, and there are some; however, I recommend asking vendors to be sure. I also recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen to fortify yourself with some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town.
11am to 5pm
Map

UN University Market
Every Saturday and Sunday
A massive weekend affair that started out as the flagship market for Marche Japon busted out on its own a few years back. Now one of the most happening places on the weekend, the market features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Winter vegetables can be found here, but produce offerings do vary in amount by season. There is a most excellent selection of food trucks whipping up everything from salad to zingy curry to roast chicken and falafel! Oh, and don't forget the craft beer truck, too!
10am to 4pm
Map

Hills Marche Farmers Market
Every Tuesday and Saturday
The Ark Hills Marche in Roppongi is perhaps one of the best things going in this part of Tokyo. Originally created to serve residents of the nearby high-rise, it is a bountiful and booming event. Don't miss the chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji, take in a little music, and sample a variety of other seasonal delights.
Saturday, 10am to 4pm
Tuesday, 11am to 7pm
Map

Yurakucho Farmers Market
Every Saturday and Sunday
Smaller than the UNU Market, the Yurakucho Market takes its cue from the antenna shops located nearby and 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 do come weekly, though, with some excellent treats.
11am to 5pm
Directions: Turn left out of Yurakucho 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 I'll add it to the list!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, October 28 and Sunday, October 29

For the best mochi and homemade onigiri in town, head on over to Miyamotoyama Farm at the Earth Day Market!

A sweet little round of markets this weekend to satisfy the hungries for the week. Don't miss the adorable little Kamome Marche in Yokohama, and certainly the Kamakura Market has plenty to serve up throughout the week.

Kamome Marche
Saturday, October 28
Set on the upper level of the Yokohama Bay Quarter, this little market offers nice variety given its size. Vendors from Yamanashi, Yokohama, and other parts of Kanagawa brave the steady ocean breeze and offer everything up from fruit to wine to fresh vegetables.
11am - 5pm
Map

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
This market is an absolute treasure of a small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in or nearby another one of Japan's former capitals. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal-infused bread while you're there. They also make an excellent cup of coffee.
7am until sold out
Map

Ebisu Market
Every Sunday
A small handful of years ago, the Ebisu Market became a weekly Sunday event. Part of the original Marche Japon movement, this market carries on with a nice selection of regional farmers, seasonal veg, baked goods, and the addition of arts and crafts. It does bill itself as all organic, and there are some; however, I recommend asking vendors to be sure. I also recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen to fortify yourself with some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town.
11am to 5pm
Map

UN University Market
Every Saturday and Sunday
A massive weekend affair that started out as the flagship market for Marche Japon busted out on its own a few years back. Now one of the most happening places on the weekend, the market features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Winter vegetables can be found here, but produce offerings do vary in amount by season. There is a most excellent selection of food trucks whipping up everything from salad to zingy curry to roast chicken and falafel! Oh, and don't forget the craft beer truck, too!
10am to 4pm
Map

Hills Marche Farmers Market
Every Tuesday and Saturday
The Ark Hills Marche in Roppongi is perhaps one of the best things going in this part of Tokyo. Originally created to serve residents of the nearby high-rise, it is a bountiful and booming event. Don't miss the chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji, take in a little music, and sample a variety of other seasonal delights.
Saturday, 10am to 4pm
Tuesday, 11am to 7pm
Map

Yurakucho Farmers Market
Every Saturday and Sunday
Smaller than the UNU Market, the Yurakucho Market takes its cue from the antenna shops located nearby and 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 do come weekly, though, with some excellent treats.
11am to 5pm
Directions: Turn left out of Yurakucho 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 I'll add it to the list!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Walk in Tohoku: My Story at Metropolis Magazine

Photo by Robin Lewis

I  had the great pleasure of speaking with Robin Lewis about a walk he took on the Michinoku Coastal Trail in northeastern Japan. It runs the coast of the region most affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and was created in part to help recovery efforts still very much underway there. Please do take the time to read about Robin and check out his fantastic photographs. I'm hoping to join him the next time he goes!

Other Useful Links

Explore Tohoku (Robin's site about the trip)

Michinoku Coastal Trail website (English)

Sanriku Fukko National Park
(English and Japanese available)

Japan Foundation Asia Center
http://jfac.jp/en/

The Next Challenge
http://thenextchallenge.org/

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