Friday, September 15, 2017

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17

A sweet little weekly market in Amstetten, Austria.

One of the most hopping weekends for farmers markets in the area, there should be no excuse for not heading out the door on the hunt for some lovely treats. Kichijoji's little market is an absolute delight for early risers, and the Koenji Market always promises something wonderful. Both are small but action-packed. The Nippori Market is also always good fun and in a spectacular part of the city. Takako Kimura will be there with her veg and homemade pickles, so perhaps give this one a little star!

Kichijoji Harmonica Yokocho Asaichi
Sunday, September 17
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, September 16
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, September 16 and Sunday, September 17
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, September 16 and Sunday, September 17
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, September 17
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.
5pm to 9pm
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!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thursday Snapshot: Local Fire Ceremony


Just down the hill from our apartment is a small shrine. Surrounded by tall zelkova, it looks like every other rural area shrine - brown, tidy, and quiet. It's where our annual Obon festival is held and a handful of other festivals throughout the year, too, but usually it's just there. We had seen a plaque that described a fire festival, but we didn't have a chance to see it for ourselves until last September.



Local men and women carry the mikoshi (a portable shrine that houses the local god) along a set path, passing it over burning bundles of wara (rice straw) along the way before bringing it back to the shrine where a huge bonfire is lit. They run back and forth from the fire to the temple with the mikoshi to celebrate our local god and ask for its protection once more throughout the year. It is an event unlike anything else I have ever seen here.


The whole neighborhood and then some turn out to witness this event, which feels raucous as well as reverent. The fire department, of course, is on hand in case things go awry.



Friday, September 8, 2017

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, September 9 and Sunday, September 10

Colorful fruit and veg at Vienna's Nacht Markt.

Rain or shine, these markets will be on, so don't hesitate to make your way up and out to see what is on offer. There is no shortage of good food to be had, and be sure to check market websites to see about special themes or which vendors may be on hand. The Market of the Sun will be featuring ichijiku (figs) as well as other autumn treats, and the Kamakura Market is always a treat. Don't forget, too, that the Ebisu Market is a small but tasty hub for good veg and fruit in a nifty part of town.

Saturday, September 9 and Sunday, September 10
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!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Thursday Snapshot: Stolen Seeds

Coreopsis seed head at the ready.

Ok, stolen is kind of a strong word. I happened to be walking to the garden one morning and noticed that a stand of coreopsis I admired had some seed heads. They bloom next to a guardrail along the road and are a cheerful greeter each time I walk to and from my garden. I plucked a head in passing and tossed it into the garden near the rhubarb. On the way home, I grabbed another and tossed it onto the soil near my compost bin. A couple days later, I snagged another and plopped it in a different location in my garden. I felt a little guilty, but my neighbor put my mind at ease.

"Every gardener does that," she said when I confessed my crime one morning when we met while tending our respective plots. So, I grabbed another on my way home and eyeballed a clump of nira that were blooming, too. After all, I'm a gardener, I thought as I mentally marked the location.

Friday, September 1, 2017

September Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets

An amazing collection of spices at the Nacht Markt in Vienna.

September has rolled in with it's usual bout of stormy and wet weather, but that won't hold back the produce destined for these great markets. Look for sweet potatoes, a continued influx of squash varieties, plenty of tomatoes, and the eggplants should still be making their way, too. Don't be shy about those summer vegetables. They are putting on a last great effort before the season ends.

Greenmarket Sumida
Saturday, September 30 and Sunday, October 1
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.

Saturday, September 9 and Sunday, September 10
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, September 24
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, September 17
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, September 16
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, September 16 and Sunday, September 17
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, September 16 and Sunday, September 17
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, September 17
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.
5pm to 9pm
Oiso Port Building

Kamome Marche
Saturday, September 23
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, August 31, 2017

Thursday Snapshot: Aldo Leopold Foundation

A quote from Leopold on the grounds of the foundation.

Earlier this year we visited the Aldo Leopold Foundation. We had just watched a short documentary about his life and work, Green Fire, at my hometown library and were deeply moved by it. The similarities to my husband's family's efforts to restore habitat on family land struck us, but for me the film reminded me of what is best about my home state and region. There is a great deal that worries me at the moment and many things that I struggle with, yet what brought all of us together in that room was a love for place. It was a kind of comfort then, and my memory of the discussion afterward reminds me that there is good work underway and in many places.

We were also surprised to realize that the Aldo Leopold Foundation and the shack where Leopold wrote his seminal work, The Sand County Almanac, was less than 20 miles away. We drove there the next day along a road I walked as a child with my grandmother and past Pine Island, a refuge I often visited with my family in the fall to take in the vast numbers of geese that paused there on their annual migration.

I read The Sand County Almanac in my final year of university and, like so many others around the world, found that it opened my mind to a sort of common sense approach to living in the world that I had long felt was lacking. Leopold describes the changes in the landscape throughout the seasons as well his family efforts to restore a land decimated by logging and overgrazing. He had come to understand that while these practices were grounded in economics, they were also shortsighted in many ways. His years of experience, the successes and failures, taught him that we needed to work in concert with all parts of nature, even those like the wolf, that we did not like. The resulting Land Ethic is one that is simple but complex and multi-faceted and one that can be challenging to live up to at times. However, most things that are worthwhile doing are similar until we get the hang of them. I'm certainly game to keep at it.


Friday, August 25, 2017

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, August 26 and Sunday, August 27

A bit of bustle at the Ark Hills Marche.

A lovely selection of markets this week that will surely not disappoint. Do wander over to the small but charming Kamome Marche in Yokohama or the Ebisu Marche. Both are lovely little affairs with delightful vendors ready to talk about their vegetables and how best to prepare them. At the Ark Hills/Roppongi Hills Marche, don't miss the Pie Queen and her truly delicious wares. Even at two hours away, I find her pie a worthy mission.

Kamome Marche
Saturday, August 26
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.
*Be careful of the Obon season this month. Nothing is noted on their website, but it could be sporadic this month.
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.
*Be careful of the Obon season this month. Nothing is noted on their website, but it could be sporadic.
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.
*Note that the first weekend of August the market will be closed.
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!