Apparently, a little sun can make a world of difference. I ventured down to the Earth Day Market in Yoyogi Park again last weekend to see what the market might be like dry. My first visit occurred in absolutely pouring rain, and I felt like I didn't really get a fair impression of the market. There were a fair number of vendors then, and we still managed to spend a few happy hours eating and shopping.
I again spent a few happy hours eating and shopping, but in a brighter and busier spot. A considerably larger crowd along with at least double the number of vendors made for a bustling time. Totokawa was on hand selling their tasty array of jams and honeys, and this time I also talked with Kitagawaen, an organic tea grower from Shizouka. His blend of green tea and brown rice is a new favorite.
I also met a group of folks from Mashiko, a small rural town quite famous for its pottery, about two and a half hours north of Tokyo by car. This little booth attracted a fair amount of attention. Selling vegetables and breads (the sesame loaf had the tang of sourdough with the hearty flavor of black sesame seeds) the group of two farmers and a baker enjoyed the assistance of the mayor. Their efforts to share information about their town and its nifty sounding activities were compelling, to say the least. Especially if I get to have more of that bread!
More to peruse if you can't make it to the market:
Information about different kinds of teas in Japan, a nice post about organic green tea blended with family memories, and a video recounting some of the challenges of organic tea growing. There is, of course, also absolutely no shortage of books about tea in Japan.
Mashiko, its long tradition of pottery and agriculture is possibly a new favorite topic of mine. Festivals, like the upcoming Earth Art Festa, occur annually to bring people in to enjoy the rural setting as well as shop. This portfolio of historic photographs includes a bundle of a Mashiko potter, his studio, and farm.