Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2012

Growing Solutions for Tohoku over at Eco+waza

A home aquaponics system in Tokyo just starting to show off  it's potential. Photo courtesy of Japan Aquaponics. The March 11th earthquake is well over, but for those living in Japan's north the recovery effort isn't. Work in Tohoku continues steadily despite peaks and valleys. Rebuilding is often a chance to try new ideas or head in a new direction. My most recent article over at Eco+waza talks about aquaponics - an innovative system not unlike satoyama in some ways - that could be an exciting alternative for growing food sustainably in Tohoku. It's not infallible, but it is hopeful. Give it a read and see what you think.

Hamamtsu's Lovely Little Organic Farmers Market

Two of the four varieties of squash at the Hamamatsu Organic Market. Two weeks ago I found myself in Hamamatsu, a city south of Shizouka but still a bit north of Osaka , and along the coast. My spousely one was presenting at a conference and I thought I'd tag along. Exploring Japan is one of the thing's I love to do, especially if I can sniff out a farmers market. A coastal town in Shizouka Prefecture, Hamamatsu sits roughly between Shizouka City and Kyoto. Those who have traveled that way via shinkansen will have zipped by catching glimpses of the city's castle rising above the city sky-line on one side and seaweed fields in shallow ocean waters on the other. It also happens to be famous for eel, gyoza, and musical instruments. Junko Suzuki, Hamamatsu's market manager And, if Junko Suzuki has her way, the organic farmers market she manages will soon get added to that list. "I want this market to become famous," she said during a phone conversa

Tokyo Farmers Markets: October 27th and 28th

The charming women of Ibaraki at the Nippori Farmers Market. Oh, the angle of the light these days is just heavenly for me, as are the cooler temperatures. Autumn, too, brings some of the loveliest color contrasts to be found in Japan: kaki's (persimmon's) blaze orange against the brilliant blue sky; dark brown chestnuts against the gold of their porcupine-like pods; zekura's (pomegranate's) bright red against the deep green of their leaves, and the bright green of the seedlings of my winter vegetables as they emerge from the soil. And that's even before they get displayed on market tables to tempt and tantalize. I'm hungry already. Gyre Market Saturday, October 27th and Sunday, October 28th A gem of a market hidden away in one of Tokyo's high-end shopping districts offering seasonal favorites in a way that feels homey yet rather boutique-y. 11am to 5pm Map UN University Market Every Saturday and Sunday in October A massive weeken

Why Go to a Farmers Market in Tokyo?

Cutest squash ever at Nippori Market - don't they make you want to go? An excellent question and one I get asked all the time. Japan is full of good food and it's available just about everywhere, so why bother trekking hither and yon to buy it? Well, I set out a few of my favorite reasons over at eco+waza , although my list is longer and surely there are more reasons than even I can think of at the moment. Go take a look, add your two cents worth here or there, and perhaps I'll see you at the market ?

October Tokyo Farmers Market Outing Full of Sun and Vegetables

The Nippori Farmers Market Gang with their loot! I like to think of it as a day full of sunshine and vegetables and fun. A handful of folks joined me at the Nippori Farmers Market on Sunday for some good food and conversation. Not a one of us walked away empty-handed, and at least two of us carted home spaghetti squash. (I like to think my trips to the assorted farmers markets around town help prepare me for our various hiking expeditions .) Some of the yummy delights on hand! The only disappointment of the day was the absence of Onaya-san and her scrumptious manju, but that was more than made up for by the presence of a group of farmers from Ibaraki. My word, but their produce was beautiful - mizuna, shungiku (edible chrysanthemum greens), negi (long onions), daikon , kuri (chestnuts), and some very cute squash - and they were good fun. Thankfully, I snagged their last bag of kaki (persimmons) and a very nice bunch of red radishes. Our salad doth overflow. I hope to vis

Tokyo Farmers Markets: October 20th and 21st

Best dashi in town at the Earth Day Market! A lovely fall weekend in store for us if ever there was one. Head on out to one of the many delightful markets listed below or bettery yet, join me on Sunday at the Nippori Farmers Market . Greens, squashes , sweet potatoes, rice, and more await. Come feast on some of the best Autumn in Japan has to offer! Ebisu Market Sunday, October 21st 11am to 5pm A nice sized market held on the terrace just in front of Ebisu Garden Place that will always be special to me for introducing me to dried natto and  tea seedpods . Update: Usually a twice monthly affair, it has recently switched to once a month. Turns out it has also gone organic and eco-friendly! A field trip may be in the works, folks... Map Nippori Farmer's Market Saturday, October 20th and Sunday, October 21st 10am to 5pm Another great market in the city found with a little help from friends, this one is sure to not disappoint. My first visit was wonderful de

Tokyo Farmers Market October Outing: Reminder!

Takako Kimura and her awesome veg! It probably won't be this cold, though, when we go. Just in case you forgot to mark it in your calendar, I'm here to remind you about another little outing I'm doing this month. We're off to the Nippori Farmers Market , which despite being new on the scene is one of my favorites in the city .Give a shout and join us for a few hours of fun exploring seasonal foods in one of Tokyo's loveliest spots. If it's clear, perhaps we'll even get to see Mount Fuji! This month I'm inviting people to join me on a visit to the  Nippori Farmers Market . This delightful market is tucked away in one of Tokyo's most historic areas and is, in my opinion, one of the hidden gems of marketdom in the city. A two-day monthly affair, the market offers a very nice selection of foodly items to eat there as well as take home. Atsuko Fujita, the market manager, carefully curates the vendors to make sure shoppers have excellent choices as

Tokyo Farmers Markets: October 13th and 14th

Seasonal goodies at the Earth Day Market. Autumn's signature is slowly being writ across the cityscape in cooler temperatures and slowly changing colors. As things shift from green to soft yellows to warm oranges and reds the winter vegetables get planted and the garlic is already in at the farm. Farmers markets around town reflect the seasonal changes, too, with kaki (persimmon) soon to arrive, sweet potatoes , the first of this year's rice harvest, chestnuts , and more. My mouth is watering just thinking about all of this. Head on out and see what glorious things you can find! Also, keep in mind that next week is an outing to the Nippori Farmers Market ! Don't miss this opportunity to meet other market goers and explore a great little market in an historic part of Tokyo. Earth Day Market Sunday, October 14th Site of my first farmers market outing last month, I could go wax on forever about how great this market is and how important it is for the future o

Pumpkin Thoughts and Recipes at Kansai Scene

Mix of summer and winter squash at Tokyo's Kinshicho Farmers Market.  Fall is when my thoughts turn to pumpkin or, as they are more commonly known in Japan, to kabocha . That doesn't mean my brain turns to mush (although there are moments...), but rather I start to think of all the wonderful things that can be done with this favorite vegetable. Thankfully, other folks are as interested as I am in this lovely vegetable, and I got the chance to publish this little overview of Japanese pumpkin varieties in the October issue of Kansai Scene . I should also mention the two recipes listed there appear regularly these days on our household menu. Give them a go and let me know what you think!

October Tokyo Farmers Market Outing

Hello, manju! Just some of the yumminess available at the Nippori Farmers Market. Last month's outing found me and a handful of other market die-hards braving torrential rains to do a bit of shopping and exploring at the Earth Day Market in Yoyogi Park . We ate, learned about some new vegetables, said hello to growers and producers, and everyone went home with a little something to eat for the next week. It was quite a lot of fun, if I do say so myself. This month I'm inviting people to join me on a visit to the Nippori Farmers Market . This delightful market is tucked away in one of Tokyo's most historic areas and is, in my opinion, one of the hidden gems of marketdom in the city. A two-day monthly affair, the market offers a very nice selection of foodly items to eat there as well as take home. Atsuko Fujita, the market manager, carefully curates the vendors to make sure shoppers have excellent shopping choices as well as ensuring various regions are well-represen

October Farmers Markets

Sapporo farmers market growers October in Tokyo is for me the beginning of bounty. The squash are rolling in closely followed by nashi (pears), kaki, grapes, and apples galore. Tables groan with bags of this year's rice, freshly harvested and just waiting to be cooked up. Sweet potatoes lurk just around the corner, and winter greens aren't far behind. I think I'm gaining weight just writing about all of this. But, if this list of scrumptious items can't convince you, then maybe this list of reasons will convince you to head out the door. See you at the market! SUN Grocery in Shinjuku Saturday, October 6th 11am to 3pm A once-a-month outreach effort by the students running a neighborhood grocery featuring fruits and vegetables from independent farmers. Map Earth Day Market Sunday, October 14th I could go wax on forever about how great this market is and how important it is for the future of Japanese farming. Instead, I'll just insist that folk

Sapporo Farmers Market Review

Sapporo Farmers Market Entrance Even when I'm on vacation, I gravitate to vegetables. If we stumble across a stand while hiking ( urban  or  mountain ) or bike touring there is no question that a pause will be made. And there is no question that the local produce, jam, honey or crafty item will make it into the backpack. We like to eat and luckily for us, we travel in Hokkaido when gardens and farms are hitting peak harvest. The Sapporo Farmers Market scene, however, has remained elusive. I've vegetable toured in Higashikawa and spotted a handful of stands here and there , but Sapporo gets understandably spurned for more time with good friends near Asahikawa and subsequent hiking trips or bike touring adventures. Yet, Hokkaido is one of Japan's agricultural powerhouses. Famous for its vast tracks of land (by Japanese standards), large farms, huge vistas, dairy farms, rice fields, as well as some of the country's best seafood, I thought farmers markets wou