Skip to main content

Visiting One Life Japan

Persimmon caps and snow
It seems like nearly a hundred years ago now that we arrived in Japan. Before we came I did some research to try and learn about growing things in Tokyo. My fumblings brought me, thankfully, to One Life Japan. Kevin and Tomoe proved incredibly helpful in filling me in on things like a rainy season, food in general, and what the adjustment might be like. It made our new adventure seem a little less scary.

Once we arrived, of course, we looked them up. One of our first trips out of Tokyo was to join them on a trip. We ventured up north to Nagano Prefecture and soon found ourselves on top of a thatched roof trying to be helpful while also trying not to fall off. We stayed in our first ryokan and I visited their tambo (rice field), my first, and helped do a very little bit of field preparation. I also met my first sansai (mountain vegetables) and began learning that Japan is full of more good things than I could ever have imagined.

So, we're off to see them again and get in a little snow time. We're looking forward to a good visit and some nice chilly weather. Surely, more adventure awaits!


VP said…
It's amazing how the internet brings far away places and people closer together and wonderful how it helped you settle more quickly into your new home.

Enjoy your trip!
Many thanks! It was a lovely time, although everything was buried under at least three meters of snow. It was heaven for us.

Popular posts from this blog

Finding Heirloom Seeds in Japan

Drying pods of heirloom Hutterite Soup Beans. Since moving to Japan eight years ago, one of my greatest challenges as a farmer-gardener has been to find heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. The majority of seeds available are not GMO (genetically modified organisms) as Japan, at this point, doesn't accept this material. Most seeds, though, are nearly all F1 varieties. Heirloom and F1 Varieties In plant breeding, F1 is the name given to the first generation of a cross between two true breeding parents. For example, if I decide to cross an Amish Paste Tomato with another heirloom variety tomato such as Emmy, in hopes of getting a gold paste tomato, the resulting generation of fruit is F1. In order to get that tomato of my culinary dreams, I'll need to choose members of that first generation that are headed in a direction I like - early ripening, medium-sized fruit, good taste - and save their seeds. I'll plant them and repeat the process again and again over time unti

Satoimo: One of Japan's Favorite Slimy Things

Satoimo in all their hairy glory. This post first appeared in slightly different form on Garden to Table as part of the 2012  Blogathon . The website has since moved on to the ether, but the post is still a good one. After all, people here are still eating satoimo on a daily basis, and many others are just seeing these little potato-like objects for the first time. Enjoy! Satoimo is one of Japan's odder vegetables. Under it's rough, slightly furry skin is white flesh that is a little bit slimy even raw, and with a gentle nutty flavor.* Baked, grilled, steamed with dashi, or deep-fried satoimo stands well on its own or paired up with other vegetables and meats in a wide variety of soups and stews . (The leaves are also edible.) Satoimo stores well, and like any root crop worth the effort, stocks are just running low on this household favorite as the farmers in my area of Tokyo get ready to put a new crop in the ground in May. I cannot say I was a fan of this l

Goma Ai Shingiku - Sesame and Chrysanthemum Greens

Last week I had the pleasure of helping some friends work in their parents garden not too far away. Tucked behind the house, the garden sits on a former house lot. When it came up for sale about five years ago, my friend's father jumped at the chance. Open land in Tokyo can be hard to find and expensive, but for a retired professional looking for a little spot to till in the city it was an opportunity to good to pass up. Now, it is a garden to envy. As we came through the gate rose, lily, and peony blooms greeted us with great shouts of color while rows of vegetables stood tidily at attention on the sunny center stage. Small fruit trees along with one of the biggest sansho trees I've seen yet stood quietly here and there. Near waist-high sweet corn, bushy young potato plants, cherry tomatoes, eggplants, and beans were preparing their summer fruits, while a handful of still quite luscious looking winter vegetables like komatsuna, mizuna, and kabu held one last ro