Skip to main content


Showing posts from February, 2013

Reprise: Dorothy's Killer Meatloaf

Me and Mom because meatloaf doesn't photograph well. This post first appeared here on February 20, 2009. We were still living in Michigan then in our sweet little house in the country surrounded by family, friends, chickens, and cats. I made this for my in-laws one evening. They expressed some scepticism when they first heard what was on the menu, but put a brave face on it. A few bits in, and they understood perfectly why we request it each time we go home to Wisconsin. My mother's recipe is one of the best. So, while we wing our way about the Midwest visiting friends and family galore, it seemed only right to repost this recipe again. We'll have it at least twice, I'm sure.  My mother makes the best meatloaf ever. I've had a few others, and they don't compare. I loved it as a kid, and still find it irresistible. We request it (along with her blueberry pie) when we go home to Wisconsin, and if we don't get it there's so much pouting on my husban

Reprise: Guest post: Pop-up Cardboard Garden

Amber Dohrenwend is a teacher, mother, and author of the Tokyo-based blog,  The Cardboard Collective . She designs modern cardboard toys, furniture, tools, and playthings that can be recycled at the end of their life/use. Recently she used a cardboard box outfitted with castor wheels  to transport her children through the Detroit Metro airport in lieu of a stroller.  Cardboard is a material we keep re-imagining she says, using cardboard for gardening just goes to show that cardboard has no limits. This post went up first on Amber's most excellent blog, and she graciously allowed me to repost here while I was biking in Hokkaido this past summer. Now, I'm toodling about in America, and even though winter is still in the air spring is on the mind for many. It seemed only logical to run it again. Read on,  check out her blog , and you'll never see your recycling in the same way again.  Mottainai , indeed!   Electra has had her cardboard garden for a month and a half no

Tokyo Farmers Markets: February 23rd and 24th

Ishida-san from Nagano-ken touring his wares at Yurakacho. The month is winding down, but the farmers markets aren't! This final weekend of February is still full of great markets to visit, including the Earth Day Market in Yoyogi. Head on out to one of these excellent spots for some good fun and savor some of Tokyo's remarkably sunny winter weather. Seriously, just bundle up and go. It's good for you...probably as healthy for you as all those fantastic fruits and vegetables you'll find, too!! Earth Day Market Sunday, February 24th 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 folks go and see for themselves what great things the market and these innovative growers are doing. 10am to 4pm, Rain or shine! Map UN University Market Every Saturday and Sunday A massive weekend affair that is great fun and features a variety of fruits and vegetables

WWOOFing Holiday - Reprise

This post originally appeared on January 22, 2010. We'd just finished our first ever WWOOFing holiday in Japan, and were ridiculously excited about it. A recent interview with Chrissie Reilly, a doctoral student doing an oral history project of WWOOF Japan, inspired me to repost this. It's early writing and early photography skills, but hopefully something of interest can still be gleaned. - JB As a recent vacation approached we found ourselves at a loss for what to do. Too short for a meaningful trip home but too long for milling about Tokyo, we searched for ideas. Even though we've been here almost a year, there is still so much of Japan that we want to explore and experience. How to choose? Finally, we found an answer - WWOOF! WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms)  is an international organization that connects large and small organic farmers with volunteer workers. In exchange for helping on the farm, WWOOFers (as the volunteer workers are comm

Tokyo Farmers Markets: February 16th and 17th

Kamakura Leaf at the Yurakacho Farmers Market. For a farmers market geek like me , this weekend is the dreamiest of all. There are tons of markets to choose from with events and fun galore, not to mention the usual array of fresh fruits, vegetables, and nifty crafts. If I wasn't in America visiting family and friends, I'd be making the rounds here in Tokyo and filling up my backpack with all kinds of goodies. Folks will just have to do the work for me and report in on what they find. (I'm rather serious about that last one. Please feel free. It will ease my feeling of homesickness.) Off you go! Ebisu Market Sunday, February 17th 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 . Map Nippori Farmer's Market Saturday, February 16th and Sunday, February 17th 10am to 5pm Another great market in the city found with a little h

Growing New Life in Tohoku up at Ecotwaza

A community garden in Sendai. Not set up by Peace Boat, but giving comfort, hope and produce, too. One of the things I really love about the writing I do is being able to discover great stories. I've met some absolutely amazing people from all over the world doing terrific things, seen some extraordinary places , and eaten some of the best food ever . One of the groups I've been lucky enough to find is Peace Boat. My husband and I volunteered with them in Ishinomaki after the earthquake for a week. It was many months later, but we knew help was still needed and that morale needed to be boosted. It seemed the least we could do for a country and people who have given us so much during our short time here. My latest article at ecotwaza is part of a series about Tohoku , the region most directly affected by the triple disaster, and what's happening there now. Most stories focus on food and farming, and this one is no different. Peace Boat's project to build garden

WWOOF Japan Researcher Visits Tokyo

Chrissie Reilly taking a break from an early WWOOF experience in Fukuoka. Photo courtesy of Chrissie Reilly. Last month I had the great pleasure of being interviewed by Chrissie Reilly, a doctoral student working on an oral history project of WWOOF (Worldwide Workers on Organic Farms) Japan . Chrissie, a WWOOFer herself, aims to see how WWOOF Japan impacts participants as well as the farms and communities where they volunteer. The hubby and I spoke with Chrissie about our experience WWOOFing a few years ago, farming in Japan, food, and culture. It was good fun, and I'm excited to see what will come of it. If you're reading this and you've WWOOFed in Japan, send along a message and I can put you in touch with Chrissie directly. She's still interviewing her little heart out, and I'm sure she'd love to chat with you about your experience!

Tokyo Farmers Markets: February 9th and 10th

Bustling at the Ebisu Farmers Market! Ease right into the month with this nice selection of markets. Gyre, with some of the most beautifully displayed vegetables ever, is indoors and cozy. The other markets all rock their assorted edibles and other nifty items outdoors in the bright sunshine with a hint of cool wind. Grab your mittens, sunglasses, or umbrella and head on out to see the best the season has to offer. You might be surprised to find what pleasures winter can bring! Gyre Market Saturday,  February 9th and Sunday, February 10th 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 A massive weekend affair that is great fun and features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Plus, there's a most excellent selection of food trucks offering ev

Tokyo Farmers Market Feature in Metropolis

Read my Metropolis article and you'll know which market to choose! I am ridiculously thrilled to have snagged the feature article for the most recent Metropolis Magazine! Check out Grow Ops: Find the story behind your produce at Tokyo Farmers Markets for the full scoop on how the markets started, what they're like, and why you should go. Then head on out to see for yourself how much fun there is to be had!

Home in America

Asters, showing off even in winter in Michigan. As usual, we've ventured home to America for the month of February in search of family, old friends, and winter as we know and love it best: heaps of snow, bitter cold temperatures, and a good brisk wind. Heavenly. There's nothing so wonderful as a frosty morning walk or a burning orange sunset catching the blue black brown river bottom trees as they run up to the bluffs just beyond. Well, maybe my mother's meatloaf and a good cuddle with our cat after dinner, so let's call it a three-way tie. The Tokyo Farmers Market calendar will keep coming, of course, and I'll be sending along relevant tales of food and fun from my beloved Midwest, too. See you on the snowy side of things!

February Farmers Markets in Tokyo

Scrumptious strawberries at the Roppongi Farmers Market! February is my favorite month for a whole bundle of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the weather usually gets colder. (I know, I know. Who likes winter? Me, that's who! ) I usually venture home to America in February , so exactly how it turns out in Tokyo I don't know, but I usually hear reports of snow, cold winds, and more. I also often hear reports of miso making, as this is the season. I hope to make my own this year when I return in March, but we'll see what the kitchen cards hold in store. Meanwhile, there are plenty of good markets on in the city (read about a few here in my recent feature article in Metropolis Magazine) to find homemade miso fixings, seasonal fruits, greens, and other glorious vegetables. So head on out while I'm carousing about the Madison Farmer's Market and perhaps even visiting Detroit's famous Eastern Market . Oh, the fun to be had! Ebisu Market