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Showing posts from February, 2016

Hokkaido Fun

A leisurely stroll on the beach at Shikotsuko. Last week took us up north to one of our favorite places - Hokkaido - to visit old friends and enjoy some time together in the snow. The trip did not disappoint. While we didn't make it to the Snow Festival, I didn't mind. We snow-shoed through deep woods and next to a river that poured out of a half-frozen waterfall and then slurped up steaming bowls of ramen. I took a long walk in the snow, enjoying that freezing feeling that invigorates me like nothing else and followed it up with a long soak in a local sento. While I'm glad to be home and excited to be going to Nepal, I'm so very grateful for those days of real winter.

Japan Brewers Cup article up at Metropolis

A few of my fellow researchers hard at work at the Japan Brewers Cup. Over the past few years it has been my great pleasure to sip and savor revolution. Japanese craft beer is making steady headway, always improving the taste and playing with ingredients. It is also great fun to see how many other people are also discovering the great variety of flavors and styles. A recent trip to the Japan Brewers Cup gave us and a group of friends the chance to enjoy some of the best. Read all about it here in my article over at Metropolis , and then wander out to find some to try for yourself!

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, February 20th and Sunday, February 21st

Yurakucho Farmers Market always full of regional fun! A brilliant weekend for farmers markets! Bundle up and head on out to find the busiest weekend of the month for markets in the area. After all that chocolate from Valentine's Day, load up on fresh, seasonal fruit and veg from one of these lovely spots. Explore the wide variety of citrus that have been brightly rolling in for more than a month or check out which winter vegetables can be whipped into asazuke or a hearty stew . Homemade noodles, too, can be found, as can the ingredients for making your own miso . Oh, the possibilities are endless! Koenji Farmer's Market Saturday, February 20th A new market I spotted while riding the train a few years ago on a Saturday morning into the city center is still going strong. That circle of red awnings in front of the  Za-Koenji Public Theatre  could only mean one thing! Sure enough, I found a small group of area growers and producers, and the bounty surely continues! 11am -

Vegetarian ramen? Why, yes! My article at Metropolis Magazine

vegetarian ramen in Shimo-Kitazawa. My better half is a huge ramen fan, which means I've eaten more than my fair share of noodles over the past seven years. I've enjoyed the majority of them, and even found some to love ( Afuri and Bassanova ), but sometimes we have friends and visitors who don't eat meat or don't eat pork. We still want to share the joy that a good bowl of noodles can bring, and so began a search for alternative noodles. This article over at Metropolis scratches the surface of good vegetarian ramen, although there are more. I'll share more about those as I find it!

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, February 13th and Sunday, February 14th

Handmade miso and some of the best around at the Earth Day Farmers Market. How perfect a Valentine's Day present is this! Markets everywhere and more good food than I can imagine! What better way to treat your sweetheart than with a trip to one of these little gems for seasonal goodness and, undoubtedly, heaps of chocolate everywhere. See you there! Ebisu Market Every Sunday in February Ebisu Market management are going all-out this month and hosting a market every Sunday. They've been recruiting more staff and hunting up vendors, so head on out to be part of the action. A recent visit showed this always lovely market remains charming as ever with an excellent selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, scrumptious looking snacks, and crafty items. I'd also  recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen  when you're done for some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town. 11am to 5pm Map Market of the Sun Saturday, February 13th and Sunday, February 14th The newest of Tokyo&#

Thursday Snapshot: Ume Blossoms

Ume blossoms to cheer any day. This past weekend I went for a walk in the nearby mountains in search of snow and some solace. Winter is a hard time for me to be away from home. I pine for bitter cold weather that makes the landscape glitter and crackle, for stars that shimmer in a midnight blue sky. So when I saw snow clouds gathered in the west and beginning to shroud the nearby Tanzawa Range, I decided to bundle up and climb to meet an old friend. I met just a few flakes, none of which stayed long, but I was grateful. For company I had the mountain birds, many of which are returning to start new families and sing their way through the daylight. I also met these lovely ume blossoms, which are not snow, but shimmer with a special life all their own. I was grateful.

My Review of The New Livestock Farmer at Permaculture Magazine

Rebecca Thistlethwaite wrote one of the best books on farming that I've ever read - Farms with a Future - a few years ago. In that one she offered sound advice for farmers starting out or trying to figure things out. I've given it as a gift, quoted from it, and recommended it. The same, surely, can be said for her latest, The New Livestock Farmer , out in 2013 from Chelsea Green. (My review of that on is here.) Written with her husband and partner in farming, Jim Dunlop, it, too, offers good advice and inspiration for raising meat successfully and sustainably. Read my review at Permaculture Magazine here , and then buy them both. (Chelsea Green doesn't pay me for these things, by the way, although they do send along review copies.)

February Farmers Markets in Tokyo and Yokohama Regions

Delightful honey at the Earth Day Farmers Market. It is shocking to me that February is upon us. The ume (plums) are blossoming even as show lightly rests on Oyama's shoulders to the north of me. My winter vegetables are thriving, albeit with hints of purple and gold as frost paints their leaves. The markets, though, remain full of wonders of winter - daikon, assorted winter leaves, hearty rice, and so much more to fill pots of hot soups that will warm tummies long into a winter night. Don't hesitate to head out to one of these and stay cozy. Ebisu Market Every Sunday in February Ebisu Market management are going all-out this month and hosting a market every Sunday. They've been recruiting more staff and hunting up vendors, so head on out to be part of the action. A recent visit showed this always lovely market remains charming as ever with an excellent selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, scrumptious looking snacks, and crafty items. I'd also  recomme

My Essay on Hiking in Hokkaido up at riverbabble

One of our first views in the park in 2009. (I was not so handy with a camera then.) A few years ago, Richard and I went for a hike in Hokkaido's Daisetsuzan Koen . We'd first visited in the summer of 2009 with a friend who guided to some of the park's most beautiful places. The next summer we returned to visit friends and explore a new section of the park. This essay, Guests of an Indifferent Host, is about that hike.  Will I go back and hike there again? You bet. Will I make the same choice? Nope. Do I recommend checking out the rest of riverbabble's Winter Solstice issue ? Undoubtedly.