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Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, December 23 and Sunday, December 24

Festive wreaths at the UNU Farmers Market. As the solstice arrives don't miss the chance to brighten your days with a trip to one of these great markets around town. Last minute gifts, outings with friends, or some general frolicking before heading off for a hot bath and a tasty meal, these markets are sure to please. Don't forget the holiday markets still going on this weekend, too! Kamome Marche Saturday, December 23 Set on the upper level of the Yokohama Bay Quarter, this little market offers nice variety given its size. Vendors from Yamanashi, Yokohama, and other parts of Kanagawa brave the steady ocean breeze and offer everything up from fruit to wine to fresh vegetables. 11am - 5pm Map Kamakura Farmers Market Every day This market is an absolute treasure of a small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in or nearby another one of Japan's former capitals. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Parad

Sento and Solstice: My Article about Stephanie Crohin at Metropolis

Yuzu ready for the bath. The winter solstice is upon us once again. Touji, as the solstice is called here in Japan, is marked in a wonderfully traditional and appropriate way: bright yellow yuzu are set to float in the bath. Some say it is to remind bathers of the sun, others say for the healing property of the fruit. Regardless, it's a delightful tradition enacted in homes, onsen, and as Stephanie Crohin, Sento Ambassador and author of the recently published  銭湯は、小さな美術館 or Sentos: Small Museums. Read all about Stephanie's fascinating sento adventures in my recent article , and then check out her handy website, DokodemoSento , to see where to get your sento fix and celebrate the solstice right.

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, December 16 and Sunday, December 17

Honey always makes a sweet gift... Welcome to the most farmers-markety weekend of the month! There is no shortage of foodly fun to be had this weekend, and as always, I will say that these markets are the best places for gift shopping. I will surely be perusing the stalls at the Earth Day Market for some tasty treats to nibble while I open gifts as well as some nifty gifts. Farmers markets and holiday markets are a great place to buy directly from growers, producers, and makers, which is a great way to support the local economy. It's also ridiculously fun! Earth Day Market Sunday, December 17 I could wax on forever about how great this market is and how important it is for the future of Japanese farming and global food security. However, I'll just insist that folks go and see for themselves what great things the market and these innovative growers are doing. Come find some good food and fun! 10am to 4pm, Rain or shine Map Kichijoji Harmonica Yokocho Asaichi Sund

Vetch: A Garden Volunteer and Friend

A fresh round of kurasunoendou (vetch) in my garden. There are two things that perhaps define my gardening practice: laziness and curiosity. Together, these two things have led to a number of discoveries that have made my garden productive and insect friendly. (It also makes it a bit untidy, but that as Michael Phillips' mentions in The Holistic Orchard , is something we should probably just give up.) It also means that I physically and mentally make room for newcomers in my garden, and that includes a number of plants that others term 'weeds.' One of these is vetch (Vicia sativa) a.k.a. kurasonoendou in Japanese, which literally translates as crow's field pea. A member of the legume family, it is often used as a nitrogen-fixing cover crop on farms that gets plowed in before it can set seed. Vetch is also grown as livestock fodder or as a companion plant for cereal crops. Humans ate it once-upon-a-time, too, although these days we prefer their close relative, the

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, December 9 and Sunday, December 10

Honey at the Nippori Market. Temperatures are dropping and there is frost on the greens nearly every morning now that turns them wonderfully sweet. Camellia blooms are everywhere, and it is beginning to feel a wee bit festive. Head on out to one of these great markets for a snack or two, and don't forget to check out the holiday markets currently underway, too! Market of the Sun Saturday, December 9 and Sunday, December 10 One of Tokyo's newer markets,  Market of the Sun (a.k.a. Taiyo Marche) , professes to be one of the largest. A short walk from Tsukiji Market and its wonderful surrounds, this market is worth a visit for its lovely selection of foodly and crafty items that rivals the goodies found at the UNU Market. 10am to 4pm Step out of Kachidoke Station at Exits A4a or A4b and look for the tents. Kamakura Farmers Market Every day This market is an absolute treasure of a small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in

Holidays at Tokyo and Yokohama Farmers Markets and Beyond

Yokohama Christmas Market One delightful thing about this time of year is the absolute abundance of holiday markets in Tokyo and Yokohama. While I've published my usual list of markets for the month, I'm going to add a note or two about special holiday events to help get folks in the spirit. It isn't exactly the same as a holiday at home, but it is fun, festive and delicious! Marche de Noel Another little hidden market, the Marche de Noel at the French Institute is an intimate and wonderful affair full of good food (of course!), beautiful gifts, and more. Venture over for a wee taste of the best of Europe and more than a little bit of fun! It is also worth noting that they are offering a Christmas dinner and other foodly-focused events . Saturday, December 8 and Sunday, December 9 12pm to 8pm http://www.institutfrancais.jp/tokyo/fr/events-manager/marche-de-noel-3/ UNU Farmers Market Holiday Market A festive annual affair, the UNU Market does a lovely job of bri

December Farmers Markets in Tokyo and Yokohama

Most excellent baker at Onomichi Farmers Market! The New Year is just around the corner with a bevy of holiday celebrations all around it. Start celebrating with some local treats at these great markets. They are also an excellent source for gifts! Organic wine, sake, and other delectables or simply beautiful, hand-crafted items can all be found this month. Happy hunting and Happy Holidays! Greenmarket Sumida Saturday, December 2 and Sunday, December 3 Just over the bridge from Senso-ji is the newest market in the heart of the city. A collaborative effort between the local government and the same folks who manage Market of the Sun and Yokohama's Kitanaka Marche,  Greenmarket Sumida  aims to fill the supermarket gap in this old neighborhood. An excellent selection of food trucks nourish weary shoppers while the Beer Truck is often on hand to slake their thirst. 10am to 4pm Asakusa Station Exit the station and cross the river towards the Asahi Building. Turn left and fo

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, November 25 and Sunday, November 26

Not at a market, but in the field with two Mita-san's in Okayama! The end of the month may be upon us, but thankfully there are a number of wonderful markets happening this weekend. Venture out to find the latest delectable treats from field and orchard and even something new, including mukago (seed potatoes for yamaimo) . This season's first rice is still rolling in, so don't be shy about scooping up the freshest and best! Earth Day Market Sunday, November 26 I could wax on forever about how great this market is and how important it is for the future of Japanese farming and global food security. However, I'll just insist that folks go and see for themselves what great things the market and these innovative growers are doing. Come find some good food and fun! 10am to 4pm, Rain or shine Map Kamome Marche Saturday, November 25 Set on the upper level of the Yokohama Bay Quarter, this little market offers nice variety given its size. Vendors from Yamanashi, Y

Sanmu Project Tambo Art Rice for Sale!

Isn't that beautiful? Freshly harvested rice from a tambo art project. Good news! Project Sammu Tambo Art in Chiba has made the rice from this year's project available for hungry art lovers! Send them a note (English ok) via their Facebook page , and they will get in touch to send along some tasty grains. Let it feed your creativity! (Japanese, borrowed from Project Sammu Tambo Art, follows English.) Rice from our tambo art project is for sale! The harvest is over and the threshing is done. Thank you for your help and support this year. We had a good harvest and have decided to make it available! Organic rice, weeded by hand by the farmer and volunteers in the heat of summer, and harvested by the farmer and volunteers in the cool of autumn, it is bound to be delicious. We can't bear the thought of all that work and fun going to waste. Try some and then join us next year to be part of the next masterpiece! 5kg 2,500 yen 10kg 5,000 yen (+ shipping) Thank y

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, November 18 and Sunday, November 19

Orcharding family at Onomichi Daidokoro Market . A day of rain and a day of sun are predicted for this weekend, and hungry shoppers shouldn't hesitate to head out for the bounty that is autumn in Japan. Sweet potatoes in all shapes, sizes and colors, will be available, and who can resist a homemade daikon pickle? (Or is that just me?) Snuggle up with some kaboucha (squash) for a steaming bowl of soup or whip a vibrant bowl of greens to ward off the colds that seem to be making the whole world sniffle just now. Either way, see you at the market! Kichijoji Harmonica Yokocho Asaichi Sunday, November 19 Early birds on Tokyo's west side should count themselves lucky to find  this little market  in the warren of shops just north of the station. While fruits and veg are a bit lacking, the market is big on craftsmen and women doing interesting work, excellent baked goods, miso, rice, and other tasty treats. It's worth noting that a number of places offer breakfast dea

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, November 11 and Sunday, November 12

Organic treats at the Greenmarket Sumida! Autumn is in full swing, and as the leaves turn and fall it is time to look and see what delights are on offer at the farmers' markets around the area. Sweet potatoes and satoimo are on offer, and the last of the eggplant can still be found, too. The UNU Market is having a sake festival of sorts this weekend, and Taiyo Marche (Market of the Sun) will surely have a number of seasonal delights, too. Happy eating! Market of the Sun Sunday, November 11 and Monday, November 12 One of Tokyo's newer markets,  Market of the Sun (a.k.a. Taiyo Marche) , professes to be one of the largest. A short walk from Tsukiji Market and its wonderful surrounds, this market is worth a visit for its lovely selection of foodly and crafty items that rivals the goodies found at the UNU Market. 10am to 4pm Step out of Kachidoke Station at Exits A4a or A4b and look for the tents. Kamakura Farmers Market Every day This market is an absolute tr

HealthyTokyo Bento Review

The food from HealthyTokyo upon arrival. A few weeks ago I was contacted by HealthyTokyo , a somewhat new company on the food delivery and lifestyle scene here in Japan, to see if I might be interested in trying one of their frozen organic meals. I'm a big advocate of getting people to eat well, and while I would prefer that people go to farmers markets , sign up for a CSA, or cook using raw ingredients, I well remember my own early forays into such things. Some days, I ordered pizza or invited myself to a friend's house for dinner. I know how it goes, so I decided to give it a whirl. I chose the Back to School Set - Japanese Obento Lunch Box as the included dishes sounded good. The Food Chicken Teriyaki The Chicken Teriyaki was tender and tasty and cooked up pretty easily. I'm not a big boil-in-the-bag fan as hot plastic freaks me out a bit, but I was pleased with the results. I cooked all of it up in one go as my husband and I shared it, which worked out

November Farmers Markets in the Tokyo and Yokohama Region

Hirayama Rice Farm and Hirayama-san at the Greenmarket Sumida. Full moons and cooling temperatures are characteristic of these shortening days. The markets now feature new rice and plenty of lovely sweet potatoes, which are perfect for roasting or popping in soups. Look for mabiki of daikon, a seasonal favorite that makes use of the thinned plants , and some early kabu, too. Take advantage of these bright days to explore and taste something new! Greenmarket Sumida Saturday, November 4 and Sunday, November 5 Just over the bridge from Senso-ji is the newest market in the heart of the city. A collaborative effort between the local government and the same folks who manage Market of the Sun and Yokohama's Kitanaka Marche,  Greenmarket Sumida  aims to fill the supermarket gap in this old neighborhood. An excellent selection of food trucks nourish weary shoppers while the Beer Truck is often on hand to slake their thirst. 10am to 4pm Asakusa Station Exit the station and cross

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, October 28 and Sunday, October 29

For the best mochi and homemade onigiri in town, head on over to Miyamotoyama Farm at the Earth Day Market! A sweet little round of markets this weekend to satisfy the hungries for the week. Don't miss the adorable little Kamome Marche in Yokohama, and certainly the Kamakura Market has plenty to serve up throughout the week. Kamome Marche Saturday, October 28 Set on the upper level of the Yokohama Bay Quarter, this little market offers nice variety given its size. Vendors from Yamanashi, Yokohama, and other parts of Kanagawa brave the steady ocean breeze and offer everything up from fruit to wine to fresh vegetables. 11am - 5pm Map Kamakura Farmers Market Every day This market is an absolute treasure of a small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in or nearby another one of Japan's former capitals. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal-infused bread while you're there. The

A Walk in Tohoku: My Story at Metropolis Magazine

Photo by Robin Lewis I  had the great pleasure of speaking with Robin Lewis about a walk he took on the Michinoku Coastal Trail in northeastern Japan. It runs the coast of the region most affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and was created in part to help recovery efforts still very much underway there. Please do take the time to read about Robin and check out his fantastic photographs. I'm hoping to join him the next time he goes! Other Useful Links Explore Tohoku (Robin's site about the trip) https://www.facebook.com/exploretohoku Michinoku Coastal Trail website (English) http://tohoku.env.go.jp/mct/english/ Sanriku Fukko National Park http://www.env.go.jp/park/sanriku/index.html (English and Japanese available) Japan Foundation Asia Center http://jfac.jp/en/ The Next Challenge http://thenextchallenge.org/ -->