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Showing posts from May, 2018

Review of Just Enough by Azby Brown

My somewhat-worn copy on my desk. Admittedly, Just Enough: Lessons in Living Green from Traditional Japan by Azby Brown has been out since 2009, but like the ideas it offers up, it remains as relevant as the day it hit the shelves. I have reviewed it in a couple of different places, but a recent conversation over at Urban Farming Tokyo had me digging the book out once more and my reviews. Here's a fresh look at this unique and thoughtful book. As climate change makes steady headway resulting in increasing economic disparity and a fiery mix of political turmoils, Azby Brown asks us to take a moment to look back to find the solutions. In Just Enough , Brown takes readers on an intimate tour of Edo Period Japan (1603-1898) where, shortly after a stint of environmental and economic crisis, the country entered a time of unprecedented economic and environmental stability. Divided into three sections - Field and Forest, The Sustainable City, and A Life of Restraint - with two p

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28

Good stuff at the UNU Market! The final weekend of May promises to be good weather for farmers-marketing and planting. Don't miss these lovely markets and the chance to pick up something grand for dinner or even for potting up for the season. I'll be at one of these or knee-deep in my own garden trying to do a little catch-up work after the usual fantastic time in Soma and a busy week of work. It always feels good to reconnect with growers and producers as well as my own tomato plants. See you at the market! Kamome Marche Saturday, May 27 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

Rolled Up Rice Seedlings

View from the top of rolled up seedlings making their way to Chiba for a tambo art project ! This year we participated once again in the Tambo Art Project in Soma . It really is such an amazing experience. There is just about nothing better than gathering with others to set seedlings in a field. It always feels like barely controlled chaos, but the pleasure of the work, the laughter, and the people we meet there each year makes it one of the most satisfying experiences ever. Rolled up and ready to ride for a tambo art project in Chiba . Some people we see each year, and others are new. We all work together, and by the end we are all pretty much equally muddy. The hot bath afterwards is always the best medicine for getting dirt out from under fingernails and ensuring that muscles aren't quite so sore the next day. The barbecue at Endo-san's home is always, always, always one of the loveliest events with great food and hilarity. View from the top. We also tour

My article on Jon Walsh at Japan Today

Jon Walsh at Social Innovation Japan in April. I had the pleasure of meeting Jon Walsh at a Social Innovation Japan event not so long ago, and I found his work on greening Tokyo the edible way to be of great interest. He and those who set seeds and pot up plants at his recommendation have their work cut out for them, but it is exciting stuff. Perhaps, most importantly, it is also hopeful, for as he says at the end of our chat: "Every step in the process of sharing the importance of producing and sharing real food is important, because small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world." Read the full interview over at Japan Today and get inspired!

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20

Mercato at the UNU Farmers Market with tasty veg! Summer appears to have arrived, ushering in potato blossoms and popcorn seedlings in my garden. I can only hope that the tomatoes and basil will soon follow suit to grace our table. The good news is that farmers markets will be full of delightful summer veg this weekend, which will make whichever one you choose a delightful adventure. I will be up in Soma helping plant rice , so get out there and have some fun for me! Kichijoji Harmonica Yokocho Asaichi Sunday, May 20 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 deals in the market! Look for my review in  Outdoor Japan's Spring Traveler ! 7am - 10am

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13

Daisuke Katsumata of Umaimameya and cheerful assistant at the UNU Farmers Market. Golden Week festivities are finished, and the weather is inching its way toward summer. A bit of rain this past week to keep us on our toes, but seeds and seedlings surely appreciated it. Early onions should be appearing, and strawberries should also still be kicking it in this part of the country. There's still time to plant your own, too, so look for seeds and seedlings at the various markets to get you started. As they say, if not now, when will you start growing delicious fun for yourself? See you at the market! Market of the Sun Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13 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

May Kanagawa Garden Update

Garden at twilight. Let's just say the first week of May was madness. We moved house, which meant a great deal of excitement, fun, stress, and trying to remember where things might be located. Life has settled down for the most part, and we are very happy in our new home. The only downside is that our new place is further from my garden. Even more than usual, resiliency is going to be the name of the game for my little patch. The red onions in their wara mulch are doing well, and I inter-planted them with arugula, kale, swiss chard, and violas. While it may appear to be madness to many, I abhor bare soil in my garden. Hence, plants like vetch, dokudame , clover, fleabane daisy , poppy, and dandelion are more than welcome. It creates a pleasant sort of chaos, but these plants also serve other purposes. They attract pollinators, predator insects, and offer shelter to the frogs, salamanders, spiders and praying mantises that live in my garden. They also play other roles. In

May Farmers Markets in Tokyo and Yokohama

Eiji Nagashima of Mamettai Farm in Shimoda at the UNU Market. May is when the seasons begin to hint at summer while still speaking strongly of spring. Temperatures are on the rise and just about everything in sight is blooming. Farmers and gardeners are setting seeds and seedlings in the soil at a record pace, and tables at markets and chokubaijo shelves are starting to fill. Rice fields, too, are being planted this month! The season's best offerings may be lettuce, peas, and the last of the winter veg, but don't fret. Locally grown strawberries should be appearing everywhere shortly, and early onions should be snapped up, too. See you at the market! Greenmarket Sumida Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4 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