Tag Archives: Japan

Fusion of tradition and innovation -Fuki Farm

I visited Fuki Farm (婦木農場) which is located in Tamba, Hyogo prefecture.

Tamba is located in the East part of Hyogo prefecture, which is known since ancient times. In the 4-5 centuries, several ancient burial mounds were constructed.

According to their records, Fuki Farm was also started a long time ago by their ancestor.

Nowadays, they grow rice, wheat, beans, more than 130 vegetables in 8ha, in addition, care of jersey milk cows and 150 hen.


Their feed is mainly grass harvested in the community. The community has a common organic manure facility in order to collect and use the manure in the community.

Mostly, they sell products to their client directly.
Additionally, they make rice cake and rice malt and etc…

Their vision is “To offer harvested products of which my family can take a big bite”


In 2013, the facility for agricultural experience was open.
You can stay and work with them together! Of course, the food is delicious and fresh!

I had never had such as sweet and tasty carrot, tasty rice cake and flavoured egg!
Besides eating, we spent an enjoyable time with the farmers.

It might be quite difficult to eat authenticJapanese homemade meal in a city.

Grand parents, parents and two sons are working on the farm.
Everyone has their own profession and responsibility, and facing a new challenge, for instance, the oldest son started making cheese “St.marcellin” since 2016.

Recently, a lack of successor is a big problem in Japanese agricultural sector, but the young and promising sons seem to be a proud of their work and the responsibility.
I highly recommend to visit the farm!


Vegetarian cafe in Nagoya, JAPAN

You might be surprised but it is difficult to find a vegetarian restaurant in Japan.
We take lessons how important to eat a well-balanced diet at junior high and secondary school. So that we tend to eat well-balanced meal including meat and fish in spite of a relatively small amount.

However, a number of vegetarian is increasing at international level. For instance, in the Netherlands, vegetarian is fairly common. A study has shown that the number of vegetarians out of a population of nearly 16.5 million people increased from 560,000 in 2004 to 720,000 in 2006. 

One day…. coincidently, I found very interesting vegetarian cafe in my hometown.


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This lunch menu is for vegetarians and vegans.
The taste is delicious and the price is also friendly.


The owner explained that they purchase a stock of the vegetables from Agrin mura where is organised farmer’s market in the same prefecture. In addition, they try to select organic, local produced or less chemical pesticide vegetables because many Japanese people started considering “Food safety” after the big earthquake in 2011.

“We want to purchase vegetables directly from organic or local farm, however, our sales, in other words,our demand of vegetables is fluctuate every week. So it’s a bit difficult.”

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It is located in a hidden place but I highly recommend to visit the place!

Multiple mini tuber by horticultural technology

Because of detect the first case of Global Pallida in 2015, the resistant variety is demanded.

So that constructing the glass house with aeroponics system (mist environment without the use of soil or medium/liquid fertiliser) has been planed for quick multiplication.

The term of delivering the resistant variety to ware potato farmers will be shortened from 10 years to 4 years. The multiple rate will increase from 10 to 100 as well.


Click to access 27_403.pdf

Trend in Japanese “French Fries” market

Fried potatoes arrived in Japan in 1970 thanks to Osaka Expo!

Recently, the consumption of table potatoes is decreasing whereas, the consumption of “processing potatoes” is moderately increasing. (505,000 ton in 2013) Especially, the consumption of frozen potatoes per person is remarkable. (112,000 ton in 2013)

Amount of import (frozen potatoes) was 385,000 ton in 2012. The main export country is the USA, China, Canada, the Netherlands and Belgium. This number is increasing every year.

Recently, “Friets” made of European variety is becoming popular instead of “McDonald’s” and “KFC” fried potatoes. Fries are no longer “Junk Food”!!

Fries made of Agria in the Netherlands

One of famous 24-hour opened convenience stores, Lawson, launched a new style “French Fries” made of “Bintje” grown in Belgium, NL, France and Germany in 2015.


Other convenience store, Ministop, provides 4 different kinds of potato snacks.
1) A thick cut: Bintje? (Germany)
2) Hushed potato: Hokkai kogane (Hokkaido/Japan)
3) Natural cut: (USA)
4) X fried potato: Agria (Germany)

Of course, Danshaku (Irish Cobbler) still dominates a Japanese potato market even in a processing industry.

I hope that a healthy (hippy) burger and fries culture will be common in Japan soon!

Source: Ministry of Agriculture(2013)

Spring flavoured Japanese potato chips

In Japan, there are a lot of seasonal flavoured snacks.
Potato chips are one of the attractive unique flavoured.

Left: Sweet salt Right: Honey cheese

This chips are sold until June 2016 for a limited time.


The texture is crispy and crumble… and melt in the mouth!!!
Never experienced texture!!!

The taste is also very unique because the potato itself has a sweetness.
Personally, I prefer sweet salt flavoured because of the perfect balance of salty and sweetness.

Actually, “Snowden”(American variety, registered in 1997 in Japan) is used for these chips.
Snowden is adequate for a long term storage. The potato intensifies the sweetness after the long term storage.

Japanese prefers sweet vegetables even potatoes.
So nowadays many people make an effort to store post harvest potatoes for a long period and experiment with potato sweetness storage.

Japan in Berlin

Japanese cafe and restaurant in Berlin are very special as well as city of Berlin.

Although there are some authentic Japanese restaurants in Amsterdam, I was missing the kinds of Japanese cafe!

MAMECHA serves various kinds of Japanese tea not only green tea but also familiar tea such as bancha, mugi cha…. Of course tea based sweet drinks!!!


The creative and fusion atmosphere with Western and Japanese style made me nostalgic rather than cheesy authentic Japanese decoration in Europe.

We enjoyed Sencha(with instruction how to make tea) and cookie with tea leaves. An advantage point of green tea is “You can make tea a couple of times with the same tea leaves”. Obviously, we spent lazy and relax time here with Japanese friend living in Berlin!!


After the long tea time we headed to Japanese ramen restaurant; Cocolo because the ramen is considered a delicious and creative. Moreover, most of customers are German besides the owner is German. Very curious!!

BUT… the restaurant was close for the new year holiday… We missed the opportunity… Should have checked the holiday…

Instead of the ramen, we found the tasty burger!
“One person’s junk is another person’s treasure”

Linkage project of carbon offset and food waste

Reducing CO2 emission must be a subject of considerable discussion during the UN Climate conference (COP21).

I would like to introduce a carbon offset project in Japan.

Carbon offset; a reduction in CO2 emission made in order to compensate for or offset the emission made elsewhere.

“Waste Box” (Nagoya, Japan) has calculated and reported organisational CO2 emission since 2008. Currently, they are a certified offset provider in carbon offset third-party certificate programme by Minister of Environment as well as be adopted by carbon offset area council.

As a part of continuing effort to promote the concept “carbon offset”, they launched “series of soft dried fruit” in 2013.

A first of a series was a wasted “apple” utilisation. The food waste is cased by small damage in Japan… A part of the the profits from the sales is donated to environmental conservation.

One sale of the dried fruit product generates 1 JPY for environmental conservation although producing emits  CO2 for 2 JPY. Eventually 50% CO2 can be offset.


Process of learning generates a difference

My friend is taking a make-up master course in Amsterdam.
I went to the school to be a model because her teacher suggested to bring Asian model for a practice.
It was my pleasure to be a part of  her practice 🙂

The course was impressive way to learn make-up for me!

In the morning, the teacher showed the example of  today’s make-up style.
(though I was not be there in the morning)

In the afternoon, each student created their own style make-up based on the teacher’s example in the class room.
Color, material, balance seem to be free choice.
Teacher and her tutors went around and sometimes gave advice to my friend.
However, everyone  gets their make up on.

I guess Dutch innovative mind comes from education or process of learning.

On the other hand, in Japan I remember that we had to follow teacher’s technique in school art class.
Once I draw my favorite motif, teacher let me start it over.
In Japan, skill with the basic is more important than artistic creation.
After we acquire the fundamental skill, we believe artistic aspect should be learned.

Difficult to say which is better, but apparently, it is different between 2 countries!
It might be reason why Japan has a lot of manufacturer and the Netherlands has leading IT and consulting industry.


Secret garden between buildings

Honestly, I don’t want to write about the secret garden… to keep it secret!

This ALMATUIN is unique atmosphere and laid-back place in Amsterdam Zuid, busy business area.
Originally, it was a school garden. They moved place this year and now they rent 128 small square gardens based on Permaculture.


However, they do not only rent a garden, but also organize various workshop such as yoga, cooking, gardening… and training course, party and etc!!!

I would love to remark that the outside cafe is great!


Not luxury! Not precious table setting! Self-service! Self-payment in a jar! Good price!
If you love natural flavour and garden scenery, you can sit in the garden sipping a cup of organic tea!
※caution; coffee is unfortunately made by senseo.

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I enjoyed the delicious beans and bacon quiche! Of course, the beans were harvested in ALMATUIN!

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In Japan, my grandparents used to have their own edible garden. Hens…as well!
It was common to make our own food in the garden until 70s/80s although it is in the city.
However, the garden was changing to parking lot and new building… Nowadays I rarely find it… 😦

On the other hand, young generation are enthusiastic about gardening in balcony and/or city garden!
Differently from the Netherlands, most Japanese renters work in garden weekends only because we work in office until late evening 😦  In weekdays some employed administrative men are watering, weeding…
That’s why the rental cost is twice as expensive as Dutch garden.

Let’s enjoy social life as well as working!
Let’s be lazy sometimes!

Authentic Green Tea Workshop in Amstelveen by Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms

Fortunately, I found information about the interesting Green Tea Workshop organized by Japanese green tea farm, Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms!


Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms
Obubu tea farm is in the town of Wazuka, situated in Southeastern part of Kyoto.
Wazuka is famous district for Uji-cha, one of the highest quality and the most luxury tea in Japan.

They produce and sell tea on their farm. Addition to that, they organize some attractive workshops such as “tea picking and rolling tea workshop” and they also offer an internship program for both Japanese and non-Japanese.

This Europe tour is also one of their challenges to introduce authentic Japanese green tea to European people!
I will give feedback about the workshop to you, secretly.


Organic Genmaicha
As a welcome drink, we tried the organic genmaicha, combination green tea leaves with roasted rice. It made me nostalgic for my grandparents house.

Aroma: long-lasting nutty aroma because of the roasted rice 🙂
Colour: vivid yellow
Flavour: sweet buttery

Organic Sencha
This is a green tea appearance which European people expect!
They served the tea 3 times with the same tea leaves.

Key point is TEMPERATURE!
1 round – 70℃ (smooth, subtle sweet flavour)
2 round – 80℃ (refreshing)
3 round – 100℃ (breezy)

You can enjoy different flavour each round!


Organic Houjicha
Houjicha is roasted-green tea with beautiful colour.
My Dutch friend suggested it tasted like rooibos tea.
I agree with her…and Houjicha is also non-cafein tea as well as rooibos tea.

Aroma: room filling woody aroma
Colour: rich sunny glowing
Flavour: clean and consistently sweet

Sencha of the spring sun
A spring harvested tea leaves is the most tender and contents the most nutrition in other season pickings. It means…Spring tea is the most luxury.


Aroma: zen-like mistiness
Colour: brilliant green
Flavour: subtle refreshing and bit bitter

A Dutch attendance said ” Bitter is healthier in the Netherlands”.

Uji Hikari Matcha
Matcha is familiar to many people thanks to Matcha flavour dessert/snack.
But this is authentic sugar-free Matcha drink.

Using this bamboo whisk and ceramic tea bowl

Whisking Matcha, powdery green tea until being foamy

It is like a green tea espresso, rich flavour and aroma.

Green tea salad
Have you ever thought that it is not eco to throw away tea leaves after you enjoyed a cup of green tea?

Try green tea salad with the tea leaves, soy sauce and roasted rice!

Even me(Japanese), it is new flavour and impressive experience.
caution:  only for fresh thin tea leaves


Green tea contains VitaminC, Cafeine, Theanine and Catechin as you know.
Comparison, eating tea leaves contains VitaminA, VitaminE and Dietary Fiber.

I would like to mention…”Anyway, green tea is good for your health!!”

I highly recommend to visit the Obubu farm when you have any chance to go to Japan!
Finally…I am glad to see happy-looking Dutch attendance in the workshop and introduce the authentic green tea to you through the feedback!

Visit their weksite for more information