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Cheerleading the orange fruit

In Tokyo the other day, I participated to a seminar commonly organized by three prefectures in Japan located along the country’s citrus belt. The purpose of the event was to promote the returning or moving to the provinces of urbanites. Although this is not part of any personal plan, it was a good opportunity to meet young returnees growers of citrus in their mid-thirties who exposed their curcumstances and reasons why they tossed urban life to that of cultivating fruits. First was the discovery of how big is the momentum of incentives to lure urbanites to the provinces desparate for the now rare human beings. Countryside population depleting is acute. At crop times especially, the lack of temporary workers - immigration is tabou - make the growers in unisson wring their hands and hint at the drastic situation of empty provinces and the huge and growing number of empty houses. There was one announcement of the recruiting of someone to take over a gasoline station the elderly manager o…
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Meanwhile in the city: At Morioka bookstore: the post book store

I visited the Morioka bookstore recently. Once you pass a rare beauty of a house of wood and brass nearby, you find the movie set like Pont du Gard restaurant, then Morioka bookstore tucked in an exceptional surviving brown building of 1929. At least, make a detour for this one.
The concept of the shop is one book and peripheral paraphernalias exposed for a week. But what’s in a word like a “book” anyway? Here, that means close to 52 printed bundles per year, and the coming six months schedule is already planned and space booked. Thanks to a talkative staff, I hear stories, that rare ingredient, fuel of life. Stories of how the trough behind the buidling, a major urban three dimensional motorway that blankets the whole district with permanent roar and better not released air pollution index, was in ancient times a river where timber from Kiba was hauled along. Inside the shop at least, the roar is muffled. In a basement room I am allowed to imagine only, now used for talkshows and meet…

There is no chaos in Tokyo

The Economist posted again a link to a 2016 piece where food personality Sami Tamimi exposes a perfect day of worldwide fooding. Dinner would be in Japan introduced with the aplomb of the non-residents perpetually crossing international time zones and the urge to state ownership of destinations with a casual: “You get to Tokyo and, jetlagged, wander round amid its chaos.” Rereading this statement early this morning at home in Tokyo rekindled the same reaction of cold disbelief. Because you see Sami, “chaos” when referring to Japan, when referring to Tokyo, which is not Japan but an independent state of mind for the visitor, is beyond absurd, for there is no chaos in Tokyo. All dimensions considered, there is no chaos, no visual chaos, no auditive chaos, no olfactive chaos, but in the mind. Recent guests and first time visitors recently went on their own to witness the holy Shibuya crossroad, and came back undisturbed to report that they had known the same kind of location in Mumbai, …

Yuzu and citrus private tours in Japan

It’s official: yuzu and citrus private tours in Japan have been planned, and managed, for some years now.
Know more here. You will love these.

In lemons, we trust. Winter soul drink at Nui.

First hot ginger lemon of the year at Nui. guesthouse café in Tokyo. Comfort drink and location. An ex-toy wholeseller warehouse with a huge glass panel front that makes a welcome and exceptional contrast in anotherwise topograpically - of geography and the mind - poor district. We exchange late new year well wishes. Good. Bien.

Winter garden pleasures: Koishikawa Korakuen in Tokyo

They are stunningly beautiful in Winter. Click the link for pictures at the Koishikawa Korakuen garden in Tokyo today. When you visit, plan a light lunch at the building opposite the ticket gate.

A visual survey of Yuzu and Citrus in Japan

This, to the city of Tokyo

Escapes in the countryside are as inspiring as the return to the city must be. In both cases, minute preparation is a requisite, and enduring the city largely relies on the knowledge of locations where to snuggle in comfort. Tokyo totally missed or lost, or both, the European cafés movement. The gap between the sad nicotine glazed den has been filled by the mighty bland chains, the latest one being designed to cater for lonelyness in a dreadful manner: seats separated and angled so that you avoid the sights of other. Somewhere in-between is the trendy magazine bearded café Portland dreamed where the meetoo replicate each others in neverending reflexions of mirrors upon mirrors.
Some are exceptional when they well mix the design concept, the liquid, solid, light, and ... that oh so rare little human touch of central Tokyo where a little chat makes your day. Yes, Manhattan is no better but rough.I am not starting anytime soon yet another Tokyo cafés review, but this January 9th, 2018 - w…

Hassaku tastes of April

Among the hundreds of citrus varieties to be found in Japan, a small lot cannot be traced back to faraway Asian roots and are supposed to be local. Such is the case with hassaku. A full box landed this morning in Tokyo, straight from Wakayama. Slightly sour and crunchy, hassaku is a beauty. It taste of April. The oranges season is now and offers a key alternative to visit regional and rural Japan starting from orchards, the people who grow these wonders, and all the food, culture and landscapes attached.Visit nextaroma.com and inquire.

Health kit to meet Spring

Spring is piercing, in unisson with the peaks of influenza and other seasonal virus. Whereas eating hearty is the tradition and strategy in Europe, going lean, even symbolically, is still here branded as a differential ideal. Lipid is out in what follows.To keep the doctor away, take seven varieties of young leaves and small roots, blanch in salted water and cut tiny. Be parcimonial with quantities. These are but condiments for lent. The dish is no “arroz do legumes” vegetable rice pot. It is meant to cleanse, not to feed. It is Zen stuff. Apart, cook a congee, overcooked soaky rice. Add the greens, check they get down to the level of crunchiness you like, a little soya sauce to raise taste level just above blandness, but keep the savory axis undertoned. I, on my own, will add something lemony, maybe grated yuzu, maybe a dash of harehimé juice on the picture, one of the many oranges hitting the market, the purpose of which is to moisture the parching mouth and gutters under the threat…