On Saturday and Sunday, September 8 and 9, I traveled to Fukushima-Prefecture Itate-village with the third year college students entering the Architecture-Regional Ecological Design Research Studio next year. The purpose of our visit was to observe what actions are being taken to revitalize rural life in Itate-village. On the way to Fukushima, I rode the bullet train for the first time.

On Saturday we ate lunch at Murakami Natural Farm and Organic Restaurant. Most of the ingredients used in the meals are produced on site at the farm.
For small orders, they cook with wood, and only use wood in their home for cooking and heating. Mr. Murakami was a farm extension agent in Bangladesh and Thailand for well over 10 years. Five years ago he began farming in Itate, and 2 years ago he and his partner opened the restaurant. Five years ago I read a book written by Murakami entitled “Gardening with Nature: a guide to farming in the tropics”. It’s a compilation of notes he prepared for extension workers.

Saturday night we were treated to a homemade feast of local produce at a community center made of mainly natural materials. Sunday we toured the farm of a high school principle who breeds vegetables.

Rather than take the bullet train home, Ebina-kun, a fellow student, and I rode the local trains home (an $80 savings and loss of half a day). Ebina-kun grew up in Yamagishi communes in several locations in Japan. It’s so refreshing to spend time with someone who thinks outside of the box.


Dave said...

Your blog entries always make me hungry. Sounds like you're eating some yummy wholesome food. I can't imagine cooking over wood. That must take a little more patience than my electric range - just guessing:)

Do most people in Japan take mass transit or own cars? I suppose it depends on where they live, but how does it compare overall to the U.S.?

TipiTurkey said...

I looked up touring by bicycle in Japan on the internet last night. Looks like a good place to tour and a way to cut down on costs of visiting. Maybe next year...