Hyogo Prefecture 兵庫県


 Trip Information:

Prefecture: Hyogo Prefecture

Host- Fujiwara family- Saboten/Savo(head of household), Noriko (his wife), Hikari (4), Yuusuke (8 months)

Location- Tooyoka city, 40 minute drive from the closest supermarket and train station (in Fukuchiyama)

Duration – 3 days, 2 nights (not including travel time)

Dates:-November 11-13, 2011

Savo’s inspiration, in his words:

“My first encounter with organic agriculture was in Nepal.  Over there, aside from salt, they make everything on their land, and they only eat what they make.  I saw them living and, well, I was born in a neighborhood in Kyoto and grew up there so it surprised me: on this mountain, people are living in the middle of nowhere, but they say that they have everything, and it just shocked me.  From that point on I guess I started toward that kind of organic farming and self-sufficiency, too.”

New Things Learned on This Trip: The amazing medicinal/nutritional properties of the umeboshi the variety and breadth of hakkou seihin (fermented foods) and methods of preparation in Japan.

Impressions of the journey: We left Yokohama in the evening, as usual taking an all-night bus on the first leg of our travel. Early the next morning in Osaka, as we explored the station, I was surprised to find what I previously believed to be an Alaskan gimmick – a Billiken! The train ride out to the countryside was surprising in that Osaka, a huge metropolitan area, gave way quickly to rural settings and heavily forested green mountains.  We disembarked under a drizzle and made our way to the taxi stand, where our host Nuriko waved to us from beside a tiny, square, white van.  Inside were two car-seated, squiggly children….”

Impressions of Farm Life in Hyogo:

“Our tasks were varied, and included both helping Savo with his artwork (gluing kimono scraps onto the edges of the picture frames that showcased his drawings, cutting paper, making measurements for his frames, and cleaning old frames and preparing them for an upcoming exhibition) and farm and household tasks (collecting wood, stacking dirty chopsticks delivered by a local soba stand to use for kindling in the winter, washing dishes, looking after Yuusuke the baby, measuring and weighing homemade miso and umeboshi pickles into bags for sale, etc). Hikari, the four year old, was astonishingly helpful. In addition to helping with all sorts of household tasks and watching her brother, I once looked over to see her cutting rice cakes with a sharp knife for her mother. Amazing.

 Savo was doing some interesting experiments with malted rice, brines, and yeast, making not only pickles, but also sakemiso paste, and various fermented fruit concoctions. He was inspired to become a farmer after falling ill in his 20s and treating himself through a diet called the genmai saishoku (brown rice and vegetable diet). Even twenty years later, at practically every meal, he eats a half cup of ground, raw brown rice, and drinks a bowl of aojiru , a vegetable juice concoction made from raw kale, one persimmon, half a carrot, and other leafy greens blended into about a cup of water. All the green vegetables came from the family`s garden, which boasted over 60 varieties of produce despite its small size.. “


“The house was heated with a wood stove, which was also used for all the cooking. We shared an upstairs tatami room that doubled as Savo’s drawing studio, and we found that it filled with smoke from the wood stove several times a day, which was at once nostalgic and concerning. Even after we returned home, all our clothes, luggage, and our hair smelled of wood smoke…”

The kanji that captures the feeling of this trip is kemuri (smoke) –

This entry was posted in Farm stay, Fermented Foods, Hyogo Prefecture, Kinki Region and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Hyogo Prefecture 兵庫県

  1. eclectic24 says:

    What a wonderful idea for a blog. I don’t have the energy to travel around as you do ( I don’t think I ever did) but I’m going to enjoy reading about your travels around Japan. Loved this first entry and the photographs . Very tasteful, evocative header. About the Fujiwara family : I am humbled by their commitment to living life in accordance with their principles. These “ordinary” people are anything but ordinary. Best wishes to you on the blog and on your travels.

  2. Chase Hensel says:

    Very evocative. I look forward to learning more about current experimentation in fermentation.

  3. Pingback: Niigata Prefecture- 新潟県 | 47 Japanese Farms: Japan Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities – 47日本の農園

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s