Forage your way into mushroom season

Food & Drink | FOOD Sep 23, 2011

Forage your way into mushroom season

by Makiko Itoh

Edible mushrooms are a feature of the fall season in temperate climates worldwide, and Japan is no exception. The humid climate lends itself to the growth of all kinds of fungi, so it's easy to assume that mushrooms (or kinoko in Japanese) of all ...

Serving green tea in your own home

Food & Drink | FOOD Jul 22, 2011

Serving green tea in your own home

by Makiko Itoh

It's impossible to write out a recipe for wagashi in such a limited space, and just as impossible to acquire the skills you need to make them! So here is a recipe for making a proper glass of iced matcha tea, the perfect summertime ...

Keep a low-power kitchen this summer

Food & Drink | FOOD Jun 24, 2011

Keep a low-power kitchen this summer

by Makiko Itoh

Now that we are entering the hottest part of the Japanese summer, it's time to get really serious about saving electricity — in the kitchen as much as anywhere. The power shortages caused by failed or closed power plants (nuclear and otherwise) will affect the ...

Farming without chemicals — or radiation

Food & Drink | FOOD May 27, 2011

Farming without chemicals — or radiation

by Makiko Itoh

Yasunori Toyoguchi peers under the netting protecting a small rice paddy. "See," he says, pointing to some grassy shoots, "here's this year's crop, just starting to emerge." He scoops up a little of the water trickling over the mud with one hand. "See how ...

Food & Drink | FOOD Dec 24, 2010

Why not spend New Year's Eve totally soba?

by Makiko Itoh

The yearend period, called shiwasu, is a really hectic time in Japan. Think of it as spring cleaning, Thanksgiving and the usual end-of-year activities all rolled into one. Businesses and individuals busily try to tie up any loose ends, or at least bring things ...

We all deserve eggplants in fall

Food & Drink | FOOD Sep 24, 2010

We all deserve eggplants in fall

by Makiko Itoh

There is a famous old Japanese saying about aki nasu or fall eggplants: "Aki nasu yome ni kuwasuna" — "Don't let the daughter-in-law eat fall eggplant." There are two theories behind what this means. One plays on the age-old and pretty much worldwide conflict between ...

Kyoto's temples of gastronomy

Food & Drink | FOOD Apr 30, 2010

Kyoto's temples of gastronomy

by Robbie Swinnerton

You need a strategy when you're visiting a city the size of Kyoto. Ours was simple: No tourist spots, no taxis and no traipsing around. We were there to eat. We had a day and a half, just time for three good meals (not counting ...