[Our Noh no Ikebana] “We at midwinter long for the coming of spring,” says Matsuno Tsuzuki, 79, from Agui Town, Aichi Prefecture

“I began Noh no Ikebana more than 35 years ago. First, I joined the class given by a master of Noh no Ikebana, Toshie Yokoi, from an agricultural cooperative in Higashi Chita (JA Aichi Chita) at her visit at our female members’ group event. When she made some adjustments, vegetables in my arrangement suddenly looked so beautiful, fresh and lively. That moved me a lot I remember. Soon, I joined the club of the female members in Agui. Currently, the club has 19 members, but it’ll be nice if we can have some younger members, too. I always look for the materials for my arrangements, while I’m at my farm … Continue reading

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Japan’s cooperatives promote locally grown cabbage in Tokyo

TOKYO, Jan. 13 ― Japanese main growers of fresh cabbage have joined hands to promote their products at Ota Ichiba, the country’s largest flower and vegetable wholesale market, at a time when the import volumes are rising in Japan. The increase in imports of cabbage is attributed to traders’ assumption of poor domestic cabbage crop due to bad weather last year. It had been raining a lot last September in production areas, namely Chiba, Kanagawa and Aichi prefectures. But the domestic cabbage crop recovered as favorable weather conditions continued since then, boosting domestic production. Despite late last year’s good harvest, the rising imports of cabbage has resulted in pushing domestic … Continue reading

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Japanese farmer keeps alive tradition of treating hoe mindfully

TOYAMA, Jan. 12 ― Hikohiro Motoyoshi, an 83-year-old farmer, and his wife Hiroko keep alive tradition of serving sake and the New Year’s food to their hoes respectfully. Their hoes — one is flat hoe and the other is three pronged cultivators — are sitting on zabuton cushions, treated like guests of honor, in the largest room in the home of the Motoyoshi family in Toyama. And the couple let their petitions be made known to the hoes for a good harvest and the safety in the coming year. “They have promised me another good harvest this year,” Hikohiro Motoyoshi smiles, after talking to the hoes, a tool designed to … Continue reading

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Chinese shiitake spawn import to Japan to hit a record in 2018

TOKYO, Jan. 13 ― Japan’s imports of shiitake spawn, which are essentially mushroom seeds, will likely hit a record volume in 2018, exceeding the 2017 record, official data have shown. Shiitake are among the most popular of many varieties of mushrooms eaten by the fungi-mad Japanese. Each year, families and restaurants stew, fry and grill hundreds of tons of these brown umbrella-shaped vegetables. Shiitake spawn imports to Japan in the first eleven months through November 2018 totaled 18,650 metric tons, already exceeding the 2017 full-year import record of 15,649 metric tons, according to the finance ministry. If the December figure remains the same level a year earlier, then the imports … Continue reading

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Japan’s first shipment of Niigata-grown rice for China sets sail

YOKOHAMA, Jan. 9 ― The first shipment of rice to China sourced exclusively from Niigata prefecture, one of Japan’s most renowned rice producers, is set to depart from the Port of Yokohama. JA ZEN-NOH, the National Federation of Agriculture Cooperative Associations, the marketing arm of JA group, assembled in Yokohama on Jan. 8 to celebrate the consignment. “Niigata shipments account for a third of the entire Japanese rice exports,” said Agriculture Minister Takamori Yoshikawa at the ceremony. “I hope rice shipments from Niigata to China will increase.” This shipment is significant because China decided last November to lift its seven-year import ban on rice from Niigata prefecture, which was imposed in … Continue reading

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