TanpopoStudio September Update

Happy September,

I cannot believe it is September already. The end of summer means starting of the harvest season, and I have been keeping busy at the Frogtown Farm harvesting vegetables and preparing samples for the market on Saturdays.

I’ll be booking my tickets for spring tours soon as IACE travel is having their fall Mega Sale on Saturday Sep. 29th from 9-4 pm only. Give them a call as I have purchased many affordable tickets to Japan from IACE.

Japan Art + Culture Tour, April 2019

This is a 7 day tour from Tokyo to Matsumoto with an additional extension to Kyoto. Matsumoto is a hotbed of arts, is also the birthplace of several well known Japanese artists including Yayoi Kusama. It’s also home to one of Japan’s finest feudal era castles.. Read more about Matsumoto and this tour on our blog.

Culinary Guide to Japan Tour, June 2019

I’ve been fortunate to lead several Culinary Tours this year, and have received some kind words from travelers. Thank you! We start in Ginza, Tokyo with a fish market tour and sushi class and make our way to Nagano for a temple stay and introduction to vegetarian cooking. After a morning visit to the Zensoji Temple, we tour a wasabi farm in near the Japan Alps, and stay at a traditional hot spring Ryokan for a kaiseki style dinner. The next day we learn how to make hand-made soba noodles and tour the scenic Suntory Hakushi distillery. The last night we stay at Shuji Tanka’s historic inn and community garden in the quaint mountain town of Yamanshi.

Chicken Kara-age

What’s Cooking in September

Fried chicken known as Kara-age is a popular dish in Japan. Deep fried but not greasy because the word Kara comes from a word empty, meaning there is no batter, just a simple combination of garlic, ginger, soy, sake, sesame oil and cornstarch.


Amish Buggy on Road

ニュースレター9月号

早いもので9月に入りました。皆様いかがお過ごしでしょうか。
アメリカではほとんどの学校が9月に始まります。3ヶ月の長い夏休みを終えた9月は入学、新学時期でもあるため子供から大人まで何かとそわそわ、ワクワクしてしまいます。

私はというとこの夏すっかりアーミッシュに取り憑かれてしまい、この夏2回目、アーミッシュ・カントリーを訪れて来ました。もちろん自宅でもせっせとアーミッシュのレシピを使ったパン作りも欠かしていませんよ。
今回訪ねたのはミネソタ州に隣接する酪農やチーズ作りで知られるウィスコンシン州にあるウェスビーという地域です。私の住んでいる町、セイントポールから車で約三時間、オーガニック・ファーミングで知られるこの地域に集落で暮らしているオールド・オーダー”というアーミッシュを訪ねる旅でした。”オールド・オーダー” とはアーミッシュの中でも特に昔からの規律や伝統を重んじている保守的なアーミッシュです。もちろん電気製品や電気の使用は厳しく制限されているので各家庭の敷地内には風車やバキーがあり馬が飼われています。彼らは自然の多いこの地域で昔ながらの伝統を守り、農業、クラフト、チーズやメープルシロップ作りなどで生計を立てています。もちろん彼らの作るキルトや果物のビン詰めを購入することもできますよ。朝バギーの音で目がさめる、そんな開拓時代にタイムスリップしたかのような2日間した。

私と一緒に、アーミッシュ・カントリーとミネソタの大地を旅したい方、興味のある方は是非メールでお問い合わせください。ツアーは2名様より決行いたします。少人数でミネソタの大地を思う存分満喫してはいかがでしょうか。

米村古紫季

TanpopoStudio August Update

Happy August,

I hope this newsletter finds everyone well. TanpopoStudio slowed down a bit as we all enjoy summer activities outside. Our family had a wonderful time picking gooseberries and making jam to preserve for the winter ( personally, they are so delicious they will not last until the winter….). We have been visiting the countryside, kayaking and canoeing at more than ten thousand beautiful lakes we have here in Minnesota.

Starting next month, I’m going to be helping out at the Frogtown Farm, a certified organic city farm in St. Paul providing educational setting for kids and adults alike. I will be making samples using seasonal and local vegetables with touch of “Japan” as well as be a part of farm events. We will have more on this, so stay tuned.

Speaking of farms, we are starting a new series on introducing some small farmers and business owner’s who we meet on our tours to Japan. We asked people five questions to share their values and opinions. This month, we are featuring the owner of Izumi En, a community garden and inn in Yamanashi prefecture.

Ojonomiyaki

What’s Cooking in August

Summer is a time of abundance and we have a delicious recipe using cabbage this month. Okonomiyaki is not only yummy but healthy and easy to make.

Japan Art + Culture Tour, April 2019

We’ve just opened this for registration. This is a 7 day tour from Tokyo to Matsumoto with an additional extension to Kyoto. Matsumoto, a hotbed of arts, is also the birthplace of several well known Japanese artists including Yayoi Kusama. It’s also home to one of Japan’s finest feudal era castles.. Read more about Matsumoto and this tour on our blog.

Classes and Events

Ramen Know How
Thursday, September 20th at 6 pm at Cooks of Crocus Hill, Saint Paul. Getting ready for chilly Minnesota winter by learning how to make your own Ramen and Dumplings with us.

More classes to come at Seward Coop in September. Stay tuned!.

August Monthly Meetup

Thursday, August 23 at Quixotic Coffee Shop. Free event and everyone is welcome but seats are limited. Please R.S.V.P to koshiki@tanpopostudio.com to reserve your seats.

Happy Travels,
Koshiki and Benjamin Smith

ニュースレター8月号.

American Pie

ミネソタ州でも日本の暑さが話題になるほどですが皆様いかがお過ごしでしょうか。

ミネソタでは夏休みが真っ盛り。家族でグースベリージャムを作り、ルバーブパイを焼き、湖でカヌーに乗り、ロードトリップを楽しんだりと夏を満喫しています。

先日ミネソタ州の南に位置するハーモニー市のアーミッシュ村を訪ねてきました。
皆さんはアーミッシュをご存知ですか?アーミッシュとはドイツ系移民の宗教団体で、アメリカやカナダの大草原広がる自然豊かな大地で昔ながらの生活を大切に暮らしている人たちです。現在では20万人以上のアーミッシュが電気を使用しない移民当時の生活様式を維持し、自給自足の生活を送っていると言われています。

男性は空と大地の色を表す青と緑のシャツを羽織りバギーで仕事に向かい、女性はボンネットを齧りロングスカートに身を包み、畑を耕し、キルトを作り生活しています。

ここはミネソタ州で一番アーミッシュの人口が多いことで知られる町。正確なアーミッシュの数は分かっていませんが、およそ100家族が今も昔の伝統を守りながら生活をしています。

そして、来年の夏は何と言っても”アーミッシュツアー”。
ツアーでは古き良きアーミッシュコミュニティーを訪れ大自然を満喫します。物が溢れ、人とのつながりが薄れつつある今、コミュニティーを大切にし、自然の恵みのありがたさを基盤に生きている、そういうアーミッシュの人々から私たちも学ぶものはたくさんあるのではないでしょうか。
詳細は9月のニュースレターに記載されますよ。お楽しみに!

今回のニュースレターには山梨にある泉園のオーナーへのインタビューが記載させています。英語ではありますがもしよろしければお読みください。
泉園さん、ご協力ありがとうございました。

たんぽぽスタジオではツアーを通して出会ったビジネスオーナー、レストランのオーナーシェフ、農家の人々をアメリカで紹介しています。
また皆様にお会いできるのを楽しみにしています。

米村古紫季

TanpopoStudio July Update

farmhouse group photo

Happy July,
I have been back in the US for about two weeks now after finishing another round of our Culinary Tour of Japan. Weather was perfect with lush of greens and signs of summer everywhere. Food was delicious as always and we enjoyed freshly fried tempura, seasonal seafood, lots of Japanese sweets and local sake and wines. We also took time to explore a depachika or the basement of a department store as this is a much different experience in Japan. These areas are packed with food vendors of all kinds selling delicious things such as desserts, fresh vegetables, pickles, seafood, tea, ice cream and lots more.

My brother Kai joined us in Nagano and Yamanashi and gave us an insider scoop on life in rural Japan as he lives in Yamanashi prefecture. It’s a scenic area with wineries, ski areas, wasabi farms, mountains, and a thriving arts and crafts community. On the last trip, I was too tired to check out public hot spring in Suwa, but this time after dinner I walked to the nearby hot spring to “wash off my tiredness” (this is a Japanese phrase, tsukare wo arai nagasu). The town of ShimoSuwa (Suwa consists of ShimoSuwa and KamiSuwa) itself has over 10 public hot springs and 5 foot springs (not counting private hot springs ), and heavily used by locals.

On my visit, I purchased a ticket, which was about two dollars for an adult, I took my shoes off and put them in a cubby. Then I handed a ticket to a clerk and entered women’s changing room. At 7 o’clock in the evening this place was packed (at least on women’s side) with families with kids, high school girls, grandmas and others, like me. We have a post about hot spring etiquette on our website, to help you prepare for a visit.

In June, I had a wonderful opportunity to spend one-on-one time with people who share same passion as TanpopoStudio has, to help preserve Japanese local food and culture by providing hands on experience to people from Japan and other countries alike. In the August Newsletter, I will introduce some of the creative and talented people we are working with in Japan who have helped make TanpopoStudio happen, so stay tuned.

Here is what’s happening at TanpopoStudio.

Japan Art + Culture Tour, April 2019

We’ve just opened this for registration. This is a 7 day tour from Tokyo to Matsumoto with an additional extension to Kyoto. Matsumoto, a hotbed of arts, is also the birthplace of several well known Japanese artists including Yayoi Kusama. It’s also home to one of Japan’s finest feudal era castles.. Read more about Matsumoto and this tour on our blog.

Classes and Workshops

Don’t forget to join us for delicious and informative Japanese food and sake pairing at Cooks of Crocus Hill. We will be sampling sake from Shizuoka and Hyogo prefecture. Kanpai!

Sake it To Me!
July 21st at 6 pm at Cooks of Crocus Hill, Saint Paul

Happy Travels,
Koshiki and Benjamin Smith

皆様、いかがお過ごしでしょうか。
2週間ほど前アメリカに帰国しましたが、ミネソタでは連日雨が降っており、日本の梅雨を思わせる毎日です。
6月のツアーでは沢山の素敵な方々への出会いがありました。代々受け継がれてきた伝統を守っていこうと頑張っている方、日本の手仕事を広めようと努力されている方、地域を発展させようと色々な試みをされている方と職種は様々でしたが思いは共通するものがありました。お話を聞かせてくださった方、案内をしてくださった方、この場を借りて御礼申し上げます。

私もそのような皆様と一緒に食文化だけではなく日本に古くから根付く伝統や工芸文化を世界に広めていくお手伝いができればと思っています。近い将来様々な分野に興味のある海外からのお客様を日本にお連れしたいと思っています。

これからもどうぞよろしくお願いいたします。
米村古紫季

TanpopoStudio June Update

Tanpopo Studio Team in Suwa
Kai and Koshiki Taking a Break in Suwa

Happy June

I’m just about to start the June, Culinary Guide to Japan tour, and very excited about the trip. While I have a few moments, I wanted to share with you some of the good things happening at TanpopoStudio.

We have a new video! from the Spring Culinary Guide to Japan tour. This short film showcases the trip and what it’s all about. A big thanks to Jakfoto Films for making this possible!

Culinary Guide to Japan Tour, October 2018

October marks the beginning of the harvest season and this is a great time to visit Japan. Enjoy a fall walk in the Kiso Valley, relax in a hot spring and savor a regional Kaiseki dinner. If you are interested in joining us, you can register online or send me an email. Hope to see you in Japan.

Japan Art + Culture Tour, Spring 2019

If you’d like to learn more about the upcoming Art and Culture Tour this spring, please join us at Wet Paint Art at the end of month for another meetup (with tea and crackers). We’ll be posting the exact date as soon as possible. If you’re interested in attending, let me know and I will update you. We’ve received some great feedback during our last meeting, and a few spaces have already been reserved. So if you’re interested, don’t miss your chance to see Tokyo, Nagano and Matsumoto. We’ve also added a 3 day optional extension to Kyoto on this tour for those of you who would like to stay longer in Japan.

Tokyo Ramen Crash Course

Private groups of 6-8 are welcome. If you have a group of friends who want to learn ramen making in Japan, we can book this according to your schedule and you’ll receive a group discount as well.

We’ll be announcing Spring tour dates for the Tokyo Ramen Crash Course in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

Classes and Workshops

The Sushi Smiths
June 30th at 6pm at Cooks of Crocus Hill, St. Paul
Sake it To Me!
July 21st at 6pm at Cooks of Crocus Hill, St. Paul

Happy Travels,
Koshiki and Benjamin Smith

TanpopoStudio April Update

Cherry Blossoms in Nagano
Cherry Blossoms in Nagano

Despite being greeted by one of the worst Spring snowstorms in Minnesota upon our arrival, we and the whole group made it safely back from Japan on our tour this April.

Warm Spring weather and stunning sakura blossoms accompanied us as we toured through Tokyo, Nagano and Yamanashi on our 6 day culinary tour of Japan. What a sweet success!! Although it was too early for Spring vegetables, we enjoyed pickled sakura flower tea, tempura of Spring tree buds, young bamboo shoots, and of course fresh seafood at Tsukiji Fish Market. Did I forget to mention the Japanese wagyu?

We found the sushi class and soba workshop to be very rewarding as it brought all of us closer together as a group. On the last night, at a 200-year-old farm house, we had a memorable 8-course meal in their traditional dining room where we all felt like family (including the inn owner). Who knew unfiltered local white wine from Yamanashi can be so full of flavor, fresh and delicious.

One of the goals of the tour was to learn about where our food comes from and how things are made. One of our travelers was surprised to see that the “Farm to Table” movement is such a big part of everyday eating scenes of Nagano and Yamanashi. Throughout the tour, we were able to experience how Japanese food is grown, harvested and prepared. We talked about the value of food and and people’s passion for preparing and serving food. We learned to bow, say some Japanese phrases, and show appreciation to the chef for the good food. We had such a wonderful group of people with willingness to explore new cultures and experiences. Thank you Angie, Lane, Carolyn, Avery, Kiera and Josh (also for Susan and Josh for joining us in Tsukiji) for wonderful time together in Japan.

This fall, we are taking another group on our culinary inspired tour to Japan. It’s the beginning of harvest season and this is a remarkable time to travel as the temperature cools a bit and the style of food starts to change. Join us for another small group, hands-on food tour this fall.

Here is what is happening with TanpopoStudio this month.

Art & Culture Tour Exploratory Meeting at Wet Paint

We have an Art Tour Exploratory Meet up with Wet Paint scheduled this month. We will talk about our collaboration with Wet Paint in St. Paul on a 2019 Art and Culture Tour to Japan. Join us to discuss the proposed 7 day Art and Culture Tour which will take place in the picturesque town of Matsumoto. If are interested, we would love to get your input on this exciting trip!

Date: May 11, from 6:30-7:30 pm
Place: Wet Paint 1684 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN 55105
http://www.wetpaintart.com/

TanpopoStudio Monthly Meetup

This month’s meetup is scheduled for Monday May 21 from 7-8pm at Quixotic Coffee Shop in Highland Park, Saint Paul. If you missed us during Art Tour Exploratory Meet up with Wet Paint, here is a chance to catch up. The topic this month is ”Art and Culture in Japan”, and the planned 7 day Art and Culture Tour for Spring of 2019. Are you thinking about checking out art and cultural scenes of Japan along with some hands-on learning experiences with a great group of people? Come join us to learn what this new tour is all about.

It is free, but space is limited. Please send us an email if you are interested in attending.

Upcoming Tours to Japan

Culinary Tour of Japan
October marks the beginning of harvest season and this is a great time to visit Japan. Enjoy a fall walk in Kiso Valley, relax in hot spring and savor a regional Kaiseki dinner.
September – October 2018

We have added more tours for 2019!

Classes and Workshops

Artist in the Kitchen!
Until May 19th

Japanese Vegetarian Cooking
May 24th at 6 pm at Cooks of Crocus Hills, St. Paul

Happy Travels,
Koshiki and Benjamin Smith

ニュースレター:2018 年5月号
ようやく暖かい季節の訪れです。皆様お元気ですか?
4月に予定されていました第一回食のツアーが無事終わりホッと一息ついている今日この頃です。今回の旅は天候にも恵まれ、みなさん病気や怪我もなく日本の春を満喫して頂けたと思います。また料理教室やワークショップを通して、みなさん家族のように仲良く旅ができたこともとても印象に残っています。旅の先々でお手伝いいただきました皆様、美味しい食事を振舞ってくださいましたシェフの方々、本当にありがとうございました。6月もツアーを企画しています。またこれからもよろしくお願いします。
2019年に向けてアートツアー、そしてテキスタイルツアーも企画中です。東京、長野付近でアートや織物または染物のワークショップや一日教室を開いていただける方がいらっしゃいましたらぜひご連絡ください。
また6月にお目にかかれることを楽しみにしています。
たんぽぽスタジオ
米村古紫季

Tanpopo Studio April Update

japanese laquerware bowls

I recently had a chance to visit the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) for its Hard Bodies: Contemporary Japanese Lacquer Sculpture exhibits.You might be familiar with Japanese lacquerware. It’a a traditional craft where artisans coat kitchenware, decorative boxes, dressers and such to enhance wood’s durability as well as to showcase one’s artistic talent and craftsmanship.  The artwork at Mia showcased 16 young artist who took the traditional lacquer craftsmanship to demonstrate how the old can be new, past can be present.

At Tanpopo Studio, we put emphasis on preserving tradition and culture.  Throughout our tours and workshops, we focus on where things come from and how things are made.

If you are not joining our spring or summer tour, please consider joining  our culinary journey this October where we will spend a beautiful fall afternoon in Kiso – a historical preservation town known for Japanese Lacquerware. Help preserve this traditional craft by sharing your experiences with others.

Here is what is happening with Tanpopo Studio this month.

Tanpopo Studio Monthly Meetup

This month’s meetup is scheduled for April 30th from 7-8pm at Quixotic Coffee Shop in Highland Park, Saint Paul.
The topic this month is Japanese Whisky and our recent trip to Hakushu Distillery in Yamanashi Prefecture.  All are welcome.

It is free, but space is limited.  Please send us an email if you are interested in attending.

Also, there also will be an Art Tour Exploratory Meet up with Wet Paint scheduled on May 11, from 6:30-7:30 pm.  We’ll have more information on this exciting meet up in our May newsletter.  Stay tuned!

Upcoming Tours to Japan

September – October  Culinary Tour of Japan

October marks the beginning of harvest season and this is a great time to visit Japan.
Enjoy a fall walk in Kiso Valley, relax in hot spring and savor a regional Kaiseki dinner.

We have added more tours for 2019.

Classes and Workshops

Artist in the Kitchen!
April 21-23

Ramen Know How
April 24th at 6pm at Cooks of Crocus Hills, St. Paul

Grand Night Out
April 28th at 6pm at Cooks of Crocus Hills, St. Paul

Happy Travels,
Koshiki and Benjamin Smith

ニュースレター:2018 年4月号

四月になりましたがミネソタでは天気予報で雪が降るとの予報がありました。日本は桜の季節ですが、皆様いかがお過ごしでしょうか。

私は先月ミネアポリスの美術館で漆アートを鑑賞する機会がありました。後継者が減り機械作業で作られた安いものが手に入る今、16名の若い美術家が漆を使ったアートで日本の歴史や文化を世界に紹介するものでした。

私たちが日々忘れてしまいがちな歴史や文化の継続の必要性を考えさせられる場でした。

私たちたんぽぽスタジオでも物作りの現場、文化の継承に重点をおいた活動を心がけています。私たちの活動により世界各地に住むみなさんが日本の文化に触れる機会を増やし、そしてどこでどのように物が作られているのか学べる場になればと考えながら、体験ツアー、料理クラスなどを企画しています。

今月は信州食のツアーに始まり、イベントやワークショップが盛りだくさんです。

今月のコミュニティーミーティングは4月30日7時から8時を予定しています。

今月のテーマは”日本ウイスキー”です。

お時間のある方は是非ご参加ください。

タンポポスタジオ

米村古紫季