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

March 2018 Update

Cherry Blossoms in Japan

Happy March!

March is a month of celebration in Japan starting with Hinamatsuri (Doll/Girl’s Day) on March 3. It’s a day to wish and pray for girl’s wealth and happiness. March is also a month to celebrate early arrival of Spring. Cherry blossoms can be seen in many parts of Japan and it’s a reminder that Spring is just around the corner. Mizuna, bamboo shoots, udo, burdock and strawberries become available. How about sakura wine from Yamanashi prefecture?

Here is what is happening with Tanpopo Studio this month.

Tanpopo Studio Monthly Meetup

The first monthly meetup was a delicious success talking about all things ramen. Thank you for all the people who came and contributed to the meeting. This month’s meetup is scheduled for March 20th from 7-8pm at Quixotic Coffee Shop in Highland Park, Saint Paul. The topic is Travel Japanese. Learn some essential Japanese language skills for traveling. All are welcome. No experience necessary.

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

Upcoming Tours to Japan

June – Culinary Tour of Japan
Tsukiji Fish Market is planning to move this summer and this might be your last chance to see it all. Hope to see you there as this is a great time of the year to travel to Japan. On the 4th night of the tour, we will be relaxing at a traditional Onsen Ryokan, and enjoy a kaiseki style dinner.

June – Tokyo Ramen Crash Course
We still have room for this one of it’s kind ramen adventure. Bring a friend along and learn the “know how” of ramen.

Please send me an emai, if you are interested.

Make A Reservation Online
Or send an email to travel@tanpopostudio.com

Classes and Workshops

Sake it to me!
March 9th at 6pm at Cooks of Crocus Hills, St. Paul

Spring Sushi
March 17th at 6pm at Seward Coop Franklin Store, Mpls

Crash Course on Ramen
March 31st at 4pm at Seward Coop Franklin Store, Mpls

Happy Travels,

Koshiki and Benjamin Smith

ニュースレター:2018 年3月号

3月になりましたが、ミネソタではまだまだ寒い日が続いています。

みなさまお元気ですか?

先月に引き続き、今月も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3月20日7時から8時を予定しています。

お時間のある方は是非ご参加ください。

今月のテーマは”旅行者に役立つ日本語”です。

6月のツアーにまだ空きがあります。お知り合いの方で日本旅行を考えている方、是非どうぞ。3月15日までに予約を入れますと、無料日本語レッスン、もしくは日本のお食事2名分がつきます。

今月もワークショップを行っています。

日本酒と日本食のペアリング、春のお寿司、ラーメンと盛りだくさんです。

どうぞお立ち寄りください。

来月日本でお会いできる皆さん、楽しみにしています。

では、まだまだ寒い季節ですが、お元気で。

タンポポスタジオ

米村古紫季

February 2018 Update

 

Sushi Workshop at Blu Skye Acres
Sushi Workshop at Blu Skye Acres

Happy February,

Our family started the year by visiting my aunt and uncle’s farm in Alexandria, Minnesota.  They bought a farm about 10 years ago to raise cattle, chickens, hay and vegetables.  They cooked us a delicious dinner using ingredients almost entirely harvested at the farm.  It was a clear reminder about the importance of knowing where our food comes from and enjoying food together. Thank you, Carl and Laurie.

Tanpopo Studio Monthly Meetup
Starting in February, we’ll be hosting a monthly meetup at a local coffee shop. It’s an opportunity for you to  learn more about upcoming tours.  Moreover, there will be a monthly discussion topic about Japan, cooking, learning Japanese, travel tips and more.  The kickoff meeting is scheduled on Monday, Feb. 12 from 7-8pm at Quixotic Coffee Shop in Highland Park, Saint Paul. Meet the Tanpopo Studio Team and learn about ramen!  We’ll have ramen chef(s) there to to share tips on making your own ramen. It is free, but space is limited.
Please send us an email (koshiki@tanpopostudio.com), if you are interested in attending.

April Guided Tour to Japan
We have 4 more seats available for the April Food Tour.  If you haven’t thought about your Spring vacation yet, please consider joining the group. We have a few weeks left before registration closes. Jakfoto Film, photographers and filmmakers, will be there to capture the moment. This is a great chance to travel Japan in good company!

Hands-on Sushi Workshops
In January, we hosted a sushi workshop at Blu Skye Acres in Saint Croix Falls, Wisconsin. On a snowy Sunday afternoon, about ten of us gathered around of a large farm kitchen to learn how to make sushi together.  From the kitchen window, you can see horses in the pasture and the surrounding forest. It felt like a mini-vacation in the woods.

There will be another workshop in February.  If interested, please sign-up

New Team Members at Tanpopo Studio
We are excited to announce new team members – Lucas Erie and Zach Hurdle.They are both passionate about Japan, culture,food, travel and also speak Japanese. Lucas and Zach will be helping us with booking, marketing and communications and will be at our monthly meetup.

If you have any questions, we’d love to hear from you.

Happy Travels,

Koshiki and Benjamin Smith
612-850-2138

 

ニュースレター:2018 年2月号

 

あっという間に二月になりましたが、皆様いかがお過ごしでしょうか?

 

私たちは新年早々に、ミネソタ州の西に位置する Alexandria にある叔父と叔母の農場にお邪魔しました。叔父と叔母は10年ほど前に牛の飼育を始め、今は鶏の飼育に加え野菜も栽培しています。とても寒いお正月に私たちを迎えてくださり、農場で採れた食材を使って温かい夕食でもてなしてくださりました。私がいつも大切にしている食材のルーツや、家族の大切さを改めて目の当たりにした貴重なひと時でした。

 

先月開催されました、お寿司のワークショップはお陰様で満員となりました。また今月25日にウイスコンシンで行いたいと思います。お時間のある方は是非いらして下さい。

2月寿司ワークショップ

 

今月は、タンポポスタジオに新しくスタッフが2名加わることになりました。主にマーケティングに携わってくれます。さらに、今月から月一回、コミュニティーミーティングを始めたいと思います。日本の文化、言葉、食べ物、などについて皆さんで語り合えればと思っています。無料ですので時間のある方は是非参加ください。

 

では、寒く雪の多い季節ですが、風邪や怪我をせぬようお気をつけ下さい。

 

タンポポスタジオ

米村古紫季