Food is Life
"The life in the old times was painful. What was pain? Busy for surviving everyday."
Village grandmas always say like this. "Busy for living all the time"...
2 hours drive to the north from Kyoto city leads to a small cozy shuraku (village community) of Amaza, located in the hidden valley of Mount Ooe in Fukuchiyama. We had a retreat to experience this, thinking about "living"
Starting from making fermented koji mold, we made miso by using home-made koji, miling (sake taste seasoning in Japan), amaze (sweet sake), and mochi (sticky rice ball), also processing konjac by using ash, indigo fermentation, and so on.
Local village people also came and talked with us, having dinner together with locally harvested vegetables and sake, and we also visited their daily lives, hunting wild boars or harvesting vegetables....
This experience was valuable time, thinking about livelihoods and foods all the days.
Program of the Retreat
（Fermentation）amazake (sweet sake making)
Day 2 AM （Fermentation）steam rice
PM （Food Processing）making lye from ash to make konjac
NT （Event）Hot pot party with local people
（Fermentation）sweet potato koji (fermented food)
Day3 AM （Fermentation）stirring koji
（Food Processing）steam land lace green rice
PM （Food Processing）yuzu-miso making,bean jam making
（Event）Visit to local villagers - wild boar hunter
NT （Event）Birthday party
（Food Processing）soake indigenous beans
Day 4 AM （Food Processing）steam beans
（Fermentation）rice mold koji is ready!
PM （Food Processing）baking salt, make miso by using koji and smashed beans
3. on the Day 2, the koji mold is gradually stretching its fungal thread on rice
Food ProcessingWe learnt how to utilize ash from local grandmas.
On this occasion, we use wooden ash and straw ash to make coagulant for konjac without using Sodium hydrogen carbonate (NaHCO3).
Konjac by using wooden ash was the best.
We were all convinced that granmas were talking about how to differentiate strong lye and weak lye.
When I was a master student of agriculture, I tried to understand by scientific knowledge, how substance react to the environemnt, however, village people all knew the relationship with substances, plants and people, ash and ph, without thinking scientifically, but just feeling by hands and nature. This is the methods people had been inter-related to the world, and to the nature.
We could not make konjac well be using scientific Sodium hydrogen carbonate (NaHCO3)
left: konjac by using wooden ash right: by using straw ash
Time for Meals
irori hot pot party with locals
Visit rural Kyoto to learn traditional wisdom and livelihoods!
We were always making something, eating something, concentrating on living. When we make ingredients from scratch, we noticed how busy is making a living, as grandmas told us.
In modern days, we are selling our own times as a labour, and buying times of somebody else to make food ingredients.
We cannot go back to ancient era any more, however, it was absolute pleasure to share times of eating and make a living with somebody else like this retreat for some days.
Thank you for the local village people in Amaza, sharing this time together, this is unforgettable memory.
We would like to pass down these old livelihoods and organize the village tour again.
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