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Posts Tagged ‘bamboo shoots’

I’ll be the first to admit that, while I try to be more conscious of where my food comes from and what’s in it, moving to rural Japan as been an exercise in 「なるほど。。。」. My family has been off the farm for a few generations, and I grew up in the suburbs. My suburban upbringing has never been more apparent than it has been here—you know those pins that people had in the late 90s/early 00s that said “In the suburbs, we cut down the trees and name the streets after them”? Before I came here, I don’t think I had ever seen a wisteria in bloom, an azalea, or plum blossoms. Of course there are Japanese varieties of trees that I haven’t seen because they aren’t native to the US, but I’ve spent almost the whole month of May thinking, “So THAT’s what a wisteria looks like!”

This is the same of food. I had no idea that edamame grew on branches; I had no idea that chestnuts are dead set on preventing you from eating them. As for bamboo, the topic of today’s edition of The Gaijin Chef, well, that was a total mystery. Late April to May is bamboo shoot (take no ko タケノコ 竹の子) season, and a fellow Specialist invited me and some of our friends to come gather bamboo shoots with her international friendship group. Like all forests, bamboo forests cannot thrive with too many trees, and so harvesting the shoots serves the dual purpose of obtaining food and promoting a healthy forest.

The bamboo forest in Arashiyama (near Kyoto)

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