Mizutori Geta/Japanese Traditional Clogs/Sandals in Shizuoka City!

At last I had the opportunity to visit and witness the power of a Japanese lady in Shizuoka Prefecture!
Yukiko Mizutori had not thought of succeeding her father, Masashi Mizutori, the 3rd generation owner of Mizutori Company founded in 1937 in Shizuoka City and instead opted to become a beautician 10 years ago.

Jonathan holding the main sole (“dai”) of a geta in its original form cut out of high quality hinoki/Japanese cypress.

But 4 years ago, having worked away from home for 7 years and getting married to Jonathan Barnabe from Quebec, she had to take a dudden turnin her life when her father, due to declining health, became increasingly worried about his business.

Beautiful range of sandal straps (“hanao”) from which customers can choose.

Having no sons, but three daughters, Yukiko being the second one, it would have been nigh impossible to find a suitable successor when she decided to ask her father to let her take care of Mizutori Company. He accepted and now only participates as a an overseer and exhibition manager.
On the other hand Yukiko had to study very hard and fast to succeed him.

Lady staff working on the sole of a geta.

But in spite of the enormity of her decision to take over acompany in male-dominated industry, she did have some advantages:
First, as a lady she would be free to implement new ideas and thinking into the craft.
Second, her husband is a former engineer nad now that he has acquired sufficient abilty in the Japanese language he can contribute much needed unique ideas to develop the business.
Third, instead of thinking solely of competition, she knew that collaboration would be far more beneficial and outsourced the making of geta with more than 12 local companies to provide design ideas, materials and work togeteher for combined products.
Fourth, and maybe more importantly, she uses, as much as possible, Japanese material form nearbymountains and forests.
When she needs exoctic wood her husband travel to Vietnam, Indonesia and other countries where his foreign language ability comes in handy.

Making geta/sandals involved many materials which have to be stored permanently!

Her company presently counts 15 staff and all participate, young and not so young, to the whole concpet of the company, even modelling for their pamhlets and brochures!
Not only her company supports local workers by using made-in-Shizuoka products whenever possible but also by hiring residents in the neighborhood.

Some work is done with traditional machiney.

But highly specialsed craft needs the hands and skills of veterans!

But young power is also definitely needed!

Without mentioning the need for a professional office team!

And orders are piling up!

Prices for Mizutori’s geta range from ¥6,800 to ¥18,000, but those painted with urushi lacquer cost as much as ¥200,000, and the award-winning made-to-order product requires two months until delivery.

Geta can be made with flat soles in a modern style but also with two ha/stilts for more tradiyonal footwear.

Geta may look unwieldy at first to a Westerner, but the fit and breathability are such that they are as easy to wear as a rubber beach sandal.

Mizutori Company provides sandals up to 32 size!

Geta are designed both for ladies and gentlemen and of course for children.
As for ladies’ footwear height can be designed according to the customer’s priorities and preferences!

The great news is that Mizutori Company is planning to accept and design visits for foreign visitors who will be able to make their own sandals on site!

They would certainly make for a great and unique souvenir gift back home!

The other good news are that Mizutori Company will soon open an otlet shop in the middle of Shizuoka City, on Aoba Street (Aoi Ward) in the middle of the of an area replet with great shops, izakayas and restaurants. But this is for another article!

Mizutori Company
Address: 420-0876 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Heiwa, 1-16-22
Tel.: 054-271-6787 (English & French possible)
Fax: 054-272-1302
E-Mail: info@mizutori.co.jp
Homepage: http://www.geta.co.jp
Web Shop: http://www.geta-shop.jp

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Advertisements

Walking to the Izakaya the Japanese Way: Geta/Japanese Clogs

Not so long ago, the sound of wooden clogs (geta/下駄 in Japanese) could still be heard at any time of the day and night in any season in cities as well as in the countryside.
This is still mentioned as one of the sounds that older Japanese miss most in modern life. A traditional saying in Japanese says that “You do not know until you have worn geta.” meaning that you cannot tell the results until the game is over.
Chefs were wearing them at work inside izakayas and sushi restaurants. Now they wear graceless white vinyl boots.
Interestingly enough, by ignoring geta in favor of Western footwear, the Japanese are not doing a favour to their own health. Instead of being constricted inside shoes with the consequent skin problems during the rainy season and sweaty socks to wear with them, geta allow free movement of the feet in the most natural environment. Contrary to belief, walking with the skin in direct contact with a wooden or lacquered surface does keep the feet at a comfortable temperature, even in the snow.
Moreover, good Japanese-made geta cost an average of 5~6,000 yen (50~60 US dollars), which make them cheaper and far more durable than Western shoes! They can be easily worn day in day out for up to 10 years according to traditional makers in Shizuoka Prefecture!
The great majority of modern geta are made abroad, especially in China these days but traditional manufacture still survives in Japan.
The City of Fukuyama in Hiroshima Prefecture produces 60% of the national output. Hida City in Oita Prefecture is also a major producer.
Traditional and high quality geta are especially made in Fukushima, Nagano, Niigata, Akita and Shizuoka Prefectures.

Geta are sometimes called wooden clogs in English because of their resemblance wit clogs and flip-flops. One could describe them as a kind of elevated wooden base held onto the foot with a fabric thong to keep well above the ground. They are worn with traditional Japanese clothing such as kimono or yukata but (in Japan) also with Western clothing during the summer months. One can still see people wearing them in rain or snow to keep the feet dry, dur to their extra height and impermeability compared to other shoes such as zori.
There are several styles of geta. The most familiar style in the West consists of unfinished wooden board called a dai (台, stand) that the the foot is set upon, with a cloth thong (鼻緒, hanao) that passes between the big toe and second toe. Although there is no need to wear socks, apprentice geisha (also called “maiko”) wear their special geta with tabi (Japanese socks) to accommodate the hanao.

Ladies will often add a protective cap called tsumakawa (爪掛) to protect their toes from the rain or mud in inclement weather.
The supporting pieces below the base board, called teeth (歯, ha), are also made of wood. Cheap clogs are made with cedar wood (杉, sugi), whereas high-quality geta are made of very light-weight paulownia (桐, kiri) imported from Northern Japan.
The teeth are usually made separately and fixed to the base board later (Funageta/船下駄), whereas more valuable geta will be carved out of a single block called (Okaku/大角).
Although great craftsmen are becoming scarce (there are only five recognized in Shizuoka Prefecture in spite of their fame), geta can and usually are suggested to be made on order, so as to perfectly “fit the feet” of its wearer.
Such footwear is becoming increasingly popular abroad where more and more people have recognized not only their practical, health and ecological values, but also for their decorative and fashion merits.

The dai may vary in shape: oval and narow for ladies to rectangular and wide for men as well as in color: natural (harigeta/張下駄), lacquered (nurigeta/塗り下駄) or stained.
The teeth of any geta may have harder wood drilled into the bottom to avoid splitting, and the soles of modern clogs of the teeth may have rubber soles glued to them.
The hanao can be wide and padded, or narrow and hard, and it can be made with many fabrics Printed cotton with traditional Japanese motifs is popular. Inside the hanao is a cord (recently synthetic, but traditionally hemp) which is knotted in a special way to the three holes of the dai. The hanao are replaceable, although breaking the thong of one’s geta is considered very unlucky!
Maiko in Kyoto wear distinctive tall geta called okobo. Also very young girls wear “okobo”, also called “pokkuri” and “koppori”, that have a small bell inside a cavity in the thick “sole”/dai. These geta have no teeth but are formed of one piece of wood. They are carved in such a way as to accommodate for walking.
Japanese professional sumo wrestlers in the lowest wo divisions of Jonokuchi and Jonidan must wear geat with their yukata at all times!

Various types of geta for the true collectors! (this list is far from exhaustive!):
-Sokugeta/足駄: real antiques as these were worn between the Heian Era and Edo Era! They became the symbolic footwear of students in meiji Era
-Yama Geta/山下駄: Square mountain Clogs made of paulownia wood and worn at the beginning of Edo Era. When made with cedar pine wood, they are called Yoshiwara geta/吉原下駄 as revellers in the Yaoshiwara Distritc used them on rainy days.
-Pokkuri Geta/ぽっくり下駄 worn by maiko, geisha and young girls, generally higher and decorated with golden motifs.
-Robou/露卯, Yanagi Geta柳下駄 worn in the early Edo Era.
-Uma Geta/馬下駄, square and made of cedar pine wood. “Horse Clogs”, called so because they sound like horse’s hooves on paved streets.
-Koma Geta/駒下駄, most common all-weather clogs until before the Meiji Era.
-Kiri Geta/桐下駄, high-quality expensive clogs made of paulownia wood. Originally finished with black lacquer.
-Odawara Geta/小田原下駄, very popular among harbor workers and fishermen in the 18th Century in spite of their high price.
-Ippon Geta/一本下駄 or Tengu Geta/天狗下駄, a clog with only one ha/歯/”tooth”. Both worn by kids and adults.
-Taka Geta/高下駄, very high clogs
-Bankara/バンカラ/Narrow clogs with high teeth, popular with older time students.

Recommended manufacture/display center:
Suruga Nuri Geta (駿河塗下駄) (designated by the Shizuoka Prefecture Government)
420-0047, Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Seikancho, 9-22
Tel. & fax: 054-253-4917
Homepage: http://www.shizuoka-kougei.jp/009.html (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

The Rugby World Cup is coming to Shizuoka!

We are barely a year left before the coming of the Rugby World to Japan and Shizuoka Prefecture is feverishly gearing itself for it with a new sense of responsibility!
After all, Ecopa Stadium in Fukuroi City, Shizuoka Prefecture, will be the venue for no less than 4 games, the third busiest in all Japan!
The first game will provide a true gem as it will feature Japan against the European Champions, Ireland!
Moreover, we shall be offered the great chance to see major teams in the names of South Africa and Australia from the Southern Hemisphere, Scotland and Italy from the VI Nations Tournament and some truly “exotic” teams represented by Georgia and newcomers, Russia!

Ecopa Stadium was chosen as a major venue for many reasons:
The Stadium with a capacity of over 50,000 was built for the Soccer World Cup and needs little improvements as it is used regularly for major events.
Shizuoka Prefecture is the home of Yamaha Jubilo (the rugby club, not the soccer club which belongs to the same company and is based in the same area), a powerful member (Japan Champions once) of the Japan Rugby Top League.
The neighboring Shinkansen Stations in Kakegawa City, Shizuoka City and Hamamatsu City.
The local International Airport, Shizuoka Fuji Airport in Shimada City.

Now, games will kick off early in the afternoon or early evenings, meaning that a lot of people will have to stay overnight in Shizuoka Prefecture!
What better opportunity can it be to introduce all these visitors, tourists and guests to our Prefecture, to its tourism and to its superior gastronomy?

Rugby fans all over the world are a hungry and thirsty lot! Not only before and during the game, but mainly during the “third half time” when any rugby player or fan worth his name spends as much time as possible socializing with the opponents of the day for some great talks and exchanges. Accordingly, Fukuroi City in particular should seriously think of cooperating with local producers and brewers to keep such a crowd happy for as long as possible not only during the game but after, thus encouraging all these welcome visitors to at least stay overnight and enjoy Shizuoka’s famed gastronomy! To start with, food and drink stands should be erected around the Stadium itself where there is enough space for such an enterprise and bring a great profit to the local farmers, brewers, food companies and local restaurants/izakayas!
The city should also seriously think of providing extra accommodation and services to all these Japanese and overseas fans! One solution would be to invite and encourage local farmers to provide farmhouse stays as the majority of foreign rugby fans hail from the “country” and certainly prefer the rural pleasures to overcrowded and senseless cities!

Food for thought, if I may allow myself this corny comment!

Ecopa Stadium 2019 Rugby World Cup Schedule
Saturday, September 28th (14th game), Group A, Japan vs Ireland, kick off at 16:15
Friday, October 4th, (23rd game), Group B, South Africa vs Italy, kick off at 18:45
Wednesday, October 9th, (31st game), Group A, Scotland vs Russia, kickoff at 16:15
Friday October 11th, (33rd game), Group D, Australia vs Georgia, kick off at 19:15

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

Shizuoka Cycling Gourmet Ride 1: Shimada JR Station North Exit Area

Cycling has many advantages when searching nice places both on and off the beaten tracks!
You can stop anywhere, any time while moving at an easy pace faster than on foot and with much less strain. Moreover it is a very healthy way to eliminate the extra calories you have been enjoying on the way!
Moreover, cycling is a joy in Shizuoka Prefecture thanks to its mild climate allowing for long sorties any time of the year!
Shimada City is a location rapidly gaining recognition, what with the nearby international airport and the ever increasing influx of tourists, so shall we start by getting off or meeting at the north exit of Shimada JR Station!

SN3O0124

B Cafe is a nice little cafe cum bar very close to the station but along a side street away from the traffic.
The cakes there are all made on site and although food generally is yummy this is my favorite spot for a quiet drip coffee and one of those succulent cheese cakes!

427–0022 Shimada City, Hontori, 1-9-10
Tel.: 0547-35-6538
Opening hours: 10:00 am~~
Closed on Wednesdays, 1st & 3rd Sundays
Entirely non-smoking!
Check the opening hours and other offerings on AYANO ASAOKA on FACEBOOK!

SN3O0449
SN3O0449

Tonbo/とんぼ is a real find when it comes to takoyaki/octopus dumplings, a favorite among tourists and Japanese alike!
This is the genuine article in Osaka-style fashion cooked in front of your very eyes!
And don’t forget the succulent hot plate cooked okonmiyaki, soba Modan and pork egg roll, the whole accompanied by a local Oomuraya Brewery sake!

427-0029 Shimada City, Hinode-Cho, 1-1 ( few minutes’ walk straight from Shimada JR Station North exit)
Tel.: 0547-35-7635
Opening hours: 17:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays and national Holidays.
Orders on the phone and take-out OK!

SN3O3609

SETSUGEKKA/雪月花 is not only a way above average soba/buckwheat noodles restaurant but an establishment specializing in exquisite tempura, all at reasonable prices, served with rare sake from the neighboring oomuraya sake Brewery!
Come early as it tends to be full quickly!

Shimada City, Hontouri, 2-3-4
Tel.: 0547-35-5241
Opening hours: 11:30~14:30, 17:00~22:00
Closed on Monday and third Tuesday
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
Entirely non-smoking for lunch!

hizuki-11

HIZUKI/ひづき for such a “country city” is just extravagant while very reasonably priced. A French/Japanese style Izakaya, it offers all the classic in a modern manner from juicy chicken karaage to butter-fried scallops and shrimps!
A place to take your “special one” to!

Chef/owner: Akimasa Ooishi/大石明昌さん
Shizuoka Prefecture, Shimada City, Hon Toori, 1 Chome, 9-19
Tel.: 0547-54-5860
Opening hours:17:30~23:30
Closed on Wednesdays

SAKURAI-12

OKONOMIYAKI SAKURAI/お好み焼桜井 is also another favorite both with locals and visitors for serving authentic Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki and this in enormous and reasonbly-priced portions! Take-outs ok!
Satisfaction guaranteed!

Shimada City, Ougi Cho, 11-14
Tel.: 0547-37-6777
Opening hours: 11:30~13:30, 16:30~20:30. 11:30~20:00 on Sundays
Closed on Wednesdays
Take-outs can be ordered on the phone
Parties welcome!

SN3O0573
SN3O0573

din/g.place is another cafe tucked away from the main street but definitely worth a visit, especially in the afternoon if you have a sweet tooth! Enormous dessert plates and fine coffee!

Shimada City, Hon Toori, 1-1-10, Miyanokomichi Passage
Tel.: 0547-35-5005
Opening hours: 11:00~18:00, 08:30~18:00 on week ends. 17:00~21:00 on reservation only (from 5 guests~)
Closed on Mondays
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
FACEBOOK

SN3O0183

And don’t forget OOMURAYA BREWERY
Sakes internationally recognized and be always on the lookout for extravagant and rare nectars!

Oomuraya Brewery (Wakatake, Onigoroshi, Onna Nakase)
Shimada City, Hontoori, 1-1-8
tel.: 0547-37-3058

Now, this is only a fraction of a discovery, but I am sure you will a special pleasure adding to it!
Until then, good cycling and appetite!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

Sports, Health & Vegetables in Shizuoka With Mitchell Duke at Shimizu S-Pulse

Mitchell and Charlotte Duke

Mitchell Duke, who also played for the Australian National Football (Soccer) Team, is now in his 4th year at Shimizu S-Pulse Football Club in Shizuoka City, a member of the J1 League with a long tradition and history.
He gracefully agreed to an interview to answer questions and express his views on culinary diet and especially vegetables in a region which boasts the largest official number of varieties in all Japan.
Question: Dear Mitchell, thank you so much for sparing your time. First of all, what was your daily diet back in Australia before moving to Shizuoka City?
Mitchell Duke: Quite heavy, actually! As a typical Ozzie (Australian) it started right away with enormous breakfasts with eggs, meat, avocadoes, bread and what else. In comparison, Japanese breakfasts would amount to calories ingested in our comparatively lighter dinners. Lunches and dinners still included large amounts of carbohydrates, what with all the steaks and pasta!

Q: What has changed since you came to Japan?
MD: Everything! I immediately began in earnest to research more into nutrition to the point of taking a TFE course in nutrition. First of all, I cut out the red meat to shift to a pescarian (fish, especially white-fleshed fish) diet. I also came to bypass most dairies although I still eat eggs. And of course, I came to pay more attention to all vegetables of all kinds.

Q: Do you find it easy to maintain your new diet in Shizuoka (and Japan for that matter!)?
MD: Yes, indeed! There are enough restaurants (I do have to eat out, what with trips and inevitable socializing) with enough variety to allow me to choose food according to my priorities without much of a fuss. Truth to tell, my teammates often indulge in plenty of meat, especially at their favorite yakiniku restaurants. In such cases I keep to grilled vegetables and dig a lot into the kimuchi! LOL. One thing is sure: I keep my eyes and ears open for new venues and possibilities!

Q: Can you obtain your requirements when eating at the club facilities?
MD: no problem there! Meals are served on a buffet style basis which allows me plenty of options including heaps of vegetables and salads! The food there is not only plentiful, but definitely above average cafeteria!

Q: Where do you usually make your daily food shopping?
MD: So far I have used the local Max Value supermarket and other local shops, but I must admit that I probably need to investigate a bit further! The more options, the better! If you have any suggestions, I shall be the happier for it!

Q: Do you consider Shizuoka an easy place to follow your diet compared to the rest of Japan?
MD: Yes, I may say that Shizuoka is arguably the best place when it comes to satisfy my personal dietary requirements, especially when you consider that it is an endless discovery! When you choose to concentrate on vegetables, the variety offered here is nigh unbeatable! The neutral weather plays an important role when it comes to a yearlong search for the best vegetables!

Q: What are the main benefits from your present diet?
MD: First of all, weight control has become so much easier to attain. And I actually enjoy the whole experience. I haven’t been sick for a long time, and most importantly I do recover faster from fatigue or injuries inherent to my occupation! The few times I do have to ingest meat I always end up feeling sluggish the next day! A kind of food hangover!

Q: The last question: would you be kind enough to introduce one your favorite restaurants to our readers?
MD: Ristorante Massimo Italian Restaurant (89-1, Miho, Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City. Tel.: 054-335-0030. http://www.geocities.jp/granmassimo/)!

-Dear Mitchell, thank you so much for sharinggyour time! It was a rare pleasure!
-You are most welcome, mate!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

Vegetarian (& Vegan) Sushi: It exists in Shizuoka!

“But it is all fish!”

Well, Shizuoka City and Prefecture, being the region in Japan where the largest number of vegetable varieties is grown it is almost too easy to reassure our vegetarian (& vegan, and naturally omnivorous) friends.

With a little research you will discover more than one chef willing to tackle the challenge of a client eager to eat sushi but not fish or meat. I have introduced one of them at end of this article, but I am sure your japanese friends will come up with more!

For a start let me introduce vegetarian ( I am not but I love vegetables!) let me introduce some of the possibilities I have tasted myself!

Daikon rolls!

These rolls were made with thin wide strips of Daikon  quickly marinated in lemon water to be used instead of dry nori/seaweed.
The daikon was rolled around  sushi rice (shari) with trefoil stems, umeboshi/pickled Japanese plum meat (sorry for the unintended joke!) and shiso/perilla leaves!

The three nigiri coming with the rolls are:

Buckwheat sprouts/Hime Soba Me/姫蕎麦芽 Nigiri!

Thin leek sprouts/Me Negi/芽葱 Nigiri!

Trefoil/Mitsuba/三つ葉 Nigiri!

SUSHIK-09-08-31-12

Another assortment of vegetarian sushi nigiri!

SUSHIK-09-08-31-13

Himenegi/young thin leeks reminiscent of French ciboulette.

SUSHIK-09-08-31-14

Kaiwaredaikon/Japanese radish sprout, lightly boiled and topped with some umeboshi/Japanese pickled plum.

SUSHIK-09-08-31-15

Betarazuke/daikon lightly pickled in sweet vinegar. In this case served with a piece of shiso/perilla leaf between the shari/sushi rice and the neta/topping. Some lime skin was grated o top making for a sweet sophisticated taste!

SUSHIK-09-08-31-16

Mitsuba/Trefoil: the stems and leaves were slightly boiled and separated, making for a bicolour combination accentuated by finely cut kyuri/cucumber!

SN3B0158

Let us continue with another assortment!
Can you guess the vegetables?

SN3O2213

Another Himenegi/芽葱young thin leek topped with umeboshi!

SN3O2198

Slightly seared green peppers nigiri!

SN3O0019

My favorite natto/fermented beans roll!
Natto, Ume, Shiso Maki/梅紫蘇納豆巻! fermented beans, pickled Japanese plum and perilla roll!

And for dessert: Kampyou Maki?かんぴょうまき/Dry gourd shavings (recooked) Roll!

Of course this is only a start!
Depending on the season you could ask for seared mushrooms, pickled eggplants, cooked burdock root, boiled spinach, boiled rape seed flower, green or violet mizuna, salad celery, pickled radishes, etc. And for not so strict vegetarians, tamagoyaki/卵焼き?Japanese omelet!

A great time to have, surely!

Recommended Sushi Restaurant:
SUSHI SHOKUNIN BIRUKAWA/鮨職人 びる川

420-0037 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Hitoyado-Cho, 2-5-8
Tel.: 054-251-9787
Opening hours: 17:00~23:00
Closed on Wednesdays
Reservations highly recommended
Credit cards OK
Google Map

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

Seaweed: The Vegetable of the Oceans!

Mozuku in amazu/sweet vinegar as served at Yasaitei, Shizuoka City.

Seaweed or algae have been used for eons by humans, but have only been recently rediscovered as a food of their own.
Seaweeds are consumed by coastal people, particularly in East Asia, e.g., Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, but also in Indonesia, Belize, Peru, the Canadian Maritimes, Scandinavia, Ireland, Wales, Philippines, and Scotland.
It is rich in calcium and magnesium and seaweed noodles can be cooked into pancit canton, pancit luglug, spaghetti or carbonara.

Nori

In Asia, Zicai (紫菜) (in China), gim (in Korea) and nori (in Japan) are sheets of dried Porphyra used in soups or to wrap sushi. Chondrus crispus (commonly known as Irish moss or carrageenan moss) is another red alga used in producing various food additives, along with Kappaphycus and various gigartinoid seaweeds. Porphyra is a red alga used in Wales to make laver. Laverbread, made from oats and the laver, is a popular dish there. Affectionately called “Dulce” in northern Belize, seaweeds are mixed with milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla to make a common beverage.

Seaweeds are also harvested or cultivated for the extraction of alginate, agar and carrageenan, gelatinous substances collectively known as hydrocolloids or phycocolloids. Hydrocolloids have attained commercial significance as food additives. The food industry exploits their gelling, water-retention, emulsifying and other physical properties. Agar is used in foods such as confectionery, meat and poultry products, desserts and beverages and moulded foods. Carrageenan is used in salad dressings and sauces, dietetic foods, and as a preservative in meat and fish products, dairy items and baked goods.

Alginates are used in wound dressings, and production of dental molds. In microbiology research, agar is extensively used as culture medium.

Seaweed is a source of iodine, necessary for thyroid function and to prevent goitre.

Seaweed extract is used in some diet pills. Other seaweed pills exploit the same effect as gastric banding, expanding in the stomach to make the body feel more full.

Konbu Tsukudani, a popular Japanese seaweed dish.

The Japanese divide their edible seaweed into three main groups:
BROWN ALGAE:

-Konbu/昆布, or Laminariaceae Bory (Latin), comprises many varieties, some of them regional: Makonbu or Saccharina japonica(真昆布), Onikonbu or Laminaria diabolica(羅臼昆布), Rishiri Konbu or Laminaria ochotensis(利尻昆布), Hosome Konbu or Laminaria religiosa(細目昆布), Hitaka or Mitsuishi Konbu or Laminaria angustata(日高昆布、三石昆布), Naga or Hamanaka Konbu or Laminaria longissima(長昆布、浜中昆布), and Kagome or Kjellmaniella crassifolia(籠目昆布).

-Hijiki or hiziki (ヒジキ, 鹿尾菜 or 羊栖菜, hijiki) (Sargassum fusiforme, or Hizikia fusiformis) is a brown sea vegetable growing wild on rocky coastlines around Japan, Korea, and China. Its two names mean deer-tail grass and sheep-nest grass respectively.

-Hibatama or Fucus, a genus of brown alga in the Class Phaeophyceae to be found in the intertidal zones of rocky seashores almost everywhere in the world.

-Hondawara or ホンダワラ(馬尾藻、神馬藻 (Sargassum fulvellum)

-Mozuku, or Cladosiphon okamuranus (水雲; 藻付; 海蘊; 海雲) , a type of edible seaweed in the genus Cladosiphon, naturally found in Okinawa, Japan. Most of the mozuku now is farmed by locals, and sold to processing factories. The main use of mozuku is as food, and as source of one type of sulfated polysaccharide called Fucoidan to be used in cancer treatment aid health supplements.

-Wakame (ワカメ), Undaria pinnatifida, a sea vegetable, or edible seaweed. In Japan it is most widely used in miso soup.

Yes, these violet and green algae are edible!

VIOLET ALGAE:

-Asakusa Nori, or アサクサノリ(浅草海苔 (Porphyra tenera).

-Tengusa, which gives agar agar, a gelatinous substance. Historically and in a modern context, it is chiefly used as an ingredient in desserts throughout Japan, but also as solid jelly used as decoration in salads and others.

GREEN ALGAE:

-Aosa or sea lettuce comprising comprise the genus Ulva, a group of edible green algae that are widely distributed along the coasts of the world’s oceans.

-Aonori (青海苔 or アオノリ, “blue seaweed” or “green seaweed”), also known as green laver, a type of edible green seaweed, including species from the genera Monostroma and Enteromorpha of Ulvaceae. It is commercially cultivated in some bay areas in Japan, such as Ise Bay. It contains rich minerals such as calcium, magnesium, lithium, vitamins, and amino acids such as methionine.

-Umibudou, or sea grapes, a delicacy of its own!

MARKET AVAILABILITY IN JAPAN:

In Japan it is interesting to note you can easily buy seaweed in paste form:

Konbu

Aosa

Hijiki

Next here are some pics to help you discover/recognize edible varieties in the markets:

Akamoku

Makusa

They often come as a mixture!

Red Algae

JAPANESE GASTRONOMY:

Here are some examples of the use of seaweed in Japanese gastronomy that can be expanded and inspired from wherever in the world you are, you being vegan, vegetarian or omnivore!
I have reduced the size of the pictures. Click on them to enlarge and copy them!

Agar or Crystal Kaiso/Crystal Seaweed!

The same in a salad!

An example of seaweed salad with wakame and agar.

Another seaweed salad with samples harvested in Noto Peninsula, Ishikawa Prefecture!

An Okinawa variety called somen nori!

Another local variety called Tsunotama/Horns and Balls!

Wakame appetizer!

Wakame Noodles!

Another Wakame salad!

Wakame sticks cooked with miso paste!

Wakame and Miso Paste mix from Kanzanji, Shizuoka Prefecture!

Wakame and Miso Bread!

Wakame Miso Soup!

Wakame, tofu and miso Soup!

A bowl of freshly steamed rice with seaweed paste!

Soba/Buckwheat noodles with nori and green leaf vegetables!

Seaweed, trefoil and ground sesame seeds salad!

The best way to eat rice?

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents