New LED edison lightbulb, available only in japan. Very warm like an incandescent.
Bedroom wall at Week- Kamiyama, Tokushima dropping down three stories to the riverbed.
Sapporo, at the top of the winter Olympic ski jump with Organic farmers from Kumamoto, Hey Sapporo, and Amy of Courier/Sapporo
Hey Sapporo Portland/Coffee talk at D & D.
About Life Coffee brewers, serving Amemalia, Onnibus, and Switch. Shibuya- rad. Previously one of the managers was the Tokyo Synesso service tech, very knowledgeable.
Last we guested and spoke with Hey Sapporo, our friends who moved back to their hometown with the radical idea to renovate it. In Japan people do not renovate, they simply tear down and build again. They do have repairs they make, and additions, but restoring older buildings is not mainstream. Repurposing items is definitely something very rare here. Our role was to give people a glimpse of another city, like Portland, but this is hard to imagine in a country where local government makes decisions behind closed doors. We talked in very broad terms about how Portland got to where it is now, not through one person but through private, and public partnership, and many collective groups who each brought to the table their ideas. We also talked about an active government who has done large and small things with the purpose of economic growth such as reducing smog (federal government push), creating natural areas, backing projects that led to downtown development like shopping centers, transit malls, and creating urban improvement zones. Hopefully, through the stories of growing up in Portland, the people we spoke to know a little more about our city and will start asking more of their city.
We stopped in Tokyo for a night, then flew to Tokushima City. Here we talked more, but this time with city officials included. Unlike Hey Sapporo, who wants their city to become more green and sustainable- Tokushima City simply needs some kind of stimulation, since their city is large but the population and business is on the decline. Like Portland was/is Tokushima is a cheap place to live in, the rivers, mountains, and ocean are all close, however the city sprawls. People here complain of dangerous traffic, lack of public transit, and declining city services. All day we held a workshop before heading to Kamiyama, a town nestled in forested hills, on steep roads and slopes sprawling along a tiny valley where we held two coffee workshops.
The outpouring of local roasters in Kamiyama was amazing. We put out the word that at this point we may be running low on coffee to serve, so everyone brought coffee from their roastery. We probably had ten different roasters represented, which we tried to brew. Tokushima University put us up at Week hotel/restaurant- a place to rival Ace Hotel Portland, and not even open yet. The rooms are well designed, and the restaurant has an open kitchen and communal tables, with rotating chefs each night. We kind of made ourselves at home dodging in and out of the kitchen as they prepared dinner for 30 people. They were very interested in pourover technique, the gold filters we used, and roasting style between japan and Portland, which we led a demonstration on followed by sharing a lovely meal together.
At this point we are in Niigata, for the main reason for our trip, the death anniversary of my grandfather and grandmother in-law. Sakiko’s parents are rice and soy farmers (depending on what the federal government tells them to plant each year). The neighboring towns are mostly closed shops. Today we take bikes and ride to Sanjo City to explore what is left. I personally think this would be an awesome place to revitalize. Yesterday we visited the most promising roaster for miles Nakamura Coffee. They are one of the many new roasters using a 10 kilo Probat. Highly recommended. We have visited Snow Peaks Worl Headquarters in Sanjo, but want to see more factories and Sake Breweries. This is our last full day in Niigata before heading back to Tokyo.
tokushima city, biking with students from the University on our 450 Yen a day bikes.