| fieldwork || observations || week 4 ||

07|09|2011 § Leave a comment

|| observations || week 4 ||

:: Hoshino-mura ::
300911 | 星野村

Rice (gohan) being the core of all Japanese meals (also called gohan) deserves special attention during my research for [Table for 100’s], so once Keiko offered to take me somewhere in the country by car, I immediately thought we should go and visit the rice-fields in Kyuushuu. This time of the year is particularly beautiful as, not only the rice flowers are in blossom (hiranbana), filling the golden yellow fields with a tint of dark pink, but also, it’s the time of the year when the rice is harvested and hang on bamboo poles where it dries before the grains are collected.

Hoshino-mura is a rather special place, as the fields are organized in steps/shelves (tanada) and in-between the rice plantations one can also find impeccable turfs of green tea that we were then able to try at the Tea Museum.

Shizuku o-cha, is an exquisite variety of tea, especial from this region, and should be drunk in a tea cup with a little lid that helps the one who is drinking separating the leaves from the water. The tea can then be eaten with vinegar and salt and with a taste that resembles spinach.


i* Stepped rice and green tea fields, Hoshino-mura

i* Lunch at a small local restaurant

i* Wild flowers & Sunflower greenhouses’

i* Shizuku o-cha

i* Drying the rice & higanbana (rice flowers in blossom)

:: Soba @ Rakugo ::
290911 | 福岡

I was invited to join a traditional Japanese Storytelling Performance, Rakugo 落語 (meaning fallen words). Rakugo is told by a storyteller (rakugoka) who plays different roles in the play. Each story is composed of an introductory chapter and a main story. In this case, there were two storytellers, one from Osaka and one from Tokyo. One could tell the difference by their accents and their facial expressions.

Once the play was over, both the members of the audience and the Rakugoka set around a long table for a Soba dinner. The dinner was cheery and delicious. The venue where the performance was held is also a famous Soba house in Fukuoka, so soba noodles were made and served in a rather precious manner. The course had three steps. A small entrance served on a round lacquered tray. Minimal amounts of food were carefully displayed in a combination of colour and shapes impeccably arranged. It was ten followed by an equally minimal portion of vegetables and shrimps tempura that should be dipped in a little bowl of salt. And, to finish the meal, zaru soba (cold soba) served on an elevated tray on top of a wicker mat and accompanied with soy sauce and thinly sliced spring onions with wasabi and gratted daikon.

What surprised me the most were not the beautiful dishes, nor the fact that the storytellers were having dinner with the audience, but the rhythm in which the food was served. Each person was served at a different time and that appeared to be absolutely normal. Some people had already finished, whilst others were still at the start of the meal.


i* Vegetables & Shrimps Tempura

i* From starter to the main dish (zaru soba)

i* Zaru soba

:: Sorera ni iro o tsukeru それらに色をつける ::
280911 | 福岡

At Mitsukoshi Depaato I encountered the most beautiful food department at the basement. Biscuits, cakes, bread, fruits & vegetables, jams and main dishes from all different colours and shapes, so carefully and orderly displayed, were screaming at the visitors to try them out and experience a full sensorial journey.

i* Colour them in

i* Matcha bread and cakes

:: Shokuhin no heiretsu 食品の並列 ::
280911 | 福岡

As part of the research, I went around Fukoka searching for the six parallel dishes, those that can be found in both Portuguese and Japanese Cuisine and result from a cultural exchange in the 16th century. I went to the incredible food halls in various department stores and supermarkets where I have found, tried and photographed the different dishes and can now compare them with the parallel Portuguese version. One can certainly see the similarities, but the taste and presentation makes each dish individual and now typical from the places they are cooked in. They have gained their own identity, even if the origin is shared between them.


i* カステラ Castella & Pão de Ló (image from the web)

i* 鶏卵素麺 Keiran Somen & Fios de Ovos (image from the web)

i* 南蛮漬け Nanbanzuke &  Escabeche (image from the web)

i* 天ぷら Tempura &  Peixinhos da Horta (image from the web)

i* 飯 Gohan &  Arroz (photo by Raquel & Mário Alpalhão)

:: Yanagibashi shijō 柳橋市場 ::
260911 | 福岡

Almost everyday I cycle along an old colourful structure that looks like it had been tacked away by the pavement, rather then built there purposefully. The structure I’m referring to is one of the oldest food markets in Fukuoka where one can encounter whale fillets, an immense variety of fishes in all forms and conservation methods, stalls filled up with never seen varieties of mushrooms and seaweeds, along with beautiful (and expensive) vegetables and fruits.

Going to food markets always feels like a treat and makes me want to immediately start inventing new recipes with all the ingredients my eyes can see. Yanagibashi market was just as fascinating to the eyes as it was to my palate once I had the chance to try some of the fresh produce that was on display.


i* Yanagibashi market

i* Yanagibashi market

i* Preparing the fish

i* Dried fish

i* Mushrooms

:: Minoshima Market Street ::
260911 | 福岡

Minoshima Market Street is a very narrow street that runs across a few blocks and along it brings together all sorts of small, and large, groceries, fruit and vegetable shops, and specialized food stores and stalls, where one can find fresh food with slightly more accessible prices. Its narrowness is what is most charming as one gets a sense of walking along a domestic corridor populated with impressive colours and flavours.

i* Yaoya 八百屋

i* Mame no mise 豆の店

i* Ryōri rāmen 料理ラーメン (Cooking ramen)

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