Tag Archives: Shizuoka City

Noren/暖簾/Shop Curtains in Shizuoka Prefecture: A Japanese Tradition

PART 1)

A beautiful turnip noren at Tomii, Shizuoka City!

When visiting Japan, have you ever noticed those unusual “curtains” hanging outside the main entrance of traditional shops, izakayas and sometimes of private homes?
They are called “noren”.

Noren (暖簾) are traditional Japanese fabric dividers, hung between rooms, on walls, in doorways, or in windows. They usually have one or more vertical slits cut from the bottom to nearly the top of the fabric, allowing for easier passage or viewing. Noren are rectangular (but not always a rule) and come in many different materials, sizes, colors, and patterns.

Noren are traditionally used by shops and restaurants as a means of protection from sun, wind, and dust, and for advertising space. Sentō (commercial bathhouses) also place noren across their entrances, typically blue in color for men and red for women with the kanji 湯 (yu, litterally hot water) or the corresponding hiragana ゆ. They are also hung in the front entrance to a shop to signify that the establishment is open for business, and they are always taken down at the end of the business day.

There are still many left in Shizuoka City and Prefecture in spite of all that modernizing and I do meet a lot of them along my bicycle wanderings. It would be a pity not to share their sight, as it would make for beautiful souvenires to take back home next time you visit Japan!

Accordingly here is the first of hopefully many postings on those little beauties!

A long, sober and narrow one. Pristine white!

For the night owls!

Chibariyo, an Okinawa restaurant.

Izakaya noren: Kurumaya.

Another izakaya nore, very feminine?

Simple design and pretty complicated characters!

Mishimaya, a Soba Restaurant. Very basic and simple.

Masa Sushi Restaurant. Another basic and simple Noren.

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PART 2)

A very traditional style for a oden-ya!

A large noren for a large izakaya, Taihei!

A double entrance for that izakaya with the noren inside a torii gate!

Elegant rabbit!

Great calligraphy!

Very modern approach by this cheaper kind of izakaya!

A traditional matsuri/festival “flag”!
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PART 3

A very large noren in front of a Japanese restaurant!

You probably guessed this is a Chinese restaurant!
Actually “Chinese restaurants” in Japan are of two kind: Japanese-style serving ramen, gyza and stir-fried food as above and rea Chinese restaurants!

Unusual noren in front of a shop selling all kinds of artifacts from cloth to pottery.

A small Japanese traditional cloth store!

A typical small Izakaya!

Prancing rabbits!

An inviting “Tanuki”/racoon at an Izakaya!

Traditional Yakitori Izakaya!

Found this beautiful calligraphy at the end of a small alley!

“Hashi/Bridge”, an izakaya specializing in local Japanese sake I haven’t visited yet!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, 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,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Bamboo Handcraft in Shizuoka Prefecture!

Bamboo has been used from times immemorial. It is very sturdy and does not spoil easily, even in the most severe conditions or environments.
People tend to forget it is not a tree, but a grass. It can grow in inclement climates and withstand frost and snow, although severe droughts will kill it.
It flowers only once in its long (60 to 120 years) life before suddenly dying away.

Bamboos (there are many varieties) are also the fastest growing woody plants in the world. They are capable of growing up to 60 cm (24 in.) or more a day due to a unique rhyzome-dependent system. However, this astounding growth rate is highly dependent on local soil and climatic conditions. But the same growth rate can make it an environmental hazard in some regions where it supplants real trees.
Bamboos are of notable economic and cultural significance in Japan (and Asia) where the stems and even the leaves are extensively used in everyday life as building materials and as a highly versatile raw product, and the shoots as a food source.
Bamboo, when used for construction or utensil-making purpose must be harvested when the culms reach their greatest strength and when sugar levels in the sap are at heir lowest, as high sugar content increases the ease and rate of pest infestation.

Bamboo is extensively used as a food, medicine and construction material.
It also contributes to the manufacture of everyday utensils from chopsticks to baskets, from textiles to musical instruments, and even in water processing and transportation (bamboo bicycles!).
Now, because of its comparatively mild and wet climate, Shizuoka Prefecture has been the home of bamboo handcraft for a long time.
Its major guild, called Suruga Takesen Sujizaiku/駿河竹千筋細工 (literally, Suruga Bay Bamboo Thousand Lines Thin Works) or “Suruga Zaiku” for short, has been in existence since 1620 and quickly achieved fame thanks to the Shogunate and the Old Tokaido Route.
At first craftsmen concentrated on the manufacture of utilitarian objects from baskets to small boxes and trays actively sought by the travelers for their own use or as valuable souvenirs and tradable artifacts.
Their products achieved international first in Austria in 1873 where they were exhibited at the Wien International Exposition. Since then the craft has witnessed lows and highs, but in this present world of cheap plastic and metal utilities, bamboo has increasingly achieved a deserved status of artistic value and even that of a politically correct environment-friendly material.

At present the Guild accounts for 14 craftsmen and craftswomen of all ages specializing in some form of the handicraft. The next generation is well provided for and collectors and buyers can be assured of a continuous, if limited because of the sheer hard work and artistry, supply.
There is an almost unending line of products available depending on your needs:
Vase baskets to hold or carry pottery or glass vases, protecting and adding to the aesthetic value of their contents. There are some 80 models of them that can be laid on tables or tokonomas or hung on walls and pillars.
Many exquisite “kaze suzu/風鈴”, or “wind bells” resonating inside very fine bamboo lined balls.
More than 20 cake boxes and trays to serve or preserve Japanese cakes/wagashi.
Beautiful “handbags” lined with hand-dyed cloth.

Insect collectors, especially “suzu mushi/鈴虫/ring-bell cricket” beloved by the Japanese during the hot season, can choose among more than 20 delicately built cages where they can keep and feed their little pets.
Lamp shades (more than 25 of them) can not only make for very utilitarian devices, but also for lovable souvenirs to bring back home as the oriental note in your western abodes.
But my favorite, if I may be allowed a personal comment, are the trays, either made of bent bamboo lines or interwoven bamboo fibers!

Consult their homepage (Japanese) for the entire array and direct purchase at:
http://www/takesensuji.jp/
Visit their guild in Shizuoka City if you wish to be directly introduced to the artists at work:
Shizuoka Takesen Kougei Kyodokumiai, 420-0078, Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Hachi Bancho, 7-1
Tel.: 054-252-4924
Fax: 054-273-2679

Or if you happen to stop at Shizuoka Station, spare a minute to admire all the art works at Sumpu Raku Ichi Shop!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, 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,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Shizen No Chikara Organic Farm: Visit by “47 Japanese Farms” in Shizuoka City!

Syunsuke Sano/佐野俊介 of Shizen No Chikara Organic Farm explaining his craft to Roshni Nirody and Sara Harriger of the U.S. Department of State

Ms. Roshni M. Nirody (from New Jersey) and Ms. Sara Harriger (Alaska) employed by the U.S. Department of State working for the Foreign Service Institute, Japanese language and Area Training Center at the U.S. Embassy in Japan paid us a visit in Shizuoka City!
Not only these young ladies speak very good Japanese on top of their native language but even more languages, a undisputable proof of their ability for their jobs!
They have initiated their own grand three and a half year project at 47 Farms to examine Japanese agriculture through interviews and working farm stays with farmers in each of Japan`s 47 prefectural entities!
Read more HERE, it is certainly worth a very long look!
To cut a story short they contacted me as they wanted to discover what Shizuoka Farms had in store for them!
Actually Shizuoka does have a lot, but to make easier for their first visit I and a staff at M2 labo decided to take them to new but already very influential Organic Farm in Shizuoka City and Prefecture called Shizen No Chikara Farm.

Organic Tomatoes!

Shizen No Chikara Farm has plots in Sena, Shimo, Nippon Daira and many others in the Prefecture.
We took them to Sena where the man in charge, Syunsuke Sano/佐野俊介 was kind enough to explain his crafts and answer quite a few very pointed questions from our lady guests!

All the cultivation is organic in the strict sense with no insecticides, or any agrichemicals.
The insects are fought off with natural repellents concocted by the farmers, catch fly sticky tapes or with natural enemies such as ladybugs!

Temperature and humidity are constantly checked and monitored!

For the moment they grow five varieties of tomatoes there!

These will go to the top restaurants in the Prefecture!

Now, Shizen No Chikara succeeded a very difficult organic cultivation at their first attempt: strawberries!

The strawberries are not allowed to come in contact with the floor or soil!
No need to mention this is all daily back-breaking work!

The greenhouse has its own beehive!

Even the beehive is kept super clean!

The bees are vital for a regular pollination and beautiful berries!

Organic mini daikon!

We then proceeded to the plot in Shimo to have a look at the their root and leaf vegetables!

Row of mini daikons!

Komatsuna left to look after their harvested rows!

Hosonegi/scallions/mini leeks!

Leeks are great to fight common colds!

Big white daikons!

Japanese gastronomy wouldn’t exist without these!

Beautiful radishes and turnips just harvested!

The same in their rows!

This visit was all too short for my own satisfaction and I already have invited our sweet visitors to come again as soon as possible!
I’m already planning visits to Numazu and Fujinomiya Cities!
Our two ladies are not only lovers of agriculture but also gastronomes. I have a few breweries and izakayas in mind for them!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, 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,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery