I took this earlier this week at Chuck Kayser’s organic farm, O.K.Fields in Kutsuki, Shiga. Memories of Edward Weston! These are destined for the Tomato sauce at Cafe Foodelica. これから美味しいオーガニックトマトソースになります！
Deep Kyoto Walks E-book Now Available on Amazon, with Ramblings by Yours Truly in “Gods, Monks, Secrets, Fish”
Edited by Michael Lambe and Ted Taylor, it’s a great collection of meditative strolls by long-term residents of Kyoto, and all-round cool people. And me. It sez ‘ere: “Deep Kyoto: Walks is a new anthology of 18 meditative strolls in Japan’s ancient cultural capital. Independently produced by 16 writers who have made their home in Kyoto, this book is both a tribute to life in the city of “Purple Hills and Crystal Streams”, and a testament to the art of contemplative city walking. In a series of rambles that express each writer’s intimate relationship with the city, they take you not only to the most famous shrines and temples, but also to those backstreets of memory where personal history and the greater story of the city intersect. Join Pico Iyer, Judith Clancy, Chris Rowthorn, John Dougill, Robert Yellin, John Ashburne and more as they explore markets and mountains, bars and gardens, palaces and pagodas and show us Kyoto afresh through the eyes of those who call it “home”.
My walk, entitled “Gods, Monks, Secrets, Fish” starts at the place where this fellow, Zen-Patriarch and proto-Foodie Dogen, (pictured left) ‘left the building’, and finishes at the sacred well in Nishiki Tenmangu. En route I stop off for some fine seafood at Daiyasu, and sample some of the great foodstuffs that are available in the Nishiki Market Arcade. At some point I go on seemingly unconnected asides about the French, the Vikings, Locusts, etc. If you’d like a wee taster, please pardon the pun, Michael has kindly put up this link on his Deep Kyoto website. The full kit and caboodle can be purchased for a very reasonable fee at that well-known purveyor of words named after a large rainforest, here. And here, for you patient readers who kindly got this far, is a bit of Dogen that didn’t make it into my walk:
“Through one word, or seven words, or three times five, even if you investigate thoroughly myriad forms, nothing can be depended upon. Night advances, the moon glows and falls into the ocean. The black dragon jewel you have been searching for, is everywhere”
As many of you already know, I am the Guest Editor for the upcoming Kyoto Journal Issue, ‘Food’. Here is the gist of our invitation letter. Enjoy, and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you think that you – or someone you know – might be interested in submitting. Bon apetit! (PS, that’s not the actual cover, although I rather like it – Natto in my genkan).
We sincerely hope that you find some personal interest in this, our new project.
We’re very eager to hear suggestions and ideas for content for this issue.
And if you know anyone else who may also be interested, please do pass this on to them…
“Some dishes seem to be charged with a psychic energy, a mana which makes them attract attention, generate interest, stimulate debate, inspire controversy and debates about authenticity. The same is true of certain artists” – John Lanchester, ‘The Gourmet’
“A great dish is the master achievement of countless generations” – Curnonsky
“The universe is nothing without the things that live in it, and everything that lives eats” – Brillat-Savarin
“Much of the pleasure of food is a flirtation with decay” – Sean French, “First Catch Your Puffin”
We adore it, we abhor it, we need it, we leave it. Without it, we exist not. Food pervades every area of our thought and existence. Food allows us to live, when we are privileged enough to have it. It sustains us. It inspires us. It enslaves us. It educates us. It may kill us. It allows us to communicate with the Gods.
Your food is not mine, nor mine is yours, but we may share it, and in so doing, what joy. The sloth and the wolf eat, but only humans dine. Sometimes upon each other. There are rules for what we eat, and how. There are those who tell us what we should ingest. There are those who say we are what we eat. There are those who say we eat what we are.
Few remain silent on Food. And why would one? What a natural topic for discussion, discourse, eulogy, outrage, comedy, reflection, prayer, ire, poetry, love. Food defies time. It exists in the memory and the here and now. It is simultaneouslyuniversal and particular, literal and metaphoric, indelibly bound with meaning on an infinite variety of levels. Yet let’s not forget, it is also life-affirming, edible, incredible fun, a celebration of life itself. And so many of its greatest exponents and proponents live here in Asia.
For all of the above reasons, we look forward with great anticipation to Kyoto Journal’s 82nd issue, due out in winter 2014 — our long-awaited special on Food. We seek tales, observations, musings: a sumptuous buffet of interesting, unusual ideas on Asian-related food and food lore. Coffee-table tomes already exist on everything from kaiseki menu planning to dining preferences amongst the headhunters of Borneo …so we are not looking for more of the same, including recipes or restaurant reviews. What we arehoping for is a balance of the personal and the profound, articles that mix wit, gravitas, novelty and spontaneity that will surprise and delight even the most jaded reader’s palate. Let us know what you’d like to cook up for what will surely be a memorable KJ feast!
—KJ 82 Guest Editor, John Ashburne
Kyoto Journal is a long-established non-profit, all-volunteer-based digital quarterly. Contributors receive a complimentary subscription, worldwide readership, and our deepest appreciation!
See also KJ 71, our wide-ranging special issue on Tea, guest-edited by Gaetano Kazuo Maeda: www.kyotojournal.org/backissues/kj71/
This week – it’s May 7th, 2014 today – has been a good one, photographically speaking. My photos, see below, are simultaneously hanging on walls on three continents, a first for me. I am also getting paid a decent amount of money. Feels great! 写真家の僕にとっては嬉しい一週間となりました。
現在、初めて三大陸で同時に僕の写真が展示されています。（京都／KG+@Cafe Foodelica、ロンドン／ユニリーヴァコーポレーション、サンタフェ／旧総監邸ニューメキシコ歴史博物館）These images are from top left , clockwise: ‘Beautiful Woman, Jaipur, India‘, currently licensed to the Unilever Corporation and blown up large at their in-house event in London; ‘War Zone’, part of the Hibiku 響 group exhibition/KG+ at Cafe Foodelica, Kyoto; and ‘Birthing Stonehenge’, a pinhole anamorphic image on show in the ‘Poetics of Light’ and in the permanent collection of the New Mexico History Museum Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe. I am doubly happy that the images are not only reaching a wide audience, but also represent three very different areas of my photographic work. I have shown once before in Buenos Aires, so I guest next stop: Tuvalu!
Writing this at The Manor, a boutique hotel in one of Delhi’s wealthy, southern suburbs. The air is full of birdsong and car horns, and it’s a cool 18 degrees, almost chilly after the heat of Kerala. As ever, the food has been a highlight of the trip, though S and I both agree that the standard was universally higher on our last visit to India. Sorry Kerala, too much adulteration for the tourists, and attendant complacency. Though there were some outstanding exceptions – notably the Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel in Kochi & some of the dishes at the Fragrant Nature resort in Kollam – Tamil Nadu wins hands down. Here’s a ‘Day in the Life’ snapshot of my Kerala repasts – details below in Japanese and English.
Top L to Bottom R: Breakafast, Kadala Chickpea Curry with Putu, a steamed mix of coconut and rice; Lunch, Vegetable Jalfrezi with Mixed Fried Rice (‘Indian and Chinese!’ exclaimed the waiter, Mr Joby, with much head wobbling); Tiffin, Vegetable Pakora and ‘Special Tea'; Dinner, Fillet of Jambali Fish (Sea Bass?).