Tag Archives: fukuoka masanobu

Fukuoka makes seed balls

14 Jun

Here’s a YouTube video from 1997, in which he shows the method. He’s already about 90 years old…

Fukuoka and the Foodie Dilemma

16 Sep

Fukuoka, a scientist by education, came to the realization that the application of science to nature, and more specifically agriculture was not correct. Through his enlightenment he developed the idea of “do-nothing” farming. He reasoned that if plants and vegetables had grown naturally without any intervention for centuries, what was the need now to add fertilizer and till the soil to help the plants to grow? Fukuoka would not approve of the modern day foodie.

Today a foodie is someone who has a keen taste for food and loves to critique and try different combinations and flavors of food. Fukuoka would deem this behavior as unnatural and would not endorse it. Foodies were important in the Meiji era because they were the ones who really pushed for the meat, and specifically beef eating craze in Japan. Up until this time Japan had essentially been practicing isolationism and rejected Western ideas. The fashion of eating meet was purely a Western concept and thus Fukuoka would deem incorporating meat into the Japanese diet as being unnatural. It can also be argued that the foodies of the Meiji period are a large reason why Japan opened its doors to the Western world.

Although Fukuoka was correct in his analysis that nature is able to take care of its plants on its own, human intervention, and more importantly human invention in the kitchen pushed the limits of Japan in the Meiji era and opened their country up to the world. Today, the foodie culture is pushing our cuisine to new limits and is an integral part of our evolution as a human race.

Asian Fusion

16 Sep

Fusion cuisine is an increasingly popular type of cookery and often sparks an interest for “foodies” especially in LA. The innovation to mix and match cuisines and give a twist to traditional meals mostly appeals to these so called “foodies” or food experts. As an Asian, born and breed in Asia, Asian fusion does not appeal to me or Fukuoka as the mix of taste loses the traditional and nature taste of how dishes are supposed to be like.

For example the Asian fusion dish, cream cheese wonton. The idea is to wrap wonton skins with cream cheese filling then deep frying it. Although you can put a variety of stuffing into wontons, putting in cream cheese which is a western ingredient messes up the simple taste of wontons. Instead of a light dish usually filled with vegetables, you get a heavy pungent and sticky dish. The nature of wontons is lost when the filling is substituted by a very western ingredient. Instead of being healthy, this cream cheese wonton is very oily and fattening.

Fukuoka would not be like this dish unlike “foodies” since this dish is too contemporary and untraditional. Fukuoka would have probably liked the traditional approach to wontons as it is simple and made with lots of vegetables and little meat. A “foodie” will have the complete opposite approach and will most likely want to explore the different fillings that wontons can have.  Fukuoka has a completely different attitude of food which includes being one with nature than a “foodie” who puts emphasis on innovation which leads to perhaps a rather pricey dinner bill.


An Extravagant Affair

15 Sep

If Fukuoka were looking down on us from the heavens, he would be looking at us with disappointment and disgust in his eyes. Fukuoka was an advocate for simplicity in food. He believed in the natural form of food— organically grown food with little, if any, alteration. According to Fukuoka, people should live with nature and not separate themselves from it; they should learn how to coexist with it in its pure form.  To him, food and the human spirit should be one. Thus, a human should be “satisfied with simple food, it is nutritious, tastes good and is useful daily medicine” (Fukuoka 136). Today, this is certainly not the case.

We live in Southern California where food has become a culture, a form of expression. The natural ingredients have taken backstage, and the chef’s ability to use the ingredients and create a masterpiece has come to define cuisine. Due to the extravagant affair eating is today, a new class of people has emerged—the modern “foodie”. A “foodie” is basically an arrogant eater, someone who prides himself in recognizing quality food and believes he has the right to criticize cuisine. Today, because of the many restaurants and ethnic cuisines that exist, the “foodie” has become very common. In fact, every other person is a “foodie” of some sort.

To Fukuoka, the “foodie” is the enemy. He feels as if the “foodie” has missed the whole purpose of eating. Instead of being united, “food and the human spirit have become estranged” (Fukuoka 136). Eating should focus on the natural flavors of food, not the seasoning or cooking technique. Modern day cuisine has confused the human spirit, creating chaos. For Fukuoka, this is disaster. In his perfect world, eating would be a simple process with simple ingredients and simple ambiance. No one would be able to pride themselves as a “foodie” because food would be pretty standard. The ostentatious food industry would not exist.

Much to Fukuoka’s disappointment, the industry is not changing. Elaborate food is so ingrained in society, that there is no going back. In fact, Fukuoka’s view feels very primitive and unrealistic. I’m sure there are still some advocates of simplicity today, but their movement is not revolutionizing anything. The various cuisines are here to stay and eating will continue to be an extravagant affair.

Readings update

28 Aug

The reader is assembled; it took more time to save money than I had thought. It is quite large, and going to the copy shop Monday, as they are closed for the day. You won’t need it until the week after next, but here is the next batch of readings, and a final syllabus, with more specific due dates. I swapped a couple of readings out, after reading the info you all wrote on Thursday, to incorporate things people were curious about.

Syllabus:* for current syllabus please see page titled”Exciting soba news–and new syllabus!”

Fukuoka reading: 2_fukuoka

Shimazono reading (new): on food and new religions/philosophies as AKMs, or “alternative knowledge movements”: 3_shimazono

Questions to think about: how does Fukuoka resemble kinds of counter-culture you may be familiar with? Why does he term his movement a “revolution”? And what is alternative about the kinds of knowledge Shimazono talks about?

FUKUOKA Masanobu makes seed balls

19 Aug

This is the method that inspired the guerilla gardening movement. It was started by a green philosopher/farmer named Fukuoka, a partisan of “wild nature” and hands-off growing. He’s the guy with the beard & hip boots you see wandering through.

(It’s in Japanese w/o subs, but I think it’s pretty how-to oriented, and you can see what’s going on pretty clearly.)