Asa Nomi Bakery!
Asa = [hemp], Nomi = [seed]… need I say more?
Asa Nomi Bakery is run by Richard (Canadian long ago) and Chika. The first thing I noticed when I arrived were the huge solar panels (for heating, not electricity) and the bakery out front which is under construction. Their property is covered with fruit trees, vegetables and grains everywhere. They have an earthworm [earthworm = mimizu] farm and composting toilets (the first ones I’ve seen in Japan). They are 100% organic, the most organic host i’ve been too so far. Even the construction supplies they use are usually natural or eco-friendly.
Chika is the master hemp chef and bakes hemp chocolate bars, granola bars, cookies, and various fruity sweet desserts full of hemp goodness. All ingredients are organic and some of the treats use no sugar, but rather are sweetened by dates, figs, and raisins. Why hemp? Hemp protein is one of the most easily digestible forms of protein. It is a whole protein (all essential amino acids.) The hemp seed oil contains beneficial omega fatty acids in large quantities and in the optimal ratio for health. The seeds are also full of great vitamins and minerals (37 in total, according to this website: http://www.chii.ca/hemp-seed/hempseed.html)… to sum this all up, Hemp seeds are a “super food.” Why is hemp such a perfect food and resource for humans? I don’t know but I can only guess it has something to do with the strong relationship human beings have had with hemp for thousands of years… Why did this relationship become taboo in the past 60 years? I’m sure there are many reasons… but the main ones that stick out in my mind are; hemp competition with synthetic fibers/textiles (synthetic fibers can be patented, hemp can not), hemp being used as a “free” medicine (prescription drugs can be patented, a weed that will happily grow almost anywhere that can treat a looong list of ailments can not be), and the association with marijuana (hemp is NOT marijuana, it will not get you high.) Marijuana has a tendency to make people forget their cultural baggage and start thinking for themselves… not something law makers tend to encourage.
So as soon as I arrived the other wwoof’er, Lou from Mary ol’ England, told me we were leaving the next day to go to a Raggae festival called “Green Massive.” Sweet, I’m in!
After stuffing the van full of supplies, a pizza oven, the custom bamboo dome, 4 adults, 2 children, and 2 dogs, we were off! Richard designed a hexagon shaped shop with the roof being supported by pieces of cut bamboo. Bamboo saves the day again. Richard really loves bamboo (as do I!), so I’m really happy about being able to chill with a fellow bamboophile.
At the festival we prepared hemp pizzas, (all organic: pita bread, tomato sauce, pesto, olives, Hokkaido motzeralla cheese, and hemp seeds!) Hemp moutain vegetable tempura sushi, hempdon (a creamy sauce made from blended hemp seeds and veggies on rice), and Chika’s homemade Chai tea. We also sold hemp beer (omg! so good), wine, sake, tequila chai (surprisingly good combination) and lots of hemp sweet treats like chocolate bars, caramel granola bars, muffins, cookies, raisin rolls, and more! We completely sold out of all the sweet treats and chai. If you guessed that I ate and drank like a HEMP GOD, then you guessed correctly! We also had plenty of time off to go dance to the reggae rhythms and meet lots of cool people that were all chilled out with the rasta energy. Good times! [Ijikan!]
Here is the first part of a documentary made about Green Massive’s 10th anniversary! I share my lunch with the camera at the 3:14 mark!
To see the rest of the videos check out the Asanomi Bakery Blog!: https://www.asanomibakery.com/
Ok, soo photo time.
-Long exposure of an artist painting at night. This painting got rained on and then another layer of imagery added on top. The finished product was a nice mix of imagery and all sorts of chaotic patterns that kept my mind really entertained.
BONUS: I hitchhiked to Suwa and back to visit Ceion the weekend before I arrived at Asanomi bakery. Here are some photos of the wonderful people who picked me up! My stinkin’ gaijin ass got to ride in some really nice cars, haha.
-This truck driver didn’t speak any english but spoke to me about his love of flowers for an hour and sent me on my way with all sorts of treats and some oranges. Thanks man!
-Cool BMW salesman. I felt really comfortable riding with this guy, and I think he felt the same. I commented on his good singing (to an American R&B CD he was playing) and he slapped me on the back with some kind of “don’t make fun of me!” verbal expression [verbal expression = unintelligible japanese.] Haha.
OK! so my visa expires in 5 DAYS! So Tomorrow I will be hitchhiking 6 hours south of Gifu prefecture to catch a ferry to South Korea. Then I will immediately turn around and hitchhike back to the Asanomi bakery because my adventure here has only just begun. I really enjoy living with Richard and Chika. Richard is a really funny guy (Chika isn’t too bad herself!) and reminds me of myself in many ways. We both play instruments that focus on breath control (didgeridoo and weird flutes), both love bamboo and hemp, and are both the impatient “I can do anything by myself” type. Richard has a wealth of knowledge about farming, building, and living sustainably, and he has the english language skills to express it to me!
So anyway. I’m going to be busy for a while and may not update this blog for a couple weeks. My camera and blogging activities are starting to get in the way of my direct sincere experience. It’s going to be left inside for at least a week and my flute will take it’s place. No worries y’all. Balance shall be restored and I will be inspired to pick up the camera again soon. Blogging is great but I’m finding that now I’m trying to have “bloggable” experiences rather than just letting things happen naturally. WTF is a bloggable experience anyway? I dunno, but it sounds kind of boring.
Thanks to everyone who has commented so far! You can comment on my flickr photos also! I will respond to everyone.. sometimes it takes a while though!