This is me walking into Natural House in Aoyama last week:
550 yen ($5) for broccoli!?
Are you fricken kidding me?
Look at me today: recovering cheapskate drinking “premium” organic green tea, 1000 yen ($9) a bag.
Sitting here sipping tea, I noticed a common theme in these blog posts I’ve been doing.
they all fit this pattern:
1. I was an idiot.
2. Then I meet someone who’s really knowledgeable.
3. This person teaches me more than one valuable lesson.
4. I go home smarter, make important changes in my life,
and blog about it.
I still think $5 is a rip-off for broccoli. Seriously, who can afford $5 broccoli? But don’t forget.
I’m a fool. I’ve been conditioned all my life to think that $5 for a vegetable is a rip-off. And not for one second to think about where my broccoli comes from, what’s in the soil where it grows, how much back-breaking work and sweat it took. If it’s been sprayed by chemicals that are banned in Europe because they’re dangerous for human consumption, I wouldn’t know.
I’ve been making buying decisions in the produce aisle based on one thing alone: the price.
Up until a few weeks ago when I interviewed Jack, I took everything else for granted.
Are you getting why I feel like an idiot?
My new perspective on $5 broccoli is thanks to Takako Nakamura. (This is step #2: I meet someone who’s really knowledgeable.) Jack introduced me. You’ll see in a minute why they’re friends.
Founder of the Whole Food School and Whole Food Association, she’s one of the leaders of the organic movement in Japan going way back. She was eating a macrobiotic, whole foods diet before I knew what macrobiotic was.
I still don’t know what the heck macrobiotic means. But now I know who to ask.
When I interviewed Takako-san, she told me the story of the time when she was working at Natural House, the same one I was at last week. She described how models and beautiful actresses, all with glowing skin, came to buy their groceries. Young Takako wanted to find out their secret to having such beautiful skin.
I won’t tell you how old she’s turning next month but I will mention that her skin glows like a woman who’s barely hit 30. You’ll see me shaking her hand in the last video below. I won’t deny the thought crossed my mind that this lady sitting in front of me, who’s more than 20 years my senior,
is damn sexy.
Either Takako Nakamura is living the life of a kitchen monk, her skin doesn’t see the light of day, or she’s discovered the fountain of youth, which happens to be a pool filled with organic vegetable broth.
Sitting across the table from someone so intelligent and who really knows how to take care of herself, I’m seriously beginning to reconsider the value of $5 broccoli.
What’s her secret!? If you don’t believe me about the whole fountain of youth thing, compare our skin in the picture below.
I was born in 1980; Takako was born in the 50s. Now you tell me who has younger looking complexion. (Hint: it ain’t me.)
It was a real privilege listening to Takako Nakamura. I highly recommend taking the time to watch all four video clips of the interview below. I guarantee you’ll hear something that will change the way you think about food.
After this interview I got a lot smarter (Step 3 and 4 above). I’m no broccoli-head anymore. Smart as a turnip!
An organic $6 turnip.
Here’s my first question.
On your blog you say that vegetable broth is like litmus paper. Could you explain?
Takako Nakamura is famous for her “veggie broth”. (Video length: 3:55 minutes- Japanese with English subtitles followed by English translation.)
To someone who hasn’t quite been convinced to start eating organic yet– it’s more expensive, hard find– what do you say?
I loved what she had to say. (video length: 1:33 minutes)
Is there something that you think many Japanese people don’t understand about the food they eat?
(Follow-up question) What can you tell me about the use of pesticides and herbicides in Japan?
Her answer was another eye-opener for me. (Video length: 1:45 minutes)
What’s the best way for people to find you online so they can attend your school or follow you?
Here is the link to Takako Nakamura’s homepage (in Japanese):
Whole Food School:
Whole Food Association:
Her books (in Japanese) and other products:
How to make “veggie broth”- Takako Nakamura on NHK: (copy and paste this link)