A Larger View

Updated: Sep 11, 2018


This past summer was one that I will not be able to forget for a long time to come. Perhaps my newfound drive to sit down and write this first blog has come from my daughter, who I parted with only a week ago as she begins a new chapter in her life studying in New York City.

After graduating high school in June, Sakura spent the first half of her summer as she always does, living with my parents in the outskirts of Tokyo. Yet in July, rather than staying in Japan, she chose to travel alone for six weeks in Europe, living entirely off of the money she had saved. Listening on phone calls to her wander from country to country, town to town, searching for some kind of discovery within herself or around her, I was constantly worried, but also, perhaps unexpectedly, incredibly proud.

Sakura spent the last three weeks of her travels working on a winery and vineyard in the rural hills of Tuscany, Italy. Every day she sent me photos that captured the essence of her lifestyle there, and as I began to glimpse the world and the way of living that she described so vividly through her eyes, I began in turn to question my own world and my own lifestyle. Every morning, she would walk a mile down through the river to the vegetable fields and fruit orchards to gather freshly ripened crops and feed the chickens. All of her meals came from those fields, or from the chickens, or from the local sheep herder who brought fresh milk, cheese, and yogurt. Food was never wasted; what was left over would be cooked and served again, and in turn those leftovers would be given back to feed the chickens or the plants which would then produce the next round of produce to be picked.

The society I live in here in Southern California raves about compost and on-trend healthy eating, but we seem to have forgotten that it isn’t the individual actions like “creating compost” or “eating greens” that contribute to a lifestyle that is not only sustainable but also personally fulfilling. Rather, the process in its whole of self-sustaining, of creating from start to finish, and then of returning what we have created into our next endeavor, that is what contributes to a lifestyle that benefits our health, contributes to our happiness, and emphasizes the importance of giving back to each other and to the food we create.


この夏は私にとって忘れることのない貴重なものとなりました。今までならずっと自分の中に受け入れられなかったブログを今こうして書いているその原動力は、つい先週東海岸で別れた娘からもらったものなのかもしれません。

6月に高校を卒業した娘の桜は今年も私の両親の住む日本で夏の前半を過ごしたあと、ギャップイヤーの代わりに6週間の日程で一人旅行を計画してヨーロッパへ旅立ちました。自分で貯めたお金で全てまかない、知らない土地で意味のある何かを見つけるために毎日まえへすすもうとすると娘の姿を電話越しに想像するのは、たのもしくもありすごく心配でもありました。その彼女が送ってくれた、最後の3週間でお世話になったイタリアのワイナリーからの仕事風景の写真を見たときには、自分の生活の姿勢を今まで以上に思い直す気持ちになりました。

自給自足に近い生活で収穫した野菜や果物を最大限に生かした食生活、残ったものは他の料理に使い回し、それでも残れば家畜の飼料となり、クズはコンポーストとして畑の肥料とする。

自分のまじかではそれがいかにも特別な事のように騒がれている社会、どうして多くの人たちが、この生きていく為の最もたいせつで、そして幸せを感じる食のプロセスを手放して結果だけを求めるようになってしまったのか, すごく悲しく思うと同時に、 娘がこのイタリアでの生活を本当に意味のあるものだったと楽しく報告してくれたこと、そしてこれからも私の信じる道を頑張って生きて欲しい、という娘からの言葉はすごく嬉しかったです。



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