Actual Status of Rural Japan Spoken by Active Woman Developing Additive-free Product

02/11/2018RURAL JAPAN

Today, I met so nice a woman. 

2nd week gets started

This is the 2nd week after the relocation.

I gonna try to conduct more field work on this week but not in a hurry.

Maze is not so small then, it takes much time to see around everywhere…

Since it has some accomodations and a roadside station and sometimes foreigners come, I decided to go to Nishimura district first. I share Maze area information here.

After hill climing for 1.5h and going down, I went to the only roadside station in Maze called as “Maze・Mikinosato Sanmaze Store (Available only in Japanese)”.

It’s a self-described “The smallest roadside station in Japan”. I smelled awesome bread baking when I came in.

As mentioned in the opening, the nice woman I met here was Ms. Kawaguchi.

She told me a lot of things after my greeting and self-introduction.

Nothing special here

I: “How many foreingers come here?”

Ms. Kawaguchi: “Just a few… Some Koreans just come here to have a break after going around Gero hot spa area.”

Actually, I know there are 100 foreign tourists coming to Maze in a year and the goal after 5 years is 1,000.

Ms. Kawaguchi: “We have just vegetables and mountain vegetables and there is no convenience store or traffic light. That is Maze but it’ll be more rewarding to start tourism than other places which has something more.”

Importance of first step

I: “You sell 3 color variation jams; tomato, kiwi and citron. They are all additive-free ones!!”

Ms. Kawaguchi: “The first one I made is tomato jam. The reason is I heard there was nothing for survenir in Maze. I want to make “Maze” product. Then, it would be good colors so I made kiwi and citron ones.”

I: “You’ve made miso and soy source.”

Ms. Kawaguchi: “I got some complaints when I first tried to make tomato jam. Though, I’ve finally created miso by taking advantage of bottling experience for those 3 jams.”

Ms Kawaguchi: “The bottle will swell and burst if we put soy source into an ordinary one. That’s why I kept it in a refrigerator before. After I heard it would be good if we just change a cap somewhat, we can display it like this. The lesson is taking an action first.”

A serious problem in countryside of Japan

I: “You really try hard to make additive-free foods so we want more people to enjoy it.”

Ms. Kawaguchi: “Definitely, but nobody can promote them well. Although we got a plan for selling online, we cannot make a lot due to shortage of materials”

I: “That’s because the number of farmer is now decreasing in Maze?”

Ms. Kawaguchi: “Yes, most of them are old and close it. Honestly, they grow vegetables not for selling but for their living.

I: “How many people work here?”

Ms. Kawaguchi: “6 but there is few customers coming here at this time of year as you can see. We need to invite more tourists in winter.”

A passionate woman

We talked for around 50 minutes.

Cubic colorful rice crackers she really promotes!!
Other special local products

At last, she wants to

  • Make more various products
  • Promote “Both are small but Maze and Sanmaze Store are great”

I really understand the way of thinking like informing someone of good things is local area. It’s not only for food but nature and scenery.

There are more people think like that in Maze.

I’ll continue to get more information from Ms. Kawaguchi.