Nature School in Japan to Learn about Edible Wildflowers

02/11/2018COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT WORK

I went to Rokin-nature school today.

Much fun so I’d like to share my learning with you.

What’s Rokin-nature school?

It has 5 schools in Japan; Fukushima, Niigata, Fuji, Gifu and Hiroshima, working for regenerating Satoyama with fund by Federation of Labour Bank Workers’ Unions of Japan.

   

  • Raise forests
  • Grow people up
  • Play with forests

These 3 activities are main part of the organization and it provides forest maintenance and nature experience program.

Rokin-nature school in Gifu (Japanese only)

1st period:Palatability×Availability

We had a lecture outside first. I took note but I’ll make it clearer for you.

This below picture is what I really wanna share with you.

It shows the rank of mountain vegetables and wildflowers categorized by palatability and availability.

Mountain vegetables and wildflowers

Aralia elata is a precious vegetable in mountain but others are what I’ve never known.

Laportea macrostachya and Cacalia delphiniifolia are easy to get and tasty ones.

Hemerocallis fulva grows around rivers or grave sites, and Allium grayi in fallow soils.

Acanthopanax sciadophylloides has a different name in Japan, which is Gonzetsu. The more vegetables have other name, the more they’ve been related to people from the ancient times in terms of nature folklore.

For example, Lycoris radiata has more than 120 different names, which means this flower has had so long a connection with human beings.

Aucuba japonica and Aucuba japonica can be eaten but the tastes are really horrible…

2nd period:Gathering vegetables

Though it rained, we went to the mountain!!

We learned about vegetables in mountain with a lecture by professionals. (I couldn’t take a photo due to rain…)

There weren’t any Aralia elata because local people had taken it but we found similar one named as Zanthoxylum ailanthoides.

The way to tell them is color, and Aralia elata is brown but Zanthoxylum ailanthoides is green.

Both Acanthopanax sciadophylloides and Evodiopanax innovans are edible but there is also difference in number of leaves.

The former has 5 but the latter has 3 leaves.

This picture shows everything that we collected.

We gathered Artemisia indica also.

3rd period:Wildflower tempura and steamed bread with Artemisia

The nature cook made dishes like below with what we took.

That was really awesome to have lunch outside.

All vegetables changed into tempura so it was difficult to find what it was.

We distinguished them by number of leaves and color that we had learned.

We enjoyed special flavors.

Artemisia indica was smushed and we had the steamed bread.

That was so soft and good sweet smell.

4th period:Edible wildflowers

Lentil vetch

Its name is “Kasu”ma-gusa in Japanese since it has both features of “Ka”rasuno-endo and “Su”zumeno-endo (Ma means “middle” in Japanese).

It came from the Mediterranean and we can have the tempura and salad.

Cardamine scutata Thunb

It has a smell like Nasturtium officinale.

It can be used for fried dishes or with a smoked salmon.

Viola grypoceras

We can gather it everywhere in Japan.

The flower will make sweets look better.

Chamaele decumbens

It blooms small flowers like this in early spring.

It’s an umbellifer so can be used for a soup.

Summary

Though it was not so good on a rainy day, that was good experience for me.

I’ll utilize it for one of tourism activities in Maze.

It will be a great and unique experience to gather and cook wildflowers by ourselves.

I should learn it more but it’s necessary to get a cooperation in Maze to realize that.

I’ll develop myself and proceed with green tourism.