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How About Searching for Autumn Delicacies?

One autumn weekend, Andrea runs into Mami, his neighbor, in front of their apartment block.

How About Searching for Autumn Delicacies?

Andrea

Hello there Mami. You seem to be shouldering quite a load. Can I carry something for you?

Mami

Thanks very much. I've just been to buy lots of autumn fruit and vegetables.

Andrea

They all look delicious.

Mami

I wonder if they will stimulate the appetite. As implied by the phrase, "Autumn Delicacies," at this time of year there is a wonderful range of delicious ingredients available. There's autumn salmon, shimeji mushrooms, autumn eggplant, sweet potatoes, chestnuts and of course nashi pears.

Andrea

Wow; and where did you buy all this?

Mami

There is a major shopping street located close by the next railway station down the line. Have you had a chance to go shopping there?

Andrea

No, I always get my shopping done at the closest supermarket.

Mami

Really? I would recommend that you visit a traditional shopping street at least once. Along the shopping street where I go, there is a row of small shops that includes a butcher, a fishmonger, a greengrocer and a shop that sells a range of side dishes, you can enjoy your shopping while conversing with the shop keepers. You can ask them about what ingredients are currently the most delicious and also get tips about the best ways to cook them. Sometimes you can even haggle with them over price.

Andrea

It sounds like the markets back in Italy where I grew up!

Mami

I make a point of going there once a month to do my shopping. What about joining me next time and searching out some autumn delicacies together?

Mami then gives Andrea some nashi pears for kindly carrying her shopping to her front door.

Mami

Andrea, you really helped me out. Please accept these as thanks. Actually, these nashi pears were grown in the Tama region of Tokyo.

Andrea

Tokyo also grows agricultural produce!

Mami

Yes. Although not widely known, a variety of fruit and vegetables are grown and harvested here in Tokyo. The leafy green vegetable called komatsuna actually takes its name from a place in Edogawa; it is known as a representative vegetable of Tokyo. Furthermore, in recent times there has been a fair bit of coverage given to Tokyo brand vegetables, some of which represent an attempt to reintroduce a range of traditional vegetables that were grown around Tokyo from the Edo period through to early Showa. In Autumn, varieties such as Kameido Radishes, Kanamachi Small Turnips and Magome-Sanzun Carrots, etc., all come into season.

Andrea

I wonder what these vegetables taste like. I would like to give them a try.

Mami

If you want to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, I would recommend you visit a farmers' market. Furthermore, more and more restaurants are promoting their use of ingredients produced right here in Tokyo as a selling point. In addition to Tokyo's fruit and vegetables, there are also restaurants whose menus include dishes that feature "TOKYO X" (a brand of pork) and "TOKYO SHAMO" (a brand of chicken).

Andrea

I never thought that Tokyo produced such a wide range of food ingredients.

Mami

Please try and eat a lot of delicious food that features autumn's bounty.
■The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Shopping Street Homepage (in Japanese only)
http://www.toshinren.or.jp/shoplist/map_tokyo.html

■Tokyo Agriculture (in Japanese only)
http://www.tokyonogyo.jp/
Farmers’ Markets in Different Areas of Tokyo (in Japanese only)
http://www.tokyonogyo.jp/receive/category/cat19.html

■Restaurants Utilizing Specialty Food Ingredients from Tokyo (in Japanese only)
http://www.sangyo-rodo.metro.tokyo.jp/norin/syoku/ouenten/index.html
Restaurants List (in Japanese only)
http://www.sangyo-rodo.metro.tokyo.jp/norin/syoku/ouenten/shop.html