A Macrobiotic Luncheon in Fujino

May 21, 2007. When I returned from my walk, Setsuko had gathered some of her dearest friends for lunch. They all were involved with the local Steiner (Waldorf) alternative school, and they all were all fans of my books. We had a lovely time together.

To my left, in red, with glasses, is Kyoko, a macrobiotic chef and teacher. She gave me a quick shiatsu massage to help strengthen me for my travels. Behind Kyoko is Hitomi, a fashion model and writer about macrobiotics. A magazine with her face on the cover appears below. Behind Hitomi (in beige jacket and glasses) sits Tomoko, Setsuko’s neighbor with the bamboo grove, and a fellow television director. Behind me, in a beige blouse and short hair with long bangs, is Naoko, an artist, actress and singer. Her art is displayed at the Steiner School. Next to her, behind me is Setsuko Miura, my hostess, and the producer of television documentaries with environmental themes. Harada, the only male guest, works as an acupuncturist and body worker. He also did a short healing session for me, right at the table. Each summer he leads a purification ceremony on Mount Fuji. He plays harmonium, he’s a devotee of Babaji, and he’s a friend of Sachiho’s. To his right, holding my hand, is Yuko Urakami, a teacher and the mother with young children at the school, and a dear friend of Setsuko’s that I met at the Natural High Festival.

Here is Hitomi as a cover girl!

It was a potluck lunch, full of surprises. I thought macrobiotic people didn’t eat potatoes (too yin), but these baby new potatoes were freshly harvested from someone’s garden, so they fulfilled the macrobiotic principals of being local and seasonal. They were exquisitely flavored with garden herbs.

I was aware that macrobiotic people like chummus. This was the first and only time I encountered this dish (ubiquitous in natural foods stores back home) during my seven weeks in Japan.

What I did expect (and I think this dish was prepared by Kyoko, the macrobiotic chef) was a hearty whole grain dish, this one with azuki beans in it. The other dish is also a potato dish, this time mashed, with rosemary garnish. Redundancy is one of the dangers of potluck meals, but both potato dishes were delicious, and quite differently seasoned.