Kimberly Hughes article about my 2013 Japan Tour

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Below is Kimberly HughesÂ’ interview/article for the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, which she created during my 2013 Japan tour. I met Kimberly in 2012 when she worked with me interpreting for me at several of my concerts, and weÂ’ve been good friends ever since.

The photo was taken at my 2013 concert at Cacao Magic (a vegan café in Kyoto). I am wearing organic fiber clothes created by my friend and collaborator, fashion designer Kaorico Ago for her company, Little Eagle.

U.S. artist and author brings timeless message of natural, sustainable living to Japan

Alicia Bay Laurel was barely over twenty when her self-illustrated book “Living on the Earth” — often referred to as a “bible” among those seeking to live in harmony with nature — became a best-seller in the United States in 1971.

The book included tips on everything from canning food to making handmade soap to stitching shoes — all knowledge that was essential for outdoor living among those, like Laurel, who had joined the back-to-the-land movement of the day.

Far from being out-of-date, however, the book continues to resonate among those who crave a simpler way of living within today modern, chaotic world.

Now 64, Laurel — who is also an accomplished guitar player and singer — is presently on tour in Japan to promote her two latest CDs, sign books, and share stories of her fascinating life growing up in the U.S. during an era of collective living and large-scale social movements for peace and justice.

Laurel’s swift rise to author fame surprised herself as much as everyone else. “I had moved from Los Angeles to a hippie commune in northern California in the late 60s, and as a city girl with no outdoor skills, I decided to interview residents to get their advice for living in nature — which I then compiled into a hand-written notebook together with my illustrations,” she told an audience packed inside a cozy venue in Kunitachi, western Tokyo.

“At first, I didn’t even know how I would go about making a single photocopy of it — much less imagine that it would go on to be published and reach international fame.”

The Japanese translation of “Living on the Earth” was published in 1972 by Soshisha Ltd., which also went on to release her next book, “Being of the Sun” — which Laurel describes as her first work’s “spiritual sequel” — as well as her three books for children.

Laurel toured Japan for the first time in 1974, where her artistic muse found deep inspiration. “Right away,I noticed that the entire country shared an advanced sense of design that permeated even the most humble and commonplace objects,” she recalls. “I also noticed that ordinary transactions were conducted with a sense of awareness and decorum that I had not previously encountered anywhere else.”

Her connection to the country was renewed in 2005, when outdoor magazine Be-Pal sent a journalist to interview her in Hawaii, her home for some 25 years. This was followed by introductions to the environmental nonprofit organization Artist Power Bank, who invited her back to Japan to perform at its events and hold workshops — and its sister project Kurkku, a complex of environmentally sustainable businesses that organized the first of her yearly tours for Laurel in 2006.

Following the 2011 disaster in Tohoku, both organizations also helped coordinate an initiative to raise funds for survivors by selling T-shirts and other goods at their music concerts that featured LaurelÂ’s trademark flowing line designs.

Laurel is presently on a two-month tour of the archipelago, where her itinerary includes some 30 performances across 12 prefectures, as well as an art retreat on the island of Niijima, a sacred shrine tour in Okinawa, and a performance at a farm on southern ChibaÂ’s Boso peninsula.She is also collaborating with numerous other artists and performers, including natural clothing designer Little Eagle and Hawaiian reggae band Inoue Ohana.

Laurel’s message of reconnecting with nature has found an eager audience in Japan, where people inevitably line up in their dozens for a chance to speak with her following her performances. One man told her that he and his wife had home-birthed all three of their children using advice from “Living on the Earth,” while another woman said that Alicia’s message reminded her of an earlier era in Japanese history when worship of the sun goddess Amaterasu was a common practice.

During a performance last month at Beach Muffin Café, located along the shores of Zushi in Kanagawa Prefecture, Laurel swapped her guitar for a zither and began performing a series of songs from “Being of the Sun.” She explained that the tunes were in fact chants— each of which expressed reverence for a particular natural cycle,such as a time of day or a particular season.

“Mountains, wind, ocean and sun are teachers,” reads an excerpt from the book. “Lessons abound for the observant.”

During a recent performance held at an art gallery in Tokyo’s Daikanyama district, which also hosted an exhibition featuring illustrations from “Living on the Earth” that had been framed in driftwood, Laurel told the audience, “I strongly support the ‘hydrangea revolution’ movement in Japan, where people have taken to the streets to call for an end to nuclear power. We in the United States have much to learn from the Japanese people in this regard.”

In an interview with the Mainichi, Laurel commented, “Sustainable technology has been around for a long time. We don’t need fossil fuels or nuclear power, which are used only because they are enriching the 1400 billionaires of our planet.”

Asked about any advice she had to share with those seeking to revive the passion and spirit of earlier eras, she said, “Vote with your wallet. Avoid buying products made by companies that pollute the planet and/or violate human rights, and support politicians that try to stop these companies from doing so.”

“Also, volunteer,” she concluded. “Whether it’s helping with childcare for single working mothers or organizing clean-ups of polluted places, there are thousands of necessary things to be done to make this a more sustainable and just world.”

Alicia Bay LaurelÂ’s Japan tour will conclude on August 4th [2013]. For more information and a schedule, visit her website at

Alicia Bay Laurel 2013 Japan Concert Tour

This tour celebrates the release of two new CDs!


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It’s available here.

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It’s available here.


Here are the bookings and posters as of 06/29/2013.  Please check back for any changes!

06/06 Live with RabiRabi at OPPA-LA at Enoshima, open at 19:00
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06/07 Live at Hapon in Shinjuku, start at 19:00

06/08 Live with Little Eagle at Café Slow in Kokubunji, start at 19:00 and
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06/09 Live with Little Eagle at Beach Muffin in Zushi, start at 17:00
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06/15 Live with Little Eagle at Jisoan in Sue, Gifu, start at 14:00
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06/16 Live with Little Eagle at Café Ocean in Nishio (near Nagoya), start at 17:30
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06/21 Live with Little Eagle at Art Café Nafsha on Awaji Island, start at 19:30 (Summer Solstice!)
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06/22 Live with Little Eagle at MiCaLi in Mino, Osaka, start at 18:30

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06/23 Live with Little Eagle at Bagus in Wakayama, open at 15:00
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06/29 Live with Little Eagle at Cacao Magic in Kyoto, start at 18:00
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07/02 Live at Gallery Speak For in Daikanyama, Tokyo, start at 18:00. Reception event for show of original 1970 drawings from Living on the Earth, many with new Alicia Bay Laurel drawings on the mat boards, and framed in driftwood by master craftsman Yuji Kamioka.  Show runs 06/21 ~ 07/03
. Alicia’s live music at 18:30 on 07/02.  Address information: Here is a video of the installed show:  The music is “Everything is Flowing” from the CD “Songs from Being of the Sun.”
07/05 Live in Kanazawa, private event for Earth Keepers, start at 18:00

07/06 Live with Little Eagle at Oromina in Yokohama, start at 15:00
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07/07 Live with Little Eagle at Alishan Organic Center in Saitama, start at 16:00
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07/12 Live with Little Eagle at Cafe Unizon in Gi
nowan, Okinawa, start at 20:00

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07/13 to 07/15 Okinawa Sacred Sites Tour and Shrine Art Workshop at beautiful Donto-in, Tamagusuku, with Alicia Bay Laurel and Sachiho Saraswatie Kojima. For reservations, please contact Sachiho Saraswatie Kojima on Facebook or at OZUNU369 (at) dpx (dot) ne (dot) jp or call her at 070 5812 9088. Facebook event page

07/18 Live in Ueda at Café PANI

07/20 Live with Little Eagle at Lumiere du Lazuli in Matsumoto, start at 15:00.  Tickets 2000 yen in advance or 3000 yen on the day of the event.
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07/25 Live with Inoue Ohana at Thumbs Up in Yokohama, start at 19:30 Facebook event page at:
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07/26 Live with Inoue Ohana at Chikyu-ya in Kunitachi


07/27 Live at YAMADA PARADISE FARM, presented by Green People
Open 16:30
Kathie and Keni Inoue (Inoue Ohana Band)17:30
Alicia Bay Laurel 18:30

608 Nakasakuma, Kyonan-machi, Awagun, CHIBA
ticket 1300(advance) 1500 (door)500(middle & high-school students)
more info by phone : 080-1282-6586 (Ohyama)

Facebook Event Page:

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07/28 Live with Inoue Ohana at Studio M in Koganei starting at 16:00

Send us email for reservation to More information on our web page

07/30 to 07/31 SARO resort Nii-jima Island – Overnight massage, nature, music and art retreat with Alicia Bay Laurel and Rie Kuwahara of Rie-treats for Under the Light Yoga. For tickets, please contact Rie at rie (dot) kuwahara(at) gmail (dot) com


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07/30 Live at SARO resort on Nii-jima Island (open to public), starting at 19:00. Address: Cafe and accomodation SARO, 3-3-4 Honson Niijima-mura Tokyo.

08/02 Live with Little Eagle at Shonan Club in Kamakura, start at 17:30
Event Fliers for 2013 Japan tour



08/03 Live event:

Vibration1 from Agriculture & Music
August 3rd, 2013, open 15:00
talk session about agriculture 16:00 by Alicia Bay Laurel, Kaoru Sugita & Kaoru Kawai
music session 17:00 by Alicia Bay Laurel, monk beat, DJ TATSUTA
close 19:00
Ticket 2000 yen advance?2500 yen at door

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08/04 Live with Inoue Ohana at Art Station POKARA in Nasu
Open at 14:30, start at 15:00
2500 yen for Live Event
1000 yen for Vegetarian Dinner after
Hula show included! 

253 Yumoto, Nasu-machi, Tochigi prefecture.
Tel 0287-76-4119
For more information, please call Kat-chan at 


In Which I am Interviewed by Laura Theodore, The Jazzy Vegetarian, on her Internet Radio Show

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I met Laura Theodore online via LinkedInÂ’s Vegan and Vegetarian discussion group.  Laura is a jazz vocalist with an impressive resume and a unique voice, who also hosts vegetarian cooking shows on television, radio and the Internet. 

I pitched myself to her as a guest on her internet radio show, telling her I had recorded one (well-received) jazz/blues CD, and IÂ’d also written and illustrated a book that had been a best seller in the 1970s, is still in print in English and Japanese, and was recently selected as one of the 101 most influential American cookbooks of the 20th century by the Fales Library at New York University. 

She bit. 

So, here is the result of our phone collaboration last December, a show first airing today, January 31, 2013.

Vegan, Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

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I have evolved this recipe over many holiday seasons.

Prepare one of these crusts:

BAKED CRUST Enough for one pie; multiply as needed

Two cups of gluten-free baking flour (usually a combo of rice, garbanzo, oat, and millet flours – any or all of these)

¾ cup coconut oil

Measure and then chill the coconut oil. Place it in a food processor with the flour and an ice cube. Blend until it forms a soft ball of dough. If it doesn’t form a dough ball while blending, very gradually add a tiny bit more cold water. As soon as it gets the right amount of water, it will form a soft ball of dough.

Flatten the ball into a disk and press into a 9 inch glass or ceramic pie pan so that it is of even ¼ inch thickness all over, and form a scalloped edge with your thumbprints. Make fork holes every ½ inch all over the bottom and sides of the pie shell. Bake at 375 Fº until golden, but not brown.

If you have extra dough, form it into a cookie shape (star, heart, tree, etc.) in another pan, make fork holes every ½ inch on it, and bake it along with the piecrust. After the filling has chilled and become firm in the crust, place the cookie shaped piece of piecrust on top of the filling. For ease of handling, I suggest forming and baking the cookie shaped piece on top of a piece of baking parchment, so that you can easily slide it onto the top of the pie without it crumbling in the process.


In a (clean) coffee grinder, powder one cup each of walnut meats and raw cashews. Remove pits from 6 dates, chop them well and place them in a food processor with the nut flours. Blend until it forms a soft dough. Press the dough into a 9 inch glass or ceramic pie pan. Keep the edge small and simple, since an extended, scalloped edge will crumble off when the pie is cut and served. Chill in the refrigerator.

If you’d like to make a decorative raw cookie for the top of the pie, take some of the nut/date dough, form into the shape of choice, and dehydrate at 105 Fº until almost crisp.


Cut a medium sized butternut squash or small kabocha (green) pumpkin into pieces about 1 to 2 inches on a side.

Spoon out the seeds, and either roast, plant or discard them. (If you compost them, who knows, you might get volunteer squash plants growing out of your compost..)

Peel two thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger and chop into small pieces.

Steam the squash and ginger until soft and let them cool until you can easily pick up one of the squash pieces with your (clean) hand, at which point you can spoon the flesh out from the shells into the food processor bowl, and compost the shells. Then dump the steamed bits of ginger from the steaming basket into the food processer with the squash, and blend until smooth. If the mixture is so thick that it bogs down the food processor, slowly add a tiny bit of the cooking water, until the blades are moving easily.

After blending, just to be sure there are no annoying bits of ginger in the pie filling, pour the mixture through a sieve into a large bowl, and stir with a wooden spoon to complete the separation.

If you’d rather not bother with peeling, chopping, steaming, blending and sieving fresh ginger, you can always skip it, instead adding ½ tsp. powdered ginger along with the other spices below. (Personally, I think it’s worth the extra work.)

Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly: one cup of unsweetened, non-flavored vegan milk (hemp, almond, rice, soy, or, if you’d like a very rich pie, coconut cream) with 2 teaspoons of agar flakes, 1 tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. nutmeg, ¼ tsp. cloves, ½ tsp allspice) and 3 droppers of non-flavored stevia glycerite, stirring until the agar is completely dissolved and the spices are well blended into the milk.

Place the food processor: the butternut squash and the agar/milk mixture. Blend until completely smooth.

Pour the filling into the pie shell and chill until the agar is set (at least one hour, although you can make this pie the day before serving it and keep it in the refrigerator until then).

If you have more filling than pie shells, pour it into custard cups and chill.

A nine-inch pie will serve 8 people.

Topping (optional):

Coconut Bliss vegan ice cream (Naked Coconut flavor) would be my choice, but there are also excellent choices available from Tofutti, So Delicious, and other vegan ice cream brands.

Living on the Earth Chosen as One of the 101 Most Influential American Cookbooks of the 20th Century

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On October 24th and 25th, 2012, Rizzoli Publishers (Random House, New York) unveiled 101 Classic Cookbooks – 501 Classic Recipes, a collection edited by Marvin J. Taylor, Director of the Fales Library and Special Collections at New York University, home to over 55,000 volumes about food, and Clark Wolf, a New York-based food and restaurant consultant.

Their panel of culinary experts, including food writer and academic Michael Pollan, Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold, New York Times food critic Florence Fabricant, and chef, food writer, and PBS producer Ruth Reichl,  chose what they consider the most influential American cookbook for each year of the 20th century, and, from those, the quintessential recipes of each book.

From Living on the Earth, they chose four recipes: Dandelion Wine, Sunflower Milk (actually, How To Make Baby Food), Yogurt, and How to Smoke Fish. In addition, six of the original illustrated and hand-lettered page layouts, plus the cover of the Random House second edition are displayed on pages 136 and 137.

Other authors included in the book include Julia Child, Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker, Alice Waters, Martha Stewart, Fanny Farmer, Madhur Jaffrey, Molly Katz, and Laurel Robertson.

Here‘s a video of a panel discussion by some of the major organizers and contributors to the book, on October 25, 2012 at New York University.

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buy Living on the Earth 4th Edition

buy Living on the Earth 30th Anniversary Edition

Alicia Bay Laurel 2012 Japan Tour Schedule

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Truly a wonderful tour.  I enjoyed every day of it!

May 20 live at Ocean Café 18:00-20:00 in Aichi (near Nagoya) for Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition

May 25 live at Juzu (Go West Hemp Boutique) in Ebisu, Tokyo 19:00 for Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition

May 27 live at Natural High Festival at Doshi, 11:20 to 12:00.  Otherwise I’ll be at Kurkku/apbank booth.

May 30 live at Cafe Slow in Kokubunji, Tokyo, 19:00 to 12:30 for Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition

June 2 live at Jisoan Gallery in Gifu, 14:00 – 18:00 for Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition. Telephone 0572-65-2010

June 3 live at MI.CA.LI Gallery in Osaka, 19:00 for Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition

June 9 live at Beach Muffin Cafe in Hayama, Kanagawa, 16:00 for Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition

June 14 live at Cay in Aoyama, Tokyo with Inoue Ohana Band, start 20:00.

June 15 live at Natural and Harmonic Plants (organic mall) in Yokohama 18:00 for Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition

June 16 live at Studio M in Koganei, Tokyo. Doors open 14:00, show 15:00. For information, call Spoonful Cafe at 080 3386 0635

June 19 Art workshop and live performance at Holistic Health Care Institute in Kichijoji, Tokyo. 18:00 – 22:00.

June 21 live at Thumbs Up in Yokohama with Inoue Ohana Band, start 20:00.

June 22 live at Chikyu-ya in Kunitachi, Tokyo, with Inoue Ohana Band, start 19:30.

June 23, live at Yukotopia in Umejima, Adachi, Tokyo, with Ha-Za-Ma, High Blood Pressure and Howdy Groovies. Doors open at 18:30, live begins at 19:00. I play last.

June 24 live at Alishan Organic Center in Hidaka, Saitama, 16:00 start.

June 29 live in Fukushima at Ginga No Hotori (Edge of the Milky Way) Café with Yoshie Ebihara, Inoue Ohana Band and Kaorico Ago. A gift to the Tohoku people from Little Eagle. Doors open at 17:00, start time 18:00.

June 30 live in Ishinomaki at Cafe Roots with Yoshie Ebihara, Inoue Ohana Band and Kaorico Ago. A gift to the Tohoku people from Little Eagle. Doors open at 18:00, start time 19:00.

July 1 art workshop (making fabric picture books) in Sendai, co-led with Kaorico Ago 13:00.  Live with Yoshie Ebihara and Kaorico Ago at 15:00. Location: Akiu Kinoie Center. A gift to the Tohoku people from Little Eagle.

July 4 live at Marunouchi House (close to Tokyo station), CD Release Party for Monk Beat’s 2nd CD, Animal Collection.  Monk Beat, Alicia Bay Laurel and Mirrorbowler.  First set begins at 17:00.

July 7 live at Nagoji Temple in Tateyama, Chiba, with Monk Beat featuring vocalist Yae. Doors open at 17:00, show starts at 18:00. A fundraiser for Tohoku survivors. 

July 13-15 – Weekend workshop in beautiful Tamagusuku, Okinawa, co-led with Sachiho Kojima, including nature walks to sacred sites, musical meditation, beach time, live music, and shrine-building art workshop. To join us, or for more details, please contact Sachiho at or message Sachiho on Facebook.

July 15 live at Roguii Cafe, Okinawa, with Amana band.  Doors open at 19:00, show at 19:30. Cafe address: 1663 Yogi, Okinawa City, Okinawa. Phone: 098 933 8583.  Hand craft and farmers market at the cafe from 15:00.


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The Los Angeles Visionary Association Salon and a Walking Tour of Victorian Downtown Los Angeles

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The Los Angeles Visionary Association, founded and directed by art historians Kim Cooper and Richard Schave (who are also the owners and operators of the amazing Esotouric), has been holding monthly salons for nearly two years at historic CliftonÂ’s Cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles. IÂ’ve been a member since the beginning, but this was the first time IÂ’ve managed to attend a salon. It was wonderful fun.


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The opening event was a set of original songs performed by the Ukulady, Thessaly Lerner, and her band (on mandolin and electric autoharp). The Ukulady evolved her act during her years as a student and then a teacher at Wavy GravyÂ’s Camp Winnarainbow Circus and Performing Arts Camp in Northern California.

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Next up was a slide show lecture by the gorgeously attired Dr. Paul Koudounaris, professor of art history at California State University Dominguez Hills, to introduce his book The Empire of Death, a lavish collection of his photos and research on the worldÂ’s forgotten charnel houses, ossuaries, and reliquaries.


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After the salon, we all trooped out after Richard Schave and Nathan Marsak, who gave us a rousing walking tour and lecture on Victorian Los Angeles.


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I particularly loved this wonderful old building and our guidesÂ’ tale of how it was saved from destruction by fire by a brave and dedicated elevator operator.


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Kim pointed out that the building’s elevator grills had little demonÂ’s heads in the filigree.

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Even the view out the side door of this building offered a dream scene.


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Downtown Los Angeles fascinates with unapologetic Victorian grandeur, Â…

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Â…ambitious, passionate murals,Â…

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Â…and unexpected entertainers (thatÂ’s a banjo player on a bicycle trailer).