Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ask for help: Lucky visit to the Culinary Studio of Japanese cuisine with Hideo Dekura

Visiting Studio Dekura
I had no trouble finding the home-studio of the Dekura family.

'Welcome Cecilia-san' said the Verandah blackboard.

I DID feel welcome, and I felt important.

Before I'd even walked in, I decided "Next time I have a garden of my own, I'm definitly including a message-board'.

That's the purpose of gardens, to connect us to nature and each other.
Get the props that help.

Inside was the marvelous studio of Dekura-san, where I was lucky enough to be invited for a light lunch with Mr Dekura and his lovely wife Keiko.

Isn't he radiant?
See more of his story Here.

Book Launch & culinary demonstration
I first laid eyes on Dekura-san only a few days ago, at a very well-attended cooking demonstration, held to celebrate his latest book launch. 

Sushi dance with the Japanese Consul-General

His soft, smiley expression enchanted me straight away, as I watched him work with fondness and playfulness for the things he handled, and the people around him. Wonderful people - a famous potter, great chefs, including Margaret Fulton, and my go-getter friend, Hirano-san who invited me.

When clouds of smoke came from the oven where the squid was roasting, he didn't fret or freak out his  assistant.
"Mmm, this will taste MUCH more interesting" he assured her.
Positive. Adaptable.
That's what you need to do new things in this world.
I must remember this.

My second favourite part of the night was how he playfully persuaded the dignified Japanese consul general into doing the Sushi Dance, and forming lovely gentle bundles of rice for sushi.

My #1 favourite moment was watching him skin the ocean trout. His knife just 'swam' through the fish, instinctively listening to where it had to rise and fall, perfect.  All while he chatted on to us.

As he was busy signing books that night, I slipped him my permaculture pamphlet.
I had this fantasy of he and I demonstrating permaculture balcony garden cooking, here at my brother's grand kitchen in Ananndale.

My heart was racing when I got a phonecall the next day.

"Cecilia-san. Here in your pamphlet, it says "People with organizational skills wanted to collaborate on Creative Projects". I'm organized!"

Daikon Japanese Radish, with a okra garnish and bonito stock

So here I am in Dekura's house, eating his food, and doing a show-and-tell of my last decade of Permaculture projects. He likes It. I knew it!

Green shiso, in the garden of Mr Dekura

Potplants Galore
After lunch, we visited their impeccably-tended potplant garden.
The freshly-made raised-bed garden gets plenty of compost, with all the food scraps a fussy chef generates. 
In return, it gives hard-to-find japanese herbs such as shiso, myoga, and even the first yuzu citrus tree I've seen in Australia. 
Smuggled in by seed, I wonder?

Myoga, a kind of ginger, in the edible garden of Keiko Dekura
Mr Dekura did the carpentry of the wooden raised bed for Mrs Dekura's garden. 
Every day, in every way, in action, making his wife happy.

Cha gama, for boil water for tea
Look out for our event, in February 2012: 

'Zen House - how to use Japanese Tea Culture and Permaculture for a lush, action-inspiring home life. Force, virtue and willpower not needed.'

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