Japanese Farm Life
Nancy Singelton Hachisu's colorful collection of sake cups is as beautiful as it is functional.
Nancy tends to the fermentation and pickling pots she keeps by her well.
Nancy and Tadaaki
"I found love in a form of a Japanese farmer," Nancy says of her husband, Tadaaki.
The Hachisus' rustic tableware includes lacquered spoons and colorful chopsticks.
Clouds roll through the town of Kamikawa, where the Hachisus live.
Tadaaki weeds the daikon field.
Nancy air-dries whole barracuda, a flaky, white-fleshed fish.
Sake, Japan's fermented rice beverage, often graces the Hachisus' table.
The Hachisus' wooden staircase does double duty as a bookcase.
"A trip to the fields yields juicy cucumbers and other vegetables that almost cook themselves," Nancy says.
Blistered Shishito Peppers with Miso
Finger-long and typically mild (one in 10 is spicy), shishito peppers are sautéed, simmered, grilled and eaten raw all over Japan in the summer. This charred version from Tadaaki Hachisu gets a salty, earthy, spicy hit from brown rice miso and fresh ginger.
Tadaaki cooks rice with friends.
A Well-Laid Table
For a salad to go with thick-cut pork shoulder, Nancy tosses onion, cherry tomatoes and green pepper with soy sauce.
Tomato, Onion and Green Pepper Salad with Shiso
Although this blend of raw tomatoes, paper-thin onion and mild green peppers seems Italian, it’s a common mix for Japanese farm families. Instead of the usual squirt of mayonnaise, Nancy Singleton Hachisu drizzles on an Asian vinaigrette.
Mizuna Salad with Kumquats
In this refreshing modern Japanese salad, spicy mizuna greens are brightened with aromatic sliced kumquats and yuzu juice.
Quick Soy-Pickled Zucchini
Zucchini is relatively new to Japan, but Japanese farmers have started growing them alongside native chayote, bitter melons and other vine vegetables. Nancy slices the summer squash and tosses it with umami-packed shoyu koji, a sweet-salty condiment made with soy sauce and rice, to make a zingy quick pickle.
Tasting Sake with Guests
"I soon learned some of the family rules: The house must be wiped clean once a day; the fields must be kept weed-free; and someone should always be at home to accept drop-in visitors," Nancy says.
Stacks of colorful table linens find a temporary home on the Hachisus' antique wooden chairs.
Colorful citrus fruits in various stages of ripeness at the Hachisu farmstead.
Fresh figs pair with cool ice cream for a natural, not-too-sweet dessert.