What, I wondered, have the people at Slow Food Japan to worry about? Surely their food is fresh and locally produced? Unlike in Britain, supermarkets in Japan aren’t monolithic monsters and they aren’t packed with processed adulterated foods; in fact up to a third of the total space will be devoted to fresh fish. What worries the Japanese, it seems, is that they’ve seen what’s happened in Britain and America and it scares them stiff. Slow Food is big in Japan. I’m given a glimpse of their enthusiasm at an event in Koenji, a suburb of Tokyo, where they installed a temporary outdoor market to promote food from the tsunami stricken area of Fukushima. Their mission is to persuade the people of Tokyo that the food from Fukushima is good and safe to eat and that they should support their farmers. What’s impressive to me is that, unlike in England, where Slow Food supporters tend to be middle-aged or more, who are intent on turning the clocks back, here, the stalls are manned by young enthusiasts. The organiser, the indefatigable Toshiya Sasaki, took me for lunch to a traditional sushi restaurant a few streets away from the event. On the way there we passed a McDonalds, a KFC and, to my amazement, a Tesco Express. These young enthusiasts have a fight on their hands.
The idea of Slow Life is to take the principles of Slow Food, which are “good, clean and fair”, and extend them to life in general.
Here in the Lake District, the air is clean, the pace is slow and the atmosphere is calm. If we don’t grow food ourselves, we can buy it in friendly small shops, where you know the quality is going to be the best.
This blog is a celebration of the Slow Life, with forays into the world of design, music, the arts, gardens, and my particular weakness, Japan.