Tokyo // Preserving Culture
In September 2019, we traveled to Tokyo to host our first Future of Women breakfast in Asia! We teamed up with Momoko Nakamura, UDO, and EDGEof to host a Tokyo breakfast celebrating the stories of women who are preserving Japanese culture. We invited women across Tokyo to breakfast with a kimono designer, a rice conservationist, an oriental medicine practitioner, a chef, and a photographer to talk about preserving local Japanese culture.
This was Future of Women’s sixteenth event: In February 2018, we started hosting Future of Women breakfasts in Los Angeles, beginning with a conversation about Diversity in Film. In March, we talked about Human Rights, Journalism, and Geopolitics, in April we spoke about Food Entrepreneurship, and in May we hosted two breakfasts - an LA breakfast on Music and Activism and a Mexico City breakfast on Art + The City. In June, we talked about Women and Sports, in July, we traveled to Tel Aviv to host a breakfast on Storytelling, and in September, we talked about Women in Architecture. In December, we traveled to San Diego to host a breakfast with women who are shifting food culture to one that celebrates diversity, local ingredients, and the environment. In February, we teamed up with Healthyish, a site from Bon Appétit about wellness and food, to host our first NYC breakfast with women from NYC’s restaurant industry about how they make wellness a priority in kitchens. In April and May, we teamed up with Healthyish and Broccoli Magazine, an international magazine for cannabis lovers, to host breakfasts and panel discussions with women working at the intersection of cannabis in food: a Los Angeles breakfast with Chef Minh Phan of Porridge + Puffs and a NYC breakfast with Chef Kyo Pang and Moonlynn Tsai of Kopitiam. Last May, we traveled to Mexico City to host a women-powered dinner at Sobremesa with 2019 James Beard Semifinalist Chef Claudette Zepeda, in June we teamed up with LA Design Festival, Domino, and ROW DTLA to host a Los Angeles breakfast all about design, and in July we teamed up with Tastemade and Handsome Brook Farm to host a Los Angeles breakfast celebrating the stories of women whose families have immigrated to the United States.
Women from across Tokyo and from a range of industries - from fashion to journalism to design to public policy to culinary arts - joined us as we learned about our speakers' journeys to preserve local Japanese culture. We spoke with Risa, Momoko, Kumi, Juri, and Waki -- kimono designers, rice conservationists, oriental medicine practitioners, chefs, and photographers.
We gathered at EDGEof, an 8-story clubhouse in the heart of Shibuya overlooking the iconic Scramble Crossing, where local and global talent gather, interact, and create in a vibrant open innovation community. Chef Juri of UDO, a local chef who is dedicated to locally-sourced Japanese ingredients, treated us to a delicious breakfast.
Juri served up:
Autumn Salad | 秋のサラダ
Seasonal Side Dishes | 季節の惣菜3種
Grilled Fish | 焼き魚
Miso Soup | お味噌汁
Inari Sushi | いなり寿し2種
Japanese Bancha | 番茶
Inspired by Juri's commitment to locally sourced Japanese ingredients, we spoke with a panel of women whose work is also preserving local culture.
We spoke with:
Momoko Nakamura, "RICE GIRL," was formerly a television producer of food shows. RICE GIRL is on a mission to conserve rice culture. Advocating to safeguard and celebrate the breath and depth of rice, and traditional Japanese natural farming. She is often found roving the Japanese countryside, meeting with those who opt to farm using traditional natural methods. Rice that is grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and sun-dried just as it should be. And not unlike wheat, heirloom and ancient varietals, farmed like they used to. It is truly a labor of love. This farming style respects our Mother Earth, and leans on the poetry that is the Japanese micro-seasonal calendar. In supporting traditional Japanese natural farming, we vote for environmentally responsibility and cultural preservation. A positive vote for our global society. Rice farmers can continue to choose this farming style, so long as we continue to increase demand. RICE GIRL has training rooted in Japanese culinary practices of yesteryear, and macrobiotics, is an enthusiastic consumer of the food memories and kitchens of our Japanese grandmothers, and simply wholly in love with rice. From the hundreds of varietals and farming regions across Japan, RICE GIRL hand-selects rice and creates microseasonal blends under the moniker Kiki Musubi. She also serves as a consultant to support people and businesses connect with Japan. And in 2019, RICE GIRL published “PLANT-BASED TOKYO”.
Risa Kojo is a Tokyo-based kimono designer. After graduating from School of Visual Arts (BFA) in 2004, she started to work as a freelanced designer in New York. Now she is living and working in Tokyo, Japan. In 2012, an encounter with three great artisans, Mr. Shiro Nakano, the “wasarasa” Kimono dyer, Mr. Isao Uchida, the stencil maker, and Mr. Masao Aida, the “edo-komon” kimono dyer, changed her life as a designer, and now she is into creating a new kimono and at the same time, she is busily engaged in a matter of how to transmit the great historical craftsmanship to the next generation.
Kumi Tsukioka is an acupuncture and oriental medicine practitioner. After graduating from the university, she worked in international marketing for an American seasoning company. Feeling exhausted and stressed by the busy lifestyle, she looked for something to keep her healthy. She remembered studying in Taiwan and seeing how people were incorporating Chinese medicine into their daily life, such as making Chinese herb soup at home and getting Gua Sha and acupuncture treatments. Chinese medicine has been a part of Chinese people's life for thousands of years and she thought this would be an amazing alternative medicine to know. After studying Chinese medicine in Japan, China, and the United States, she learned different kind of treatment methods approach from each country. By treating various kinds of patients in China and Japan, she has become fascinated by the effect and the theory of acupuncture and oriental medicine.
Juri Suzuki is the chef at UDO, a restaurant focusing on creating dishes with seasonal ingredients and Japanese fermented foods that pair well with natural wines and Japanese saké.
Waki Hamatsu was raised in Gunma and Kochi, Japan. She lived and studied photography in San Francisco, CA from 2003 to 2009. Upon her return to Japan, she worked at a photography studio in Tokyo. Currently she is a freelance photographer and in 2019, published “PLANT-BASED TOKYO” with Momoko Nakamura.
Hallie Applebaum collaborates with award-winning female chefs worldwide, from Los Angeles to Mexico City to Tel Aviv, to host the FUTURE OF WOMEN monthly women's breakfast series featuring game-changing women such as Olympic athletes, Emmy-winning producers, top Billboard musicians, and New York Times journalists on topics including architecture, sports, art, music, journalism, and human rights. Previously, Hallie worked at the World Bank advising policymakers, universities, museums, and tech companies across Latin American, Europe, the Middle East, and the US on best practices for creating and fostering entrepreneurship programs. She also consulted for IBM in Brazil and Wells Fargo Advisors. Hallie's work has been featured in publications by MIT, World Bank, and World Economic Forum. She holds a Masters from the London School of Economics and Political Science and is based in Los Angeles.
A special thank you to our friend Nour Najem for inspiring this adventure to Japan. Nour is a Lebanese fashion designer working closely with artisans across Lebanon and the Middle East, specifically women and minority artisans, to preserve traditional craft work. At breakfast, Nour told us about her work in Lebanon and Syria and showed us that across cultures, from Beirut to Tokyo, women are working with artisans to preserve culture.
FUTURE OF WOMEN is a unifying platform that creates original multimedia content and programming by, for, and about women around the world to openly look at the pursuit of being a modern woman. In 2018, we began collaborating with award-winning female chefs worldwide, from Los Angeles to Mexico City to Tel Aviv, to host a monthly women's breakfast series featuring game-changing women such as Olympic athletes, Emmy-winning producers, top Billboard musicians, and New York Times journalists on topics including architecture, sports, art, music, journalism, and human rights. In 2018, we hosted nine sold out breakfasts and launched the 2019 breakfast series in NYC in partnership with Healthyish, a site from Bon Appétit about feel-good food and living.
A Special Thank You to Our Partners
EDGEof, an 8-story clubhouse in the heart of Shibuya overlooking the iconic Scramble Crossing, where local and global talent gather, interact, and create in a vibrant open innovation community. EDGEof's food lab was the perfect venue for our breakfast.
Rice Girl is on a mission to conserve rice culture, advocating to safeguard and celebrate the breath and depth of rice, and traditional Japanese natural farming. She helped us curate a panel of speakers whose work is thoughtfully preserving local Japanese culture.
And to our photographer Waki Hamatsu for capturing these special moments.