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Monday, August 12


Emma Yasui is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto specializing in the Jomon Period of Japan.  She researches the daily food related activities of people from this era by looking at the starch and blood residues left on stone tools.  Currently she is in Japan collecting some preliminary samples for her dissertation.  While there, she will be sharing some of her experiences with us:

The Hakodate Morning Market (函館朝市) is not for those who dislike seafood.  As a major market in a northern Japanese harbor town, the asaichi is a demonstration of local produce and regional specialties.  It is easy to get lost in the maze of colourful vendors and restaurants, which is unsurprising considering the market is about four city blocks of melons, kelp, crabs, fish, and squid.  While the multitude of crabs are popular grocery and gift items, one of the best known offerings from Hakodate is called gagome kombu.  This variety of kelp is considered unique to the area, and has become a sought after health food in many countries.  In the mid-2000s, gagome cultivation boomed with the help of marine botanist Hajime Yasui (no relation), who found the seaweed had significant nutritional value and a potential anti-cancer agent.  But, if you are just visiting and do not want to stock up on kombu and sea creatures, there are also plenty of sushi, soba, and donburi shops open for breakfast.  The market is held every day from 5 am to noon.

-Emma Yasui

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