Eco CornerBy Jacob Reiner
Choices for Sustainable Lifestyles
ECO JET SKIS
The noise and polluting fumes from jet skis flying by your favorite beach might be annoying, but they do look fun! Luckily, there is a fast, silent, emission-free jet ski able to carry you to hidden coves and private beaches with only the sound of bubbles in your wake. The prototype electric EcoWatercraft has a max speed of 50 mph, a three-hour battery life and runs clean with no oil or fumes. The company, founded by a team of tri-athletes, hopes to go into production with a 100% renewable energy plant to make these awesome machines in the near future. Their Website (www.ecowatercraft.com) is under construction, so check the video on YouTube.
Nakadaki Art Village
This year eco villages are popping up like mushrooms across Japan, but the Nakadaki Art Village in rural Chiba has roots 20 years deep. This wooded community mixes in homes, art galleries, the Nakadaki music studio, Primrose curry shop, Vanashanti healing house and more. Close to Tokyo and regularly hosting outdoor and music events such as the Boso Fun Ride and Forest Jam, this little home away from home is a perfect weekend getaway.
Organic cotton is finally going mainstream, and this year’s warm winter collection at Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) includes flannels, sweatshirts, pants, ladies' vests and more. Recycled content and clear labeling of country of origin also add big points to the MEC eco-score card. International shipping available through their Website.
Wasara dishes are an elegant and sustainable alternative to traditional paper plates and made from bamboo, reed pulp and bagasse (sugar cane waste). One use disposable items are not ecologically ideal, but we all still use them occasionally for a wedding or BBQ. The Wasara is a beautiful step forward and ingeniously designed. And think of all the hot water and soap you will be conserving! Available online and at ISETAN Shinjuku, MATSUYA Ginza, IDEA FRAMES Omotesando Hills and other stores.
THE GREEN SPACE
On Mt. Fuji, in an almost hidden valley, they still make miso the old way, by growing the beans. The townsfolk in the Lake Shojiko village plant daizu (soybeans) every spring in the same fields they have been tending for generations. In late fall when the beans are laid out to dry in front of homes, families gather to turn the 100-year-old wooden fan that separates the pods with wind. All of the village beans are then mixed into one pot with nearly half their weight in salt and a portion of koji (rice fermented with special moulds). Watanabe-san told us it takes 6 to 12 months for the miso to be ready. The few small fields produce enough for the village for a year, and it is on the menu at the local Kotobuki Family Restaurant as a local delicacy mixed with aogarashi (hot green peppers).