Organic in Akasaka
One of the finest wine shops in Tokyo, Mavie Akasaka has been importing small batch organic wines from the world’s top vineyards for years. The professional sommeliers will guide you through the extensive collection of medocs, chardonnays, sparkling wines, as well as Belgian and Japanese organic beers. The Akasaka shop also has a small restaurant with the perfect tapas for every bottle. Easy walking distance from Roppongi or Akasaka stations. Be sure to ask if the new Organic Cherry Wine is in yet.
Not Your Grandma’s Weed
The ubiquitous Muji shops with their ultra-chic subdued style have a new line of soft hemp T-shirts in greys and greens. Another great source for everything hemp is Ecolution, with Indian and European hemp products and a wide variety of women’s clothes, footwear, bags and wallets, hammocks, shower curtains and more. There are even hemp Frisbees and a vegan guitar strap.
Earthship Greenhouse Workshop
Visionary architect Michael Reynold’s EarthShips are legendary in the eco home world. These amazingly modern passive solar structures were originally built in the Arizona desert with recycled tires, cans, earthen walls, integrated greenhouses and grey-water recycling systems. The first one in Japan was built in Shikoku in 1993, and an in-ground EarthShips greenhouse will be built this summer on Mt. Fuji at the Earth Embassy’s Solar Café & Farm. There will be two-day and five-day workshops from July 28 to Aug. 1, with hands-on building and farming activities.
No Fin, No Future
Shark fin soup. Definitely not eco, but it is kind of tasty, right? The problem is the fins are cut off live sharks that are then thrown back into the ocean, finless and bleeding, to die a slow and painful death. The rate of slaughter (tens of millions per year) is pushing many species to the brink of extinction. Pangea Seed is a Tokyo-based NPO raising awareness through art, music and fin-free raves. See their calendar for upcoming events. For info on buying sustainable seafood, see the Marine Stewardship Council’s labeling program.
Tokyo Farmers Market
Farmers’ markets are back. After a nearly 50-year hiatus, Japan is sprouting up street markets with fresh baked goods, produce picked that morning and all manner of fair trade and homespun products. Setting the standard and leading the trend is the flagship market, held every weekend in front of the United Nations University in Aoyama, a five-minute walk from Shibuya or Omotesando station. They also have workshops, publish the magazine Water, Sun and the Earth and hold occasional night markets with live music.