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Komatteiru is Japanese for “in a bind”, or “don’t know what to do”. Today we were komatteiru because our neighbor called us up to his field where he has rows of cabbage and daikon that he doesn’t want because it has a tiny little bit of brown on some of the leaves.
We accepted more than we can possibly eat or pickle, but that is not so much trouble because we can always feed it to the chickens next year, or just dump it in a field.
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We are a bit komatteiru because one of the goals was to grow our own fresh organic veggies, but the neighbors throw away so many that it seems pointless to even try with our own. Granted, they use lots of fertilizers and pesticides on theirs, so if we were really strict about all organic we would not even want to feed their cabbage to our chickens, but we are not that strict, and refusing to take them does no favors to the environment because they will continue to grow them and let them rot every year anyway, every year adding more who-knows-what to the soil, river (that eventually runs by our house) and eventually the ocean.
It seems that some neighbors grow more than they can ever eat or use simply because they have a field and they don’t want to be considered lazy by letting the field go unused, and if they are to grow something, it would be embarrassing to grow small odd-shaped bug-eaten veggies like ours, so they invest in the fertilizers and sprays so that all the neighbors can see how big and perfect their vegetables are.
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6 replies on “Komatteiru

  1. kimchi, kimchi, kimchi. That’s what you need to do! And you could probably find a market for your home-made kimchi. It seemed to be getting popular when we were there! I can send you any ingredients you may be lacking. And why does organic = odd-shaped, bug eaten? Ours are organic (and everyone else around us) and, aside from a few small holes in the outer cabbage leaves, everything seems pretty “normal” so far.

  2. The odd shape is not so much about organic, but odd shape doesn’t taste bad but they still throw it away – after investing all the crap into it that they do. And you say a few small holes on the outside is “normal”? I agree, but those few small holes on a neighbors cabbage might get it thrown into the Kevin and Tomoe Freegan pile in our village.
    Kimchee requires a different type of kitchen license than baking, and Tomoe is getting a baking license. It seems that the authorities, in their higher wisdom, have deemed it improper to have two different permits for the same kitchen space, so we can’t really make kimchi for sale, and there is no way to eat that much between the three of us when we also have a huge bucket with six months worth of Nozawana pickles too (which I much prefer to kimchi)

    1. One dish I can think of off hand is a little furikake (not dried, though) thing she does. Would have to ask her to know what is in it, but it is really good. Other than that, put them in soup, in caserole type things, whatever they seem to fit well with. I will ask about the furikake.

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