According to the little ticker box at the bottom of my page, people apparently read my blog. Even people I don’t know. (Gasp!) Seeing as my most popular entries are either those that contain popular search words (booty, for example will take people to a rather non-sexy post on maternity pants) or topics that lack any substantial English language information (Mt. Eboshi Sports Park), I thought I would do something helpful for people who wind up here actually looking for some Japan information they can read. For those of you who would like to grow some less common in Japan flowers, herbs, and veggies, read on.
If you’re lucky enough to live someplace you can farm, you probably don’t have the fortune to live someplace cosmopolitan enough to sell seeds of things you actually want to eat. Rural Japan is bursting with seeds packets for daikon, goya, napa cabbage, and kabocha. If you want some dill or habanero peppers for cooking comfort food from back home, you’re probably SOL. Since my local shops have a limited selection, I ended up placing an order with a Japanese company recommended by a reader, たねの森(Tane no Mori/ Seed Forest). Here’s the nitty gritty.
The website here has a PDF of their current offerings. Scroll down to the bottom part of the page and look for the box with 2013年種子カタログ (2013 seed catalogue). Click on it, then select the PDF file to download and print- if that's how you roll. The offerings are modest, but all the basics are there with some hard to find varieties and veggies in the mix. Each product has a number, a name in roman letters, and the katakana version of the name. All seed packets are 300 yen. Shipping on all orders, regardless of size is 70 yen. They give several contacts on the last page: phone, fax email, and real mail. Pick one and send in your order. They ask that your order includes the product number (ご希望の品種の番号/go kibou no hinshu no bangou), product name (品種名/hinshu mei), and quantity of each product(及び数量/oyobi suuryou). They also want your address and name (ご住所･お名前), and your preferred contact method and info. Once they read through your order they send you confirmation. It was a few days before I heard back. Being that this is Japan, I suspect that fax would be the most speedy way to send your order.
Payment is through direct bank transfer (furikomi) within 2 weeks of receiving your order. The details of their bank account are included on the final page of the PDF catalog under お支払方法 (shiharaihouhou/ payment methods). The first red dot lists the information for those who are members of the Japan Post bank, ゆうちょ銀行 (yuucho ginkou). The second red dot has the information for people who are members of another bank. In my case they didn’t have everything I ordered so they asked me to wait until the second portion arrived before payment. (How delightfully Japanese.) If you aren’t comfortable doing furikomi, you can read up on it at Surviving in Japan without Much Japanese.
And really, that’s it. My order came with a complimentary packet of seeds. Since it’s my first order I don’t know if that’s standard, or if it was a gesture to smooth over the sold out status of a few of the packets I ordered. Regardless, I am now the proud grower of some hairy vetch, a nitrogen fixing ground cover with a dirty sounding name.