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Apr. 6, Sun.*This program was first broadcast on Apr. 12, 2012

Wild Vegetables

Wild vegetables have long been served at the Japanese dining table. With their great variety and low calorie count, they have recently become popular as health foods. But they also play important roles in long-established annual and seasonal rituals. In the 18th century, during a period of famine, one feudal lord realized that although crops were not sprouting, wild vegetables were. He commissioned a guidebook that gave people life-saving advice on how to gather and eat plants found in the wild. Wild vegetables don't only grow in the wilderness; some people enjoy gathering them in urban areas. There are even schools that share traditional knowledge about wild vegetables with their students.

On this edition of BEGIN Japanology, our theme is wild vegetables. We'll see how Japan's food culture has embraced what nature has to offer.