About Goji Eating
The word 'Go-ji' in japanese simply means five o’clock - a time we promote as an ideal time for eating. Goji is also a very small red berry filled with many essential nutrients. It is even considered a superfruit. We like this idea of something small and simple containing lots of value. It also fits perfectly with our way of finding things that are both aesthetically and nutritionally rich.
Taking from the principle of 'i shoku ju', which is a unity of three realms of living: clothes, food, and the house; our focus is on balancing the whole lifestyle around the meals we eat. Even with a busy routine, we believe that it is important to prepare food with playfulness and to serve it beautifully. This means that the kitchen is equipped with simple ways to make cooking at home both effortless, enjoyable and pleasing to the eye.
To offer this to Berlin residents who would like to also bring these values into their kitchens, we founded Goji Eating as a service for one-on-one and group lessons in cooking and preparing food that borrows from japanese home-cooking practices, but which caters to the european kitchen.
What We Eat
In Japan, food has reference to everything! There are food links to traditions, life milestones and all the highly valued characteristic and qualities a person hopes to take on. We especially feel the four seasons in the food. Because of this we really pay attention to the color, texture and consistency of what we eat. There is a big spectrum of food qualities that we value including things that are crunchy, sticky, slimey and even pungent.
There are certain dishes for significant occasions throughout ones lifetime. For example, we make a rice dish with azuki beans to make the rice turn a reddish color to celebrate the first cycle of a girl who is coming of age. The same rice and bean dish is given to neighbors after a wedding to announce the event. The appearance of this hued rice in a meal prompts curiosity about the occasion from those eating the meal.
In japanese, the word for slimey is 'Nebari'. The word 'Nebaru' means that one tries hard or perserver. Usually slimey foods are known to bring energy. Okura (okra, in english), for example, is eaten to give lots of energy. 'Chikara mochi' refers to someone who is powerful. The food 'mochi' also provides energy when eaten. The names of the food talk about their qualities - they seem to be a play on the word, but they also give you proven guidance as to the usefulness of the food to ones health and well-being. Mothers will say that if you eat carrots you will be beautiful. The word for carrot is 'ninjin' and the word beauty is 'bijin'. The way you would say grinding sesame is also how you would explain giving flattery or compliments - gomasuri. There are numerous examples that pop up everywhere.
We see these double meanings as cute, coincidental and are somehow a very reliable measure for balance in eating. The tales around food are both playful and informative and they bring people in Japan very close to food.
Learning Your Kitchen
We want people to feel comfort and ease in transforming their kitchens into places that both inspire and feed them daily. Having a busy city life sometimes leaves the kitchen as a clumsy and under-used space. Our work is to help Berliners craft an active relationship with their eating lifestyles, starting in their home kitchens. Inspired by both japanese home cooking practices and years of exposure to international food culture, we help people re-work their old kitchen equipment, food storage areas and even those old recipes that have long lived in your kitchen to make eating time simple, sensible, enjoyable, healthy and rewarding. We also offer guidance through the refrigerator and pantry, as well as the local markets, to work through your long term goals of better, conscientious, wholesome eating. Berlin is rich with sources of foodstuffs, both local and imported from far and near. This, if any, is a wonderful place for learning and playing with food.
Slowly Tsukasa's experience with textile design, illustration and vintage clothes merged into food. She has made collections of food character sketches, which give personality to things like potatoes and daikon (chinese radish). To her, food has always been something playful and expressive. Making food also means dressing it up and designing the spaces around it. After having very busy moments in Tokyo, London and Berlin, where most of her focus was left to personal fashion and outter appearances, it became clear to Tsukasa that she wanted to shift a lot more of this effort towards her eating life. The japanese principle 'i shoku ju' encourages the balance of three realms of living: clothes, food and the house. She has found that without finding ways to enhance the eating lifestyle, other aspects of modern living are incomplete, making it very difficult to live a balanced life in the city.
Tsukasa's work is to bring an ease to healthy, delicious and well-designed eating lifestyles, enriching the homes of Berlin city dwellers. Her design background filters through into many aspects of her cooking and eating practices. She places a strong focus on a playful order, preparation, atmosphere and overall simplicity.