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  • Writer's pictureThe Peach City

“We improve where we live ourselves” Her major role in a small town and mustard as her starting line

Something that is often being talked about these days is “moving to regional cities”. Some people might be motivated to do so to contribute to their hometowns or others might feel they want to experience charms you can only find in regional areas. There also might be some people who are obliged to because their partners got transferred to regional areas.

The reasons behind the move of each person are different but what’s mutual amongst them might be that they feel a new stimulus and possibilities in the environment that is different to urban areas.

What we’ll introduce this month is the efforts of this woman, who moved to Fuefuki City and developed “Fuefuki Mustard”. She thought to begin something that she couldn’t do anywhere else.


Saki Kimura

Ms. Saki Kimura is from Aichi Prefecture. She moved to Fuefuki City when she got married. She then became the first “Fuefuki City’s local vitalization cooperator”. While working on migration and settlement support, she developed domestic mustard utilizing the characteristics of the local area. Although her term of service is expiring soon, she is going to continue her mustard business with a business name “Pirimaruke”.


What I felt after getting married and moving to the countryside from a metropolitan city

The number of people who want to move to regional areas has been increasing year after year, but Ms. Saki Kimura, who developed Fuefuki Mustard Factory, is a woman who ended up moving to Fuefuki City by fate.

“I’m from Nagoya. After graduating from school, I was working at a local retail store but I moved to Tokyo looking for a more rewarding job. After graduating from a vocational training school, I got a job at a web designing company. I was in charge of a news app and my job was to write and publish articles and so on. It was hard but rewarding and I had what I asked for.

I worked in Tokyo for about two and a half years, and it was three years ago when I moved to Fuefuki City. My then boyfriend and I were thinking of getting married so we moved to Yamanashi, where his parents lived.

We settled in and I started to think about work feeling “I have to do something”, then I found this job of “Fuefuki City’s local vitalization cooperator” at the city hall. Before moving here, I thought living in the countryside would be inconvenient but it actually isn’t, and there are also delicious fruit here as I’ve heard from people before. I thought ‘Fuefuki City is a lovely place’.”

Ms. Kimura thought that she needed to learn more about Fuefuki City as a “Fuefuki City’s local vitalization cooperator” so she proactively went out to look around the city. Then she started posting about things that impressed her on the social media page or blog and so on as part of her work.

Source of photos: Fuefuki City’s local vitalization cooperators (facebook)

Because I feel I can start something, it motivates me to try

“Through my experiences living in Fuefuki City and also working as a local vitalization cooperator, I’ve felt how big each person’s role is in the community. Here, I’m not just one of tens of thousands of people like in Tokyo. I’ve realized how powerful one person’s influence can be.”

If you have a car, you can go anywhere so Ms. Kimura hasn’t felt much inconvenience living here. She’s actually come to understand that Fuefuki is a city where they have clean water, clean air and delicious fruit, and that this is a place where each person can have their own role for the community. When she thought about what she could do here, she decided to pursue her dream that she’d vaguely had on her mind for quite some time, which is to develop a food product. That was this “Fuefuki Mustard” business.

“The idea of making mustard came to my mind from these two things. One is that a long time ago in Europe they used to use unripe grape juice instead of vinegar to make mustard. The other thing is that mustard plant, which is the main ingredient of mustard, grows naturally in the area. So here in Fuefuki City, which is well known for its fruit production and has suitable climate and soil to grow mustard plant, I thought I could produce mustard.”

Source of photos: Fuefuki City’s local vitalization cooperators (facebook)

I started everything from scratch including researching about different kinds of mustard and how to make them, mustard plant cultivation, obtaining unripe grapes to extract juice from, and getting all the cookware…

Ms. Kimura started this mustard business in September 2017, and in one year, they thrived up to the level of production where they were producing three different kinds of domestic mustard (production quantity was about 3,000 jars in total).

“What’s unique about our mustard is its pungent aroma. We don’t add anything but mustard seeds and unripe grape juice to make our mustard so it tastes simple and brings out the best of those ingredients.

Also, I’d like to introduce our ‘flavored mustard’, which has Fuefuki’s fruit as a flavoring ingredient. This idea was inspired by mustard from France, where mustard has been produced and enjoyed for centuries. In France, there are various kinds of mustard flavored with local specialties such as herbs and blackcurrant.”

They have pink plum mustard filled in cute small jars. Ms. Kimura tells us that she’d love tourists to enjoy their mustard as a souvenir of Fuefuki City but she’d also love locals to try their mustard as well.

What you can’t make or experience in Tokyo

Ms. Kimura’s term as a local vitalization cooperator is three years and it’s expiring soon. After leaving the position, she’s going to continue her mustard business with a different business name “Pirimaruke”.

“Through my experience as a local vitalization cooperator, I’ve learned that it’s important to keep in mind that we should improve where we live ourselves. When I lived in Tokyo, I had one job but here I feel like I can live doing different things simultaneously. Farming and making products, I wouldn’t be able to do these things in Tokyo.”

Each city has its own charms. But you might not be able to notice that until you actually visit there.

“Fuefuki Mustard” which is packed with the city’s charms is a new ambassador of Fuefuki City. It hopefully will become well known to many more people and help the city become more celebrated in the future.


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