Pigs in The City, Yukihiko Yoshioka's Animal Farm in Setagaya

Thinking of farms while living in urban centers, we believe we would have to get away from the city, maybe 30 minutes or an hour to experience the country life.

Well someone decided to show us that it hasn't got to be so.
In Setagaya ,one of Tokyo's 23 Wards, one man, Yukihiko Yoshioka, raises no less than 43 pigs and 450 chickens roaming about freely, oinking and clucking in the middle of the day what we would call free-range.
I learned of his endeavor thanks to Urban Hogs dig Setagaya by Tomoko Otake (Japan Times, January 18, 2009).

There is a rationale behind the animal farm in the middle of Tokyo as the writer explains.

"A pile of dark-brown compost — a mixture of pig and chicken dung, protein-rich rice bran and tree branches — sits in the 220-sq.-meter pig pen, with steam wafting up here and there. The compost is fermenting. Feel it, Yoshioka says, scooping up a handful of mud to show me. To my surprise, it is warm, and doesn't have the noxious smell of ammonia. You see? he continues with a sense of confidence in his voice. Pigs don't get cold in the winter. Also, it hardly smells, because we mix it with wooden chips that we make from the branches of trees we trim. The chips absorb the smell and serve as a deodorant. In fact, this steamy chunk of mud is why Yoshioka keeps free-range chickens and pigs on his premises; their dung makes a perfect fertilizer for his trees."

His pigs are from a specific type called Tokyo-X which the article describes as tasty and tender, with a fine marble of fat mixed in it." Yoshioka says "that its supply is so limited that it is only available at top-rate restaurants and at department stores in Tokyo. One restaurant charges ¥3,000 for a tonkatsu pork cutlet made from Tokyo-X."


I was able to dig a few details on this pig style via the Ohtama Ham Company.

Pigs in the City for Tokyo Thursdays # 73

Last week: For Hire: Husband, Mother or Companion, Lonely in Japan

Related stories: Saucisson and the Happy Pig...An acquired taste for the French

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