第006話EPISODE 006


With a lot of food talk and a short story on his life.
Mr. Suwa, currently working for NHK Enterprise,
is the experienced producer who has been producing numerous legendary TV series.
Away from work, he likes farm borrowing and vegetable farming.
Mr. Suwa’s stories on his hobby, work, and food.
You will want to eat together with someone.
Interview and Story by : Kazuya Karasawa



30年ぐらい前かなぁ。僕の自宅は八王子なのですが、市民広報便りみたいなペラっとしたお知らせがあるでしょ? あれを読んでいたら「八王子市民農園募集」という記事が掲載されていて、なぜか妙に心に引っかかったんです。僕は文京区のうまれで、女房は中野区育ち。ふたりとも田舎がなかった。子供の頃から田畑に触れる機会もなく「ちょっとやってみるか?」と軽い気持ちで応募したら、5倍の競争率だったのに当選しまして。ちょうど30歳だった春、4月のことです。


At 4:30 in this morning , I went to the farm. Cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, sweet pepper, and chili picked earlier: freshly harvested vegetables have the best flavor. Especially for Tofu, it tastes so good as to be considered something different.

About 30 years ago, I lived in Hachioji, and you know the information section in the community paper? I was reading it, and all of a sudden, 'the article for seeking farmers in Hachioji' intrigued me. I was born in Bunkyo-ku, and my wife is from Nakano-ku. None of us grow up in the countryside. Without the chances to experience farming, I simply decided to try to apply for it, and to my surprise, I was selected among the competitive ratio of 5:1. It happened in April, when I just turned 30.

The taste of my own vegetables was incredible, and even shocking. Green beans were my very first vegetable: In the middle of May, vividly green, they were perfectly ripe for harvesting. There are no good words for swonning to the smell of the boiled green beans. When you put them in your mouth, accompanied by a fabulous mouth feel, you can sense the sweetness is spread through. In fact, green beans in the supermarket are not fresh enough, nor taste very good, as they are mostly sold at least three days after its harvesting. Dumbfounded, I even thought that 'the vegetables I had until now were not a real thing!' Since then, I've been hooked on growing vegetables.

趣味と仕事の関係性? それは難しいテーマだと思います。僕の場合は、野菜作りの興味が、糸井重里さんとお仕事させていただくきっかけになったり(※『だれでもつくれる永田野菜』としてDVD化され、スマッシュヒットを記録)、最近でも『菜園ライフ〜本当によくわかる野菜作り〜』というDVDをリリースするなど、自己の興味と仕事がつながってはいる。でも、音楽が大好きな漁師さんだって世の中にはいるわけで、いろいろな組みあわせがあるし、あっていいのが「趣味」と「仕事」の関係性だと思うんです。ただ、僕の主戦場であるテレビや映像といったメディアの仕事に限らせていただくのなら、より、ニッチなものが視聴者からおもしろがられている気がします。つまり、かつては紅白歌合戦で視聴率70%を記録したようなマスメディアとしてではなく、今後は、より、趣味性の高い映像とその作り手が求められるのではとの予感がある。

The relationship between my leisure and work? It's a difficult question. In my case, growing vegetables connected me to work with Mr. Shigesato Itoi -- 'Anyone Can Do It: Nagata Farming' with great success, -- and I recently released the DVD of the 'Life of Vegetable Garden: Really Easy to Grow Vegetables', which indicates the connection between my interests and works. Nevertheless, as there is even a fisherman who loves music, and many other existing combinations in the world, I believe that it's good to correlate your career with your hobby. As my primary career is the media, I guess such a thing as unique and niche will attract much greater interest among the audience. In other words, not as a mass media based on the corresponding peak viewership records in the past, but the media will be able to meet the unique need of each viewer with his/her distinct interest.

若い頃は貧乏だったか? 唐突な質問だなぁ。でもね、それはもう貧乏でした(笑)。いまもお世話になっているNHKの仕事をさせてもらうまでは、フリーの写真家としてアルプスで高山植物を撮影したりしていましたから、写真だけじゃ食えなくて、代行運転のバイトでもするかなどと考えていた時期もありました。そもそも、アルプス行きの資金も借金だったし(笑)。



Was I supposed to be poor when I was younger? You have the guts to ask such a question. Sure, I was poor (laughter). Until I got a job in NHK, my current employer, I couldn't make a living with a freelance photography works, like taking pictures of alpine plants in the Alps, and at the time I even had this idea of having a temporary job as a designated driver. To begin with, the money spent in the Alps was the loans (laughter).

At that time, my most impressive memory related to the food was camp cooking by myself. When shooting alpine plants in the Alps, I was stuck there for two months, and then my wife and I went on a trip to Spain and Northern Europe. For 120 days within four months of the trip, our meals were made by the camping food. Later, we had kids, and four of us went to Alaska, and we also did camp cooking everyday for two months. Well, we were impecunious! (laughter) Basically, cooking is one significant component to keep the travel costs down. Catching Salmon and the Rainbow Trout in Alaska, we either steak them or boil them well to make stew or borsch. Those who have outdoor experience would understand that it is super delicious to eat the food outside, with the beautiful scenic views, no matter cooking skills -- even a cup of coffee is amazing. Such emotions should be innate, since all of human being had our meal outside in the past. At the table outside the house, family and friends were gathered around a fire. Like today, we also chattered while eating. This casual moment is the happiest moment, enabling us to perceive taste better.

Food is the most significant thing in your life, in my opinion. It helps you to build, which means that you can build relationships with others. As for me, I happened to have a connection with vegetables, and in terms that this broaden the spectrum of my career, I really like eating. I love it! Today, I also planned for lunch and dinner at 4:30 am on the field, even when the breakfast was not yet open (laughter).