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Kyushu's National Parks


Bread with an African Beginning and a Mother’s Love



The bakery appeared unexpectedly in a quiet residential area of Miyazaki City, Miyazaki Prefecture. Besides the standard numbers like rye bread and multigrain pain de campagne, Kodamapan also offers seasonal breads containing chestnust, walnuts, and apples. The delectable goods baked with yeast produced in-house are the talk of the entire town. The proprietor, Hiroko Kodama, greeted us with a smile in front of the charming façade of her brad shop. We asked about her bread and her baking techniques, and she had this to say:

“It’s important for me to use locally grown organic ingredients as much as possible. I’m driven by a strong desire to use Miyazaki-grown wheat and vegetables, and to connect the producers with consumers through my bread. I also felt it was essential to bake the bread with firewood. Since I didn’t want to make a lot of smoke in this residential neighborhood, I built a smoke-free firewood oven myself!”

In her childhood, Ms. Kodama lived in Tanzania for two years. Necessities were not always easy to come by, but her mother seemed to buy food and cook for her family with ease. Her father also had a habit of making everything himself, and that naturally rubbed off on Ms. Kodama. She took up baking in Miyazaki with the hope of feeding bread to her second son, who suffered from egg allergy. Her choice of organic ingredients followed the principles of macrobiotics. What started out as a hobby eventually led to the opening of her own bakery.

“I ask the neighbors for unused timber and offer them sake in return. After I’ve burned the timber as firewood, I take the wood ash to farmers, who use it as a soil conditioner. I’m always thinking about swaps like these and exchanges that will contribute to the natural cycle.”

It’s amazing to think all of this sprung solely from Ms. Kodama’s will. A mother’s love for her child inspired her to bake delicious bread, and that bread now serves as a bridge between the local producers and the consumers. Ms. Kodama gave us a shy smile as she told us her story.

“I may be baking the bread and running the shop single-handedly, but I can’t do it without cooperation from my neighbors. My gratitude to these collaborators is my motivator now.”

We said good-bye to Kodamapan and tried the bread. The well-rounded flavor of Miyazaki’s earth and the many growers’ fruits and vegetables spread throughout our mouths.

Wood baked bread using Kyushu ingredients and African inspiration.
We drive full on into Kyushu’s National Parks. With each park we explore not only it’s nature but also the diverse culture and people living within them. And collaborate with these individuals (farmers, fisherman, makers) to create 5 original sandwiches representing each of the National Parks.
text | Miguel Utsunomiya photography | Masahiro 'Lai' Arai (SunTalk)