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Bokashi bins in Japan

Chris Cappelletti

Joined: Jan 27, 2012
Posts: 5
Hey folks,

My first time in the forums - how's things? I did a brief search for a thread about bokashi, and though I've seen it brought up in several responses to other compost queries, I have not seen a dedicated discussion. If it exists, could someone link me to it?

I live in a moderate-size apartment building in a residential city in Japan. I'd like to begin container gardening for the building this year, and establish a centralized compost system for the inhabitants, as well. In our individual unit, we've been using bokashi to ferment our organic matter, and it has been an unexpectedly satisfying experience. Many other aspects of life in Japan (at least for a freshly-arrived foreigner) are incredibly discouraging as regard attempts to acquire local produce or avoid acquiring unnecessary packaging for almost ALL store-bought goods. However, the infrastructure is certainly in place for each and every living unit to convert their own food scraps into soil on a regular and sustainable basis. I was considering this thread as a way to document the process over the year, and to try and answer any and all questions regarding my use of bokashi during my time in Japan.

I would love to hear your thoughts or suggestions about the best way to go about coordinating this effort among others in the building. Right now, my idea is to convince everyone to use bokashi in their individual units, and then to construct a large centralized container for the fully-fermented materials to further convert into soil for use in container gardening for the building (the building sits on a concrete plot for cars, with only a thin strip of fenced lawn and unkempt street shrubs surrounding the perimeter).

Here are some pictures of our first accumulation. The pictures are of 2 months of fermented scraps just after depositing them into a larger holding unit on our back patio. I layered the base with some potting soil, added these scraps (2 bokashi bins worth), and then layered some more potting soil on top. I compressed the whole thing, and closed the container. It is not entirely airtight, but I've read that after the initial two weeks of anaerobic fermentation, the scraps can be integrated with natural soil in order to speed up the conversion. Any thoughts on this? Should I be wary of contamination?

Anyhow, I'll post again when I make some sort of progress. Thanks, all!


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On the prowl for permies in Japan... drop me a line if and when you can!
Graham Buckley

Joined: Nov 16, 2011
Posts: 10
Hi Chris,

This is great - thanks for sharing. I'd definitely be interested to hear about your Bokashi story over the coming weeks and months.

Over at Bokashi Composting HQ I'm about to start a series of short posts about people all over the world who are using Bokashi. I'd like to use it as a way to inspire others to use Bokashi, to show them that it is a great system and that it could be relevant in their situation. I'd love it if you wanted to get involved. All I'd be looking for is a short description of how or why you use Bokashi (100-200 words would be fine, but feel free to write more!), a photo or two, and a piece of advice or top tip you'd like to offer. If you're interested, get in touch via permies or the contact form on Bokashi HQ.

As for other threads dedicated to Bokashi, there is this one: http://www.permies.com/t/11246/organic-sustainable-practices/me-bokashi which might be of interest.
Chris Cappelletti

Joined: Jan 27, 2012
Posts: 5
Wonderful, thanks for the head's up, Graham! I'll be sure to follow up for you shortly, and count me in for your Bokashi campaign. I'd be happy to be a part of it. More soon,

tel jetson

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3328
Location: woodland, washington
I think I'm going to blow your mind, Chris Cappelletti. are you prepared for that? are you prepared, Chris Cappelletti, to have your mind blown right out the top or back of your head? you should prepare. you are going to trip all the balls. EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM.

here it comes:
I know somebody also called Chris Cappelletti. handsome devil. and, get this: he's in Japan right now. he's there right now. and he's doing some bokashi composting. what are the odds of something like that? not good, I should think. wow.

look him up. he might have some tips to share. and you two can slap five. or TEN! I have a hunch that, like him, you are also overeducated and dashing.

find religion! church
kiva! hyvä! iloinen! pikkumaatila
get stung! beehives
be hospitable! host-a-hive
be antisocial! facespace
Chris Cappelletti

Joined: Jan 27, 2012
Posts: 5
These internets are the bee sneeze!
subject: Bokashi bins in Japan