The new buckwheat flour available right now is from Hokkaido. The buckwheat around here is still flowering. It will be ready to harvest around the middle of November. Buckwheat is very weak against rain and wind. You can’t plant it until the rainy season has ended. There is no rainy season in Hokkaido so you can plant it earlier and thus harvest it earlier. New buckwheat flour is delicious. The best buckwheat probably comes from Nagano, a place with mountains. Hokkaido buckwheat is also delicious.
I’ve been making soba for seven years.
Deciding on the firmness is the hardest part. If it’s too hard, or too soft, it’s very hard to work with. Finding that perfect consistency is tough. On a rainy humid day, even if you use less water it can become too soft. On a hot dry day, even if you add extra water it doesn’t always turn out right.
Buckwheat flour is very sensitive to humidity. You can’t simply follow the formula. Even if you use the same proportion of water each time, it will turn out differently on different days. So each time you make it you have to judge when to stop adding water – judge the conditions, assess the flour and decide on the right ratio of water. That’s the hardest part, but that’s what makes it really interesting. You do your best and one time it goes poorly and another time it's great. If it were the same every time, it would cease to be interesting.
Everyone here is experienced. There are a few people who have opened restaurants. But honestly it’s better to make soba as a hobby. If you open a restaurant you just get busy.
I was an office worker for MoonStar, a large shoe company. There are all kinds of people here. We’re all retired. That guy there, he worked for Mitsubishi and was stationed in America for a while. That one, he was a banker. And he worked for Nissan. The one mixing there, he was a college professor.