My favourite television shows mostly centre around food and nature, and I also enjoy watching comedic programmes, and documentaries on how people live. I find myself becoming more and more of a gardening nerd, one who gets easily excited on the topic of seeds, farming tools and techniques.
It was Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage that got me on this journey of wanting to live off the land. More than six years on, I’m still a massive fan, and I’ve found other programmes to get my fix on sustainable living.
In the last year, my boyfriend got me onto watching Gardening Australia, which is screened on ABC every Saturday in Australia. When I’m back in Singapore, I watch it online here, and download their magazines from Zinio. He also told me about Costa’s Garden Odyssey, which was screening on the Australia Network in Singapore, but I didn’t manage to catch it on telly. Some episodes are available online on YouTube.
Recently I discovered At Home with Venetia in Kyoto when Dad was watching NHK World late one night. What sets this TV programme apart from others is the pace and style of story telling, and how as a foreigner, she has adopted the Japanese culture.
Venetia Stanley-Smith was born in the UK and moved to Japan in 1971, living in Tokyo and Okayama before moving to Kyoto. She speaks fluent Japanese, and lives with her Japanese husband in a home set in a beautiful garden, with her vegetable garden a short walk away. The TV programme follows her life as she engages in her daily activities of meeting friends, tending to her garden, and facets of her handmade lifestyle. Each episode also includes a recipe, mostly cooking, sometimes homemade cleaning products. Slowly paced, watching her show is almost like a visual meditation, it leaves me feeling calm and collected afterwards, and slightly more enlightened.
There aren’t many episodes available online, so I have to contend with watching the series on television every fortnight on NHK World (Channel 148) when I am in Singapore. Her TV programmes can’t be bought online, unfortunately. For those living in Singapore who care to watch, her show is aired every other Tuesday at 9.30am, 1.30pm, 5.30pm, 9.30pm, and on Wednesday morning at 1.30am and 5.30am. Her new movie is now screening in Japan, and hopefully one day soon it will be available with English subtitles!