Kyushu is the third largest of Japan’s main four islands.  It’s also the southernmost, and has about 14.5 million inhabitants, giving it one of the highest population densities in the country.  It also has important industrial infrastructure.  Along its eastern coast, two cities, Nobeoka and Saeki, have, since 2021, been working together to create a new economic and cultural area based on the keywords “food” and “cooperation.”  They’ve given it the title “Basquification Plan for the East of Kyushu” or “Basque Initiative of Eastern Kyushu.”

And they’re going about it the right way from the start, as they are clear about the fact that the “Basque Country” straddles both sides of the Pyrenees between France and Spain.

El este de la Isla de Kyūshū (Japón) y El País Vasco
The Basque Country, straddling the Pyrenees, and the east of Kyushu Island, Japan

The reason for defining this plan as “Basquification” can be found in a very graphic way, setting San Sebastian up as the best gourmet city in the world:

“the Basque region, which straddles the European countries of France and Spain, is famous for having achieved innovative and unique development in culture, food, and art, and Basque cuisine in particular is world-renowned. It continues to influence cuisine and is highly regarded. This is an attempt to create excitement in the area of ​​East Kyushu, centered around Nobeoka, like this gastronomic town in the Basque Country.”

One of the tools that they’ve set out to achieving this position is the Nobeoka Gastronomic Society‘s reunion, which was held on Tuesday, January 23 in Shinbashi, Tokyo.  It was this that allowed us to discover this story thanks to an article by Koji Nakajima on the website BRAVO MOUNTAIN.

We imagine that on reading the name “Nobeoka Gastronómica,” many of our readers will have recalled the San Sebastián Gastronomika, which has been held there for over 25 years, which we’ve mentioned on occasion.

The Nobeoka Gastronomic event is organized by food critic Masuhiro Yamamoto, who is an “old friend” of the San Sebastián Gastronomika.   But in this case, the event was not held in the city or even region that organized it, but rather in the heart of Tokyo.

We never cease to be amazed by how Basque cuisine is a benchmark around the world, to the point that an area with amazing cuisine and ingredients wants to become “more Basque.”  They explain:

“This region’s climate, natural features, sea and mountain delicacies, and agricultural and livestock products are world-class. Let’s polish and cook each sparkling raw stone, and share its deliciousness with the world. What we harvest here, we offer here. ‘From the land to the table, from the sea to the plate.’  This is Kyushu’s Basque Country, full of rich ingredients.”

Even the name of the public body itself states it: 東九州バスク化構想延岡推進協議会(東九州バスク化構想推進室). That is, “East Kyushu Basque Concept Nobeoka Promotion Council (East Kyushu Basque Concept Promotion Office).”

The world never stops surprising us; this time, quite pleasantly.

We’ll leave you with the Bravo Mountain article about the Nobeoka Gastronómica event, and the website that explains the “Basquification” plan for eastern Kyushu Island.

Bravo Mountain – 18/2/2024 – Japan

美食の伝道師 山本益博氏がプロデュース! 宮崎県延岡市が推進する “美食の街” プロジェクト「のべおかガストロノミカ」そして「東九州バスク化構想」とは?【編集部リポート】


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Goodeat Goodlife –  – Japan



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Last Updated on Feb 19, 2024 by About Basque Country

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