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Sonoko Sakai is a Japanese writer, producer and cooking teacher who call three places home: Los Angeles, Tehachapi and Tokyo.  Sonoko was born in New York and raised in many places -- Kamakura, Tokyo, San Francisco, Mexico City and Los Angeles. As a freelance writer, Sakai writes about Japanese food and culture, and pens memoirs of her multicultural upbringing and travels. She is passionate about making soba noodles by hand.

Sakai is author of "The Poetical Pursuit of Food: Japanese recipes for American Cooks" (Clarkson Potter) and a food writer whose stories and recipes have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune,  San Francisco Chronicle, Saveur and Zester Daily. Sakai's next book is RICE CRAFT: Adventures in the Art of Onigiri, which will be published by Chronicle Books in Spring of 2016.

Sakai, is the founder of Common Grains (, a project dedicated to sharing the traditions and pleasures of growing and eating grains within a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.  Sakai has worked with  Southern California farmers to locally grow heritage wheat with a grant from Anson Mills.  Sakai also works with WSU and the Port of Skagit - a US -Japan joint-venture project to grow and mill buckwheat in the Skagit Valley in Washington State.  Since 2012, Sakai has worked as an event producer/cooking teacher to promote Japanese grains for the Japanese rice growers association .

Sakai lives in Los Angeles and Tehachapi ranch with her husband, Sakai, and their dog and three cats.

Soba salad. Credit: Copyright 2015 Sonoko Sakai

Soba is a delightfully tasteful and nourishing noodle. Originating in Japan, soba is made with buckwheat, and the nutrient-rich noodle is associated with longevity

Nukazuke, or pickled vegetables. Credit: Copyright 2015 Sonoko Sakai

Traditional pickled foods have become increasingly popular, with their palate-pleasing spicy, sour, sweet and salty flavors and varied textures that provide health benefits as

Namasu. Credit: Sonoko Sakai

New Year's is the most important holiday in Japan, and the centerpiece of the annual celebration is what the Japanese consider to be lucky

Braised Kabocha With Adzuki Bean Paste. Credit: Sonoko Sakai

Nothing is more quintessentially fall than squash. Their varietal colors and shapes are much to be admired, and their brightly colored interiors make magnificent

Brown rice can serve as the base for delicious sushi rolls. Credit: Sonoko Sakai

Hideo Ono, a lean 65-year-old with deep crow's feet around his eyes and a farmer's tan, has been growing rice in the village of

Onigiri made with brown rice. Credit: Sonoko Sakai

Consuming whole grains is making us healthier eaters. Take rice, which since ancient times has been one of the most popular grains eaten around

A grilled onigiri can be the perfect Fourth of July finger food. Credit: Sonoko Sakai

Not everyone uses the word "barbecue" in Japan, but when it comes to cooking over the flame, Japanese have a long tradition -- and

Nathan Siemens of Fat Uncle Farms holds his son in his field. Credit: Patrick Gookin

On a crispy May morning, we gathered in the wheat fields of Fat Uncle Farms, right off Highway 246 in Lompoc, Calif. It was