Photo/IllutrationFarm animals including cattle and goats are kept at Otemachi-Bokujo on the 13th floor of Pasona Group Inc.’s head office building outside Tokyo Station. (Photo by Lisa Vogt)

  • Photo/Illustraion

You’ve got to be kidding! Oink-oink, baa-baa, moooooo and cock-a-doodle- doooooo? A one-minute walk from Tokyo Station? And in Otemachi, of all places?

For nonlocal readers, Otemachi is the antithesis of whimsical, creative and unique. It’s full of no-nonsense people in conservative business attire working in established financial, newspaper, insurance and real estate companies.

Upon entering Otemachi-Bokujo, located on the 13th floor of a nondescript high-rise office building typical of this area, I was greeted by a calf with lovely eyes. He, or maybe she, came up to me and gave me a sniff over. Then, from about 10 meters away, a dozen squealing pigs rushed toward me.

In the same pen were goats and an alpaca that just sat there looking pretty, in the way alpacas do. In the distance were some white feathery animals moving about.

What a sight!

The farm is run by Pasona Group Inc., an employment agency, and Tango Okoku Shoku no Miyako, a general incorporated foundation located a 15-minute drive from the Sea of Japan in Kyoto Prefecture.

It has five goals, to promote careers in dairy farming; to get people to think about moving from big cities to the countryside; to strengthen dairy farm management to deal with free-trade agreements; to educate children about food; and to get people to think about food safety.

Friendly staff in overalls take care of the animals and will answer any questions you may have.

There are ads on the walls such as, “Work with us in Okhotsk, Hokkaido, at our dairy farm,” “Interested in becoming a livestock owner in Kyoto Prefecture?” and “Dairy Farming Recruiting Fair with employment, training and relocating booths.”

If I were young, I’d seriously consider leaving the hustle and bustle of the metropolis and give it a whirl--a new kind of life. Hey, why not?

Got milk? I learned a couple of things about the nutritional drink. Would you believe that prominent feudal lord Mito Komon (1628-1701) was a milk drinker? And, it’s been passed down that Oshakasama, the great Buddha himself, when exhausted by austere training, was soothed by eating milk porridge.

Who knew? I sure didn’t.

There’s a cafe where you can sit and eat fresh soft-serve ice cream and enjoy hot or cold drinks from its extensive drink menu. It offers craft beers from Tango Okoku, too.

Has your inner dairy farmer been stirred? Reading this column might have changed your life. I’ll assume responsibility if things turn out well for you.

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This article by Lisa Vogt, a Washington-born and Tokyo-based photographer, originally appeared in the July 15 issue of Asahi Weekly. It is part of the series "Lisa’s In and Around Tokyo," which depicts the capital and its surroundings through the perspective of the author, a professor at Meiji University.