Homma grew up in the Japanese countryside after World War II, experiencing the last phase of real folk life in Japan. He has worked in a museum of folk art, practiced and taught Aikido, and ran a Japanese restaurant in Colorado. The book systematically covers food traditions from Japanese history, explaining the origins of many Japanese products and how farmers processed them. The author is very opinionated on the problems caused by civilization, and I think he overgeneralizes on the bad habits of Americans, but the information in the book is fantastic.
The descriptions of food preparation and life in the Japanese countryside make very good reading. Here's a sample passage:
"Preserving the vegetables of autumn harvest is a very important task in rural Japan. As previously mentioned, some vegetables are dried or buried in holes lined with rice straw, but mostly the vegetables are pickled.
"In autumn during October and November, about the time the persimmons turn red and ripe, the work in the rice fields is almost completed. If you took a walk through the countryside at this time of year, you could see the farming women down at the creekside, each with hundreds of daikon (Japanese white radishes) piled by their sides. ... These women, armed only with a brush made of rice straw, wash each daikon in the icy waters of the creek.
"The daikon were usually dried before pickling. The radishes were tied into groups with rice-staw rope... and dried on large scaffolds....
"Because the autumn leaves had already fallen, the countryside was painted with only the colors of the red persimmons and the walls of hanging white daikon. This image heralded the coming of winter." (p. 65)