Hello! Welcome to the The Green Turnip.

I am Jessy LeClair. I am a blogger, entrepreneur, and cross-cultural adventurer. I divide my time between the East and West Coasts of the U.S., and Japan. Currently, I am in California.


The Green Turnip – I started this blog to share my travels in Japan and my journey to becoming a Japanese veggie expert.

What exactly is a Japanese veggie expert?

That’s my term for a certificate program run by the Japan Vegetable Sommelier Association. The certificate shows expert-level knowledge of fruit and vegetables (similar to the way that wine sommeliers are experts on the subject of wine). Right now, I am working towards earning my junior level certificate but I hope to reach the senior level. Every weekend, I cook my way through a Japanese veggie salad recipe book (see the “Make Now & Eat Later” page). I am learning all kinds of fun things about veggies, and I hope you can join the fun with me!

A little about me – I grew up mostly in Boston (aside from a few years on a tropical island in the Pacific Ocean).

In college, I double-majored in Japanese and Biology. That’s where I learned Japanese (or at least started to learn Japanese). After graduating, I got a Fulbright Fellowship and lived in Kyoto for a year researching plankton. My problem is that I enjoy chasing whatever is fascinating in the moment. However, delicious food has always held my attention! I spent my first trip in Japan learning about traditional pickling techniques and eating large helpings of stinky fermented vegetables.

My gastronomic adventures also include – poison fugu blowfish, raw chicken, stewed frogs (in Beijing), and sea cucumber, to name a few.

Why The “Green” Turnip?

Since I am always looking for new exciting shiny things, I often find myself out of my depth in totally unfamiliar areas. I always feel a little green, a little new. Also it is a reference to my favorite Dr. Seuss book, “Green Eggs and Ham.” That book taught me the important lesson of jumping into new experiences without thinking too much. (Actually that’s a lesson I am still trying to learn…)

All photos are mine (or my boyfriend’s) unless noted otherwise.

The turnip header was drawn for me by my extremely talented sister, K. LeClair. She is a neuroscience whiz, a fantastic artist, and an all around generous, kind person. So proud of her. Thank you sister!

Please say hi! I love to chat.




26 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Charles Posey says:

    A little like you, I thought my adventure with Japan ended with a three year stint there in the 1960s. However, a letter from a man we met when we were there in 2005 led to me discovering a reunion group who were there; followed by a year studying Japanese; followed by being asked to teach students from our “sister city”, Shizuoka, in a classroom during a short summer visit; followed by a trip to our sister city with visits to Kyoto, Nara and Tokyo; probably to be followed by a future trip during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
    Also, my city councilman has asked me to get involved with strengthening my neighborhood which is roughly half older Caucasians and half young Hispanic families; and a community garden will be one of the first vehicles for that neighborhood work.
    My question for you : Can you help me locate some seeds of Japanese vegetables which are friendly to the Western palate that we could be growing being between April and September in the Upper Midwest( Omaha, Nebraska)?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. J LeClair says:

      Welcome to my blog! Thanks for coming. I enjoyed hearing about your experiences in Japan. How exciting to be involved with a community garden! There are lots of yummy Japanese vegetables to enjoy. I would recommend trying “kaiware” (or daikon radish sprouts). I have seen these successfully grown indoors. If you have a greenhouse, maybe that would be a good place to try. The sprouts are a little “spicy” (like a radish) but not nearly as strong. They are delicious as a garnish or in salads. I would also suggest “kabu” (or Japanese turnips). I have heard they are easy to grow, ready to pick in about a month. The flavor is much sweeter than American turnips. Yummy in soups, stews, or even pickled. Hope that helps!!


    1. J LeClair says:

      No worries! I knew what you meant. 🙂 A friend of mine once made a similar mistake, when he saw a rabbit in a zoo and called out in Japanese “What a cute unagi.” Jessy


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