It’s a Halloween tonight! I live in England so I am going to be subtle in this more American tradition.
I have been thinking about making some kind of Japanese sweet in Halloween style but did not have much time. I managed to make this Daifuku in Ghost-like shape but it turned out more like the ghosts in the movie ‘Ghostbusters’
Halloween Ghost(busters) Daifuku
What is ‘Autumn’ for you?
Autumn in Japanese is ‘Aki‘ and written as ‘秋‘. The character is made from two parts. The left part shows what it is connected to and in this case ‘禾 (Nogi-hen)’ means the character is something to do with ‘Crop’. The right part is ‘火 (Hi)’ which means ‘Fire’. So by combining two parts together the character means ‘Drying Crop (by Fire)’. Japan has a culture of growing rice plants for many many years and we harvest it in Autumn. Traditionally we dried cut plants by hanging it in the field for weeks before threshing grains so it does make sense that Autumn is the time for ‘Drying Crop’ before a cold winter comes.
In Japan Autumn is described in several ways. We say Autumn is for Harvesting. Autumn is for Reading Books, Autumn is for Arts & Excercise. However, the most important thing about Autumn and we should never ever forget is that Autumn is for ‘Taste’ and ‘Appetite’.
The Taste of Autumn – ’Matsutake’ mushroom and ‘Kuri’ chestnuts
The 21st of September was ‘Respect for the Aged Day (敬老の日)’ this year in Japan. It was one of the National Holidays for showing our respect and care for elderly people.
Bento on ‘Respect for the Aged Day (敬老の日)’
We ordered some Bento from a well known restaurant for my mother on ‘Respect for the Aged Day (敬老の日)’. The Bento was particularly planned for elderly people with the idea of 1. Easy to eat 2. with good source of various nutrients and 3. of course it had to be good quality food. We made a clear soup called ‘O-suimono‘ to go with it.
The ingredients and decoration was made in an Autumn theme. The amount of food was just enough ‘Hara Hachibunme (腹八分目）’ (‘Hara’=stomach, ‘Hachibunme’=80%) for us. It means moderate eating up to 80 percent in stomach is the key for a healthy life.
I apologise that I could not post regularly recently whilst I was staying in Japan but I am back in London now and hope I can get back on track. My stay in Japan was mainly for a family matter but I made some small trips and had some good food experiences in my spare time so I am going to publish some posts from today.
Red Spider Lily ‘Higanbana (彼岸花)’ along Yakachi River
So, my first catch-up post during my visit in Japan is about the little trip I made in September to see this famous area that was covered with Red Spider Lilies ‘Higanbana‘ (Lycoris radiata) which is also called Cluster Amaryllis in English. 3 million flowers were literally clustered around in this vast area along the bank of Yakachi river in Handa, Aichi prefecture.
It was just a magnificent view of a red stripe of flowers spreading as far as you could see.
Today is ‘TOFU’ Day
Today is the 2nd of October. In Japan month comes before date so today’s date is the 10th month (October) and the 2nd day. In Japan we have several ways in reading number. We read ‘10’ as ‘To(u)’ and ‘2’ as ‘Fu’ in some reading. By connecting both it becomes ‘To-Fu’. That is why it is ‘TOFU’ Day today. You got it? It is a silly pun playing on words but it’s good to remind people about certain foods & things and make people appreciate what we have. 🙂