I have hosted several ‘Wagashi’ Japanese Sweet Making Workshops. They were mainly for adults and I had been thinking that it would be great if I could have a Workshop that people could participate with their children. In order to make this plan possible there were several issues to clear and the biggest one of them was that the event has to be held daytime. For solving the problem I thought it would be best if the event was held during the school holiday period. In case this idea happens, I have been considering several designs for sweets which are attractive and also simple enough for children to make but enjoyable for adults too. After going through many possibilities I finally picked three designs in the summer theme and set up a date and the venue to have a workshop on the 25th of July.
Wagashi Making Workshop (July/’19)
I had a ‘Wagashi’ Japanese Sweet Making Workshop in the Summer theme on the 25th of July and it ended well.
I have set the date about two weeks before the event day and just hoped it would be a nice sunny day and many people would be interested and participate. Now after finishing the event, I realised that there were several ‘the first time’ for me and this workshop as follow.
- on the hottest day in July in the UK since records began.
- the first Workshop I had it in the afternoon.
- the first Workshop done outdoors.
- the first time that tourist to London participated in the workshop.
The venue this time was in a lovely courtyard with a roof over us. As I mentioned it was the record breaking hot day for Londoners. I worried about the heat a little but I also thought it would probably be better being outdoor than a stuffy indoor space since most of the buildings in London have no air-conditioning. I usually care whether the sweet ingredients dry out during the workshop, however, on this day I worried more about the heat damaging the sweets. So I took some frozen flat ice/cooling blocks to the venue and placed them under all sweets materials in the containers to keep it chilled. I think it was a great idea.
Despite these many ‘First time’ experience, the workshop went quite smoothly. It was truly thanks to the wonderful participants consisting of two repeaters, two children and a father & a daughter team who were just visiting London.
The sweets I made with the participants were Watermelon (with Watermelon flavour), Sunflower and a Giant Panda. The first two were obviously very suitable for this season and the last one was for children. The Watermelon sweet was a little tricky to form for a beginner so I decided to make it last so that the participants could take time.
The great thing was that all participants said they really enjoyed the class. Yes, it was hot but we got a lovely breeze occasionally and a little bit of rain as well. The workshop with children went well too.
One regrettable thing was that there was a cancellation just a day before the event day. It was by a mother with her daughter who live in Japan. They saw my sweets on my Instagram and enquired if I had a workshop in July when they would come to the UK. So in a way I planned this workshop for them. What I understood was that the daughter had some health issue and they had to give up coming to the workshop because travelling to the venue by using public transport in the heat wave was basically unbearable for her. It was so unfortunate that the day I chose became the hottest day. I feel terrible because I knew they were so looking forward to the workshop and were disappointed. If you know how bad the condition of London tube (underground trains) could be during the heat wave, I’m sure you understand that too.
Now I managed having a workshop for children so I will start planning my next one. It will be in September and the sweet’s theme will be in Autumn.