Happy Mother’s Day!

Carnation 3

It is Mother’s Day in Japan (and the U.S).

Have a Happy Mother’s Day!!

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It’s the Mother’s Day in Japan

This Sunday, the 13th of May, is Mother’s Day in Japan and the U.S. In the U.K it was the 11th of March this year and will be the 31st of March next year. Although it is not the fixed day in Britain, Mother’s Day in Japan is always the second Sunday of May of each year. So it will be this Sunday for the year 2018.

I guess what we do on the day is universally quite the same. We appreciate our mothers for her hard work, care and love to us. We send a card and a gift to show our appreciation. The gift can be quite often flowers. I heard that this custom originally started in the U.S as the memorial day of a woman who was a peace activist and cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War. On her funeral her daughter gave a white carnation to all the attendants of the ceremony. So the carnations became the symbol and the flower to give on this special day for mothers.

Carnation

For cereblation the Mother’s Day in Japan I created a Japanese sweet in a red Carnation design.

Carnation 7-2

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Koinobori on Children’s Day

The 5th of May is a National Holiday in Japan that is called the ‘Kodomo-no-Hi’, the Children’s Day. We celebrate the healthy growth and happiness of children, particularly boys (because there is the Girl’s Day on the 3rd of March). There are several things we do traditionally for that day. As the National Holiday in Japan we of course have special food related to this day. One of them is ‘Chimaki’ which is a steamed Mochi sweet wrapped in bamboo leaves and the other one is ‘Kashiwa Mochi’ that is also a Mochi sweet wrapped in an oak (Kashiwa) leaves.

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Koinobori

There are also things we do for the day but not food related. We decorate our houses with a model of ‘Kabuto’ Samurai helmet by hoping the boy becomes big and strong. Last year I created a Kabuto sweet by being inspired by its shape. And the most significant thing we do traditionally for this Children’s day is placing a huge Koi Carp shaped banner called ‘Koinobori’ outside of the house. It is made of light cloth and when wind comes in from the carp’s moth and goes through its body, it flows up in the air and looks like it’s swimming above the roof.

‘Koinobori’ Koi Carp

I have actually made this Koinobori sweet two years ago. It went quite successfully so I made it again this year.

Koinobori 2

However, there is a small difference between this year’s Koinobiri and my previous creation.

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Oh! Hanami 🌸 Ukishima

For us Japanese Spring time is all about ‘Sakura’ Cherry Blossom. You might think all the Cherry blossoms are the same, however, there are many different types. The species with single petal flower start blossoming first and then other types with multi petals follow to open flowers. So that, although the best viewing time is quite short for each tree, we can enjoy viewing Sakura Cherry blossom for quite a long time betwee mid – late March and throughout April in Japan.

These days it is getting quite well known that Japanese have a picnic party eating and drinking under a full blooming Cherry tree. It is called ‘O’Hanami’. It literally means ‘the viewing of Sakura blossoms’ and it tells how much we love seeing Sakura. I tried to think a perfect Japanese sweets for this O’Hanami occasion which is something delicious in the Cherry blossom theme and also easy to pick and eat outdoors.

O’Hanami Ukishima

The sweet I created for the O’Hamani occasion is ‘Ukishima’. It looks quite like a western cake but is actually a very Japanese sweet with a soft, light texture. When I tasted this sweet the first time, I fell in love with it! The best thing about it is it’s so moist.

hanami Ukishima4

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Happy National Tea Day!

Apparently it is National Tea Day in the UK today.  Britain is officially one of the biggest tea drinking countries. People’s day starts from having a cup of tea for breakfast, morning and afternoon breaks and even after an evening meal. Any film or TV drama located in the UK will always have one or more scenes drinking tea with the famous phrase “Would you like to have a cup of tea?”. Although more people have started having a taste for coffee,  people’s love of tea will never dissappear in this country.

There are many types of tea around these days. What kind of Tea do you like? I wonder which tea should I have for this special day?

What I matched with this Rose Japanese Wagashi sweet is this herbal Tea. It is a Wild Berry herbal tea which has a wonderful rosy red colour and full of fruity fragrance.

Rose 3e

Have a lovery Teatime ☕ on this special day!!

Yomogi Mochi 2018

I made Yomogi Mochi for April. I don’t know why I feel like having Yomogi Mochi especially in spring but I made Yomogi Mochi and posted about it last year too. Maybe because ‘Yomogi’ is wild leaves you can find in a field and we are in the season now that lots of plants are just coming out after being under a cold weather. My Yomogi Mochi this year looks quite similar to the last years. So what is the difference?

Yomogi Mochi, 2018

The outer layer is a ‘Mochi’ type of Japanese sweet with Yomogi leaves mixed in. It has a slightly bitter leafy taste but with sweetness and a bouncy and gooey Texture. As the centre I used ‘Tsubu-An’ Sweet Azuki Beans paste without skin removed during the process. Yomogi and Tsubu-An are just a great combination and I could not think of using any other bean paste for Yomogi flavour.

Yomogi Mochi3

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Sakura 2018

We are in April. We had a cold winter with quite a lot of snow in the UK but even we must be finally in Spring? I keep receiving posts and photos that say ‘Sakura’ Cherry blossoms came to Japan far too early this spring. Single-petaled Cherry species always blossom earlier than multi-petaled ones and it normally starts opening at the end of March and becomes full bloom at the beginning of April. However, this year single-petaled blossom almost ended even before April came. April is the beginning of the academic year in Japan so the entry ceremonies to schools and companies are held at the beginning of April. It is normally a great sight that people posing with full Sakura blossom as the background for the photo shoot on their special day, but maybe it did not happen this year.

Sakura 18Because the weather was so miserable for the last week or two in London I did not go for a walk very often. I went to the nearby park to see the Sakura blossoming situation two days ago and noticed that half of the flower buds were already open. It is a warm and sunny day yesterday so most of the buds would be open by now.

Sakura, 2018

Since I started making Japanese sweets I always make some sweet in the theme of Sakura Cherry Blossom in spring. I made a sweet quite literally in a Sakura flower shape last year so this year I wanted make something Sakura as an image.

Sakura 3

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