It is Mother’s Day in Japan (and the U.S).
Have a Happy Mother’s Day!!
It is Mother’s Day in Japan (and the U.S).
Have a Happy Mother’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.
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.
I have actually made this Koinobori sweet two years ago. It went quite successfully so I made it again this year.
However, there is a small difference between this year’s Koinobiri and my previous creation.
A few days ago I received a private order for my Japanese sweets. The client wanted me to deliver 15 Wagashi sweets to her. Apart from the specific request that she would like to have 4 Daffodils and the rest should be ‘Mochi’ type sweets I was given the honour to select the suitable sweets that would be favoured by western people. So the sweets I picked and packed were like this.
Last week the whole of Britain was covered with snow even in London, Devon and Cornwall which is supposed to be the warmest area in UK. It was certainly very cold and as soon as I took my hands out from gloves they froze up. I thought those could be the coldest days I have experienced in England.
But now the severe weather has gone and the sunlight seems brighter. It means we are very closed to in Spring! When we talk about spring in Japan the first thing/flower we think about is Sakura cherry blossom, however, the most noticeable flower in early spring in the UK is the Daffodil. When the weather is warmer I start to feel desperate to go out for a walk. By walking in a park I see some gathering of bright yellow in a flowerbed. It is the unmistakable colour of Daffodils which makes me realize ‘Spring has finally come!’.
For the monthly sweet for March I thought there is nothing more suitable as the design than the Daffodil. The colour of this flower is very bright yellow but not too harsh on my eyes.
When did ‘Yuzu’ became a household name? Maybe it is not that well known yet but if you are an official foodie, you must have heard the name at least once. For me the first time I heard the name Yuzu coming out from an English person’s mouth was on TV programme ‘the Great British Bake Off’ a few years ago. One of the contestants was using its juice as the key ingredinent for his special cake. So what is Yuzu?
Yuzu is a small citrus fruit we cultivate in Japan. It has a quite tough skin and a sharp taste so it is not for eating fresh as a dessert fruit, but it has a marvellous aroma so we add the juice or skin into some dishes and a dipping sauce for enhance the flavour.
When I saw the baking programme I thought ‘where did he get that Yuzu from?’ I believe almost nobody knew about the fruit in England at that time and it was impossible to find Yuzu anywhere in London. How funny the time passes and the situation changes. Now, just a few years later, the bottled juice is available in major supermarkets and if you are lucky, even fresh ones can be found in some Japanese Food shops.
In a cold evening it is wonderful to have a Hot Pot with a hint of Yuzu flavour. So Yuzu is a flavour of Winter.
I made a Mochi sweet that has a scent and flavour of Yuzu.
There are many sweets and cakes I made but have not made into my Blog page so far. The sweet I am introducing here is one of them. This is the sweet I created imagining a fallen leaf in Autumn colour, so naturally it was meant for Autumn. Although I was planning to introduce this on my Blog before, there were so many things I had to do between October and just recently so I did not manage to do so. I just want to post this before the end of this year.
Have a Very 🎄Merry Christmas🎄, Everyone!!
I made two types of Japanese sweets for December. You might have noticed that one of them has been briefly introduced as the part of White-Christmas Market report in my previous post.
It is December, the Christmas month. So one of them I made is of course a Christmas Tree. This one is my third attempt in making a Japanese sweet ‘Christmas Tree’ for last two years (the last years’ one is here with Mochi Snowman😊) and I am satisfied with this year’s one the most.
The fabulous time has come! It is the season that I am going to have a stall in a Christmas Market in North London. This ‘Jolly Hobbies’ Market is held only once a year during Christmas Time but that is not the only thing this market is special about. It is a Market with a Japanese Theme! It’s organised by a Japanese person and many of the stall holders are also Japanese so the products people are selling there are mostly something related to Japanese culture
I got involved in this market about 5 years ago. Since then it is becoming bigger and bigger and the number of the visitors are increasing every year. The Market started as a kind of craft market first and then recently it has been becoming like a Japanese Street Food Hall too. We serve all sorts of Japanese food hot and cold, such as Sushi and Japanese Curry and many other dishes. It includs my Japanese sweets too.😊 So the visitors can have lunch and look around the stalls to pick some great gifts for Christmas and then buy some Japanese sweet and drink for having Teatime there before going home. It is wonderful to see all the visitors seem to be enjoying the time there.
This year as a Japanese Sweet ‘Wagashi’ maker, I am of course putting my Japanese sweets on the stall which most of them are Gluten-free, Egg-free and Dairy-free. I am planning to to take a variety of ‘Mochi’ type sweets for Mochi fans.(^_-)-☆ I am also going to sell Home-made Vegetable ‘Gyoza’ Dumplings on the day. I hope I can serve as many hot grilled Gyoza dumplings to the happy visitors. However, I am still in the middle of preparation and am not sure how many portions can be ready by Sunday.
It will be a fun day for all the visitors and the stall holders too. If you live in the North London or if you can travel to there, please come to say ‘Hi’ to me. I will be most grateful! 😊 See you there then on Sunday!!
My second sweet for November is also in the Autumn Colour theme. The shape is the leaf of ‘Ginkgo’ which becomes the most brilliant yellow colour during this season. Ginkgo is one of the most ancient plants which has not evolved for millions of years. The Ginkgo tree is originated in East Asia and I think there wasn’t many in the UK before. However, I noticed lately more Ginkgo trees along many avenues in newly developed area.
I have a beautiful childhood memory with Ginkgo leaves. I think it was in somewhere in Kyoto. I was about 3 or 4 years old and running around in a Shinto Shrine ground which was covered with magnificently yellow Ginkgo Leaves fallen from the numerous trees. It was like a massive carpet spread out as far as I could see.
So, I chose the image of my childhood memory for making the November sweet.