The 16th of June is ‘Wagashi’ Japanese Sweet Day. Although the ceremony is an old tradition that started in 848, it was forgotten once for a long time and reintroduced to the modern Japanese people in 1979. As a part of the ceremony we place sixteen sweets as an offering to the God in order to pray for good health.
Instead of offering sixteen sweets I have been introducing sixteen sweets from all my creation of the previous year recently (2018, 2017 and 2016 with the more detail of the Wagashi Day).
My Sixteen Wagashi in 2019
So I introduce sixteen Wagashi from all the Japanese sweets I created in the year 2019 here.
Happy Wagashi Day for you!
Around the New Year’s Day period I feel like I am more Japanese than any other time of a year. It must be because New Year is traditionally such a big event for Japanese and we have three days national holiday in Japan. As my New Year card I used the photo of ‘Kagami Mochi’ sweet this year. Kagami Mochi, two pieces of round Mochi placed on top of each other and decorated with a citrus with a leaf called ‘Daidai’, seemed to be a very spiritually Japanese thing for me. My spirit has been still in traditionally Japanese mode all through January and my second sweet of the year 2020 is this ‘Temari’ Ball.
Handcrafted Art ‘Temari’ Balls
‘Temari’ is a Traditional Japanese handcrafted ball which is made with cloth and embroidery. The materials and pattern provide a very Japanese quality. I made a sweet which is supposed to look like a Temari. Instead of creating a pattern of embroidery I tried to produce the Japanese-ish image with the colour combination.
I made two types of Temari sweet in a different colour combination, one with pink and purple and the other one with green and orange-yellow, and placed a tiny golden ball on top.
The darkest colour of each type is coloured with food. The purple with Ube, purple sweet potato, and green with ‘Match’ Green tea. Both types have a ‘Koshi-An’ Azuki Red bean paste as the centre filling so you can enjoy the taste combination of “Purple sweet potato x sweet Bean paste” and “Matcha x sweet Bean paste”, I assure you that both go so well.
This sweet is Vegan and Gluten free.
Happy Boxing Day!
It wasn’t a White Christmas in London this year but here you’re, you can have one! This is a Japanese sweet ‘White Christmas’.
It’s Vegan & Glute free.
Dear Wagashi Lovers in London!
There is something I’d like to announce with my great pleasure. Sakura Junction’s sweets have been back on the shelves! Since the Kimono shop which was serving my sweets for three years had sadly closed down a year ago, I was asked many times by the Wagashi lovers where they could get my sweets. Except on some occasions when I sell my sweets in a market stall, none were available to buy for the general public. However, now I can tell you that my sweets are back on shelves in London.
That is at The Havan Store (262 Kensington High Street, W8 6ND London) which is an Ethical Lifestyle boutique they have just started serving my sweets at their Matcha Tea Bar from this month.
So the first ‘Wagashi’ sweets at their Matcha Bar is Japanese Maple that I have introduced in my previous post. In the shop you can have the sweet with their Matcha tea which has something significant about. I’ve had Matcha tea in several places but their one is very special and memorable. It’s very smooth which is almost cream-like. I took a Matcha enthusiast to this shop and she was so amazed and loved it.
The shop’s ethical theme is another thing that I like about this shop. You will find something unusual and interesting to you.
My Japanese Maple sweet (Vegan & Gluten Free) is available at the Havan store during November. Enjoy! 🍁
What I like about Japanese sweets is that they are so seasonal. The colour, design and ingredients are all reflecting the season. For instance in spring we create lots of Sakura Cherry blossom sweet and in November it is officially Autumn so we make sweets of Autumn colour.
‘Momiji’ Japanese Maple
One of the most famous plant leaves in Autumn colour is the Japanese Maple. It is called ‘Momiji’ in Japanese and is famous for its leaves having the beautiful shape with the most delicate cut and it changes the colour into a very vivid red colour amongst all Acer family.
Yaaay! I have finished the Halloween themed Wagashi Making Workshop in London. I always prepare enough material for going to any events just in case for any situation and some sweet bean paste left with me after the class. I wanted to use it creating something interesting. I was in the Halloween mode and wanted to make a playful design.
So, this is what I created with the green paste (for Frankenstein’s Monster) and the orange one (for Jack-O’-Lantern). It’s a Monsterrrrr! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!
You might not be able to see well but the Monster is opening its mouth and the inside its mouth beyond its sharp fangs is orange.
I wanted to play with it more and made the mouth bloody too.
It is Vegan and Gluten free.
Have the enjoyable Halloween🎃, everyone!
My sweet for this year’s Halloween is Spider! I made another one and posted it a little earlier. I am not a great fan of spiders. They are spooky but I don’t like killing them. Whenever I find them in my flat, no matter how big or small, I look for a container and place them in it and release them outside. They are good guys and not our enemies.
When it comes to the Halloween theme the colour scheme is orange, purple, black and white? I covered all of them in this sweet. The parts that the spider’s legs are touching have got a small dent on the purple surface. These marks are making the impression that the spider is walking on a slightly wet surface and creating tiny ripples.
This sweet is Vegan and Gluten free.
Have a wonderfully spooookitacular weekend, everybody!
This Sunday, the 7th of July, is a special day called ‘Tanabata’ in Japan. It’s not a national holiday but it is the day that everybody hopes to have good weather and looks up at the sky in the evening. It came from the ancient story that a young loving couple was forced to live separately each side of a river by the God. It was because they loved being together too much and neglected their work. However, the God saw that they were too saddened about the fact that they could not see each other anymore, he gave them permission that they could cross the river to meet once a year if the weather was good and the sky was clear. That one day they are allowed to see is the 7th of July. It’s an ancient story which was supposed to be happening in the sky. The lovers were actually stars and the river was the Milky way. I mentioned this story in more detail in the past so if you are interested to know more, please visit my old post of Tanabata with Cosmos sweet.
So the Tanabata day is coming tomorrow. It is known as a Star festival and a wishing day in Japan and there are some places having a festival too. Last year I made the Bamboo Japanese sweet for this occasion with ‘Sasa’ Bamboo leaf shaped sweet and the red and yellow wishing paper strips as decoration. I was wondering what sort of sweet I should make for this year’s Tanabata day. I wanted to make something quite different.
Galaxy Mizu Yokan
This one is my Tanabata sweet this year.
I have introduced two types of my Wisteria sweets previously that I created by using two types of tools. And then I thought I could create another Wisteria sweet in a slightly different and possibly better design, so I wanted try to see if my method will work. Basically I was not satisfied with previous designs because they did not look Purple showering enough! It needed more flowers hanging down like a real shower.
So I created this sweet as an experiment. The technique is quite similar to the designs of the Wisteria I had made earlier by placing two layers in different colours and removing the top layer and revealing the bottom colour from the cut.
The “Purple Shower”! This is what people call it. You find it on a pergola, trellis or just above a house porch or fence. You see hundreds of flower pendants in white to bluey purple hanging down during middle to early summer. It has a wonderful scent and attracts lots of bees. They are the flowers of Wisteria.
Although this flower is quite a traditional design as a Japanese sweet, this was my first time that I have tried making a Wisteria sweet. I tried several ways for making Wisteria sweet and these are the two of them. I used a technique called ‘See though’ which is basically two layers of sweet in different colours are placed on top of each other and the bottom colour comes out being viewed by removing some parts of the top layer.