Christmas Tree seller at the hall entrance
Our annual event of Japanese Christmas Market has just finished! Unlike the last year’s snowy day it was a great sunny day this year! As we expected the great turn out of people I’d say this year’s market was a great success.
We arrived a little earlier on the site even before the doors to the venue opened for the vendors and started preparing our table to be well ready for the arrival of customers … but then I realised that I forgot to bring some of my Japanese sweets products! I had to go home and brings them as quickly as I could since they were quite a big part of my products. Last year I had to go and fetch some stuff on the snowy road on foot. It was so horrible and I had tried to be sure that would not happen this year, however, it did happen again! I was so stupid. Anyway, so I went back home and when I was walking back hurriedly towards the venue I saw a man holding a container that looked like my sweets inside! I thought ‘Wow! Already?!’ It was just a few minutes after the market opened to public and my products were already sold without me. It was a great sign ahead for the day.
This Sunday Sakura Junction will be having a stall in a small Christmas Market in North London. The special thing about this Jolly Hobbies Market is that many stall holders are Japanese or the stuff sold there will be something related to Japanese culture. Hence, it’s Japanese Christmas Market! The number of visitors is definitely increasing every year. This year’s event was notified on Time Out recently so I believe we are going to have very many people.
I have been a part of this event for 7 years now. The products I have dealt with have changed slightly but I always stick to one thing ‘Wagashi’ Japanese sweets. This year I am preparing two types of food. One of them is of course my speciality Wagashi and the other type is ‘Gyoza’ Dumpling cooked on site. As I mentioned on my previous post this year’s Gyoza comes in two flavours. One is for vegetarians and the other one is Turkey meat with Christmas seasoning. I tried tasting at home and it worked very well! So I hope everybody likes it on the day.
I have only two more days to prepare but actually I haven’t decided all the Japanese sweet products selection yet. I have been providing two seasonal sweets for a Kimono shop’s Matcha Bar every month for the last three years so I would like to pick some of the sweets that had received great feedback from their paying customers. A few sweets definitely on my list are Sweet Rose, Apples, Mochi Mont Blanc and Matcha Swirl Mochi so far. Purple Sweet Potato Mochi might be chosen too. I am also going to take one brand new very seasonal sweet I just created with very Christmassy decoration.
There is one annual event that I join as Sakura Junction at this time of a year. It is a Japanese Christmas Market that gets held in North London. This is the only occasion that I sell my Japanese sweets to public and I enjoy chatting and seeing the reaction from people. Last year the day we had the market London woke up in a blanket of snow which continued to fall till the evening. This caused so much difficulty for people driving or parking their car and the public bus services were also all cancelled. So it was disastrous for us that people couldn’t come to the venue even though they wanted to. This meant a very limited number of visitors.
The market is a craft fair so a lot of stall holders sell their own creations which are somethings Japanese related. They will be a great Christmas gift for your friends and families. However, it seems like that the things the visitors are after the most is food, Japanese food! We have several stalls that serve hot meals and sweets so you can have lunch first and look around to find beautiful things, and then enjoy teatime with Japanese sweet in one location.
Phew! My annual event Christmas Market has finished. That day London woke up with a snowfall and it kept snowing throughout the day.
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!!
How time flies! I feel like it was just a month ago that I mentioned Sakura Junction had a successful stall in the Christmas Market in 2015. Now it is the time again that we are going to have a stall for introducing our sweets to public.
The 🎄Christmas Market🎄 is actually TOMORROW!!
These are some of the range that I am going to take for the market.
On top of the various Japanese sweets we are going to serve ‘Chicken Kara-age (Japanese Fried Chiken)’ this year.
There are Sushi and some other food as well. You can have nice Japanese lunch or Tea with my sweet there.
The venue is in North London. If you live near by or even from different part of London please pop in to see me. I have been working very hard to prepare for this occasion so will be very happy if you come to say ‘Hi’ in person💓
The Market is open only for 4 hours! So don’t miss it! See you there.
So what were my range of products for the markets? I did not have much time to take photos and by the time I finished making and before packing, there wasn’t enough natural light to take good photos of all my products. However, I managed some.
The first product I introduce to you here is the most colourful one ‘Nerikiri‘. Nerikiri is the very delicate Sweet which basic ingredients are just rice flour, sugar and beans so that it is Gluten/Dairy/Oil/Egg free. It is one of the most classy Japanese Sweet ‘Wagashi (和菓子)’ that are often used for Tea Ceremony.
These are the three types I made.
‘Nerikiri’ ready to go to Market
It’s over! My mission to running a stall in the Chritmas market in two weekends in a row finished! Pheeeeeeeew.
Although I was planning and practicing some sweets as products, not everything went according to plan. What I have learnt from this experience was that “Food is a living thing”. Even when I thought I was following the recipe I had a great result before, something went wrong when I really seriously wanted to make everything neat and delicious. It was so unpredictable.
There is a recipe of ‘Yaki-Mnju (焼きまんじゅう) / Baked Manju’ I normally use. That is a Japanese Sweet wrapped with biscuit. It is good. I like it. It is also something that Western people are quite familiar with.
We have a Japanese sweet called ‘Kuri-Manju (栗まんじゅう)’. That is a ‘Yaki-Manju’ with Chestnut ‘Kuri‘ pieces inside and made into a Chestnut shape. The skin of this sweet is slightly different from Western biscuit. It is much smoother and you can make it into some shapes.
This time I made ‘Yaki-Manju’ in the traditional way. I tried making some shapes with different filling.
This one is ‘Kuri-Manju‘ with Chestnuts ‘Kuri’.
Does it look like Chestnut to you?
Instead of using small pieces, I mixed Chestnut in syrup mixing with ‘Shiro-An (白あん)’ and that made the filling looks like a paste.
It’s very fast! Too fast that Time passes! It’s nearly December. I though 2015 has just started. I cannot believe it. It means Christmas is coming soon too. Oh, Noooo! And then the thing comes before Christmas is?
Winter ‘Market’ is Coming!
… sorry my mind is still in Winterfell.
Anyway, I have to tell you that I decided to have a stall in local markets in December. Not one but two. Am I crazy?
One of them is organised by a Japanese person and I have been joining them for the last three years. It is a Craft Market which is more like a market that people bring to gather their hobbies in one place. Some of the stuff is very Japanese and must be new and interesting to local people.