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!
Whilst we’ve been locked down, it’s already the middle of May and the Cherry blossom season has been long gone! Luckily I had a chance to see beautiful Sakura blossom in my area during my walking.
Japanese people love Cherry blossom so much that we have lots of words which express scenes relating to Sakura blossom. Even when we see the blossom is ending and some petals are blown away, we find a beauty in the scene of sakura petals floating on water such as a pond or river. We call it ‘Hana Ikada’ which means a flower raft. I made my version of Hana Ikada, Floating Sakura Petals.
It was ‘Midori no Hi’ the Greenery Day in Japan on the 4th of May. It’s a national holiday that people should get close to and appreciate nature. Of course we cannot go outside as much as we’d like in the current situation so I am posting a very green sweet as a reminder how wonderful nature is.
This is a ‘Mochi’ sweet with ‘Matcha’ green tea flavoured filling inside and dusted with more Matcha powder.
We’ve been having the perfect weather for the Bank Holiday. When Easter approaches I always want to make Hot Cross Buns and dream to have it with a huge dollop of clotted cream and raspberry jam. However, last year I wanted to make something similar but also quite different from the usual buns. As a Japanese sweet maker I thought I should try making something similar as a Japanese sweet so I made Hot Steamed Cross Manju. It was a steamed buns with Azuki bean paste filling inside.
For this Easter I wanted to go for a more Japanese sweet and made this one. It still may look quite like a hot cross bun, however, it is a totally Japanese sweet this time. It might be difficult to see its scale but the size of each sweet is very small and it’s about 4cm diameter.
It is a little early for expecting ‘Sakura’ cherry blossom but you can see pretty ‘Ume’ Plum flowers in Japan. The flower looks quite similar to cherry blossom but much tinier and with a intoxicating sweet scent. The petal comes from white to dark pink and quite often you can find flowers in different colours on the same tree.
‘Ume’ Plum Flower Mochi
So I made Plum Flower Mochi as one of my January sweets.
It’s got a soft gooey Mochi type sweet as the outer layer that is made into a shape of a plum flower. The sweet white bean paste filling is placed inside as well as homemade plum jam.
This sweet is Vegan and Gluten free.
This sweet was served at a Matcha Bar at the Havan Store during January (sorry to post this information too late) and I am very pleased to hear that it has received a great feedback. I am preparing different sweets for February now so please stay tuned!
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 New Year! 🎍
Wish you all have a wonderful year and the world becomes much peaceful!
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.
This is one of the Mochi sweets I recently made. I used fresh red grapes as well as some sweet white bean paste as the centre filling. The size of the grapes was a little smaller side for using for this type of sweet but it was very juicy and tasty. In order to make biting easier the skin of the grape was removed before wrapped up in the Mochi layer. So it got three thing – looks pretty, tasty and easy to eat.
This sweet is Vegan and Gluten free.
I would also like to announce to all Wagashi lovers in London. I am going to have a WAGASHI Making Workshop in the Halloween Theme soon.
on: the 19th / October (Saturday), 11:30 – 13:30
at: The Havan (262 Kensington High Street, London W8 6ND)
This time the venue is in a wonderful shop in High Street Kensington which serves a bowl of beautifully thick and creamy Matcha tea and lovely vegan sweets. They are also a kind of concept shop and have a lot of lovely things. They are offering 10% discount of any purchase on the day for all the participants. Isn’t that Great?
[The tickets] If you are interested in participation, please visit the detail page (←click here to the Link). The class is limited to a small group of people so book now not to be disappointed! Cheers!