One Door Closes and Another One Opens

We have just stood at the beginning of the year 2019. Everything starts from a beginning and the things have an end.

The Beginning

I have been making ‘Wagashi’ Japanese sweets in London for several years now and particularly in the last three years my sweets were served to paying customers. It was at the ‘Matcha’ Bar of a Kimono shop, Wasoukan, that was located in Notting Hill. It all started three years ago when I entered a ‘Sake’ Cooking competition and won second prize. At the same time Wasoukan was looking for someone who would provide Japanese sweets for them and the manager of the shop at that time heard about me and my Wagashi making skill from the organizer of the cooking competition. They contacted me soon and the following month and since then I had been supplying two types of seasonal Japanese sweets to Wasoukan every month.

and The Ending

Now nearly three years have past since then. Although Wasoukan has been doing well and especially gained many loving customers, they decided to close their London branch and the last December was their last month. It was very sad news for me, not because from my business point of view but it was because I really liked the shop and all the staff who were working there. They seemed to get on very well together. During this three year period of my serving sweets to them I have met many of their customers and I can tell that they all loved the shop. Everybody was so sadden by this closing news and wonder where they would get good Matcha tea from in London after the shop is gone.

So one evening before the shop was closed some of the present and ex-staff of the shop as well as their great customers gathered to hold a surprise farewell party for the manager who was going back to Japan.

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Mochi Rose

In February I created a Japanese Sweet in a Rose shape for Valentine’s Day. It was a type of sweet called ‘Nerikiri’. This month I made another rose shaped sweet and this time it is Mochi Rose. ‘Mochi’ is a sticky and gooey rice cake that is getting so popular in London but actually it is not the easiest material to make into some shape. This Mochi Rose is my second attempt in a flower shape by following the Clematis I created in May. I like trying to create something new.

Mochi Rose

Unlike the pink Rose in February for Valentine’s Day, the colour of the flowers I had in my mind for summer is orange and yellow.

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Bristish Bulldog Supports England in the World Cup!

FootballsIt is the time for another World Cup (Football)! I don’t normally watch or support any professional Football teams but I like watching national teams playing especially in The World Cup. When I watch The World Cup I must admit that I become quite nationalist. I mean of course I support the team Japan very much. Yesterday, both Japan and England had a match and went through the group matches to the knock out tournament. England narrowly avoided playing  Japan.

Since I live in London, I support the England team too. As one of the two seasonal Japanese sweets I wanted to create a sweet in this World Cup theme.  In order to show some solidarity to British people what might be the a suitable design? My mind had run though some ideas. England flag is a little too simple as a design. Could it be a Lion? Or maybe a Dragon? I had to widen the area from England to Britain and then the idea came to me of the British Bulldog?!

British Bulldog, Japanese Sweet

For the last Halloween I created a Black Cat sweet. Although I haven’t shown any other designs on my blog, I actually have been working on some other animal designs and this is a great opportunity to introduce one of my Dog shaped sweets.

Bulldog 2

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Wagashi Making Workshop

Last Sunday I had an opportunity to hold a ‘Wagashi’ Japanese Sweet Making Workshop. The venue of the event was Wasoukan, the Kimono shop located in Notting Hill, South West London. I had been thinking to do this kind of activity for many years and the chance had come to me at the end of May. Because it was decided so suddenly that I had only just a little more than one week to notify and gather people to attend.  Despite the short notice, many people made enquiries, ending up with the right number of participants for the day.

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ONE Seat Left to Grab for Workshop

My ‘Wagashi’ Making Workshop in London will be held this Sunday (the 10th June).

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So far I received a great reaction from people but ONE seat is still available!

If anybody who reads this post would like to grab this opportunity to learn ‘How to Make Japanese Sweets in London’, please email the organizer, Wasoukan (info@wasoukan.eu) directly. As time is running out …

Japanese Sweet Making Workshop in London

on: the 10th of June (Sunday), 10-12AM

at : Wasoukan (293 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill,  London W11 2QA)

https://www.wasoukan.eu/

 

Hope to see you there on Sunday!😊

News: My First Wagashi Making Workshop is Coming!

This is a rather exciting news to announce. I am going to have my first ‘Wagashi’ Japanese Sweet Making Workshop. In the last two years I had been asked by several people who are curious and keen to learn how to make Japanese Sweet whether there would be a possibility of me teaching a class. Just recently the opportunity suddenly arose so I grabbed it. That is why the date was decided very quickly and it is rather short notice.

 

‘Wagashi’ Japanese Sweet Making Workshop

on: the 10th of June (Sunday), 10-12AM

at : Wasoukan (293 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill,  London W11 2QA)

https://www.wasoukan.eu/

 

My first workshop will be held at the Kimono shop that has been serving my sweets for two years. They have a counter type of Matcha Bar at the front of the shop. It is a very cosy space in a unique Japanese atmosphere. The counter is quite small so the participants are limited to a very small number. I wondered what kind of design I can show the participants how to make. And these are the sweets I decided that we are going to make together!

Wagashi Workshop b2

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Purple Sweet Potato Mochi

It was the time I had to develop sweets for Wasoukan Café (Notting Hill, London) for July. It is a ‘Kimono’ shop with a café counter that the staff serves ‘Matcha’ Green Tea in a Tea Ceremony style and also two types of monthly Japanese sweets. Yes, their sweets are made by me and I have been developing two new Japanese sweets every month for them. The staff told me that they were amazed at the popularity of ‘Mochi’. So I had to decide what kind of Mochi sweet I should deliver to them for this month… I wanted a colour and the flavour which go well with the Mochi texture and considered several possibilities and then an idea came to my mind.

It is a Mochi type of sweet with Purple Sweet Potato Paste. Western people are rather sceptical about the idea of using Sweet Potato as a sweet but in Japan we love to use several root vegetables as sweet and Sweet Potato is one of the most popular ones. It has the natural sweetness and more importantly the flavour goes so well as the Japanese sweet. I saw some BBC program which introduced the reason that many people live a very long healthily life in one area of Japan was due to Purple Sweet Potato. They did not show any scientific evidence to this theory so I am not sure if it is true or not but one thing I can say is we like Purple Sweet Potatoes.

Purple Sweet Potato Mochi

So, here is my Sweet Potato Mochi. It is not just a normal Sweet Potato Mochi but it is a “Purple Sweet Potato Mochi” for this month. 😀

Purple Sweet Potato Mochi

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Visiting Holland Park, Part 1 – the Kyoto Garden

Despite the scares happened last week, London is still a safe and great place to live and visit. One such place I went a few days ago after delivering some Japanese sweet to Wasoukan Cafe (Notting Hill, London) was one of the Royal parks.

Holland Park

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It is Holland Park in the Kensington area of West London and it is not that I traveled to our Neighboring contry, the Netherlands. Although it is located in the middle of rich residential area, the park is wide spread and is composed of several different types of garden.

As soon as you enter from the main gate you unexpectedly face several palm trees. I think it is quite unusual as a Royal park.

Holland Park3

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Petal Mochi (Hanabira Mochi)

Happy New Year to you all again!  Hope you had great Christmas and New Year’s Day. The first sweet I would like to introduce you in 2017 is this sweet called ‘Hanabira Mochi‘.

Petal Mochi (Hanabira Mochi)

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Hanabira‘ means flower petal in Japanese so I shall call this sweet Petal Mochi.

It is a sweet we traditionaly have only during New Year period. It started in the palace to celebrate a New Year by eating two layers of white and red mochi with some other food. Until the Meiji period the custom spread out to people in the country and the food got simplified onto some similar type of sweet that I made here.

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