Seasonal Event : Setsubun
On the 3rd of February, we have the day of “Setsubun” (seasonal division) in Japan.
Setsubun has been an important time-honored rite to welcome the New Year by banishing evils and keep the house from calamity.
On the day, people threw beans to banish demons who cause various evil things and plagues. The beans used in “Mame-maki” (bean throwing) are parched and edible. It is believed that one can maintain good health throughout the year by eating the sam e number of thrown beans as one’s age. And they shout, in principle, “In with good fortune! Out with the demon!”
At the same time, we eat “Eho-maki”, sushi roll containing 7 ingredients associated with the Seven Deities of Good Fortune “Shichi-fukujin”, facing the direction of Eho that is most lucky for the year as determined by the Way of Yin and Yang. (I use more than 7 ingredients! :-D)
It is also customary to eat Eho-maki while making a wish in the mind with the eyes closed and without uttering a single word. You will eat the whole roll at a stroke in order not to lose ties. In 2018, the direction of Eho is south-southeast!
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Tokyo Guide : Yanaka Ginza
Japan Guide : Gyoza town
Gyoza town visit
It’s already the end of the year but I visited the Gyoza town in October. I am sure you are wondering “Is there a Gyoza town in Japan? Where is it?” Don’t worry! There are several Gyoza town in Japan but Utsunomiya, which is a city name is the most popular gyoza town in Japan. Utsunomiya-city is the capital of Tochigi prefecture and is located north west from Tokyo. It takes about 2 hours to go there by express train. Since it was a quick trip so my family and I tasted 12 different plates of Gyoza in 2 days!
These are sneak peak photos. For more detail, please check our YouTube channel. It’s coming soon!
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Soup for soba noodle (Soba tsuyu)
Ingredients (2 servings):
300ml Dashi soup stock
5 Tbsp (75ml) Soy sauce
5 Tbsp (75ml) Mirin
1 Tbsp (15ml) Sugar
1 tsp (5ml) Sake
Handful of Bonito flakes
1. Mix all the ingredients in a pot.
2. Warm the pot until it starts to simmer.
3. Add a handful of bonito flakes and bring to a boil.
4. Turn off the heat just after boiling.
5. Strain the soup. Done!
Ingredients (12 sheets):
50g Flour *All purpose flour
50g Bread flour *Strong flour
5 Tbsp (75ml) Hot water
1. Mix flour and bread flour in a bowl.
2. Add hot water and mix gently. Knead the dough with hands and put together to make a ball.
3. Sprinkle extra flour on the cooking board. Put the dough and flatten it with using rolling pin.
4. Cut 12 sheets with using round shape cutter or cup.
Visit Yuzu farm in Kochi
My family and I visited Kochi prefecture last week.
Kochi is located in the south western from Tokyo and belongs to shikoku, which means four islands/prefectures.
Thanks to the warm weather and rich atmosphere with plenty of mountain and sea side, Kochi offers various local cuisines including tuna steak, Sarabachi-ryori (a course of small dishes in a big plate), Hat-shape bread, Sweet potato chips, Yuzu and more!
The highlight of our trip was “YUZU Hunting”!
We visited local YUZU farm in kitagawa village which is about 2 hours drive from Kochi-city.
Family Cooking : Pizza Time!
On weekend, I make homemade pizza for dinner. My son Kengo is interested in cooking (or tasting) recently so I put small chair next to me so that we can cook together.
We usually make four kinds of pizza. Recently, we tried those four.
1. Tomato sauce, Cherry tomato, Garlic, Basil, Cheese, Olive oil
2. Natto (fermented soybeans), Nori seaweed, Salted kelp, Lotus root, Sesame oil
3. Cheese, Sweet corn, Mayonnaise, Bacon
4. Basil sauce, Avocado, Kale, Potato, Asparagus
It’s always fun to do the experiment to find the best combination.
I think Kengo eats more vegetables than before.
Next time, what ingredients shall we put? If you have a recommendation, please tell us!