our traditional Japanese New Year Food On New Years Day, the ‘Osechi’ is our traditional food accompanied with mochi (rice cake) in a soup broth called ‘Ozoni’. The Osechi comes in a infinite variety of styles, differ in region and household but the most common ‘Osechi’ (dishes or items) have a certain meaning to it’s portion. What I have prepared this year is very simple, most probably the minimal as my intentions on New Years Day family get together was to go ‘Western Style’ upon request from my children and grandchildren. However the ‘Osechi’ which I put together were as follows – Kuro-mame (Syrup stewed black beans) | Representing longevity Kamaboko (Red and white fish cake)| Genuine meaning quite ambiguous but the color-red and white represents festivity. (This is an off the shelf item) Datemaki (Egg Roll) | The roll having similarity to the old scroll books represents the wish to the cultural development. Namasu (Red and White radish and carrots blend) | Representing happiness through the colors of red and white. White Beans | …
an excerpt from our camping car trip in 2018 Our trip to Izumo Taisha Shrine located in Shimane prefecture took place early October 2018, when the longest and hottest summer gradually started to loose force, surrendering itself to the next season, the fall. Izumo Taisha Shrine is considered the oldest shrine in Japan, in existence in the early 700s as revealed by the nation’s oldest chronicles; and has always been my ‘must see places in Japan’. The access is about a 820 kilometers drive from Tokyo, a 9 hours non-stop drive according to the Google Map which we managed to achieve in our first day of our trip. The majority of Japanese endeavor to see Izumo Taisha, as according to our history, Izumo used to be ruled by a powerful clan in pre-historic times, and plays a central role in Japan’s creation mythology. The main deity (kami) enshrined at Izumo Taisha is Okuninushi no Okami and according to the creation myths, Okuninushi was the creator of the land of Japan and the ruler of Izumo. …
I often wonder why we love to organize our time into segments; minutes, hours, weeks, months and then years. Every moment of our lives must be just as precious as any but the accomplishment of completion, achievement bringing satisfaction quite often is measured by time, I the same. Year 2018 had been quite a turbulent year to our family, not as gentle as we hoped and expected it to be. My husband underwent surgery after cancer test claimed in doubt, my daughter is suffering from serious migraine attacks unfortunately with no successful remedy disabling her daily life. Unfortunately we do not live in a world of fantasies, miracles and abracadabras, nor do I have a magic wand to let troubles and worries go away. But this is the start of a brand new year 2019. Letting our worries aside, January 1st which we call ‘gantan‘ in Japan, calls for a day to celebrate with gratitude from our hearts. Although we have our own traditional ritual food for New Years Day, ‘osechi’ ; I’ve decided …
It’s a ‘hot’ summer, rather an ‘extremely hot’ summer. Japan, like the other countries has been encountering, perhaps due to the global warming, days over 35C continuing since early July. Outdoor activities tend to be quite dangerous from high heat but luckily, this day, August 7th was like a crevasse between the hot temperature and typhoon and a perfect hiking day with the kids, my lovely nieces and nephews and my lovely sister. 酷暑と台風の繰り返しの日々が続いています。 台風13号が上陸するか、しないか、という8月7日、私の妹と姪達と甥と一緒に「西沢渓谷」に行ってきました。東京は雨模様で台風の上陸まじか。山梨、西沢渓谷はラッキーにちょうど低気圧と高気圧のクレバスのような場所になっており、、気温も20度前後。山歩きには最高の日となりました。 西沢渓谷は勝沼ICからフルーツラインを抜けて約60分程度、東京からは車アクセスがとてもいい場所です。初級者向けのハイキングコースで渓流の脇を通りながら１０本の滝を通過しながらいく、夏でもとっても涼しいコースです。 Nishizawa Gorge is one of the most beautiful gorges of the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, covering over 1250 square kilometers of densely forested mountains, dynamic gorges and crystal clear rivers in the prefecture of Yamanashi. It is a hiking course along the river, the trail takes approximately 3.5 hours to complete, along side with the 10 waterfalls spotted during the trail. 保存保存 保存保存
Spring, a fresh new start, new buds sprout to live the next four seasons. Spring vegetables, vivid and lively, bursting with energy awaken from hibernation and power from mother earth.
Oh dear……time flies. Each month seemed busier than the previous, for reasons not prefer to mention specifically but to be blunt…’a natural ebb and flow of life’. Anyway my last post was (way) over a month ago, disengaged from the habit of blogging nevertheless it has been on my ‘to do list’. I hope to grow back into the habit of blog posting upon the arrival of spring and the beautiful cherry blossoms yet in full bloom in some areas of Japan. なんだか、、 あっという間に月日が経ち、、 久しぶりの投稿です。 気がつくと「春」。そして今年も日本列島は桜で大騒ぎ。 我が家の近辺は桜が多し。 いつも特別なお花見なぞせずですが山梨に野菜に買いに行ったついでに、、いつも素通りする「神代桜」に立ち寄ってみたら、、ほっ、ほっ、ほっ、ラッキーに樹齢2000年の桜「満開」でした！ This cherry blossom is approximately 2000 years old, ‘Jindai Sakura’ in Yamanashi prefecture. What our small garden looks like…..
New Years Day, dinner. For us Japanese, New Year’s celebration is a traditional event, most likely THE important day of the year in which we celebrate the day with ‘traditional Japanese osechi’. If anyone of the readers are curious of what ‘osechi is?’, many sites will explain the meaning of some of the osechi dishes. This year I decided to venture out from the tradition to a somewhat non-tradtional ‘washoku cuisine’ to something which I call it ‘multi-cultured washoku’.
The Noto Peninsula (Noto-hanto) is a peninsula which extends out to the ocean (Sea of Japan), Ishikawa prefecture. To us, Noto instantly resonates ‘fresh fish’,’good sake’ ,’salt’ and ‘rice’, basically the main food ingredients our form of Japanese food. It was my first visit to Noto-hanto, although the weather did not welcome us; sunshine-cloudy-mist-rain-gusty wind storm all in one day. According to the locals, the diversity of weather produces good crops, good fish and a flexible lifestyle; a norm in Noto Penisula.