2013年04月25日

A "mochi" rice cake is made through "mochitsuki" and forming pounded steamed "mochigome" glutinous rice into a palm-sized round or square shape.

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Since Japan's farming has been focused on rice cultivation, paddies can be seen anywhere in the countryside. "Ina-wara" rice straw, which is a by-product of rice cultivation, is used for various kinds of daily commodities such as "tatami" mats or straw rope festoons. A "mochi" rice cake is also indispensable preserved food for sacred days like "shogatsu" New Year's holiday or festivals.
In these days, a mass produced "mochi" is sold at supermarkets, however it originally is made through "mochitsuki" as shown in the picture.
This performance had been often found even in urban areas untill 1960's, but it has become to be performed as an attraction of a program of entertainments today.
*Mochitsuki: Two men alternately pound steamed rice in a mortar with a pestle.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 12:46 | Japanese food and drink | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2012年12月10日

"Hoshigaki", also known as "korogaki" or "tsurushigaki", which is made by dehydrating an astringent persimmon, is a kind of dried fruit tasting very sweet.

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Hoshigaki is made not only in Japan but also in China, Korea and Taiwan. This is eaten as a preserved dessert in winter in Japan. On the other hand, the people in the other three countries make it mainly for a medicine or tea.
This sweet is widely produced throughout Japan, especially in Gifu and Yamanashi Prefecture. Many hoshigaki dangling from the eaves of farmhouses are familiar rural scenery early in winter, as shown in the first picture.
Hoshigaki, strictly speaking, is classified into many groups according to the degree of dryness and the types of persimmon.
The hoshigaki in the second picture, which is the specialty of Enzan, Yamanashi Prefecture, is not well dried so that a jellylike texture with very sweet taste can be enjoyed going with Japanese tea.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 06:35 | Japanese food and drink | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2012年11月18日

"Tsukudani" are cooked marine products such as small fish, shellfish and seaweed, boiled down in sweetened soy sauce.

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Tsukudani originated in "Tsukuda-jima" island, Chuo Ward, Tokyo. Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, ordered the thirty-four fishermen in present Tsukuda, Nishi-Yodogawa Ward, Osaka, to move to Edo, present Tokyo, and gave them fishing rights. These catches were to be presented to the Tokugawa family.
They were allowed to live on a manmade island at the mouth of the Sumida River, which was named Tsukuda-jima after Tsukuda in Osaka. While the fishermen offered their catch to the Tokugawa shogun, they cooked tsukudani making the most of the rest of the catch as their own meal when working on the fishing boat.
In the course of time, this preserved food prevailed among the masses in Edo thanks to the inexpensive price. After that, it spread throughout Japan as a specialty of Edo.
The first picture shows Tsukudani of goby, and the traditional shop in the second picture is one of the three time-honored tsukudani shops remaining in Tsukuda-jima island.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

通訳案内士 高木聖久

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posted by masahisa at 16:33 | Japanese food and drink | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする