Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

anko crumpet

Anko Crumpets

Today’s oyatsu (snack) is an anko crumpet! A crumpet is a small griddle cake originated in England. The outside is crispy and crunchy and the inside is soft and chewy. The flat top has pores–perfect for butter to permeate. Scrumptious Crumpet in southeast Portland makes great crumpets! We put butter (lots of), anko (redbean paste), […]

sakura1

Cherry Blossoms

In Japan, the new school year starts in April. In March, students would know the result of their college entrance exam. In olden days, when there was no internet nor telephones, there was a service of telegramming the entrance exam result to applicants who lived farther away. The accepted ones would receive a telegram that […]

sakura

Sakura Sencha

Cherry blossom is sakura in Japanese. In kanji, it is written as 桜. This is the simplified version of the kanji, and the traditional kanji was櫻. In this original version, the left side 木, is a tree, and the upper right is two 貝, which is sea shell. The right bottom 女 is a woman. […]

sakura sencha

Perfect Season to Enjoy Sakura Sencha

Japanese love sakura, or cherry blossoms. In early spring, a cherry blossom front (going from south to north as the temperature goes up) makes big news on TV, just like a weather forecast. People look forward to their blooming, cherish them in their peak, and grieve when they are gone. In the early Heian period, […]

Hinamatsuri dolls

Hinamatsuri

Hinamatsuri is a traditional celebratory day on Saturday, March 3rd in Japan. It is a day to celebrate the girls of a Japanese family. Hinamatsuri is celebrated with two small dolls, usually in a sitting position adorning traditional Japanese garments. Hinamatsuri dolls are to be set out a few days before March 3rd, but should […]

Kabuki-za Tea Shop designed by Kengo Kuma

Next, Tokyo!

The 2018 Winter Olympics are now over, and the next is 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo! The main stadium of the Tokyo Olympics is designed by world-renowned architect, Kengo Kuma. In an interview, he said the old stadium from the previous Tokyo Olympics in 1964 was his inspiration to become an architect. As a young […]

Mecha toddy at Bible Club

Mecha Hot Toddy

It’s winter and everybody is drinking hot toddies to get warm, to nurse a cold and…well, just to enjoy the great tasting wintry drink. Jessica Braasch at Bible Club PDX made an awesome hot toddy using Jugetsudo mecha, umami packed green tea. It’s warm, smooth and sweet, and it is also very relaxing. The atmosphere […]

matcha at Portland Japanese Garden

Tea Time at Portland Japanese Garden

Umami Café at the Portland Japanese Garden now serves Jugetsudo tea along with locally made Japanese confections. Frothy matcha is light and yet rich in taste—almost creamy. It tastes even better when it is paired with Japanese sweets like the spring shibori (a traditional Japanese sweet of red and white bean paste). The sweetness of […]

eho maki

Eho-Maki (good fortune sushi roll)

Setsubun, the beginning of spring in Japan was February 3rd this year. On the day of setsubun, Japanese eat eho-maki (thick sushi rolls). Eho is the good fortune direction and it varies every year. This year’s eho is south-southeast. We eat the thick sushi roll which preferably contains seven ingredients, facing eho (this year, south-southeast). […]

setsubun mame

Setsubun

Setsubun (節分), a traditional event marking the beginning of spring, usually falls on February third or fourth, according to the Japanese lunar calendar. Japanese celebrate setsubun in many ways depending on the regions, and the bean throwing is one of the common ones. We throw roasted soy beans around our houses, shouting, “”Oni wa soto! […]