About the First Annual Event of a Year

The 7th of January is a day of the seven spring herbs.
Water dropwort, shepherdfs purse, cudweed, chickweed, henbit, turnip, daikon radish
These are the seven herbs of spring, and we eat rice porridge with their young leaves on this day, the 7th of January as an annual event.
But why?
The original intention is not to soothe the stomach beaten by too much food and drink during the year-end and New Year holidays.
The 7th of the first month of the new year is the first celebration of the five season-related festivities in Japan.
The seven herbs are annual plants and wither from fall to winter and begin to sprout and put forth young leaves. It is said that people in the past used to eat those young leaves, wishing their rejuvenation, and this was the start. But it has been changed to hope gthe state of perfect health.h
Anyway, around this season, it is good to eat rice porridge in the morning time to make our body warm from the stomach.
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Winter is coming! (Very quickly)

The season is changing from autumn to winter.
In Tokyo the sunset is around 4:00pm.
It gets dark early

From December 22th (the winter solstice) the sunset gets later.
On the winter solstice day we eat Japanese pumpkin and take a bath in winter with
Yuzu fruit in it.Japanese do it this so they wonft catch a cold.
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Yuzu is a kind of citrus, native to Japan.
This has very fine and refreshing aroma and doesn't taste too sweet.
We use its peel to cut into very thin strips.
Also we put some whole yuzu into the bath tub as bath aroma. We traditionally say that we don't catch a cold if you take a yuzu bath on the winter solstice.
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Save Wter

The rainy season finished early this year. Itfs hat ( over 30Ž) and humid every day. We all warry about the water supply because there wasnft very much rain in Tokyo this year.
We have to save water.
For my garden I use well water. I think I will start to water to water may garden in the evening to save water.
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Rakugo at my temple

My temple had Rakugo (Japanese storytelling) August 9th.Thirty people came.
My friend and his family came here.I made a Shojin lunch boxes for all the customers.

After everybody went in the temple and listened to a scary Rakugo story. It was dark and there were only two candles.

Big Japanese candle!

He listened to the Rakugo story (which was in Japanese) and after his wife told him the story in English.

The storytellerfs face and voice changed to fit the scene and feeling. My friend felt a little scared!
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What are these?

They are gchorogih, Chinese artichoke. Chorogi came from China.
In Japan we eat them for Japanese New Year. For Osechi (Japanese New Year food) chorogi is pickled and dyed red shiso. It is put on the top of boiled black beans.
These are unique!

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Japanese knives

We went to the Tsukiji Outer Market.

They sell fruits and vegetables, fresh and all kinds of frozen seafood, meat and kitchen utensils.

A student wanted to buy Japanese knives for a souvenir.
This shop had lots of cutlery.
many knifes.jpg
He bought two knives.

After shopping, we took a walk around the Tsukiji Outer Market.

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The cherry blossoms

Itfs the best season for cherry blossoms in Tokyo. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Japanese people love cherry blossoms so much that we make sakura-moti, sakura-soba, sakura-sake, sakura-wine and so on. Cherry blossoms give us energy.
full bloomjpg.jpg

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Traditional Japanese New Yearfs Dishes (Osechi-ryori)

Osechi-ryori served the New Yearfs Days is cooked from gorgeous and lucky ingredients are not eaten in everyday life, with the wish that meals be rich this year.

Black beans
Meaning: Good health for next year
•“¤@black beans.jpg

Japanese kelp rolls
Meaning: These look like the paper scrolls Japanese used to hang on their walls. Now they are good luck for good health and good wealth.
©•zŠª‚«@kelp rolls.jpg

Red and White Salad
Meaning: White and red color has security or stability.
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Delicious Japanese Chestnut

Autumn is the harvest season. Rice, yam, taro, lotus root, sweet potatos,
pumpkins, matsutake mushrooms, Japanese mushrooms,
gingko nuts and Japanese chestnuts are harvested.

Chestnut Rice

Ingredients (serves 4)

200g chestnut
3 cups rice
seasoning A: ( 550ml water, 10cm dry kelp, 50cc sake, 1 teaspoon salt)

How to cook
1. Peel the chestnutsf skin. Soak them in water for ten minutes.
2. Wash the rice, drain in a basket about one hour.
3. Boil the chestnuts with the salt until they are a little soft.
4. Cut them in half.
5. Put the rice in a rice cooker and add the seasoning A and chestnuts.
6. Cook the rice as usual.

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A baked Japanese pumpkin dumpling


160g Japanese pumpkin or squash
20g cream cheese
12 pieces dumpling@wrappers
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salad oil

How to cook
‡@ Cut the pumpkin into 5cm cubes. Steam it for 5 minutes.


‡A Mash the pumpkin. Mix it with cream cheese.
‡B Put some pumpkin and cream cheese paste in the middle of a dumpling wrapper.


‡C Fold the dumpling wrapper in half.


‡D Press the dumpling wrapper in four or five places.


‡E Heat the oil in a frying pan and put in all the dumplings. Fry until brown.


Add the water and cover. Cook until the water disappears.

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Glutinous rice balls

In Japan we eat sweet red bean (azuki) on rice cakes or glutinous rice balls.

Glutinous rice balls


30g glutinous rice powder
3 tablespoons water
15g tofu
60g sweet red beans (you can buy them at the store.)
2 sweet chestnuts

Serves two
How to cook
‡@ Put the glutinous rice powder in a big bowl. Add the water and tofu.

glutinous rice powder.jpg

‡A Knead it, make 8 balls.
‡B Boil them for 3minutes.
‡C Drain them. Soak them in cold water in the bowl. Drain.
‡D Serve the glutinous rice balls, sweet red beans and sweet chestnuts.
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White Radish

Seasonal Ingredients in Winter
White Radish

Happy New Year!


In Japan we believe some root vegetables (for example white radish, turnips, carrots,lotus roots) warm us up in the winter. Boiled vegetable and soup are very tasty. White radish has a lot of vitamin C,degestive enzymes(diastase)
and dietary fiber.So,try to use white radish for miso soup,pickles
and stir-fried dishes.



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The winter solstice

The winter solstice (the longest night and the shortest day).
Yesterday was winter solstice. In Japan we eat pumpkin.


Pumpkin is healthy so we won't catch a cold. We take a hot citron (yuzu) bath. This is a very old tradition.
Many Asian countries celebrate this tradition this in their own way.

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Yomogi is a type of chrysanthemum.


In spring yomogi sprouts new leaves.
The new leaves are used in tempura, dressing and Japanese sweets.
In Japan we burn vegetables and use the ash for cooking.
For example we burn branch or straw.
Ash is used with bitter vegetables and vegetables with hard stalks.
Ash makes the tasteless bitter and it helps make stalks softer.


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Purple cauliflower

Purple cauliflower is an interesting vegetable.


When you boil purple cauliflower, the color fades but when you pickle it
it changes color to bright purple.



The cauliflowerfs pigment changes color because of the vinegar.

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Jpanese traditional colors

There are many traditional colors in Japan.


These colors are from the four seasons.


The clothfs color made of plants.


In beginning colors ware made of seeds, flowers and plants.


Now we use ink and dye to color cloth.

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Azuki beans porridge

January 15th.
We eat azuki beans rice porridge with rice cakes. Aduki beans color is a good luck charm. I went to Torinin temple in Kyoto on January 15th.Torinin temple has a special event every year. I ate hot porridge. It was nice , healthy and warmed me up.

Tourinin Temple..jpg

azuki porridge.jpg


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Kagamibiraki – The cutting of the New Yearfs rice cakes on January 11th.
It is a traditional custom in the New Year.
We eat sweetened azuki soup with rice cakes in it (shiruko).
Azuki beans color (blackish red) is a good luck charm.

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@Pickled Red Turnip

Pickled Red Turnip

1 red turnip
salt to taste

@ c30ml vinegar (grain)
@c20g sugar
A@@csmall quantity of salt
@ cwater to

[Haw to prepare]

1 Cut the turnip into thin slice about 1 mm thick.


2 Sprinkle salt on the turnip and put it in a draining basket.
3 Wait about 10 minutes,
4 Press the turnip with your hands to release the water


5 Drain the pressed turnip.
6 Put the ingredients of A in a bowl.
7 Dress the turnip with ‡E in a bowl.
8 Put the turnip in a refrigerator for one night.

9 Eat the turnip the next day after it absorbs the seasonin
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