Castella, the Oldest Japanese Cake

Hello there! How did your new year start? Have you set up some goals to achieve for this year? What are your new year’s resolutions?

I have set up some goals that I really want to achieve and made some new year resolutions. I will try my best to reach my goals this year as well, and I will see the result at the end of this year.

Today I want to introduce Japanese oldest cakes to you. I hope this blog entry is interesting for you who are interested in Japanese culture or history.

The cake is called “castella”.   It is around 400 years old. You can read the history here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castella   In the 17 century, the Edo period my country had closed our country from other countries to protect ourselves. It had been keeping in 300 years. During the time we created our own unique culture. Castella was born in the 17 century. Even though, we didn’t open our country to others, we had exchanged stuff with Portugal and Holland.  They brought us guns, Christianity, Western culture like western medicines, western science and so on. Castella was introduced by Portuguese. We had a large port in Nagasaki, the Kusyu erea. They came to the port with Castella. They started living with Japanese people in the area. Some Japanese people learned how to make Castella from them. Since then, Castella is very popular among all aged Japanese people. I love the cake as well.

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Castella texture is different from Western cakes. They are very soft and mild.

 

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I found a very interesting advertizement paper with the Castella box. Since I took some photos of it, I want to share them with you.

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This seems to be very old advertizement of Castella. Since some Japanese characters are very old, I can’t read some words even though I can guess the meaning.

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You can see a Castella factory in the advertizement.

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You can see when the Castella factory opened. It says “since 1624”. Actually, the factory name is “Fukusaya” and it’s in Nagasaki prefecture. I think the Castella factory is the oldest one in Japan, and I really love the castella from the factory. I think the shop’s one is the best!

They have an English HP! http://www.fukusaya.co.jp/global/en/index.html According to the HP, the current shop owner is 16th generation from the first one. I am very amazed! The factory also have very long history with their Castella!!!

When you come to Japan, get some Castella at an airport! You will love them!

See you around in two weeks again!

Have a lovely week, everyone!

-Yumi x

 

-Yumi

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Cafes in Japan

Hiya! How have you been so far? I am doing great to enjoy my life.

Today, I want to share something interesting with you. You know we have weird cafes, like maid cafes, right? Our cafes are getting more diverse. Now, we have lots of cafes where we can enjoy getting together to share our interests.

Cats cafes where we can touch cats or conversational English cafes where we can speak in English with foreigners or English teachers are more popular. We have more cafes like rabbit cafes where we can touch rabbits. Rabbit cafes are getting popular in Japan as well. I don’t think it’s a clean place to drink something, though, lol.

I have never been to those cafes before, but I had an opportunity to go to a knitting cafe recently.  I have to say that knitting is my hobby. I have found knitting is meditation for me, and that’s why I love knitting. I found a knitting cafe where I can learn Fair Isle technique from Scotland and went there.

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There were 10 students plus three teachers there. We all knitted the Fair Isle techniques.

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Fair Isle knitting started for fishermen, but they have become more sophisticated.

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We can see lots of Fair Isle knitting products which the instructors  have placed on the walls. They were so perfect! I was in love with them at first sight.

A student was knitting her sweater with the technique. According to her, it takes 6 months for her to finish one product!! Oh, I need a lot of patience to finish one piece!!!!

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The instructors show us lots of traditional patterns and books to make us think we can make these!

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Since I am a definitely beginner of this technique, I have nothing to show. I just started learning this technique. My goal is to knit sweaters for all my family! The yarns for the technique come from Shetland, Scotland. Their yarns are very light and warm like cashmere. Since I love conservative, classical and traditional style of fashion a lot, I really really love these knitting patterns!

Cafes where we can learn something is different from schools or clubs. When we learn something in schools or clubs, it’s hard for us to quit after one experience. However, it’s easy for us to quit in cafes. We don’t need to go to the cafes constantly. Whenever we want, we can book the cafes and keep learning. The knitting cafe is open 8 days each month from 10 am to 1:30 pm for students to learn . My plan is to go there once a month to learn. It’s more convenient for us to save time and money. It’s easier for us to start learning something new. Of course, we call these “cafe”, so we order something to drink while we learn.

I had a wonderful time there with knitting people. All of them were very friendly to share their products, ideas and technique.

I think these style of cafes where we can learn something will be more popular in Japan.

Thanks for stopping by my blog entry. I hope I will be able to update my other blog, my porcelain painting blog next week!

I hope you all start a great week! Take care!

-Yumi x

 

 

Kawaii!

Hello there! How have you been? It’s getting cooler here, and I just love the weather.

Today I have some good news. My daughter passed the entrance exams of graduate university. In the next spring, she will be a graduate college student!! I am very happy. I am glad that she is coming close to achiving her dream.

Well, I want to write about a part of our culture today. Have you heard the word, cawaii or kawaii before? The word meaning is cute in Japanese.  We Japanese love cuteness in our pop culture and invented like Hello Kitty, Lolita fashion, Harajyuku fashion and so on. Mainly, I want to introduce Lolita fashion today.

Lolita fashion is doll like outfits for young girls. Some Japanese girls love the fashion, and I think it has spread to the world. I can see many Western girls wearing Lolita fashion online a lot. All of them look just like dolls. They love having tea parties in the fashion.

 

They love belonging to Lolita groups. They are absolutely stunning when they are getting together. They seem to be enjoying getting people’s attention.

To be honest with you, I love Lorita fashion even though I personally have  never worn the fashion. When my daughter Nana was a little girl, I had dressed Nana in the fashion. I enjoyed dressing Nana like a doll a lot. She was so cute in the outfits.

I think people who love the fashion still love playing dolls, lol. We sometimes still have child minds inside even though we are already grown up.

There are some very interesting Lolita here.

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Can you see the interest? I found the girl online when I Skyped with my American friend, Matt. She is a Muslim girl who is wearing Lolita in her Muslim fashion. Isn’t it interesting? It’s my first time to see mix of Lolita and Muslim fashion together.

I am happy that our pop culture has been accepted even in Muslim culture. Since I like writing about our pop culture, I sometimes want to introduce it more!

At the end of this blog entry, I asked Matt if he feels attractiveness from these Lolita girls because I was very curious what Western guys think about them, lol. He told me that they seem to be immature. Well, I don’t think most of guys like their fashion either.  I think our culture relates to immature things too. I will write about it sometime too.

Thank you so much for reading the blog post. I hope it is interesting for you to learn Japanese culture.

See you around here again in two weeks! Have a lovely week/weekend, everyone!

-Yumi x

 

 

 

 

 

Tosa Dog

Today I want to write about the biggest dogs in Japan. They are a family of Mastiff.

I have a female three year-old black Labrador Retriever, Coco, and a Tosa Dog is her male friend. I have known about Tosa dogs, but until Coco has made friends with the male Tosa Dog, Gun, I have never seen a Tosa dog in person before. I think this is really cool that Coco has a Tosa friend! They are a definitely rare sort.  Japanese people prefer tiny dogs like toy poodles.

When I saw Gun for the first time with Coco, I was very scared and avoided to follow his way.  Coco is very powerful, and I thought I might not control her when she got excited to see Gun.  Gun’s owner realized that I was afraid of him, and he approached us. We made friends then.

When I touched Gun, I was so nervous even though the owner told me that Gun was well controlled and never bit me. I still remember the feelings very well. Gun has a huge head. I have heard Gun killed a Boxer two years ago when they fought. I am happy that Coco and Gun made good friends.

In Japan, if people want to own Tosa dogs, they need a permission from a Police department. That’s because they are very dangerous dogs. We have heard about news that the dogs kill their owners or family members. They are fighting dogs in the Shikoku area. The Gun’s owner loves big dogs, especially Tosa Dogs. Gun is his eighth dog. According to him, since he got older, he retired Dog fights. He was used to doing the business. I am glad Gun is not a fighting dog. I can’t support all kind of animal fights. The owner has another dog, a female Mastiff, named Sakura. She is much bigger than Gun! He sometimes takes two of them together for a walk. I can’t believe how he can control two extremely huge dogs together. Sakura is one and a half years old and much more energetic than Gun.

Gun is three years old too and very skinny. Coco is much energetic than Gun. Although I really want to take some photos of Gun with Coco, I have to apologize that there is no photos of them. I walk in the evening, and plus they are very playful. It’s hard for me to take their photos in dark, but when I take some, I will update them.

I know big dogs’ life spam is always shorter than small dogs’. Gun’s owner said Tosa’s life spam is around 8 years. I really hope Coco and Gun can hang out as long as they can.

If you want to get more information about Tosa, you can get it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tosa_(dog)

The word, Tosa means an old term of one of prefectures, Kouchi Ken in the Sikoku area. The Tosa Dogs are originally from there. In the Edo period, dog fights were one of the entertaining events for Shoguns.

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We still have dog fights, and the champions wear these kinds of costumes to show off.

These costumes are very similar as Yokozuna, the champions of Sumo wrestlers.

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It’s getting cooler in Japan, and I am very happy with this comfy weather. I will see you around in two weeks!

Have a lovely week or weekend!

-Yumi x

Eel Foods

Hello there! How have you been? We are in the midvv summer, and every day is so hot and humid. To cheer ourselves up, we eat eels in summer. Well, it means Japanese summer is too tough, and many people lose their appetite. It’s easy for us to get sick. To stay healthy, we eat eels.

A couple of days ago, my family and my parents went to the biggest eel restaurant in my hometown. We ate eels until we got stuffed, lol. I think my family, my parents and I can stay healthy during this summer thanks to the eels.

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Since the restaurant has a beautiful garden, I took some photos with some foods. I think eel foods are very fascinating for you to see because I don’t see eel foods so often out of Japan. I hope this blog entry is interesting for you to know about our food culture. As I repeat mentioning, our food culture depends on the seasons a lot. Eels are definitely summer food for us.

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appetizer with some cherry blossom tea

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grilled ell with koi fish sasimi

I love eating koi fish sasimi with sour miso sauce. It’s so yummy.

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Umaki, egg omelet with grilled eel

Umaki is my favorite too!!

 

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Koikoku, miso soup with koi fish

Koikoku is my favorite too. It’s sweeter than regular and has much richer flavor than the regular one. We have another good restaurant for Koikoku close to my hubby’s parents’ house. When I get there, I will introduce the foods there.

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Koi-no-amani

It might be gross for you, but this is another one of my favorite. The fish is koi with sweet tasting soy sauce flavor. It’s hard for people to get Koi fish from a market for the amani, but I cook other fish with amani. The only thing that I don’t like is the fish part, though. My hubby loves amani with fish eggs.

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Unadon ( Una-jyu)  with some Japanese pickles

This is my best favorite food! I love grilled unagi with some rice!

 

Yuzu flavor ice cream. Yuzu is a citrous fruit.

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On this day my dad found a dragonfly. According to him, the dragonfly was a rare sort. I forgot the name, but I took some pics with him. He seemed to be very happy with good foods and the rare dragonfly.

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The restaurant has a koi pound.  I guess we ate some koi fish from the pond, the fresh ones, lol.  Poor fish……

I hope you enjoyed the blog entry!

 

See you in two weeks again!!

-Yumi x

 

How to Stay Cool Without Air Conditioner

Hello, there! How are you doing? I hope everybody is having a good day.

In Japan, the rainy reason was over, and the really muggy summer has come! I personally don’t like using air conditioner because the cold air makes me feel very sluggish.  I prefer sweating. I always try not to use air conditioner until I really can’t bear. I especially don’t use it day time.  However, my hubby can’t stand without air conditioner. So, when I am with him, I have no choice.

We have some ideas to spend summer time without air conditioner, and today I want to show them with you.

Sudare

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We put a screen, called ‘Sudare’ made of thin strips of wood in front of a house or back side of a house to shut down sunshine. We have put this screen in front of our bathroom window. We can open the window to get cool wind, and nobody can peek us. Some shops put this the entrance of their shops like the picture.

Uchiwa

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This is our very traditional tool ( a fan) , called uchiwa. We can buy lots of pretty ones. We have both modern designs and traditional ones. I prefer traditional ones. This is very popular for summer festivals with a summer kimono, Yukata.

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This is my favorite for summer. We water in front of our house to stay cool. My grandparents did it in summer every single day when the temperature got high, especially evening. So, when I see someone is doing this, this reminds me of my grandparents a lot. When I lived in Nagano prefecture with my family, I saw people did it a lot.

Furin

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We do make us cool down with pretty sounds. The glass things are called Furin. They make very pretty healing sounds, and I love them. We have one in our house, and I have hanged it every year in summer. When I hear the sounds, they definitely reminds me of summer.

I think each country has their own unique ideas or culture for seasons. These ideas make us enjoy the hot and humid summer.

Thanks as always for reading my blog post. I hope you can expand a little bit your horizons about Japan!

See you in two weeks again!

-Yumi x

 

 

 

 

Do You Want to Learn Another Languages from A Robot?!

Hello there! How have you been? It’s been a while since I posted my last blog entry. I am sorry for the delay. Recently I am busy for painting stuff. I haven’t posted anything on my other blog either,  and I know I have to do this soon.

Today, I want to listen to your opinions and share mine with you. I hope I can listen to lots of opinions from you.

Well, my question is “Do you want to learn another languages from a robot?”.  A couple of days ago, I found a robot which can teach us English on Amazon. I thought it was very interesting.

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Isn’t the robot cute? You can see more details here: https://www.amazon.co.jp/AKA-Musio-%E8%8B%B1%E8%AA%9E%E5%AD%A6%E7%BF%92AI%E3%83%AD%E3%83%9C%E3%83%83%E3%83%88-%E6%97%A5%E6%9C%AC%E6%AD%A3%E8%A6%8F%E4%BB%A3%E7%90%86%E5%BA%97%E5%93%81-MSX510017SB/dp/B06XPD111V/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498441590&sr=8-1&keywords=%E8%8B%B1%E8%AA%9E%E3%83%AD%E3%83%9C%E3%83%83%E3%83%88

The robot itself costs around 1000 American dollars and plus you need textbooks and you need to pay to “Friend Plan” ( I don’t know what it is.). It sounds like it costs a lot.

However, according to Amazon, it can teach us natural English. Do you want this?

Since I have not used the robot yet, I can’t say the robot is useful or helpful. Even so, I prefer learning conversational English from a real teacher. I doubt how much it can teach us “real conversation”. I think languages relates to history, culture, religion or other stuff. The robot might become a conversational partner, but I don’t think we can enjoy our conversations what we talk. Do you know what I mean?

I think I don’t like it if the robot shows sarcasm. I probably feel awkwardness. If the robot swears, I probably don’t like it either. The robot might work out for beginner level students, though. It might be good to practice pronunciation or ask them unknown words, difficult phrases and so on. Well, I think we can do the stuff without the robot anyway.

As a result, I don’t think I need the robot for my English, but it might be good for my Italian. Compared to my English level, my Italian is really poor. In that case, the robot will help me a lot to learn basic stuff.

I think the best way to learn another languages is to use both human and high technology, but I still believe that human skills are better than high technology.

Maybe in the future we will have robot teachers in school, and they teach us school subjects. What do you think?

Thanks for visiting my blog! I hope I can see you next week! Have a great day!

 

-Yumi

 

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