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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Autumn in Japan

Hello there! How have you been? It’s been a while since I have posted my last blog. I had been busy for a while and, when I realize that, it’s the season that we can see leaves changing.

Last week, my husband and I went hiking the closest hill called Pon Pon Yama. It was the best timing for us to enjoy the autumn view. Since I took some photos, I want to show them to you. I hope you enjoy Japanese autumn views.

In the hill we have a Shito-shrine, and it’s popular among people who live in the area.

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This statue is a guardian for a Shito-shrine called Komainu.

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I think this is a monk’s house of the Shito-shrine.

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This statue is called Jizo and God for children. He is my favorite God because his face looks always peaceful.

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I am very proud of these Japanese maple leaves. I love their red. This is the Japanese autumn.

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The color green and the red are so pretty!

 

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I found six cute zizou.

We enjoyed the views, the clean air, and walking. I realized that hiking is so much fun, and good for exercise. I want to do this more often from now on with my hubby.

It’s getting colder here. I think in some places it’s getting hotter. Stay warm or cool and don’t get sick.

See you around in two weeks again here!

-Yumi x

 

 

 

Rose Garden

Hello there! How have you been?

I am doing good, and I am sorry for the delay. I am glad that I can post something today.

It’s fall and not a season for roses. I took these photos in May when I visited my closest rose garden with my hubby.

Every year I go there with my hubby to take some rose photos, and I am glad that this year the rose photos look much better than last year. I admire a lot these nature. They are just so beautiful, and I think the words, “flawless” or “divine” are just for them.

I hope you enjoy looking at my rose photos and can get some inspiration form them.

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Which color do you like the best in roses? I love pink roses the best.

I am already looking forward to visiting this garden to see them again next year. I hope they will bloom prettier flowers then!

Have a lovely weekend/ week! See you soon!!

-Yumi

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

Desserts for Summer in Japan

Hello there!

How are you spending your weekend? The day before yesterday was the Tanabata in Japan even though my family and I didn’t celebrate it. It was first time for the Tanabata festival not to be a rainy day for years. So, I guess the mystical couple in the sky enjoyed having their romantic time together. You ca learn about mystical couple: http://www.japan-suite.com/blog/2014/7/6/tanabata-story-of-two-star-crossed-loversf

Today I want to introduce our summer desserts to you. In summer you can see these in supermarkets a lot. We love eating cold stuff in summer. Ice cream gets more popular in summer too, but we still love our old-fashioned sweets like these. We keep these desserts in our refrigerator to keep them cool. When we eat them, we can enjoy the cool temperature and the sweet flavor together. Most of them are like jellies, but these sweets are made from vegetable gelatin. This part is different from jellies. ( Jellies are made from animal gelatin.)

My favorite sweet in summer is Warabimochi. I really love Kuromitsu ( the black syrup made from brown sugar) and that’s the reason. It’s so tasty to eat the cold Warabimochi with Kuromitsu.

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My other favorite is Mizsuyoukan.

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My previous place where we lived had a popular Mizuyoukan factory three doors down from our house. We loved buying the Mizuyoukan there. I really miss it. Mizsuyoukan is made from some red beans.

We have more sweets for summer.

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I don’t like this one, but some people like my hubby loves this, called Kuzsukiri. That’s because it tastes sour. I prefer sweet flavor.

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So, which one do you want to taste first? I hope this summer won’t be extremely muggy, and I can enjoy the season.

Have a lovely weekend! See you around next weekend here again!

-Yumi

 

 

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