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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The Best Season Ever in Japan!

Hi there!

How have you been? I still have had a really bad cold and can’t stop coughing…….. Cough, cough, cough…….

A couple of days ago, a friend of mine lives in Tokyo came up, and I took her to Kyoto!  That’s because it’s the best season ever for us to enjoy viewing leaves changing!!!

It’s my first time to see her in person in 4 years. We used to go to the same porcelain school for years, but after I moved to Osaka, I quit the school. Since then I hadn’t met her for a while.

We had a great time in Kyoto!!

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Since the day was clear and fine, it was the best day for me to take a lot of photos.

I hope you can enjoy the Japanese leaves changing season through my post!

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

The place where I took my friend is called, Arashiyama, and it’s very popular in spring and fall.  When you come to Arashiyama in spring, you can enjoy viewing cherry blossoms and it’s a completely different scenery from this one.

This time everything here is red, and at that time everything here is PINK!

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

I love spring the best, but I love fall as well.

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

I love the place and it reminded me of Hayao Miyasaki movies a lot.

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

I am planning on going back to my previous porcelain school in Osaka again next year. I am really looking forward to it.

I asked my friend if she could come up again in spring. I hope she can make it. Then, I can take her here again to enjoy viewing cherry blossoms!!

Happy Eel’s Day!

Hello friends!

Today is a eel’s day in Japan! It might sound gross for you, but in Japan we have eaten grilled eel in summer to keep health.

This isn’t an official holiday, and it has been changing to be up to a calender every year. Last year, we had two ee’ls days, but this year we have the only one day. Today is it!!!! It has long history to eat eels, and it started since 1772 to 1788. We still keep the tradition.

My family and I went out to eat grilled eel. I love it as I can eat it every day!

Happy Eel Day!

Happy Eel Day!

 

Happy Eel Day!

Happy Eel Day!

 

Happy Eel Day!

Happy Eel Day!

 

Happy Eel Day!

Happy Eel Day!

 

Happy Eel Day!

Happy Eel Day!

 

It was soooooooooooooo good and made my day 🙂

We love going out to eat eels, but sometimes we take out to go eat eels as a bento box. A bento box looks like a lunch box. Grilled eel is good when it gets cold. I love both eating outside and taking out to go.

 

Happy Eel Day!

Happy Eel Day!

 

We have a serious problem about the eels. Now, they might become designated as an endangered species. If it will become designated as an endangered species, we won’t be able to eat eels in the future. We might not keep our tradition in the future. We are good at farming fish, but somehow, it’s hard for us to farm eels. That’s because eels are very mysterious species and sensitive, and we still can’t understand their biogeocenosis.

When I was younger, eels were not so expensive. However, nowadays it’s getting higher and higher. Now, eels are one of Japanese cuisines.

I hope we can succeed to farm eels soon!!!! Knock on wood!!!!!

A Japanese Garden in Autumn

Hi there!

Looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time no see!! I’m very sorry for this. I’d been very busy for three months to attend the porcelain convention in Thailand. I had been painting 4 pieces for the convention. I also had been painting three pieces for the other competition. That’s why I haven’t updated this blog for a while.

Meanwhile, I went back to my blog again! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!

Today I want to show some of lovely pictures of a Japanese garden. The garden is called Youkou-kan and the location is in Fukui.

A couple of days ago I went there to  see the fall leaves once more before it becomes winter. 5 months from now I will move out here to another prefecture again because of my husband job. He got a transfer and promotion again. So, this is my last time to see the fall leaves in Fukui.

Enjoy the Japanese fall leaves. The day was very fine and I took some really pretty pictures!

Youkou-kan. A Japanese Garden

Youkou-kan. A Japanese Garden in Fukui

You an see a moat and it was a vacant lot for the Fukui Castle before.

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Castle

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Castle

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Castle in Fukui

The Entrance of YouKou-Kan

The Entrance of YouKou-Kan in Fukui

I payed for three US dollars and entered the garden.

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Castle

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

This is very famous in Hokuriku area. In winter we have a lot of snow, so to guard some trees, we bind some trees with ropes, and it is called Yuki-tsuri in Japanese.

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Castle

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

This is my favorite picture. Look at the reflection. I love Japanese garden because we can enjoy both real scenery and the reflection on the pond at the same time!

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Castle

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Castle

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Castle

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Castle

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

A stone bridge for the winter version and save people not to slip because of the snow.

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Castle

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

This picture is also my favorite! So pretty!!!!!!

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Castle

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Castle

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

The building is for the leasers of Fukui castle in the Edo era. They took their concubines to the building and spent some time together to look at the garden.

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Koi fish! I love Koi fish and I got some inspiration to paint them!

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Orange colors and blue colors are complimentary colors. So, the orange of the leaves and the blue of the sky were so stunning each other!

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

Youkou-kan, A Japanese Garden in Fukui

I hope you enjoyed our Japanese garden in fall! Thank you for visiting my blog and taking a look at the pictures!

-Yumi

Made in Occupied Japan

I’ve been collecting antique or vintage cup and saucer sets, and every time I go to America, my American friend, Gay takes me to some antique shops. I love going antiquing. While I was in America last time, Gay took me to an antique mall that was new in Flint, Michigan. I really enjoyed shopping because the mall was huge and I could see a lot of vintage or antique stuff. While I was enjoying looking around with her, I found a small matching cup and saucer set. I thought it was very pretty. I overturned the cup because I wanted to make sure where the cup came from. I especially love collecting British cup and saucer sets. They are very elegant and have a lot of details. Most of them are not hand painted, but I can get a lot of painting hints from the sets. When I overturned the saucer, I found a very interesting mark that I’ve never seen before. It said “Made in Occupied Japan, Ohata China”. I’ve seen made in Japan china many times at antique shops in America and am used to it, but it was my first time to find occupied stuff. Since I couldn’t understand the meaning of it, I asked to Gay. She told me that it wasn’t happy for me, but it had been created while our country was colonized by America after World War 2. I thought it was very interesting and found a part of our history! I bought it. After getting home, Gay searched about occupied stuff for me. She told me that it had been created from 1945 to 1952.
I knew our country lost World War 2, but I’ve never seen the proof. To be honest with you, I was very shocked.After I returned to Japan, I also asked to my Texan friend, Matt about the occupied stuff. He also helped me to find some links.I found that during our country was colonized by America, we had to print the mark “made in occupied Japan” on all our export things. I didn’t study it at my history class. I asked to both my husband and daughter if they studied it at school, but both of them also didn’t study. The occupied stuff are exported things, and that’s why we haven’t seen them in Japan. I also tried to search about “Ohata China”, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find any information about the china company. I guess we already don’t have the company in Japan any more.

I’d love to show the matching cup and saucer set to my parents. They might know about it more. I’m happy to be able to find a part of our history in America! If you know some information about it, could you tell me about them? I’m looking forward to receiving a lot of information from you!

Made in Occupied Japan Ohata China

Made in Occupied Japan Ohata China

Made in Occupied Japan Ohata China

Made in Occupied Japan Ohata China

Made in Occupied Japan Ohata China

Made in Occupied Japan Ohata China

Made in Occupied Japan Ohata China

Made in Occupied Japan Ohata China

Made in Occupied Japan Ohata China

Made in Occupied Japan Ohata China