Halloween in Japan

Hi there! How have you been?

I can’t believe that we have only two months left this year!! I am so surprised that time flies so fast!

Last week, I know we celebrated Halloween in the Western world. Well, me personally, I have never gone trick or treating or celebrated it in my entire life. When I was a kid, Halloween was not popular at all. However, it is getting more popular recently, and I want to share how we celebrate it.

I have a 10 year-old niece, and she shared a very interesting story with me. She told me that she does trick or treat in her neighborhood. Her neighborhoods has a Halloween event every year in October. She can stop by to trick or treat at elderly people’s houses which have a maple leaf mark on their house doors. The house owners (they are elderly people) give some candies when kids come around. It’s an event both for elderly people and kids to communicate with each other. When I heard the story, I thought it’s a great idea because usually elderly people don’t get so many chances to talk to kids besides their grandchildren. Of course, my niece told me that they wear a Halloween costume.

After hearing the story, I paid a little bit more attention. On the Halloween day, I found a cute pumpkin pie which was wrapped by a cute Halloween package at a grocery store .

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Halloween is apparently getting much more popular in one decade.

My daughter loves going to Universal Studios in Osaka during the Halloween season. She loves wearing creepy make-up and goes there with her friends.  Older people are still not interested in Halloween, but young people are enjoying it.

I think in a couple of years, Halloween will become a much bigger event in Japan and we might be able to see many people from young to old wearing a costume everywhere, lol.

I hope you had a fun time on this Halloween!

See you next weekend here again!

-Yumi

Japanese Food

Hi there!

In Japan we are in the middle of the rainy season, and I hate the season because it’s really moggy. After the season, we will have a really humid and hot summer season. Aw, they are really gloomy seasons for me.  I hope you have a good time.

I’ve heard Japanese food is getting more popular because of Anime and Manga. People who love Anime and Manga have been seeing a lot of Japanese foods through them,  and they started getting more interested in our foods. Is it true? If so, it’s very interesting for me. I’m very curious when people from overseas hear about Japanese foods, what kind of foods they imagine. While showing my experiences, I want to show real Japanese foods in Japan.

I’ve experienced to eat so-called Japanese food at a restaurant in the States. My friend, Fresia from Bolivia invited me to the restaurant while we were traveling together.

Japanese Restaurant in New Orleans

Japanese Restaurant in New Orleans

 

It’s completely different from our foods in Japan. Even though it’s different, it was really good. I loved the American Japanese food, called Teppan-Yaki.

Japanese Restaurant in New Orleans

Japanese Restaurant in New Orleans

At the restaurant they served us a cup of soup, but it was mix of Chinese and Japanese. The spoon is Chinese. We don’t eat Japanese soup with the Chinese spoon.

Japanese Restaurant in New Orleans

Japanese Restaurant in New Orleans

 

When we go to Teppan-Yaki Japanese restaurant, we can enjoy seeing such the performance that we can’t see in Japan. The chef was from Thailand, and we enjoyed chatting when I told him I’ve been there last year.

Japanese Restaurant in New Orleans

Japanese Restaurant in New Orleans

 

Japanese Restaurant in New Orleans

Japanese Restaurant in New Orleans

 

Japanese Restaurant in New Orleans

Japanese Restaurant in New Orleans

 

Japanese Restaurant in New Orleans

Japanese Restaurant in New Orleans

 

While looking at the chef’s performance, we enjoyed eating. I ordered seafoods, and I ate grilled veggies, fried rice, salad, soup and grilled seafoods. All of them were very tasty.  The only think that they disappointed me was that they were using really cheap dishes for the foods. In Japanese foods, dishes are a very important part for us because we enjoy the foods themselves while looking at the decoration on really pretty dishes.

I also ate Japanese food in Canada last month. The chef was from Korea, and they also used very cheap dishes.

Here are real Japanese foods we are used to.

 

Japanese Foods

Japanese Foods

 

Japanese Foods

Japanese Foods

 

Japanese Foods

Japanese Foods

 

Japanese Foods

Japanese Foods

 

Japanese Foods

Japanese Foods

 

Japanese Foods

Japanese Foods

 

Japanese Foods

Japanese Foods

 

Japanese Foods

Japanese Foods

 

Japanese Foods

Japanese Foods

 

Japanese Foods

Japanese Foods

 

Japanese Foods

Japanese Foods

 

Japanese Foods

Japanese Foods

 

All foods belong to one person. The potion is small .

When you looked at the photos of real Japanese foods, what did you think? Please compare the American Japanese foods.

I think the real Japanese foods seem to be more delicious for you because we concern about decoration, dishes, colors and which season we eat. My family and I went to the Japanese restaurant in this rainy season. So, they served us some cold foods. You can see some ice cubes in some photos, and they are cold foods. Eating cold foods in this season is so good because we can make our body cooler.

I think Japanese foods are almost art because we can enjoy looking at them before eating. They are very colorful, and we use expensive dishes for the good foods.

Do you know that our Japanese foods have been registered as a World Heritage Site? I’m very proud of it.

I hope you can understand about Japanese foods in Japan via my blog post.

 

Valentine’s Day in Japan

How will you spend Valentine’s Day? I would like to write about  Japanese Valentine’s Day today. Do you know we have two Valentine’s Days? One is called ” Valentine’s Day” , and it is the 14th of February, and the other is called ” White Day” , and it is the 14th of March.

Our Valentine’s Day is for girls. Many girls, especially young girls are looking forward to the day because it is a good chance for them to tell someone in mind that they love the person. They usually prepare homemade chocolates, cookies, cakes, or handmade knits. Since my daughter love baking, she always bakes something for her male friends. ( I am not sure if she might have a boyfriend. However, she bakes some chocolate cakes every year for her father, grandfathers and someone else.)
When I was young, I loved knitting some sweaters for my boyfriend. I am wondering if my ex-boyfriends still have kept them, lol.

On the other hand, girls also prepare some chocolates for their colleagues and bosses. It is called “Giri-Choco” in Japanese. In this case the chocolates mean they are obligation chocolate without true love. It is just a diplomatic way in a social situation.

After girls give some chocolates or another things to their boyfriends, male friends, colleagues and bosses, girls expect to receive luxury stuff from them. That is our second Valentine’s Day, ”  White Day”. The day is for males. Of course, after males receive some gifts from their girlfriends, female friends and colleagues, they have to return some gifts that are their female friends’ favorite.
My daughter  receives some sweets with cards from her male friends every year.

If the Days are weekends, most of the couples spend together to see a movie, enjoy dinner and go to some romantic places.

Christmas in Japan

Today I discussed Christmas stuff with my Texan friend. Since the content was very interesting, I would love to introduce Japanese people’s Christmas here.
Of course how to spend depends on individual.
When I was a child, of course I also believed in Santa Claus. Our Santa Claus is wearing “Kimono” and hanging a “sword”, and his haircut is “samurai” style. Naaaaaaaah, of course NOT!!!
Our Santa Claus is also a western guy who is choppy and plumply. He is wearing red costume like western people think. He also has white long beard and mustache. He is quite same as western culture. However, one different thing is that he can speak Japanese. On TV or other mass medias he speaks Japanese fluently. When western people see it, they might think that it is hilarious.

I do not know each Japanese house serves some sweets and some tea, but in my house my mother prepared something sweet and to drink for Santa Claus. I guess since she prefers Japanese snacks to western snacks, she always served Japanese snacks called “senbei” and two cups of Japanese green tea for him in the kitchen table. When I was young, I did not know why she prepared two cups, but after several years  I knew the reason.

Meanwhile, we decorate Christmas fake tree inside. Compared to America, our tree size is very compact because our houses are smaller. When I was a child, I had not seen big Christmas lights so many times. However, right now the Christmas light is very common. I think the blue LED ( Light Emitting Diode) is discovered by a Japanese company. After the blue LED was produced, we can enjoy various colors LED here and there.

On Christmas day we buy a whole Christmas cake and cut it off. And then we eat a piece of Christmas cake. I think that it is  big different from America. Our cake has various types. However, most of them are decorated by lots of white whip cream or chocolate whip cream and strawberries. That is a common Christmas cake.

Since I was born in the western region, our parents house has no chimney. So, my mother told my sister and me that we had to keep opening our bathroom’s window for Santa Claus because we have no chimney. I believed that in my regions Santa Claus came into our house from the bathroom’s window. I never doubted how such a big guy came from the small window.

After I turned 16 years old and started to go out with my boyfriend, I tended not to spend Christmas with my family. I tended to go out with my boyfriend to see movies. I think in Japan when couples have young children, they spend Christmas with their children. However, after their children grow up, they do not spend Christmas together. Our Christmas are much for couples and boyfriends or girlfriends rather than for families.
I think that Christmas is one of the most important events for couples and lovers.

Christmas gift is also most important part in our Christmas. In young couples and lovers, they enjoy exchanging gifts. Parents and grandparents give gifts to their children and grandchildren. In my case I always give my love to my husband, and I receive kind of expensive stuff from him every year.

I’m curious about your country’s Christmas. So, after you read my blog entry, please leave a comment. I’m looking forward to reading lots of interesting stories.

Japanese Christmas cake

 

Japanese  senbei

Japanese Sweets in Spring

Hi, there! Today I want to introduce you to our sweets. Japanese sweets are called as wagashi(和菓子) in Japanese. The figures look very pretty. You can enjoy eating wagashi while you also enjoy looking at them.
Today I want to introduce spring wagashi. Since we have four seasons, we have seasonal sweets for each season. In spring, we eat dumplings. We call such type of dumplings hanamidango(花見団子). When I was a kid, I loved the dumplings. It’s very soft and sweet. The texture looks like mochi(もち). Hanamidango has three colored dumplings; pink white and green. I think that when people enjoy viewing cherry blossoms, they eat the dumplings. However, I’ve never eaten them while viewing cherry blossoms.
 
 
 

Hanami dango

 We also eat mochi called sakura mochi(さくらもち)and kashiwa mochi(かしわもち). Sakura mochi is wrapped with a cherry leaf. The leaf is very salty, and you can eat it with the mochi. When you eat it, you can enjoy both salty and sweet flavor at the same time. In my case, I don’t like eating a leaf, so I always peel it off before I eat sakura mochi.

Sakura mochi is very interesting sweet because it has varieties. It has two type of sakura mochi: in western area and eastern area it has differences. In western it is covered with sticky stuff. On the other hand, in eastern it is covered with dry stuff.
However, both ingredients are same.
Before I transferred to eastern area, I didn’t notice that. Since I was born and grew up in western area, I prefer western version to eastern version.
 
                  
Western version sakura mochi                                            Eastern version sakura mochi                                           
Kashiwa mochi is eaten on 5th of May. The day is children day in Japan. We celebrate the day for children. I want to write about the day next time. Kashiwa mochi has various bean jam. Basically although it is made from red beans, it also has miso(みそ) flavor jam. As my mother loves miso flavor, when I was young, she always bought it. I really don’t like the flavor because I don’t like sweet miso. It’s yuk!!! The children day is for boys’ event, but all of us eat kashiwa mochi and celebrate the day.
                   
Kashiwa mochi                                Chimaki