Cherries in Japan: more than a springtime blossom

Every spring Japan celebrates the pale pink petal of the cherry blossom. And justifiably. But there is much more to cherries than just the delicate springtime blossom. In early summer, Yamagata Prefecture is popping with the fruit itself, little red balls of sweet juiciness. Further north, in Akita Prefecture, the bark of the mountain cherry, … Continue reading Cherries in Japan: more than a springtime blossom

Kion: Exquisite sake/cuisine pairings in Ginza

To enjoy fine food accented by good drink is the height of epicureanism. Kion, a small restaurant opening today in Ginza is dedicated to such pleasure. The name “Kion“ means “seasonal garden“ and the restaurant has taken as its mission serving set menu meals made with seasonal ingredients, each course set off by a carefully … Continue reading Kion: Exquisite sake/cuisine pairings in Ginza

It’s a condiment. It’s a health food. It’s black vinegar.

Japan is well known for borrowing ideas and technology from other countries and adapting them to something distinctly Japanese. Black vinegar is one such item. More than two centuries ago, the village of Fukuyama on the eastern shore of Kagoshima Bay began producing black vinegar using methods imported from China. Refined and developed over the … Continue reading It’s a condiment. It’s a health food. It’s black vinegar.

Japan’s Cutting Edge Cutlery

Anyone who's ever wandered into a kitchen knows how important a good knife is to food preparation. Arguably, Japanese kitchen knives, developed from Japan's long sword-making tradition, are the best in the world. Nenohi knives are among the most popular with professional chefs in Japan, even though the company is relatively young by Japanese standards, … Continue reading Japan’s Cutting Edge Cutlery

Takachiho Farm: fun hands-on experience of life on a farm

The Kirishima volcano system in Kagoshima Prefecture is fascinating for the variety of landscapes visitors can experience.  The flanks of some of the volcanoes are covered with grassland conducive to raising cattle.  Takachiho Farm is a kind of "show farm" within sight of Mt. Kirishima where visitors can see a working dairy and experience several … Continue reading Takachiho Farm: fun hands-on experience of life on a farm

How Sweet It Is! Making wasanbon tea sweets

The frothy whipped green tea served in traditional Japanese tea ceremony is strong and bitter.  But unlike Western style tea or coffee, one does not ever add sugar!  That is not to say that we completely ignore Mary Poppins' maxim. Rather, for over 400 years in Japan, whenever traditional tea ceremony tea is served, it … Continue reading How Sweet It Is! Making wasanbon tea sweets