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Hachikari Cooking School will renew its programming and reopen with more options for classes in the Spring of 2010.
One of our team members is on maternity leave until the Spring of 2010. In the meantime, we are putting ideas together to come up with wider class options. We are currently taking comments and suggestions to better our service. The blog postings will continue to be updated so please stay tuned!

Hachikari Cooking School team

posted by hachikari at 15:00 | Diary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする


What about those Chopsticks?

The use of wooden disposable chopsticks that are the subject of much scrutiny by environmentalists is based on the Japanese' great appreciation for the present and the passing of time. Disposable wooden chopsticks always accompany Kaiseki cuisine, which is the meal served during the traditional tea ceremony. This symbolizes the ephemeral nature of each moment and the appreciation that arises from knowing that this moment will never happen again. By expressing the fleeting nature of each moment, both the guests and the host may appreciate the unique moment in time that they are sharing together. In preparation for a formal tea ceremony, the host will go out and choose the branches from a tree and whittle them into their appropriate shapes himself. There are 4 styles of chopsticks used during Tea Kaiseki - Nakabushi, Motobushi, Ryoboso, and Sugibashi. Each style is distinguished according to the course and the type of dishes served. Nakabushi is used for grilled fish and hasun, which is equivalent to small shared plates much like tapas. Motobushi is used for shisakana, which are simple snacks that accompany alcohol. Ryoboso chopsticks are tapered at both ends and are used to serve many of the courses of the tea ceremony - such as the azukebachi (much like a tagine servingware used to serve simmered seafood and vegetables), shisakana, and pickles. Sugibashi is shorter and thinner than the rest, which made them perfect to serve condiments and smaller dishes.
posted by hachikari at 19:31 | Diary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする


Hanami, bento box, the past, and the present

Spring is the season for hanami with sakura viewing festivities being the most popular past-time for the Japanese. The fleeting beauty of the sakuras have been the subject of countless poems and haikus.
「見渡せば、柳桜をこきまぜて都ぞ春の錦なりける」is translated,
"As one looks out, the Yanagi and Sakura are like a scenery painted on a Nishiki cloth."

Sakuras symbolize dazzling yet momentary beauty for they only bloom for 2 weeks. Often accompanied with sakura viewing is a picnic of bento boxes and endless supply of alcohol. This tradition of bento boxes for hanami viewing dates back to to the Momoyama period when simply arranged grilled, simmered, and boiled fish and vegetables accompanied by rice were served in wooden lacquered boxes. Bentos first originated to ease hunger, then became more elaborate as Japan became more prosperous. Makunouchi Bento became popular in the Edo Period as they were enjoyed by Kabuki goers in between Maku (sets). One of the most recent and widely popular is the Shokado Bento. Created in the Showa Era by Yuki Teiichi, the founder of Osaka's Kicho for a tea ceremony, it is a bento box divided with 4 quadrants, with each fitted with a single portion ceramic plate. IBM's Thinkpad laptop design was created out of the bento box.
posted by hachikari at 01:18 | Diary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする


Japanese New Years

Food for the gods.

New Years Meal, called Osechi originated in the Meiji era and took form in the Edo period. An elaborate meal was created for the gods, which are believed to be present in each household. Preserved foods were most often used such as dried squid, shrimp, pickled vegetables and candied fruits. The following is the breakdown of some of the most popular items and their reasons for having their place in this special meal.

Black beans: Black is the origin of all colors and symbolizes a new beginning. The wrinkly skin represents fortune. There is a minute difference between the word for fortune Shiawase and Shiwayose, which means wrinkly.

Candied dried sardines: Prayer for a good and abundant harvest.

Plum: Ume plum is the first to bloom at the tail end of winter and is the fore-runner of spring. It symbolizes a new beginning and hope for the upcoming year. Ume, also called Bainiku contains the word, bai, which means to multiply.

Lotus root: The holes in the lotus root represents looking ahead towards a future free of obstacles.

Kuwai potato: The bud of the potato is left intact to symbolize growth and a strong life force.

Yuzu: Because the size of every Yuzu is pretty uniform, it represents stability. The abundant seeds symbolize fertility.

Pureed sweetened Yamato potato: Also called Kinton, it represents prosperity because it contains the word KIN, which means gold.

Ginko nut: The word Gin means silver, which also represents prosperity.

Smoked salmon: The word for salmon is called Masu, which means to prosper.

Daikon: The long and sturdy Daikon root symbolizes stability.

Every possible type of salted roe: Represents fertility and the continuation of the family name and legacy.

Red Snapper: Lives a long life of 40 years. It is believed to be the favorite fish of the god Ebisu.

Prawn: The curviture of the back resembles an old person and thus longevity is represented. It also resembles a snake that sheds its skin every year to grow into a new self.
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posted by hachikari at 23:25 | About Japanese food | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする




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