Saturday, 29 July 2017

Japanese Potpourri

With my current interest (obsession?) in Japanese food, I decided to find out some more things about Japan.  Here are some things I found interesting:

Rice Paddy Art is not an ancient tradition.  It started in a village as a way of raising revenue (via donations) and then caught on.  The patterns are made by planting different kinds and colours of rice.  Ingenious!  The village does different designs each year.  So far they have resisted the temptation of planting paid ads.

Square Watermelons are a favourite with the Japanese.  Often used as decoration.  They are very expensive – about 3 times the price of round ones.  The watermelon is grown in a box and that is why it is that shape.

Capsule Hotels are another Japanese invention dating back to the late 70's.  You can now find capsule hotels (or pod hotels) in other countries.  These capsules are cheap to rent but have no bathroom or cooking facilities. You use communal facilities and have access to lockers for storage.  I would feel too hemmed in – but they certainly are an ingenious concept. 

Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese dinner.  There are multiple courses – an appetiser, sashimi, a simmered dish, a grilled dish, steamed dish.  There may also be other courses.  Ingredients are fresh and seasonal and very prettily presented.

Wisteria Tunnel – boy I would love to walk through this – although I suspect there would be lots of other people – so the experience wouldn't be quite as magical as this picture suggests.  This is part of the Kawachi Fuji Gardens in Kitakyushu – about 5 hours from Tokyo by fast train.  To see it in flower you have to go in late April or early May.

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