I've always wanted a momiji (Japanese maple) on my balcony. It's very useful tree as you can enjoy the changing colors of the leaves year round and also use it as a decoration on a traditional Japanese plate, no matter what the color of the leaves are. The leaves on the place is called Ashirai （あしらい）in Japanese. I've been told that Japanese are the only people who put something that is not edible on the plate. But this ashirai is essential to completing a small universe before your eyes.
I've found a small bonsai size momiji online yesterday and decided to give it a try. Bonsai is a Japanese art form of growing trees in a pot. I hope the leaves will stay on until it turns red, and hopefully I will keep it alive till next year when it turns green.
The autumn wagashi has been very well received and we had a lot of fun making wagashi. My class on Tuesday was joined by a group from Singapore who insisted in coloring the autumn leaves green as the leaves do not turn brown in Singapore. They also used unconventional bright colors to make the last piece, which was very interesting.
I always say that we use things in nature as the motif for wagashi, and since nature is never perfect, you don't have to be perfect. We can use our imagination to make our own shapes and that is the beauty of making nerikiri wagashi.
We also received a visit from the writers from Via Magazine. This magazine can be found in the pockets of the airport limousines. My class will be featured in the Winter Issue to be released in January.
Following my 2 weeks of Wagashi teaching, I will be holding another one next week (Nov. 9th) Please sign up if you are interested.
Almost 2 years ago, I tried to get listed on TripAdvisor, but they told me that I needed to display the full address to get listed. I wasn't too comfortable on disclosing my home address at the time, so I just left it there.
Yesterday, I happen to stumble across my Cooking Class listed on TripAdvisor which they automatically collected from the internet. I don't know how long it has been there, but I immediately claimed the business. Since the information was not sufficient with only one photo that TripAdvisor chose (for some reason), the listing was buried deep in the neighboring attractions with no customer reviews.
So, I would like to ask those who have been to my cooking class and liked it to write a review so that at least my ranking will be better than the current one way at the bottom.
Thanks in advance for your support, and a big thank you for those of you who have already wrote a review.
Trip Advisor Website
Couple weeks ago, I found an interesting course conducted by the Japan Foodstyling Culture Association run by Junko Sensei, who has vast knowledge and experience about the Japanese food culture and tradition. She feels responsible to pass on her knowledge to the future so it will not be forgotten. It is true that nowadays, most of the Japanese people are not aware of some of the tradition and history behind our food culture. So I decided to join one of her Entry Classes.
The seminar focused on the history of the tableware and its origins dating back to the Nara Period (8th Century) and how it evolved to the present form. It was interesting to experience the Ozen (individual tables) which were used instead of the conventional tables until recently (20th century).
She holds classes for foreigners to teach Food Styling and Food culture if anyone is eager to learn (website in Japanese only at the moment)
Today's class was attended by a couple from USA. They chose the halloween motifs and did a great job. We decided to put a face on the pumpkin using the pumpkin seeds. Cutting across for the mouth was a great idea by my student.
I was really pleased they enjoyed the class.
The next wagashi class will be held this Friday afternoon.
We had a great day today solving puzzles by joining the Tokyo Metro Underground Mysteries 2017. This has just started on Oct. 1st and will go on till Jan 2018. You just need to get the Mystery Solving Kit from the train station (at 2160 yen. This includes all the materials needed to solve the mystery as well as the 24 hour pass on the Metro for one person. We got ours at Shibuya Station, but the English version seems to be available only at Ueno and Shinjuku Station. (Please check the website). You can get extra one day passes on the vending machine. (300 yen for children and 600 yen for adults)
We couldn't solve all the puzzles today, so we will go back tomorrow. It's a good way to spend the day for families and adults. The puzzle is a mind twister and it's not easy to solve but you can also get hints on the website.
For more details please visit the Official Website
Last week we went to a Japanese Restaurant near Meguro Station called Shokuraku Tatata（食楽太太太）which is a branch of one of the most popular Japanese restaurant in Meguro called Wasosaku Ta （和創作太）
Both places have the same system where you only have one course menu at 4500 yen. You can choose the main course, which was Pork Shabu Shabu, Stewed Fish and Grilled Wagu when we went. The course meal finishes off with a onigiri and a bowl of miso soup.You can choose a la carte from 9 pm.
Booking in advance is recommended as Tatata is just as popular as Ta but has more table seats (Ta has only tables seating two and counter seats which makes it even harder to get a booking on top of its popularity)
So if you want to enjoy seasonal Japanese dishes but not an izakaya and not as hi-end as some Kaiseki restaurants, Tatata is a really good choice.
Adress: 2-15-2 Kamiosaki | B1F Meguro Business Mansion, Shinagawa
Trip Advisor Reviews
Last month I attended a seminar to learn more about styling Japanese food. This seminar has been very informative and inspiring, I will definitely implement it in my future classes.
As you may all noiticed, we Japnease eat not only with our mouth but also with our eyes, that's why the way we present the meal is very important. The concept of food styling is strongly connected with the beautiful scenery in our country that changes every season. We try to replicate the scenery on the table using different table wares and garnishes that are right for the season, This is what makes the Japanese cuisine so unique and different from the other cuisines of the world.
Japanese food presentation is also based on the Yin Yang theory that comes from China. And based on this theory, we categorize everything that surrounds us into Yin(陰）and Yang (陽）. The Japanese cuisine sees odd numbers as Yang and even numbers as Yin . Three, which is an odd number plays an important part in Japanese food presentation. A combination platter is always presented in 3 or 5 kinds. The composition on the plate is a triangle shape (Higher behind and lower in the front). Food is piled in a mountain shape (which looks like a triangle from the side) And, we leave 30% space on the plate, so lots of 3s!
There is much more (including must-follow rules in presenting a plate) to this which was new to me, but I won't go into details, if anyone is interested, just let me know in class.
Summer holiday is over and classes will start next week. Please check my Class Calendarclass calendar for dates. You can also contact me for other dates to book.
We had my friend's 17 year old daughter from Germany staying with us in July, During her stay we took her around Tokyo and on a weekend we drove out of Tokyo to see Mount Fuji. On the way we stopped at the Odawara Castle.
This Castle is probably the closest Japanese Castle from Tokyo, and can easily be accessed by car and train as it is only short distance from the motorway and the train station. It's also a short distance from Hakone.
It was renovated last year and inside the castle is a museum displaying the samurai armors and historical artifacts. I've only been to the castle in my husband's hometown, Himeji. The Himeji Castle is known to be the most beautiful castle in Japan, appearing in a couple of foreign films such as 007 and KILL BILL. Compared to the Himeji Castle, the castle ground are more compact and the castle tower not as elegant, but still it is impressive.
Too bad there are no English subtitles in the video being played inside the museum and not much of the explanation boards are translated in other languages.
For more info on Odawara Castle :
My cooking class will be closed for summer holiday from tomorrow, which is a national holiday in Japan. My children will be home most of the time now as the summer cram school is over and that would make it a bit difficult to do classes in my dining room. Thank you for your understanding.
My wagashi class has been popular during summer, making seasonal motifs such as sun flower, morning glory and gold fish in water. Although the sakura is not a summer flower, I will still do this one as it is my favorite as you can see on my logo.
From September, we will be doing the autumn motifs such as the persimmon, chrysanthemum, and maybe something with autumn colors.
We will be going to Hakodate City in Hokkaido on the bullet train to spend time with my family. It's great that I have recovered from all my illness and strong enough to travel. I look forward to doing more classes in September. If you would like to book a class just let me know.
Have a great summer holiday! ( I will still be updating this blog during summer!)
I'm Miyuki and I teach Japanese Home cooking at my home in Tokyo.