Furoshiki: The Japanese Art of Wrapping

Have you heard of ‘furoshiki‘? Furoshiki are a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth traditionally used to transport clothes, gifts or other goods. In my personal opinion, the cloth were too formal to use for young people about a decade ago. However, I have been loving using furoshiki for ten years. I was looking for an eco bag at that time to avoid using too many plastic bags then I happend to find a stylish furoshiki website by Kakefuda. Formal furoshiki are made with silk and often used for special occasions but they made ones with cotton which are suitable for everyday use, and are washable. Also they turned Kisshou Monyou patterns (Japanese traditional patterns for good fortune and ward off bad luck.) into modern and casual styles. I visited their shop in Kyoto and fell in love with their artwork. Fusoshiki have become familiar to young people for the last ten years as they have realized the simple square cloth are eco-friendly. I have several sizes of furoshiki and use them for work, shopping and travel. Today I would love to show you about how we can use them in everyday life. Before I begin, this is the Kakefuda website. Actually this is a famous shop since Mick Jagger visited their shop and bought their furoshiki!

The Kakefuda Website (English): http://www.moxiico.com/

Photo: http://www.moxiico.com/

The Kakefuda Website (Japanese): http://www.kakefuda.co.jp/index.html



Photo: http://www.kakefuda.co.jp/index.html

Let’s take a look at the brief information about furoshiki. As you can see in this video, there are several shops that sells furoshiki especially in Kyoto.



The Basic Knot

The knot is the key element in wrapping with furoshiki. This video shows how to tie/untie a knot. Do not worry, it is very easy. You can learn about it by practicing a few times. It is very simple to tie a knot yet very strong, and yet very easy to untie it as well. Isn’t it amazing?



Basic Furoshiki Wrapping

This video explains how to wrap; two books, two bottles, a chocolate box and how to make a bag.

Speaking of a bag, this is my favorite wrapping. What I like about this tote bag is that I can carry many stuff in it so I use it as my sub bag. It is very useful for work or shopping. The instruction is only in Japanese but I hope you can tell easily with pictures.


Photo: http://www.kakefuda.co.jp/wrapping/wrapping_05.html#wrapping_05

So, furoshiki can be a great material for wrapping the presents too. Here is a wrapping for a bottle. With this method, you don’t need to bring a paper bag anymore. By the way, I really love this kind of plum pattern. It is so lovely.
Some people use smaller furoshiki to wrap bento (lunch) boxes. I used to bring my bento box to school or work every day with this wrapping.

With this wrapping, I use bigger furoshiki to wrap my clothing and underwear and pack them in my suitcase when I travel. It is a very easy way to organize things I carry. And I always bring a few extra furoshiki so that I can wrap new clothing that I buy during the trip. This is a photo of my suitcase when I traveled last month. Two red ones in the left and a white one with leaves pattern, a light blue one and a green frogs one in the right are my furoshiki.

Photo: Discovery Japan

If you want to know more about wrapping with furoshiki, you can check tutorial videos on YouTube, or you can check with books as well. There are several books on furoshiki written in English. I gave this book to my dear friend before and he really loved it. Many wonderful and inspiring wrappings are shown in the book. You can take a look when you click a “Look inside” button in the following amazon website.

Wrapping with Fabric: Your Complete Guide to Furoshiki-The Japanese Art of Wrapping 

Photo: Discovery Japan


How to Make Your Own Furoshiki

I hope you find the article on furoshiki interesting so far. Perhaps you want to try using one now. Then you may wonder where you can get one. If you have a plan on visiting Japan in the near future, you are very lucky: go visit a furoshiki shop and find your favorite one. You can get ones at shops like LOFT or Tokyu Hands as well. Even if you do not have a plan to travel Japan for now, maybe you can find a shop that sells ones in your city/country. But probably it can be hard for most of you here to find ones if you do not live in Japan. But do not worry. Furoshiki is basically almost a square cloth. So why don’t you make one by yourself? You would love your own furoshiki if you choose your favorite pattern and take your time to make it. This website might help you.

Omiyage Blogs: Meke Your Own Furoshiki 


Photo: http://www.omiyageblogs.ca/2010/09/make-your-own-furoshiki.html

And when you use or make furoshiki, you should prepare a proper size for the object you want to wrap. The following website shows you recommended sizes of furoshiki for things like bottle(s), bags or boxes. My favorite tote bag shown above is 105cm long.

eco wrapping with furoshiki the website


Photo: http://eco-wrapping.com/howto

Bring a furoshiki in your bag when you go out and it will help you in many ways!

Source: http://www.moxiico.com/, http://www.kakefuda.co.jp/index.html, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOm88Q-CCLQ, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GTRdG73aG0, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bn6zdyCAwJshttp://www.kakefuda.co.jp/wrapping/wrapping_05.html#wrapping_05https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YrDNH7nq-I, https://www.youtube.com/watch v=z7qBKTleWTchttps://www.amazon.com/Wrapping-Fabric-Complete-Furoshiki-Japanese/dp/4805313145/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=, http://www.omiyageblogs.ca/2010/09/make-your-own-furoshiki.html, http://eco-wrapping.com/howto

Recommended fireworks in Tokyo on August 20th and 21st!


(Photo source: http://vokka.jp/5644)


Every year, there are many beautiful fireworks light up the sky during the summer time in Japan!

Japan is known to have the most beautiful fireworks in the world.

There are the many firework events in 2016 that are scheduled for the Tokyo area but I have selected the ones on next week, August 20th and 21st, especially! If you are in Tokyo, don’t miss the great fireworks while you are in Tokyo!

1. Jingu-Gaien Fireworks Festival


(Phpto source: http://www.jinguhanabi.com/about/ )

Date: August 20th, Saturday

Place: 4 different Parks in Gaien
Jingu Kyujo Ballpark / Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium / Chichibu-no-miya Rugby Field / Soft-Ball Park
Access: Sendagaya Station or Shinanomachi Station on JR Sobu Line;
Gaienmae Station, Aoyama 1-chome Station, Omotesando Station on Subways;
and Kokuritsu Kyogijyo Station on Toei Oedo Line.

19:30~ 12,000 displays * Tickets are required to enter each venue. Idol group AKB48 will be on stage as well.

Details >> http://www.jinguhanabi.com/ (Japanese)

2.The 38th Setagaya-ku Tamagawa Fireworks Festival


(Photo source: http://japan-attractions.jp/ja/fireworks/tamagawa-fireworks-display-2015/ )

Date: August 20th, Saturday

Place : Futakotamagawa River Area, Playground

Access : Futakotamagawa Station, Tokyu-Denentoshi Line/Tokyu Oimachi Line

19:00 ~ 6,000 displays

Details >> http://www.tamagawa-hanabi.com/ (Japanese)

3.The 34th Chofu-Shi Fireworks Festival


(Photo source: http://matome.naver.jp/odai/2140176431062427201/2140177243769507003 )

Date: August 21nd, Sunday

Place : Tamagawa River Area

Access : Chofu Station, Keio-Tamagawa Station, Keio Line

18:30 ~ 8,000 displays

Details >> http://hanabi.csa.gr.jp/index.html (Japanese)

Enjoy watching summer fireworks!!



Rice Paddy Arts in Japan

Rice paddy art (Tanbo Art) is gigantic art pictures created on rice fields where people plant various types of rice to make different colors. When and how did they start? People living in Inakadate, Aomori prefecture started it first in 1993 to revitalize their village. The art was made with 3 different types (colors) of rice at first, however, they improved the skill and now they use 7 different colors of rice so that they can create more delicate and accurate pictures on the paddies. Other villages create tanbo arts in recent years to follow the big success of Inakadate, also many people have realized that this can be very good food education for children and schools and families join the projects to enjoy planting rice by hand. Therefore they have become a popular seasonal tradition in about 100 rice field villages/cities in Japan now. Rice paddy arts are at their best now as rice plants get greener in summertime.



Inakadate Villege, Aomori prefecture

They created the pictures from famous movies “Gone with the Wind” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” last year and 340,000 tourists visited the village.





Their Tanbo Art has been created under two themes this year. One is from a NHK historical drama “Sanada
Maru” at First Tanbo Art, and the other one from the movie “Shin Godzilla” (Godzilla Resurgence in the English title) at Second Tanbo Art. 1,300 people planted rice on May 29th.

Photo: Facebook: Tanbo Art Inakadate Village


Photo: Facebook: Tanbo Art Inakadate Village


You can see how the pictures look like with Live Cameras on their website. Under the each camera, the calendar shows the art each day which is very interesting to see how the colors gradually change. The website is only in Japanese but click the camera icons on the link below.

Inakadate Village Tanbo Art Website: http://www.inakadate-tanboart.net/


Admission fee is about 300 yen for each Tanbo Art and they are open for visitors until October 10th this year.
If you are interested, click for the details!
Aomori Sightseeing Guide Website: http://www.en-aomori.com/20160530_tanboart.html


Yonezawa, Yamagata prefecture

You will see giant pictures of Uesugi Kagekatsu and Yukimura Sanada, two famous historical samurais also from NHK drama “Sanada Maru”.

Photo: Facebook Yonezawa Tanbo Art

Gyoda, Saitama prefecture

The city won the Guinness World Record for “The Largest Rice Field Mosaic” in 2015. The project took 5
years and 813 people including rice-planting volunteers and families to achieve the project. Take a look at
how large it is!

This year, 1,500 people have made a picture of Dragon Quest in the celebration of the 30th anniversary.

Photo: https://www.city.gyoda.lg.jp/15/05/10/280719.html


Tsuyama, Okayama prefecture

This is not this year but 3 years ago back in 2013, a city in Okayama created a powerful picture of a very
famous manga Naruto. Naruto fans got very excited with their art.★

Photo: Twitter


Oyama, Tochigi prefecture

The city chose manga characters by the late Mr. Osamu Tezuka, the great Japanese manga artist for the art this year. 900 people planted rice on May 22nd and the pictures are at their best on July 16th. Many families are visiting to see Astro Boy, Black Jack and Kimba the White Lion (Jungle Emperor Leo).


Photo: https://www.city.oyama.tochigi.jp/kanko/event/oyamatanboart.html


Photo: https://www.city.oyama.tochigi.jp/kanko/event/oyamatanboart.html


Photo: https://www.city.oyama.tochigi.jp/kanko/event/oyamatanboart.html


How about visiting one of those rice paddy art when you have a chance in the future?

Top Image: Twitter
Source: http://www.inakadate-tanboart.net/, http://www.en-aomori.com/20160530_tanboart.html, https://www.facebook.com/inakadatevillage/, https://www.facebook.com/%E7%B1%B3%E6%B2%A2-%E7%94%B0%E3%82%93%E3%81%BC%E3%82%A2%E3%83%BC%E3%83%88-145074769002997/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hsct7QoB32I, https://www.city.gyoda.lg.jp/15/05/10/280719.html, https://www.city.oyama.tochigi.jp/kanko/event/oyamatanboart.html,

Super Easy Recipe: Chickpea Tofu

What comes to your mind when you think of Japanese food? We assume you would probably answer sushi or
ramen. Of course, they are very famous Japanese food. But we should not forget about soybeans (soya
beans). It has been grown in Japanese since the Yayoi period (300 B.C. to A.D. 300) so we can say
Japanese food cannot do without the beans, also known as “the meat of the field”. Soybeans are used to
make many things such as soy sauce, soymilk, miso, edamame, moyashi bean sprouts, natto (fermented
soybeans), kinako (roasted soybean flour) and TOFU! Nowadays Tofu is easily found at supermarkets in
many countries. However, Japanese people living abroad are concerned that the price is pretty expensive than ones sold in Japan. It would be much better to get daily food for inexpensive price. So some Japanese expats make tofu by themselves. We will introduce the recipe of tofu today. It is very easy, yummy and
recommended for anybody who likes tofu or who wants to give it a try!

Tofu Made with Chickpeas!

Proper ways to make Japanese tofu with soybeans can be very complicated and it takes time. So we make it
with chickpeas instead. With chickpeas, the tofu can be much easier yet so yummy just like ones made with
soybeans. Cheakpea is also known as the name Garbanzo beans.


All you need for the recipe is…
1 Cup of Chickpeas
2 Cups of Water
That’s it!

1. Wash chickpeas well and soak in water overnight. The water does not have to be two cups this time.
Please soak them with adequate amount of water.

2. Drain and rinse the beans in the next morning. Add the beans and two cups of water in a mixer and blend
until smooth.

Before blending.



After blending.


3. Strain the cream with a cotton cloth. And pour the milk into a pot.

Squeeze it very well!

The pulp and the milk


4. Heat and stir the milk until it gets thick. It is thin at first but gets thicker as it gets warmer. Make sure to keep stirring otherwise it burns easily.

IMG_6064Stir the milk on low medium heat.


The milk is getting thicker.

5. Pour the milk into a container and leave it for about 30 minutes to an hour. It is both ok to leave it in a room
temperature or a fridge.


6. Ta-da! Eat it as you prefer. The simplest way to enjoy tofu is hiyayakko (cold tofu); to put some bonito flakes and spring onion on top then pour soy sauce (or ponzu, citrus-based sauce). Tofu can be used for many recipes like miso soup, salad or stir-fry.


Let’s not waste the pulp (we call it okara in Japanese). Okara Mochi is a chewy snack and much healthier
than ordinary snacks.

Okara Mochi

1. Add okara, starch and a bit of salt in a bowl. Add some water, mix them together and knead until firm.


2. Mold the mixture into bite-sized oblong shapes.

3. Heat oil in a frying pan and toast the patties until golden brown. When both sides become golden brown,
add some soy sauce and brown sugar into the pan to coat the patties.

4. Wrap the mochi with the cut nori (Japanese seaweed) to finish.


Hmmm yum yum!

Tofu is great for sweets too. We will try some recipes next time!

Photos: Discovery Japan

TOP 5 weird but popular cafe restaurants you may want to visit in Tokyo

TOP 5 weird but popular cafe restaurants you may want to visit in Tokyo 


tokyo-robot-restaurant(Photo from http://www.geckosadventures.com/tales/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/tokyo-robot-restaurant.jpg )

Would you like to visit cafe restaurant which is so unique, weird but popular while your stay in Tokyo? Then here is the top 5 I would recommend!


1. Robot restaurant (Website: http://www.shinjuku-robot.com/

This is the most energetic, crazy place you can ever experience. Laser lights, wild music, flashy dancers, eccentric robots with 10 billion yen huge robot walking around, located in the red district Shinjuku Kabukicho. It’s entertainment restaurant to watch this high-energetic show so you must pay for the entrance fee of 8000 yen. However it is worth the money. You won’t see anything like this anywhere in the world!  See the detail from the other blogs about this Robot restaurant:



Address:1-7-1 Kabukicho Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku Tokyo,Japan

TEL :03-3200-5500

Phone hours: 9:00am – 10:00pm

Business hours 6:00pm – 11:00pm

You need to book online to make reservation. There are 4 time slots to see the show (and eat) 16:00 / 17:55 / 19:50 / 21:45 – depending on a day. Must arrive 30 minutes prior to the show time.

For those who are visiting, here is the Google map.

2. The Lockup restaurant (Website: http://www.lock-up.jp/)

This restaurant is horror-themed dining restaurant as you can see from their website. If you fantasize to be handcuffed and thrown into jail, this place is for you. Costumed staff dressed as cop will lock you up! The food and drinks are also horror-themed so you will get cocktail drink in blood bag, beakers and colorful test tubes. Food would looks scary but it’s tasty. Enjoy eat and drink and be scary at the haunted house!  Currently there are 13 locations of the Lockup restaurant in Japan and there are 4 in Tokyo (Shibuya / Shinjuku / Ikebukuro / Ueno)

All the Lockup restaurant shop info is here: http://www.lock-up.jp/shop/ (only in Japanese) I will put Shibuya’s store info in below. Also, see the details from the other blogs: https://blog.gaijinpot.com/5-top-theme-restaurants-in-tokyo/


(Photo: https://blog.gaijinpot.com/5-top-theme-restaurants-in-tokyo/ )


(Photo: http://www.weirdjapan.org/places/lockup/)

Address:Grand Tokyo Bldg B2F, 33-1 Udagawacho Shibuya-ku Tokyo 150-0042 Japan

TEL :03-5728-7731


Open after 17:00 –


3. Ninja Akasaka (Website: http://www.ninjaakasaka.com/)  

Located in Akasaka Tokyu Plaza on 1st floor, Ninja will guide you to private booth, walking through mysterious corridor. This place is well known to serve good food so if you want to enjoy the atmosphere and food, this place is for you. If each person spend more than 3000 yen, talented Ninja will perform at your table. If you are interested in visiting Ninja Akasaka, see the other blogs for more information.



(Photo from http://japan-magazine.jnto.go.jp/en/1401_restaurant.html)


(Ninja cooking up a storm. Photo by Sebastian Ritscher )

Address: Akasaka Tokyu Plaza 1F 2-14-3 Nagatacho, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo

(3 minutes walk from Akasakamitsuke station)

Tel :03-5157-3936


Open after 17:00 –


4. Maid Cafe Maidreamin Website: http://maidreamin.com/en )

Of course, it maybe nothing new but you can’t miss “kawaii” maid cafe if you have never been to. There are many maid cafes in Japan with different taste such as school, swim or little sister and many can be found in Akiharabara Tokyo area, but this Maidreamin could be the most typical one as a maid cafe. You might need to pay 500 yen per hour per person plus cost of drinks and food you eat but it’s somewhere you can visit with your family and small kids. It even has kid’s menu. Other food also look cute like this.
(Source: from Maidreamin food menu http://maidreamin.com/menu#)
There are many Maidreamin stores but maybe this Akihabara store could be easiest one to go to.
Maidreamin Electric Town Exit:
For more details, read other blog: https://www.remoju.com/en-us/spots/detail/20052
Address: Takarada Chuodori Building 3F, 1-14-1 Soto Kanda Chuo-ku Tokyo (30 seconds from JR Akihabara station, Denkigai guchi (Electric Town Exit))
Tel. 03-3526-2661
If you want to try other Maid cafes, here are some other lists in Akihabara area.


Cure Maid Café (the first maid café): Gee Store 6F, Soto-Kanda 3-15-5, Chiyoda-ku

Schatz Kiste: Hasegawa Building 1F, Soto-Kanda 6-5-11, Chiyoda-ku

@home Café: Moe Maid Heaven: Mitsuwa Building 4F-7F, Soto-Kanda 1-11-4, Chiyoda-ku

Cos-cha (back to school): Soto-Kanda 3-7-12-2F, Chiyoda-ku

Nagomi (little sister café): Zenitani 2F, Soto-Kanda 1-8-4, Chiyoda-ku

Popopure (English friendly): 2F, Soto-Kanda 1-8-10, Chiyoda-ku

5. Kawaii Monster Cafe (Website: http://kawaiimonster.jp/)

Newly opened last year in Harajuku area where is known for Japan’s mecca for subculture and youth fashion, the place is filled with colors! Food is also filled with colors!


  (Photo: http://tokyofashion.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Kawaii-Monster-Cafe-Harajuku-007.jpg )

Look at these colorful food!


(Photo: http://www.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600×1000/public/kawaiicafe0815.jpg?itok=Htt2HnBt )

You might know there are several Alice in Wonderland themed restaurants in Tokyo but this Kawaii Monster Cafe is also managed by same company Diamond Dining. If you want to enjoy colorful atmosphere with colorful food, this place is a must visit. The place will charge 500 yen for 90 minutes per person as entrance fee but I am sure if you have kids, it would be a place to visit!

Read other blog for more details: http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/tokyo-kawaii-monster-cafe

Address:YM square building 4F,4-31-10,Jingumae,Shibuya,Tokyo



That’s all for now! 

Enjoy visiting around weird cafe restaurants in Tokyo! 

Welcome to the Soy Sauce Wonderland!

Soy sauce (Shoyu) is an essential condiment in Japan. Sushi, sahimi, tofu, ramen… you cannot enjoy these food without soy sauce. As Japanese food is getting popular in other countries, it is well-known to many people around the world. Probably you can get it easily at grocery stores in your town as well. But there are more unique soy sauce available in Japan. Let’s take a look together.

Awa Shoyu

Photo: http://www9.nhk.or.jp/gatten/recipes/20150318/10.html

Awa shoyu is a new style of soy sauce and you can make it at home. “Awa” means bubble, mousse or foam so it is translated as “soy sauce foam” or “soy sauce foam espuma”. It was a trend in Japan a while ago as one TV show featured about it. The foam style was first created by professional chefs thinking it won’t make customers’ clothes dirty when they wear luxurious dresses or kimonos. The texture is amazingly soft as you can imagine. And what’s great is it makes the original taste of ingredients better. And it is low-salt so the dishes are more healthy for you as the foam stays longer in your mouth than usual soy sauce. Here is the recipe.


Soy Sauce: 10g
Water: 40g
Powdered Gelatin: 1g (dissolve gelatin with 20 ml of water at 80 degrees Celsius)



Add ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together for about 2-3 minutes.
(In case the foam is not stable, cool the bowl with iced water while whisking.)
It will be much easier with a Cappuccino mixer like this. You can get one at 100 yen shops in Japan.


Photo: http://vegetokalogtokyo.blogspot.com.au/2010/05/blog-post_25.html

If whisking for a few minutes is tedious for you, a shop in Kyoto has a wonderful solution. They sell powdered foam soy sauce: Awa Shoyu (1,000 yen for 5 packs and other kinds are available as well). Mixing the powder with water, stirring them, chilled in the fridge and ready to eat.

Photo: http://www.awa.co.jp/?mode=f10

Kyo no Maiko-san Honpo Official Website: http://www.awa.co.jp/ (only in Japanese)

Powder Soy Sauce

Photo: http://www.shimogamosaryo.co.jp/shop/user_data/kona_shoyu.php

A long-established Japanese traditional kaiseki (cuisine) style restaurant “Shimogamo Saryo” (established in 1856), located near Shimogamo Shrine where it is designated as an official UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, created powdered soy sauce in 2013. It was made with the special 3-year brewed soy sauce from soy sauce brewery Kamebishi-ya in Kagawa prefecture (established in 1753) and was blended with yuzu citrus and ichimi (ground dried red chili peppers) by the head chef. They started to serve their dishes with the soy sauce and it got very popular among customers. It was sold for a limited time in the summer of 2014 and they have started to sell since 2015. Also at Le Salon du Chocolat Paris 2014, a Japanese chocolatier was awarded 5 Tablets of “Club des Croqueurs de Chocolat” (C.C.C.) for his chocolate with the powder soy sauce.

They also have the gift set and travel set. Powder soy sauce is lighter than liquid ones and easy to carry to anywhere, so it can be a good idea for obento or souvenirs to your friends and family.


Photo: http://www.shimogamosaryo.co.jp/shop/user_data/kona_shoyu.php


Photo: http://www.shimogamosaryo.co.jp/shop/user_data/kona_shoyu.php


The best thing about the powder soy sauce is adding subtle Japanese flavor to dishes without wetting the food so that you can enjoy the texture better. Can be enjoyed with eggs, rice, grilled fish, sushi, sashimi, tempura and ice cream!


Photo: http://www.shimogamosaryo.co.jp/shop/user_data/kona_shoyu.php

Shimogamo Saryo Official Website:http://www.shimogamosaryo.co.jp/english/

Salt Soy Sauce


Photo: http://ryukyushoyuya.co.jp/?pid=42284395

This is soy sauce from a souther island, Okinawa prefecture. The base is light soy sauce made with rock salt from Okinawa, has rich umami (pleasant savory taste) flavor. It goes well with rice, grilled fish, chilled tofu and grilled vegetables.And you can make simple tasty soup too; mix the sauce with 5 to 7 times the amount of hot water. Doesn’t it sound yummy?

Ryukyu Shoyu Shop Official Website: http://ryukyushoyuya.co.jp/ (only in Japanese)


Honey Soy Sauce Butter


Photo: http://www.tamariya.com/SHOP/hony.html

This one can be your new favorite when you have bread. This is honey butter with soy sauce from Fukui prefecture. It tastes like caramel at the first bite, sweet and gentle soy sauce at the second bite. Also it goes well with steamed potato, simmered pumpkin and sautéed mushroom. They sell various soy sauces at the shop in Fukui, such as soy sauce chocolate sauce, soy sauce for ice cream, soy sauce for grilled eggplant etc.!

Yamakawa Jozo Brewery Official Website: http://www.tamariya-shouyu.com/ (only in Japanese)


Gourmet Soy Sauce by Joël Robuchon


Photo: https://shop.yamasa.com/products/detail.php?product_id=126

Joël Robuchon is a French chef and restaurateur who owns restaurants in 10 countries worldwide. A top selling soy sauce manufacturer Yamasa Corporation did a collaboration with him. He decided to join the project with the company as he was impressed by their passion to crate new soy sauce like nobody did before, and also because he has been a big fan of soy sauce for a long time. He offered three ideas for the special shoyu. The first is to make low salt soy sauce because he was concerned about the saltiness of soy sauce. The second is to add fruit juice and wine so that it goes well with French dishes. Fruits and wine, of course, adds rich flavor and also they has great antioxidative effect. Especially Mr. Robuchon has chosen cherry because his shortness of breath got better thanks to the fruit before. And the third is to use only natural ingredients, no artificial additives. The base of the gourmet soy sauce is Yamasa’s top quality patented soy sauce made for luxurious Japanese cuisine and sushi restaurants. He has added his special recipe to it; apple, pomegranate, cherry, red wine and so on. So they have created the healthiest and tastiest soy sauce ever. The less salt soy sauce has a unique and premium flavor of fruit sweetness and red wine and can be enjoyed with various food including Japanese, Asian and Western.

Soy Sauce by Joël Robuchon and Yamasa Official Website: http://www.yamasa.com/robuchon/


Pink Soy Sauce


Photo: http://www.hanakifujin.com/?pid=95923511

We even have pink soy sauce in Japan. This is Flower Lady Rose. Why is it pink? Because this is the color of beets. A company in Tottori prefecture has created soy sauce with the local vegetable beets. The company also manufacture pink foods such as curry and mayonnaise as the female president think the color pink makes people happy. Probably this is why the product somehow looks like a cosmetic. This can be a lovely present for your mother, wife, girlfriend, female friends and anyone who likes pink.

Brilliant Associates Official Website: http://www.ba-tottori.com/ (only in Japanese)

You may find more unique soy sauce at department stores and speciality shops in Japan. Enjoy your meal with various flavor of soy sauce!

Top Image: http://www9.nhk.or.jp/gatten/recipes/20140611/1.html
Source: http://www9.nhk.or.jp/gatten/recipes/20140611/1.htmlhttp://vegetokalogtokyo.blogspot.com.au/2010/05/blogpost_25.htmlhttp://www.awa.co.jp/http://www.shimogamosaryo.co.jp/english/http://ryukyushoyuya.co.jp/?pid=42284395http://www.tamariya.com/SHOP/hony.htmlhttp://www.tamariyashouyu.com/http://www.yamasa.com/robuchon/, http://www.ba-tottori.com/

10 Japanese Dagashi Snacks Foreign People Fell In Love With

Dagashi refers to cheap candies and snack foods that can generally be bought for less than 100 yen. Many of us Japanese people loved to buy dagashi with friends after school when we were kids (good old days…). They are not luxury sweets but always bring us back to our childhood. And of course even after we grew up, we still love to eat them sometimes. One Japanese TV show thought how people abroad think of Japanese dagashi and they actually brought some to do the survey in Italy and Los Angels, the States. Each has a different result and we found it interesting. Take a look at the results.


No. 5: Ume Jam (approx. 10 yen) sold from 1947 since Ume-no-Hana Hompo


Photo: Ume Jam

The unique jam was popular among the adults as it can be healthy for breakfast. Ume Plum Jam has been made by only one old man at a small factory in a downtown area of Tokyo almost for 70 years. Mr. Takabayashi started to make the jam to feed his family after the Wold War II when he was only 16 years old. He raised the price from 5 yen to 10 yen in 1960s and the price has been the same ever since. It tastes salty and sour, not too sweet. You can just eat it or you can also enjoy with Milk Senbei (rice crackers). They are not the exact same snacks but this video shows how you can eat.


No. 4: Morroco Yogul (appox. 20 yen) sold since 1961 from Sanyo Seika


Photo: Morocco Fruits Yogul

Morrocco Yogul is yogurt-flavored paste in a small cup. The Italian people think it tastes like Ricotta cheese so it may go well with bread. It is very popular in Japan as well and the company has started to sell jumbo-sized of the products. Adults who wished to have lots of the dagashi when they were kids buy the jumbo ones to make their childhood dreams come true. You can see the size difference between the ordinary ones and jumbo-sized ones on the link below.



No. 3: Cut Yotchan (approx. 30 yen) sold since 1977 from Yotchan Food Co. Ltd.


Photo: Yotchan Food Co. Ltd.

This is squid-like vinegared snack. The Italian people liked this since it tastes like Balsamic vinegar. One restaurant waiter even convinced it goes well with Italian Chardonnay wine! Can be sold at dagashi shops, convenience stores and supermarkets in Japan. Sake lovers’ favorite dagashi!


No. 2: Kabayaki-san Taro (appox. 12 yen) sold since 1982 from Kado


Photo: Kabayaki-san Taro

Kabayaki-san Taro (Mr. Kabayaki Taro) tastes like Unagi Kabayaki (Japanese barbecued eel). To our surprise, eels has been eaten in Italy since the Ancient Rome. It is very chewy and you can enjoy the flavor long. Can be sold at convenience stores and supermarkets in Japan.


No. 1: Sauce Senbei (approx. 400 yen for 180 pieces) sold since 1967 from Isuzu Seika


Photo: Isuzu Seika

The sauce flavored rice crackers are the most popular dagashi among the Italian people. They especially loved the Japanese chuno sauce (a kind of vegetable sweet sauce) used for the senbei. They say okonomiyaki restaurants are popular there. Sauce Senbei is made by a small company established in 1959 in Saitama prefecture. It is usually sold at dagashi shops but is getting hard to get these days and enthusiastic fans buy online now.

Los Angels, U.S.A.

No. 5: Fugashi (approx. 20 yen for 1 piece) since 1949 from Kagiya Seika


Photo: Fugashi

Fugashi is a long-seller snack made of dried wheat gluten coated with brown sugar. The American people liked its crispy texture and gentle taste of brown sugar.


No. 4: Baby Star Ramen (approx. 30 yen) sold since 1959 from Oyatsu Company


Photo: Oyatsu Company

Baby Star Crispy Noodle Snack in an English name. If you love ramen, you definitely will love this. It is a flavored fried noodle snack that you can eat with hands. So tasty and addictive! It is so popular among L.A. people as there are many Japanese ramen restaurants there now. Like Umaibo, you can enjoy the snack in many ways.

The Different Types of Baby Star Ramen & Unique Ways to Enjoy It


No. 3: Umaibo Mentaiko (spicy caviar) (approx. 10 yen) sold ince 1979 from Yaokin


Photo: Umaibo

Umaibo or “delicious bars (sticks)” is a puffed corn snack available in many flavors such as tonkatsu sauce, salami, cheese, teriyaki burger, corn soup, vegetable salad, takoyaki, chicken curry, prawn and mayo, grilled beef tongue, pizza, natto (fermented beans), sugar rusk, yakitori, chocolate, premium mentaiko, premium Japanese-style beef steak and premium mozzarella and Camembert cheese (19 flavors as of June, 2016). Mentaiko (spicy caviar) is very popular everywhere. Some Japanese dagashi freaks do not just eat them, they even cook with Umaibo as secrets ingredients.


No. 2: Miyako Kombu (approx. 30 yen) since 1912 from Nakano Bussan


Photo: Miyako Kombu

Also known as “Nakano Kombu”, Miyako Kombu is made of edible kombu kelp seasoned with vinegar
and sweeteners. You may think kelp is strange for snack but dashi and umami from kombu is very
familiar flavors for the Japanese people. What’s interesting is it was not popular at all among the Italian people at the survey; it was too venegary and they did not like the salty flavor. But here in L.A., kombu kelp is well-known as a healthy food and is getting popular. In Japan as well, some Japanese young women like this dagashi as a low calorie food with benefits to beauty.


No. 1: Kinako-bo (approx. 30 yen for 3 sticks) sold since 1987 from Suzunoya


Photo: Suzunoya

This is stick-shaped sugar candy coated with kinako, roasted soybean flour. It tastes subtle sweet and ranked as No. 1 in L.A. because of the natural and healthy ingredients. Some Japanese fans enjoy the candy frozen in the freezer or microwave it for about 20 seconds.

Are you interested in any of the above? There are more and more dagashi in Japan. If you want to try some of those, check an Asian or Japanese grocery store near you or shop online. Of course you can buy at dagashi shops in Japan. You can even go to Dagashi Bar in big cities like Tokyo or Osaka!

Check Out Dagashi Bar for All You Can Eat Japanese Snacks!


Source: http://www.tbs.co.jp/nippon-deban/backnumber/20141111.html, http://www.tbs.co.jp/nippon-deban/backnumber/20150203.html

The Amaging Power of Green Tea

Green tea is not only healthy or delicious but effective for your skin because it contains much vitamins and polyphenol like catechin that has anti-bacterial qualities. It also removes reactive oxygen species (ROS) which can be a cause for aging, and is effective for reducing UV irradiation damage. Some people say it is good to balance hormones, to lose weight and to prevent pimples. So it can work so well when you use as your skin care. Sounds curious to you? Ok, let’s find out how you can use green tea for your skin!


Green Tea Facial Pack

Green tea facial pack can be a good choice when you have pimples or other skin problems. Of course you can buy ones at drug stores but it is very easy to make one at home. Here is the recipe; Mix flour and powdered green tea in the ratio of 2 to 1 and add some water. Or mix 1g of powdered green tea and 50g of flour and add some water. That’s it! Put it on your skin after washing face and leave it for about 5 to 10 minutes and rinse with water before it gets dry. Green tea has strong anti-irritant qualities so it is great both for preventing and curing atopic dermatitis and pimples. Also, chlorophyll, tannin and vitamin C (four times as much as lemons) in green tea increases skin cell turnover so it is effective for craters on the skin caused by pimples. Both green tea and flour are safe enough to eat, however, some people may have allergy to flour so please do not forget to do a patch test to the inside of your upper arm before trying it on your face.


Washing Face with Green Tea

Some Japanese beauty freaks wash their faces with green tea to keep their skin glowing. There are two methods and both of them are very simple. The first method is to add a pinch of powdered green tea to your facial foam. You can buy powdered green tea at tea shops or you can grind it with a mixer grinder. Green tea removes dirt from your pores. Please remember to rinse well with water and make sure there is no tea powder left on your face.


washingfaceThe second method is to wash your face with diluted green tea. The first infusion of green tea may be too strong for your skin so it is better to use the second or third infusion of it. When the tea is ready, pour it in a washing bowl. Add twice or three times amount of (lukewarm) water, and wet your face with the water. That’s it. You do not need to rinse it off. If your skin is sensitive, you can rinse it off with water or it is good to just put on a cotton pad and pat it to your face.


Green Tea Facial Moisturizer

Homemade skin care is easier than you imagine. It is safer to your skin and more economical and eco-friendly as well. Have you ever felt guilty when you had just a cup of tea and threw away the used tea leaves? Then this recipe is good for you.

Green tea (not a teabag but tea leaves*)
*If your skin is sensitive, it is better to use used green tea leaves.

1. Infuse green tea and cool it down.
2. Pour the tea into a container filtering with a sheet of kitchen paper.
3. Add a small amount of glycerin and shake it well.


Use the moisturizer after washing your face. It has whitening effect and also glycerin make your skin softer. For a better result, use facial cream or facial oil after that.

Notes: Please make sure to boil the container to sterilize it before pouring the ingredients into it. Glass containers are recommended. Also this is 100% additive-free, so please keep it in a fridge and finish using it within 3 days.


Other Uses

Shizuoka is one of the largest green tea producing prefectures in Japan. People living there gargle with green tea when they come home from outside. Catechin has strong anti-virus effect and is effective for sore throat and preventing cold or flu. Even after you have a cold, gargling is also good for you because it helps sterilize your throat so you get well sooner with green tea. It works well for bad breath as well. Weak tea is ok when you gargle. Cool down the tea as hot water extracts more catechin from tea than water. Also, if you love to take a hot bath or a foot bath, put a few used tea bags into a tub and you can feel relaxed with the subtle tea scent.

If you are a green tea lover and have it a lot every day, you should keep used green tea leaves to make tsukudani, preserved food boiled in soy sauce. This was known as one of grandma’s wisdom for generations. It is not just a way of reducing garbage but it goes perfectly with steamed rice!

Used green tea leaves: approx. 40g
Sugar: 15g
Soy sauce: 1 – 2 table spoon (15 – 30mL)
Mirin (rice cooking wine): 50mL
Shichimi togarashi (assorted chili pepper): pinch
Roasted sesame: pinch

1. Stir-fry used green tea leaves with sugar, soy sauce and mirin (not using oil).
2. Add shichimi pepper and sesame when it gets dry in a pan.


Some people use green tea as a cleaning tool, deodorizer or fertilizer. It is just more than a beverage. We will tell you more ways to use it if you are interested. Make the full use of green tea with your ideas!

Sources: http://binotetujin.com/ryokutyabiyou-1841.html, http://food-drink.pintoru.com/green-tea/methodgargle/