A Sweet Mushroom

My heart skipped a beat when I saw this at Kichi-Zoh today. For one reason, it’s an adorable forest mushroom with white mean paste and whole adzuki beans. Two, this was actually the first wagashi I tried in Fukuoka last year, before I started writing in here. I’m coming up on a year in Fukuoka, which is unbelievable, but not more so than realizing you measure the passing of time in seasonal sweets.

7/11 Snack

On Monday I had gone out completely forgetting the 2 places closest to me were closed. Not ready to admit defeat, I found a green grape and an nin dōfu・杏仁豆腐. It’s a Chinese sweet almond pudding that I love all iterations of. Sad that I missed out but at least there’s 7/11 to fall back on in case of emergency.

Hiking in Munakata・宗像市: Mt. Yugawa・湯川山 (471m) Edition

The first sunny weekend in August! Here we go, off to the north where I read about a hike that ends at a beach. Here is the first mini mountain range I will climb, its only about 300m high. On the way up I pass through temples and chestnuts.

I was a little worried it would be too hot but it was much, much cooler once I got up a bit. Unsurprisingly, the path was very beautiful and not too bad after the rain we’ve had.

There’s walking sticks, a tiny river and some awfully cute views from the top of Mt. Yugawa・湯川山! I was hoping for a few more views but maybe I need to explore around more.

On the way down I passed though some farms and abandoned cafes. No one reading this will be shocked, but I also found an amazing sweets shop on the way to the shrine at the peak of the cape. The picture taken from the top of the stairs shows the mountain I just came down from.

This is the funniest structure I have ever seen in Japan. Well, I’m happy someone built it so I could see the ocean. I was almost 6 hours into the hike, mid-day at 35 degrees and I was a little tired and evidently too tired to take a single photo of the ocean from up there!

But don’t worry, here’s the snack I got: chilled strawberry warabi mochi. It was the best thing I have ever eaten in my life (it was the first cool thing I had consumed in many hours).

Finally! I made it to the beach. For the first time this summer I kicked off my shoes and went swimming in the ocean. Hard to beat. When I finally got out and made my way over to the bus I met these funny veggies sun-bathing on the street. I might come back next weekend, it was a lovely, easy hike with the perfect ending (and snacks).

And of course, here is my course on Yamap!

August Snack of the Month: Kakigori・かき氷

With all the rainy weather, I hadn’t really been in the mood for shaved ice・kakigori・かき氷 but the sun is out, its hot and perfect weather for one of my favourite summer sweets. This shop, Roponpon・ろっぽんぽん, is just beside my place and I often get their tai-mochi snacks after hiking.

This kakigoari had the fluffiest shaved ice and was topped with condensed milk, kinako flour, and almonds with red bean paste and little mochi balls hiding at the bottom. Even though this wasn’t the perfect summer, and even though summer is coming to an end, it was so lovely to sit outside on my lunch break and eat this.

Summer Mochi

The sun is out, its hot and beautiful and time for sasa mochi・笹餅. Sasa is the word for the bamboo leaf that the light, chewy mochi filled with red bean paste is wrapped in. This mochi is more moist and less dense than usual and kind, and they are best served nice and cool.

A Nice Sturdy Snack

This is an ikinari dango・いきなり団子 from Rabbit Moon・兎月, which is fairly popular around this area but from what I understand is much more famous in Kumamoto. It’s a quite sizable steamed dumpling filled with red bean and sweet potato. Some are so large they can double as lunch. In the winter I often toast them for a minute but it’s still summer and hot and humid here so I passed on that this time.