When I lived in Tokyo I went to a few classes to make Japanese sweets so it wasn’t my absolute first attempt at wagashi but it was my first solo attempt! All I can say is, I further understand why this is a specialized profession.
The pink color is a result of mixing red cabbage and lemon juice, it was really interesting to experiment and that is one aspect I would like to try again. Inside, I made a mochi ball, or dango, which is surrounded by white bean paste and then topped with the coloured jellies using agar agar.
So similar to the hydrangea・ajisai・紫陽花 I showed earlier, this is a pretty classic seasonal sweet that might be found in sweet shops when the hydrangeas begin to bloom.
I might need a few more tutorials before my next attempt, though I did learn a lot and have a fun doing it. I guess the bar has been set pretty high by all my usual sweet shops!
I’ve had this plant since moving to Fukuoka and it took me a while but I finally think I understand its light needs. It seems so happy right now (most of the plants are loving the sun and warmth in the apartment now) but it recently surprised me with a little shoot, stretching straight up. Seems like a good omen.
One of the popular early spring foods in Japan is takenoko, or bamboo shoots. So many of the produce stands have them now. I’ve made them a couple times, simmered with soy sauce and mirin. This adorable little rendering is from Rabbit Moon・兎月 and was just as fun to eat as it was to gaze at lovingly.
I found this spring hanabira mochi・春花びら餅 at the supermarket. It seems to be the spring twist on the New Years classic hanabira mochi. It’s a simple mochi wrapped around pink colored white bean paste. To be honest, I think the supermarket made it up but thats ok! It was cute and delicious. The flower shop across the street had the sweetest little roses. The whole city seems to be blooming with flowers right now so I couldn’t resist bringing some inside.
It is officially full bloom, or man kai・満開 for sakura season. I celebrated with the prettiest sakura and red bean namagashi・生菓子 from Kichi Zoh. Soon the petals will start falling and it will be beautiful as well but I’m hoping for a couple more days.
Almost everywhere I look when I walk around near my apartment is bright forsythia. I brought some into my apartment to brighten things up a bit as it’s been a little rainy and cloudy. A colourful little spring namagashi was the perfect match (from Rabbit Moon・兎月).
Another beautiful, unparalleled namagashi from Kichi Zoh・吉蔵. This one is made to mimic the cooling spring water as a sakura petal falls on it, changing from winter to spring. I think when people think of Japanese wagashi and its beauty, meaning and tenderness, this is what they are thinking of. I love it. I love it so much.
It’s almost cherry blossom season, many peoples favourite time in Japan. This will be my first sakura season in Fukuoka, and I’m so excited. It reminds me of my first year in Tokyo, running around all over the city trying to see all the beautiful places at once.
This mini hanami dango ・花見団子 is from Kichi Zoh・吉蔵 and is sakura, mugwort, and red bean flavoured. I can’t wait for more of this seasons sweets and flowers.
Return of the snack calendar! I went a little all out this afternoon; 2 drinks and 2 sweets. Of course matcha and the Match sweet, strawberry daifuku. I also had some green muscat grapes and made some 桜茶・sakura tea! It’s just hot water poured over salt-pickled sakura, or cherry, blossoms. It has a nice umami saltiness that balances well with the sweet foods and bitter matcha. A perfect break!
Unquestionably, sakura blossoms are the most popular blossom in Japan but I have a soft spot for ume, or plum as well. The colours range from snow white to near-red or fuchsia. There are some very pretty places in walking distance to see them, but I couldn’t resist bringing them inside too.
They look very sweet behind my little white bean sakura mochi ・左近の桜 from Rabbit Moon・兎月.