Cooking, Kingyo Nebuta, Yawata Uma


I attended the three classes in the title of this post during the JET Culture Day last Friday.

In the cooking class, I got the feel for making Nikujaga (Japanese Beef and Potatoes).  Niku means meat and jaga means potato.  It’s a sweet and salty dish that turns out a lot like stew with about half the amount of broth.

Nikujaga, in process.

Nikujaga, in process.

After the nikujaga I made onigiri, a favorite snack of mine. I occasionally buy onigiri from convenience stores when I need a protein fix on the run.  It’s mostly made up of rice that has been shaped into a triangle or ball.  The center is filled with fish (usually salmon), salmon roe, or pickled plum, and the outside has a nori (dried seaweed) covering.  It’s simple to make and even easier to eat.  The secret to delicious onigiri is wetting your hands and patting a generous amount of salt into your palms before shaping the rice into a triangle or ball.

Kingyo Nebuta are small fish lanterns used for a variety of different festivals.  In this class, we painted and constructed a little fish of our own.  Here’s the before and after of my kingyo nebuta:



final product

Final product

My last class, Yawata Uma, was another craft, but this time it was decorating wooden horses with paper and paint.  This kind of horse was traditionally a commonplace toy, usually for boys.  Now they can be bought in stores to be given to family and friends as a token of good health and happiness.

Yawata=an area in Aomori-ken, uma=horse

Yawata=an area in Aomori-ken, uma=horse


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