Cooking, Kingyo Nebuta, Yawata Uma

[Julie]

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:

before

Before

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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