Stone Lanterns at Sengen Shrine in Shizuoka City!

SN3O4834

Yesterday, having some time on hand, I paid a visit to the Sengen Shrine, the largest Shinto Shrine in Shizuoka Ciy.
I had planned to take some pictures of dragons, but to my disappointment they were too few and unintereting.

SN3O4821

On the other hand I discovered many traditional Japanese stone lanterns.
They are called tourou/灯籠 in Japanese.
They have been there since immemorial times though candles have been replaced by electric devices nside.

SN3O4822

With all the tress, shrubs and hedges around it is easy to create some unexpected pictures!

SN3O4823

These lanterns are either geometrically placed in front of smaller shrines or in rows along the many paths crisscrossing the very wide shrine properties.

SN3O4824

At night you would certainly need the lanterns to find your way up the stairs to that very dark shrine!
Actually shrines are all either deep red or charcoal black, colors which would both make them invisble at night!

SN3O4825

Interestingly enough the small wooden board notice warns to beware of the danger of the lantern! In day time? Unless you want to push it down in spite of its very heavy weight! Or maybe to warn drunk people during the New Year festivities?

SN3O4826

Taken at an angle you can see the lanterns in a staggered manner!

SN3O4827

Another graphic possibility!

SN3O4828

Some of these lanterns are so old they have become a virtual garden!

SN3O4830

They almost seem to march around a bend!

SN3O4831

Some are almost hidden under the trees of the many gardens and small parks.

SN3O4833

As far as I know there are only two types.

SN3O4832

There were only a few of those roundish squat types, probably the older kind.

SN3O4836

Thanks to the lichen patterns you could say they were all different!

SN3O4838

Now, what’s that?

SN3O4841

A bird’s nest, probably that of swallows!
It had been left undisturbed in spite of being presently vacant. After all such nests are considered as lucky in Japan, so cleaners see no need to take them away!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Advertisements

The 10 Best Sushi To Succeed with a Date!

TOP-10-SUSHI-1

I recently met Russell Deasley online who is the mastermind of a superior Homepage/Blog with the name of THE TOP 10…of Anything and Everything!. Not only is his Homepage immensely hilarious and instructive, but he is also kind enough to invite like-minded bloggers’ suggestions and articles for mutual help and fun!
Having lived and written about Japan for more than 30 years I thought this particular article may find a small niche among Russell’s grand collection!

1) Sushi Birthday Cake Millefeuille

Shizuoka Prefecture being the top gastronomic region of Japan I certainly do not need to travel to Tokyo to enjoy top-class sushi! In any case, all these introductions to impress your date would deplete your purse for a long time whereas you will find it cheaper to travel down here and sample them together before visiting one of the most varied Prefectures in Japan!
The above creation was inspired by the French traditional Millefeuille cake accordingly to the chef (incidentally all pictures were taken inside Shizuoka Prefecture!).
The “cake” itself is made of layers of sushi rice, red lean tuna, avocado and crispy Japanese cucumber. The sushi above includes red lean tuna, cherry shrimps, salmon, flying fish roe and crispy Japanese cucumber!
He made it for my neighbors who actually celebrated a birthday and made such a request when they saw me served with the dish below:

TOP-10-SUSHI-2

2) Sushi Love Flower Bouquet

The concept for the lower part is the same as for the Sushi Birthday Cake but the toppings are diferrent: on a bed of katsuo bushi/dry bonito shavings and fresh shiso/perilla leaves three flowers (roses) made of red lean tuna, raw salmon and raw hirame/sole!

SN3O3474

3) Sushi Charlotte

The inside of this other “cake” is still of the same concept with layers of sushi rice, red lean tuna, avocado and crispy Japanese cucumber but the whole is wrapped inside thin slices of raw salmon and red lean tuna! Hard work, I can tell you! The topping is simply extravagant with ikura/salmon roe and finely chiseled crispy Japanese cucumber!

TOP-10-SUSHI-4

4) Sushi Rainbow Roll

No sushi dinner would be complete without at least one sushi roll!
Rainbow rolls are thick rolls wrapped around 7 ingredients representing the colors of the rainbow. Mind you, you will not find many with the blue and violet colors!
Now, this one could be called a super rainbow as it includes no less than 12 ingredients!
Guessing them out before sampling the roll is the essence of their enjoyment!

SN3O1797

5) “Baton” sushi

This is a suggestion for a lady treating her male date!
This style of sushi in Japan is called “Bou Gata Sushi/棒形寿司/Baton Sushi”.
The chef who made it for me in Gotemba City at the foot of Mount Fuji hails from Western Japan where pressed sushi/Oshi Zushi/押し寿司 is very popular. This particular one was made with half a Aji/鯵/Horse mackerel both grilled and marinated pressed over sushi rice. A whole meal in itself!

SN3B0158

6) Vegan Nigiri Sushi

“I can’t go to sushi, it’s all about fish!”
I don’t know how many times I heard this comment.
BUT, any sushi chef worth his salt should agree and be able to prepare sushi for vegan customers!
Shizuoka Prefecture is known all over the country for not having (officially and unofficially) the largest number of varieties of seafood, edible seaweeds but also for producing the largest number of vegetable and fruit varieties!
The possibilities are simply endless!
Nigiri sushi means small rice balled topped with whatever you fancy!
In this case: menegi/thin leek sprouts held by a band of dry seaweed, himesoba/buckwheat sprouts, fresh mitsuba/Japanese honeywort and the same plant lightly boiled in salt water and topped with ume/japanese plum pickle paste!

SN3O2969

7) Gunkan Symphony

“Gunkan/軍艦” means “Mother ship” in Japanese.
A smaller sushi rice ball is wrapped in a band of dry seaweed wider than the height of the rice ball to enclose ingredients otherwise more difficult to prepare atop simple rice balls.
They do make for some beautiful and colorful combinations!
From top to below, right to left: uni/sea urchin, sakura ebi/cherry shrimps (to be eaten fresh only in Shizuoka Prefecture!) with grated fresh ginger, quail egg with seaweed and dry bonito shavings, shirako/whiting (cod sperm sacs) and negitoro/grated tuna and chopped scallions!

SN3O2977

8) Ruby Pearls Sushi

This sushi is truly extravagant!
On, in and around a large gunkan, plenty and more fresh ikura/salmon roe with two small rolls (inverted) of salmon toro (fat belly part)!
A rare sight (as a combination), even in Japan!

SN3O2201

9) Land and Sea Gunkan Sushi

This is for the health-minded sushi lovers!
On gunkan-style sushi lined with finely cut naga imo/Japanese taro a quail egg yolk and a piece of red lean tuna!
Served already seasoned with light soy sauce and ready to pop into your greedy mouth!

SN3O2526

10) Japanese Foie Gras Gunkan Sushi

Ankimo/Frog Fish (Monk Fish) liver is prepared by steaming it in Japanese sake in the shape of a large sausage. It is kept for a while inside the refrigerator to acquire some solidity before being cut into all kinds of shapes. It is called Japanese Foie Gras because of the similar concept and texture of French Foie gras. Like foie gras it is soft, rich and utterly tasty!
The Japanese will usually serve it with momiji oroshi/grated daikon with chili pepper powder, chopped scallions and soy sauce in a plate as it is or as a gunkan in above photo.
Another must in sampling true Japanese gastronomy!

I can guarantee that your friend/lover/spouse will be overblown!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Japanese Recipe: Deep-fried Squid (cuttlefish), Rings and Tentacles

IKA-FRY-1

Here in Japan, and shizuoka in particular we have an abundance of squids (cuttlefish) and we do need to sometimes rack our brains for new recipes.
I understand that such sea food is not all that popular in some countries (in Muslim societies they are prohibited) but they make for tasty and reasonably cheap food.
Here is a (actually three ) simple recipe to enjoy them with a great glass of beer!

INGREDIENTS:

-Deep-fried suid:
Whole cuttlefish for three recipes at the same time
Flour
Egg
Panko/Breadcrumbs
Oil

-Deep-fried squid rings:
same squid
Flour
Water
Salt
Black pepper
Curry powder
Oil

-Deep-fried squid tentacles:
Same squid
Salt
Black pepper
Cornstarch
Oil

RECIPE(S):

IKA-FRY-2

Even if you mean to eat it only cooked choose a squid of the best freshness for best taste!
My favorite is Yari Ika/槍烏賊/Spear Squid
First pull out tentacles and keep them separately.

IKA-FRY-3

Take and throw away entrails That is unless you want to use the squid ink!).
Clean the whole inside and outside a first time with cold clean water.
Peel of whole outside skin. For better explanations and understanding look at these pictures describing the preparation a squid in detail!
Clean again and sponge off any excess water with a clean kitchen paper or towel.

IKA-FRY-4

Cut the body in rings. Leave the tail as it is or cut it in strings. Separate the tentacles or keep them whole.

IKA-FRY-5

Beat some eggs in a bowl.
Apply flour on all the squid cuts.
Dip into beaten eggs.

IKA-FRY-6

Bring oil to 180 degrees Celsius.
Deep-fry until nice orange-brown color.
Eat them hot dipped into a mixture of Worcester Sauce and tomato ketchup (or any suce of your liking!)

IKA-FRY-7

For deep-fried squid rings prepare a batter with water, flour, salt, pepper and curry powder (no need of eggs).
Dip the rings in the batter and deep-fry at 180 degrees Celsius.

IKA-FRY-8

Savor them crisp with a great craft beer!

IKA-FRY-9

As for the tentacles or geso/足 in Japanese, separate them to your liking and clean them in cold water. Sponge off all water.

IKA-FRY-10

Coat them with a mixture of cornstarch, salt and black pepper.

IKA-FRY-11

Deep-fry them in oil at 180 degrees Celsius just long enough to cook them. Soak off excess oil on a piece of kitchen paper or on a grill.

IKA-FRY-12

Serve them as hot as possible as they are or seasoned with chili pepper or/with mayonnaise!
Don’t forget the beer!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City