Home-made Wasabi Zuke with Asami Itoh of Marufuku Tea Factory in Shizuoka Ciy!

The other day my good friend, Miss Asami Ittoh invited me in the company of 7 more guests to make wasabi zuke according to traditional recipe at her company, Marufuku Tea factory Co. Ltd in Shizuoka City!
Wasabi zuke literally means “pickled wasabi” and it is a typical agricultural product of Shizuoka Prefecture, and particularly Shizuoka City, the birthplace of wasabi in Japan!
Wasabi Zuke might be common in Shizuoka but I can assure you it is a rare and expensive delicacy away from our region!

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Maruku Tea factory in Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City!

For that particular session all products were either from Shizuoka or made in Japan!
The fresh wasabi roots and stems were cultivated in the mountains along the Abe River in Shizuoka City, the sake kasu/sake white lees came from directly from a sake brewery in Shizuoka Prefecture. The salt, brown cane sugar and the mirin/sweet sake were all made in Japan!

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The wasabi and the sake kasu/sake white lees!

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All the ingredients for 8 people!

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Fresh and clean wasabi roots.
They were of very good quality but cheaper (by Shizuoka standards) due to their inferior shape!

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The fresh wasabi stems!

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Unprocessed sea salt and top class sugar cane sugar!

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The mirin/sweet sake!

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All the ingredients with the sake kasu (softened) included.

Each member was allotted the following for the recipe:

Fresh wasabi root: 375 g
Wasai stems and small leaves: 375 g
Sake kasu/Sake white lees: 500 g
Salt: 37 g
Sugar:: 100=120 g
Mirin/sweet sake: optional

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Making sure that everybody understood the proportions!

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Weighing up everyone’s share!

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First chopping the wasabi stems!

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My share of wasabi roots!

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We were soon all in tears chopping away the wasabi roots!

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First chopping!

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Second chopping!

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Third chopping!
The roots have to hand-chopped finely to obtain maximum piquancy!
A machine would not do a good job, it is all slow food!

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Mixing the chopped stems and roots, adding the salt, mix well and lest rest for 20 minutes!

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A well-earned rest!

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Pressing out by hand as much of the excess water as possible!

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Softened sake kasu/sake white lees!
If you use unprocessed sake kasu, you will have to soften it by kneading it or user a beater!

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Adding the sake kasu!

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Adding the sugar!

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Mixing the whole by hand until you obtain a smooth paste!
Taste and add mirin/sweet sake if necessary!
I didn’t!

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Filling small boxes to take back home!
We had 1.2 kg of it each!
Note that is greener than the comparatively cheap variety you will find in shops downtown!
Simply extravagant!
I dare not imagine the price even in Shizuoka!

To be eaten over freshly steamed white rice, with baked poultry, sausages and even hot on toasts!

Marufuku Tea Factory (Owner: Ms. Asami Itoh/伊藤麻実さん)
420-0006 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu, Cho, 25
Tel.: 054-271-2011
Fax: 054-271-2010
Mobile: 090-3250-4188

CHA-O (Director, Ms. Asami Itoh/伊藤麻実さん)
420-0006 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu Cho, 94
Tel: 054-253-8421
Fax: 054-253-8413
HOMEPAGE

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, 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, Pie
rre.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: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, 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!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-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

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Heda, a secret cove off the beaten tracks in Izu Peninsula

Heda, a harbor tucked away inside an almost closed cove is the epitome of what Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture has best to offer to any tourist, be he/she Japanese or from distant shores!
-A resort off the beaten tracks.
-A spa renowned for its thermal hot springs.
-A major fishing harbor part of Numazu City, one of the main providers of seafood to Tokyo.
-Arguably one of the best spots to admire Mount Fuji in the whole of Japan!
-A gastronomic venture with its deep-sea fish and marine life including the largest crab in the world, Takaashigani/高足蟹/Japanese Spider Crab!
-History: It was visited in 1854 by the Russian frigate Diana of the Imperial Russian Navy, the flagship of the Russian explorer Yevfimy Putyatin when it was damaged in a tsunami, following the powerful Ansei-Tōkai earthquake of 23 December 1854. The Diana sank while sailing from Shimoda to Heda for repairs!

Board in front of the tiny but extremely useful Heda Tourist Bureau.

Before I can extol on the reasons to visit the village let me explain the easy access:
Go down at Mishima JR Station (Shinkasen Bullet Train Stop) and proceed to the neighboring Izu Hakone Line Station (right of the Mishima JR Station South Exit). Board the local train/Izu Hakone Line to Shyuzenji (30 minutes, 510 yen). Take a bus from Shuzenji Station, terminal No 6 to Heda (54 minutes, 1,000 yen).
The bus will reach Heda just beside the Tourist Bureau you ought to visit to get as much information and as many pamphlets as possible from the very kind staff!

First of all, Heda is a paradise for photographers, amateur and professional alike, who can take innumerable shots of Mount Fuji from various view spots all year round as the sacred mountain is changing its robes daily!

In Autumn, one may sight Mount Fuji as a dark and mysterious figure shrouded in mists looming beyond the sea.

Sometimes it does look as surging out blue expanses!

At dusk it will be blurred out of the sky by magnificent sunsets irreverently crossed by returning squid fishing boats!

Once you have managed to take your eyes off Mount Fuji you will realize that the cove itself is also worth clicking away all day long!
In the middle of November the surrounding mountains will explode into autumnal colors and the first snow will don a cap to the faraway Mount Fuji!
But before you linger on the inside beach let me take to the tiny Shipyard and Suruga Bay Deep-Sea Museum past the old lighthouse!

It is an old and almost decrepit building, the more when you realize that the various monuments left and donated by the Soviet Government date back to 1947!
But the entrance fee is a mere 200 yen as the Museum is managed by the City!

The largest crab in the world, Takaashigani, almost 3 meters from leg tip to leg tip!

The Museum is divided into two distinct parts, the Shipyard & Suruga Bay Deep-sea Hall on the lower level and the upper level dedicated to Yevfimy Putyatin and his frigate Diana.

A real Sakegashira, a variety of deep-sea mahi mahi, even bigger than the Japanese Spider Crabs!

Most of the displays were donated by local fishermen or well-wishers. All names of fishermen, places and dates of catch are clearly indicated!

Tasmanian Giant Crab, the crab with the largest body (legs not included) in the world!

Crabs out of the deeps…

Spiders of the deeps…?

Hands off me, guys! (I know that I’m tasty!)

A ghost of the deeps…?

Sharks of the deeps…

They call that critter from the deeps a fan globefish!

Seesaw sharks!

Shark eggs!

For the marine history buffs!

Walking from the Museum towards the inlet you will go past the small quaint Shinto Shrine Maorokuchi Jinjya/諸口神社!

Keep walking under the pines and you will find the sacred shrine portal/torii/鳥居/ overlooking the inlet. Needless to say that the shrine is there to protect the fishermen and their families!

In summer that small pine forest is a welcome haven from the hot sun!

Away from the summer bathers, fishing buffs enjoy the day on the small pier in front of the shrine portal!

A last picture of Mount Fuji before walking back along the beach!

The shrine portal as it looks from inside the cove!

The beach is a great promenade out of season (I mean the bathing season!)!

Calm blue and beautiful waters away from the rough seas!

A monster from the deeps…? Utsubo/ウツボ/Moray eel!

A Nessie monster for the kids!

One can walk all the way to the center of Heda past fishing boats!

A squid-fishing boat! Red squids are a delicacy abundant in the Suruga Bay waters. The boats go at sea at night only.

Time to go back to our hot springs hotel!

HEDA TOURISM ASSOCIATION & BUREAU
410-3402 Shizuoka Prefecture, Numazu City, Heda, 289-12
Tel.: 0558-94-3115
HOMEPAGE (English)

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, 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, Pie
rre.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: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, 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!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-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

Shizuoka Craft Beer: Aoi Brewing-Marika Ale

Decidedly you have to keep tour ears and eyes open as Aoi Brewing in Shizuoka City puts out an average of two new craft beers every month.
And as most of them are limited you also have to hurry!

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Marika Ale! The difference this time is that hops were used both whole and in pellets!

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As Aoi Beer Stand in Miyuki-Cho, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City was full we drank outside encouraging passersby to join us!

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Served on tap
Barley, Maris Otter malt, Dark Crystal Malt, Black malt, SIMCO hop (whole), Nugget hop (pellets), live yeast.
Unfiltered
Alcohol/ABV: 5.5%
IBU: 19
Production: 450 liters
Bubbles: very fine bubbles. Shortish head. White color
Clarity: slightly smoky (normal considering live yeast and being unfiltered), very clean
Color: amber
Aroma: sweetish and fruity. Bread, biscuits, oranges
Taste: dry, very fruity and complex attack.
Oranges, biscuits, honey, faint persimmon.
Lingers long enough for true tasting before departing on a still constant dry but very fruity note with more honey.
The fruitiness faithfully continues all the way through.
Very, although shows practically no acidity.

Overall: an exceptional and intriguing amber ale!
Although very fruity, it stays dry but without any acidity.
A craft beer you drink slowly. No need of food to interfere with it although good pairings could be achieved with pork, sausages and cheese.
For ale lovers of all genders and ages!

Beer Junkie MOTEL

420-0035 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Shichiken Cho, 11-5, IMAKKOKO Bldg. 1F
Tel.: 054-253-6558
Opening hours: 17:00~25:00, 17:00~26:00 (Saturday), 15:00~22:00 (Sunday)
Closed on Tuesday
Parties welcome
FACEBOOK

BEER GARAGE

Aoi Brewing Co.,Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Miyagasaki Chyo, 30
Tel.: 054-294-8911
Opening hours: 17:00~23:00 (Monday~Friday), 15:00~23:00 (Saturday), 15:00~22:00 (Sunday)
Closed on Tuesdays
COD, Cash On Delivery only for all orders.
MAP
FACEBOOK

AOI BEER STAND
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Miyuki Cho, 4-6, Den bill, 1F
Tel.: 054-260-5203
Opening hours: 11:00~23:00
Credit cards OK
FACEBOOK

Some Aoi beers are also available at Aoi Brewery’s restaurant in Shizuoka City, namely

GROWSTOCK

420-0852 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Koyamachi Naka Building, 5F
Tel.: 054-293-9331
Opening hours: 17:00~25:00 (Mon.~Thurs.), 17:00~27:00 (Fri & Sat.), 17:00~24:00 (Sun.)
Parties welcome (reserve!)
Credit Cards OK
FACEBOOK

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, 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, Pie
rre.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: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, 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!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-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

Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Oomuraya Brewery-Nagai Ki No Hashi Junmai Ginjo (conducted at la Sommeliere in Shizuoka City)

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I don’t mind repeating it all the time but I prefer conducting sake tastings in the right environment but not many places are propitious for that exercise or willing to help.
But La Sommeliere in Miyuki Cho, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City is certainly becoming a habit as not only I can conduct my tasting in the best conditions possible but also exchange views at the same time!

SOM-OOMURAYA-2

This time we tasted a classic by Oomuraya Brewery in Shimada City: Nagai Ki No Hashi Junmai Ginjo!
“Nagai Ki No Hashi” stands for Horai Bridge in Shimada City which holds the Guinness Book World Record of the longest pedestrian wooden bridge!

Rice milled down to 55%
Yeast: Shizuoka NEW-5
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Dryness: + 2.0
Acidity: 1.3
Amino acids: 1.1
Bottled in December 2015

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Clarity: very clear
Color: faint golden hue
Aroma: assertive, dry, fresh and fruity
Lime, pears, green apples, banana, gin
Body: fluid
Taste: dry and fruity attack backed up with solid junmai petillant.
Complex. Green apples, dry custard.
Stays dry all the way through.
Lingers on palate only for a while before departing on strong notes of dry coffee beans, dry dark chocolate and dry almonds.

Overall: Both elegant and straightforward sake.
Can be enjoyed on its own at room temperature or as “nurukan” up to 45 degrees, or with a meal, especially as an aperitif as its dryness will disappear quickly enough and enhances the following glass of wine.
Actually drinks like a very dry Alsace wine!
Suggested pairings: sauerkraut, cold meats, feta cheese.

LA SOMMELIERE

420-0857 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Miyuki Cho, 7-5, Aiseido Bldg, 1F
Tel. & Fax: 054-266-5085
Opening hours: 11:00~22:00, 12:00~18:00 on Sundays & National Holidays
FACEBOOK (Japanese)
Entirely non-smoking!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, 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, Pie
rre.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: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, 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!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-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

Dorayaki No Kawauchiya in Shizuoka City: The Best Dorayaki in Shizuoka Prefecture!

Dorayaki (どら焼き) is a very popular Japanese cake enjoyed by all genders and ages consisting of two pancake-like layers sandwiching sweet red beans paste/ankou (鮟)!

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Now if you are in Aoi ku, Shizuoka City walk in the general direction of Sengen Shrine, about 20 minutes walk from Shizuoka JR Station north exit and you will discover an enormous red torii/sacred gate at the entrance of Sengen Street. Go past it and you will discover the best dorayaki shop in the whole Prefecture soon on your right hand side!

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You can’t miss it as there is always a queue of customers in front of it, especially at dorayaki “baking” time!

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Dorayaki no Kawauchiya (どら焼きの河内屋)!
One of the very rare individual shops left in Japan!

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I arrived just before the 4:30 dorayaki baking time!
Such times are always announced due to their enormous popularity!

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Plenty of famous visitors’ signatures!

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The Lady of The House is always present to sell other confectioneries!

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The dorayaki are limited to 5 per person and may not be ordered in advance, although other confectioneries may!

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The Lady of the House is always busy packaging the purchases!

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Banana castella!

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Kuri no ko yokan/”sweet red beans jelly with chestnuts”!

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Neri yokan/煉羊かん/”red red beans jelly” and shio yokan/塩羊かん/”salted red beans jelly”!

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Shoga Satou Zuke/しょうが砂糖漬/”candied ginger”!

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Dangou maki/だんごう巻/”soft rice cake wrapped in red beans paste and pancake roll”

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The hot plate which can produce 15 pancakes simultaneously, 3 more than a usual hot plate!

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The bear-like Man of The House who is actually a very jovial gentleman constantly joking with his customers!

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The chef makes his own batter and red beans paste from scratch! Absolutely authentic!

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And he is so deft and quick!
It is always a good idea to come early as the first batch is usually a trial that will be given away!

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The very fluffy and light pancakes almost ready!

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Bemused customers!
On week ends in winter the queue may easily stretch to 30 customers!

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The red bean paste is immediately sandwiched between two pancakes!

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Ready to be packed!

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The Lady of the House wraps them individually with an antique hand-operated contraption and then put them inside a paper bag itself contained inside a vinyl bag!

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Ready to be taken home unless you cannot resist from eating them on the way!

Dorayaki no KAWAUCHIYA/どら焼きの河内屋

420-0867 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Baban Cho, 12-1, Chuo Bldg. 1F
Tel.: 054–271-4363
Opening hours: 10:00~20:00
Closed on Sunday Afternoon and Monday

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, 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, Pie
rre.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: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, 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!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-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

Everyday Japanese Home Gastronomy on Stamps 1st Series!

JAPAN-DIETARY-1

During a recent visit to the Post Office I notice this mini sheet of Commemorative stamps featuring 10 basic letter postage 82 yen stamps!

JAPAN-DIETARY-2

“Traditional Dietary Culture of Japan Series No 1!
A slightly misleading title, but that is not the first one!
The Japanese staple, steamed rice and miso soup!

JAPAN-DIETARY-3

The full Japanese dinner!
Mind you people do not eat that much fr dinner every day, but this is a good indication of homey food!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, 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, Pie
rre.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: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, 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!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-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

Unequalled Japanese Hygiene

From magic toilets to wet finger napkins/”wet tissue”

SHUZENJI-FEET

Hot spring foot bath in Shuzenji, Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka Prefecture!

Japan is considered by many a traveler, tourist and businessperson as one of the mst beutiful countries in the world. But the Land of the Rising Sun has another in her pocket other than the beauty of her landscapes, her universally recognized gastronomy or her financial opportunities: a daily life safety unbeknownst in our lands, a comfort bordering on obsession, but above all an hygiene above any norms.

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Baths in hot spring hotel in Shuzenji, Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka Prefecture

Japan has been blessed since immemorial times with an abundance of natural water rushing down her mountains all year round and with a generally  abrupt geographical profile allowing for a natural and fast evacuation of debris, and soiled waters. This active volcano-dotted archipelago  is replete with hot springs which have been exploited for more than 1,500 years and contributed to the establishment of daily baths as never witnessed in any other countries.
The Japanese do not wash themsleves inside bathtubs. They clean their body first before immersing themselves in clean and ideally warm water. This attention to the cleanliness of their bodies before plunging it in a veritable liquid massage is the more remarkable when you consider the icy cold winter and tropical summers prevalent in most Japan.
In fact the love of the Japanese for their hot springs (“onsen”) lies not only in the need to warm up their bodies in summer but also to treat their skins and even clean their internal organs in summer.

SHOOL-TOILETS-CLEANING

Junior high school students scrubbing their own toilets!

When it comes to natural needs the inhabitants of this crowded archipelago far away from the rest of Asia have always understood the vital importance of a strict daily hygiene be it that of individuals or groups. Already by the end of the 19th Century, when Japan “reopened her doors” to the rest of the World, Occidental visitors were surprised, if not shocked, by this attention brought to the care of the body that they often mistakenly interpreted as a lack of  decency, the more for it that the same Japanese showed a great sexual freedom and a marked veneration for all kinds of fertilty symbols in their daily life and festivals (“matsuri”). After all the famous/notorious Japanese erotic  woodblock prints (“shunga”) had been possible only with ethics vastly different from those considered as normal in Europe and and North America. Homosexuality and bisexuality were condemned as they were in the “Westernized World”. Accordingly the Japanese are not bashful at all when it comes to frankly talk about natural needs even when Westerners attempted to impose their customs and interdicts in this country which never accepted colonization in spite of its preparedness to other standards than their own.

Japanese magic toilets/a recent revolution

Undoubtedly those famous Japanese toilets are very much talked about although few outside Japan know how they have become part and parcel of daily life in this country.
Until 30 years ago they existed only in two distinct forms.”Japanese toilets”, that is the oldest model that consists of  simple toilets above which you have to crouch (somewhat like inverted Turkish toilets). They still can be found in many public toilets. After WWII flush toilets and urinals started to appear. But it was in 2004 that Japanese toilets became magical thanks to the added quasi computers hidden inside their structure enabling the control of a bidet system that architects and builders adopted to the point of equipping half of the Japanese abodes within a single year. In Japan bidets are commonly called “washlets”, a commercial name owned by the TOTO Company, a company based in Kitakyushu (Kyushu Island).
Apart of a far better hygiene and easier maintenance and cleaning the main reason for the popularity of this type of toilets is that many Japanese suffered from piles/hemorrhoids due to the physical effort required to stay in a crouching position above the traditional toilets. Actually Japan holds the world record number of clinics solely specializing in proctology and colorectal surgery, a extremely lucrative medical field in spite of the recent change in toilets.
Although most public toilets, school toilets and those found in temples and stations are traditionally equipped, the Japanese prefer to sit down on a toilet at home, especially old citizens for whom the crouching position can become particularly difficult and uncomfortable.

TOILETES-JAPONAISES

But it is when you disembark at a Japanese airpor that you will discover incredible state of of the art facilities due to the fierce competition between the two biggest companies in the field, namely TOTO (50% share of the production) and INAX (25%), which make most of their profits with hotels all over the World, especially in the Middle East. The long rolling carpets carrying you from planes to different arrival gates are regularly interrupted to allow tired travelers to relieve themselves after a long voyage not only inside vast and spotless facilities but also equipped with the very latest amenities. Although divided according to gender, the only difference is that the toilets for gents are also equipped with state of the art urinals (no button to press, which avoids any dicey contacts!). The toilets on which you sit are fit with two types of washlets whose temperature you can regulate, one to wash your backside, the other for ladies’ intimate parts Even if you do not understand Japanese the small illustrations will leave you in no doubt! And thay are even equipped qith hot air drying systems for people who do not want to use paper at all!

TABLETTE-CONTROLE

Of course all modern hotels are equipped thus, but another difference with Western countries is that yu will find toilets almost anywhere in Japan, either public inside railway stations, parks, beaches, sport centers and areas and leisure spots and supermarkets where they will always be state of the art but which are immensely cleaner, but they will sport the latest models inside department stores, museums, theaters, movies, concert halls as well as inside town halls, police stations and other public buildings! An embarrassment of choices! And furthermore they are spotless clean at any hour of the day and night!
The Japanese went as far as devising mobile telephone app called”Check a Toilet”. this app will enable you to find the nearest public toilets, wherever you are!

A word for our ladies: “otohime”

OTOHIME

“Otohime”!

Many Japanese ladies feel embarrassed by the notion of someone being able to hear the noise raised by their visits to the toilets to the point of developing a kind of allergy called “timid bladder”! To hide all the noises many women will let water run all the way through thus causing an incredible waste of water. As education campaigns could not help eradicate such a practice a system was devised during the 1980’s.Once activated it reproduces the sound of water being flushed without having to have to let the water. One of of the brands proposing such a device is Otohime (音姫), which literally means “The Princess of Sound”, thus named after the Japanese Goddess Otohime, daughter of the God Ryujin (although the Chinese characters for Otohime are different (乙姫) and mean “the Second Princess”. This device is installed in most new toilets for ladies, while many old public ladies toilets are also equipped with it. The Otohime can either be an independent device fixed on the inside wall of the toilets or as a component of of the washlet. One can activate the device by pressing a button or with a hand passing in front of a sensor. Once activated the device will emit a similar sound to that of a real water flush. Thus more than 20 liters of water can be saved every day with such an apparatus. Nonetheless many a ladyy still thinks that the sound of the Otohime is artificial and prefer a constant water flushing than using the recorded tape. As it seems that such a device is not required or requested in gents toilets it will very seldom be found in public amenites

Apart of the toilets you will also discover that the hygiene standards in Japanese hotels is almost unheard of in Western establishments. In any case you will not find a star ranking system or else which allows tight-fisted hotel owners back home to do without advantages considered as the norm in any Japanese hotel. Any decent standard hotel provides shampoos, eau de toilette, razors, combs, brushes and others changed every day with your sheets, and this in hotels costing less than 50 euros a night!

Of course the same applies to restaurants and cafés in the whole country.
Actually it has turned into a cutthroat competition as to which establishment will offer the best amenities. Even away from Tokyo, I know many a restaurant which besides state of the art bilingual washrooms will offer you mouthwash, disposable toothpicks and ear cotton swabs without mentioning a whole palette of paper napkins!

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Talking of paper it simply becomes outlandish: single layer, double layer, triple layer, soft, exra soft, white, colored, with motifs all kinds, I just can’t mention them all! Stores generally have a single department dedicated to their sole display!

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Incidentally many hotels complain that their toilet paper completely disappears after the visit by tourists from other Asian countries!

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Finger napkins/”wet tissue”.

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Anti germ finger wet tissue napkins.SN3O0272

Finger napkins/wet tissue and others for men only!

Finger napkins/”wet tissue” are simply delirious!
In fact #finger napkins/wet tissue” doesn’t mean whrn one is confronted  by ts choice, be it for ladies or gents (or children and senior citizens!)!
Wet napkins, anti-germ or perfumed, not only for hands and fingers (and nails) but also various parts of body, napkins of different size, napkins for sportsmen or professionals, talcum napkins, anti germ napkins for toilet seats, tables, chairs and others, and others, and others…
In fact many people who buy them just to build up a collection to show to their friends as manyof them are conceived for a publicity and commemorative purpose!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, 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, Pie
rre.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: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, 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!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-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