Tag Archives: Shizuoka Prefecture

Bento designed by Gentil Restaurant, Shizuoka, at the 2nd Mt. Fuji Network Forum!

The 2nd Mt. Fuji Network Forum was being held at Grandship on the 2nd and 3rd of March 2012 for an international seminar on children with congenital heart diseases.
As Ms. Keiko Kubota, Chef at Restaurant Gentil, had devised a bento for the participants using exclusively products of Shizuoka Prefecture I deemed it of great interest!

Granship really looks a ship!

The official event board organised by Shizuoka Children’s Hospital!

A room had been specially designated to promote some Shizuoka Products!

Extravagant strawberries from Fujieda City!

Shizuoka Matcha Chocolates by Gentil!

Azuki wagashi cakes by Shimmizuya in Shimada City!

Yummy!

Mr. Shiratori, the 16th generation of the oldest wasabi growing family in Japan, in Utogi, Shizuoka City!

Famous green tea from Kawane!

Crafts of Shizuoka including geta!

Handcrafted book covers!

Yamabuki Nadeshiko Organic Health Tea by Osada Tea Factory in Mori Machi!

Real flowers including cherry blossoms!

The doctors havin a break and waiting for their bentos coming all the way from Yui!

The water served at the seminar came from the Tenkei Source in Ryuugagandou, Hinasa Machi, Hamamatsu City!

The bento box/lunch box!

Even the chopsticks came from Shizuoka, namely in Tenryu, Hamamatsu City!

Pamphlets introducing the contents in Japanese and English had been readied!

The picture was hand-drawn by Ms. Keiko Kubota!

Alright, what did we have?
All Shizuoka products, even the rice and salt!

Cherry shrimps/Sakura ebi steamed rice!

Hanpen, oden, carrot, konyaku, rape flowers and hijiki seaweed!

Tempura: Sweet potato, horse mackerel, green pepper and Sakura ebi/sakura shrimps!

Kamaboko/steamed fish paste, tamagoyaki/Japanese omelet, spinach hitashi and tomato!

A very healthy lunch for doctors!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, 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,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), 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: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Japanese Gastronomy: Himono/干物-Dried Fish

How many people outside Shizuoka Prefecture know that half (yes, half!) of all dried fish are caught and processed in our Prefecture, notably along the shores of the Izu Peninsula?
When will i convince everyone that Shizuoka Prefecture is THE true gastronomic region of Japan? LOL
To those guys living in Tokyo, may I remind them that Mount Fuji, Izu Peninsula and wasabi are all in Shizuoka Prefecture? Please someone stop me! (Would you belive I have been challenged on the veracity of the last?)

I chose a fish called “isaki” or “Chicken Grunt” (who came up with that English name?) that is quite common on our shores.
The recipe naturally applies to loads of fish!

CLEANING THE FISH:

Using a strong short sharp knife (the Japanese use the same knife to cut and gut medium size fish), first get rid of the scales as much as possible.
Wash once under running clear cold water.
Cut along the back (not the belly! very important) from the tail to the head as shown on above picture deeply enough to reach the main bone.

Once the knife has cut all along the back and reached the head, cut the head in half along the same cutting line.
The head of a isaki being small it is quite easy. It might require some strength for bigger head fish like seabreams. Call the MOTH then! (not the moths, the “Man”! LOL).

Open the fish and continue cutting in half all the way through.

Take out all innards carefully so as not having them getting in contact with the flesh!
Depending upon the season, you might be lucky to get male sperm sacks (shirako). Don’t throw that away. They are great simmered with soy sauce, mirin/sweet sake, japanese sake and chili pepper! (see pic below).

Open the fish and clean it under running clear cold water.
Take water off with some kitchen paper or a clean piece of cloth.
Sprinkle with salt and dry outside under the sun until it has reached a nice aspect. You could also smoke it.
It can be preserved inside an airtight plastic bag and frozen, although eaten quickly it will taste so much better!

The Japanese grill their himono/dried fish pasted with a little soy sauce or tare. Beautiful with beer!

Great also grilled with a little salt!

If grilled with salt don’t forget the freshly grated daikon (and lemon juice, and soy sauce…)

The male sperm sacs (shirako) make for a great snack with your beer or sake once simmered in soy sauce, mirin/sweet sake and Japanese sake (and a little chili pepper)!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, 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,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), 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: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Food & Drink Bloggers in Japan (Winter 2012)

The number of foreigners and Japanese nationals who write about the food and drinks in Japan in English (or at least answer comments in English) has remarkably increased lately.
I thought it was about time to start some kind of round-up to help people discover these deserving foodies and their blogs!The list below is far from exhaustive, but I’m planning to update and announce it regularly!
Of course if you know more foodies residing in Japan, do please direct them to me and I will introduce them gladly!

HOKKAIDO TRIBE
(Hokkaido Island)
Meishu no Yutaka by Carlin

TOHOKU TRIBE
(Northeastern Japan: Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata, Fukushima)
Slow Food From Japan by Nigel Fodgen in Miyagi Prefecture.

KANTO TRIBE
Watch Japan in Tokyo
(Eastern Japan: Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa)
Little Japan Mama in Tokyo
Japan Eats (featured on request)
47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities By Sara and Roshni in Tokyo
Eating Out in Tokyo with DominicTokyo Through The Drinking Glass by Melinda Joe in Tokyo
Tokyo Foodcast by Etsuko Nakamura in Tokyo
Sake World by John Gauntner in Tokyo: The inernational Reference for Japanese Sake!
Tokyo Terrace by Rachael in Tokyo
Gaijin Tonic in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture
Nonjatta by Chris Bunting in Tokyo
The Soul Of Japan in Kanagawa Prefecture
Sake, kimono and Tabi In Tokyo
Tokyo Kawai, Etc… in Tokyo
Blue Lotus in Tokyo
The Japanese Food Report by Harris Salat in Tokyo
The Sake Chronicles in Tokyo
Watashi to Tokyo by Mari Kanazawa in Tokyo
Japanese Food-Food Lover’s Guide by Yukari Yamamoto in Tokyo
Gaijin Life by a Canadian gentleman in Tokyo
Leo’s Japan Food Blog in Tokyo
Eating Out In Tokyo With Jon
Fugu Tabetai in Tokyo
Japan Style in Tokyo
COCO’s Oriental Kitchen by angela Cooper in Tokyo
Free Online Japanese Food Recipes in Tokyo
Reminiscenec in Tokyo
Cooking Japanese Style By Naoko, in Tokyo

CHUBU TRIBE
(Central Japan: Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui, Yamanashi, Nagano, Gifu, Shizuoka, Aichi)
Good Beer & Country Boys in Aichi Prefecture
Damonde Life by Matt Ryan in Hamamatsu & Enshu
Mangantayon in Shizuoka Prefecture
Shizuoka Gourmet, Shizuoka Sake, Shizuoka Sushi, Shizuoka Shochu in Shizuoka Prefecture
Bryan Baird’s Beer & Brewery in Numazu in Shizuoka Prefecture

KANSAI TRIBE
(Western Japan: Mie, Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara, Kyoto, Wakayama)
Yellin Yakimono Gallery by Robert Yellin in Shizuoka Prefecture, just moved to Kyoto!
Colorfood Daidokoro in Osaka (Englis & French)
Dominique Corby In Osaka (in French, but can answer and read in English)
Nagaijin in Osaka
Kyoto Foodie in Kyoto
Our Adventures in Japan by K and S Minoo in Osaka
Japan Food Addict by Mai in Kyoto

CHUGOKU
(“Central Country”: Tottori, Shimane, Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi)
Get Hiroshima Blog in Hiroshima
The Wide Island Review, The JET Programme Webzine Of Hiroshima Prefecture (includes food & drink articles)

SHIKOKU
(Shikoku Island: Kagawa, Kochi, Ehime, Tokushima)
Obachan’s Kitchen & Garden Balcony in Kochi Prefecture
Still Clumsy With Chopsticks in Kochi Prfecture (Continuation of Obachan’s Kitchen & Garden Balcony)
Rocking in Hakata by Deas Richardson

KYUSHU
(Kyushu Island: Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Saga, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Kagoshima)
Not yet!

OKINAWA
(Okinawa Archipelago)
HWN Pake in Okinawa in Chatan, Okinawa
I’m sorry to say that Nate has just passed away and that his blog has disappeared, but I’ll keep it there as it is in his memeory!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, 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,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), 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: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Izakaya: Dinner at Uzu In Shizuoka City! (Winter 2012)

Kan sawara/寒鰆/Winter Spanish Mackerel Sashimi!

Service: Excellent and very friendly. Very Japanese atmosphere.
Facilities: Excellent washroom facilities. Great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable.
Strong Points: Great sake from Shizuoka and Japan Great Shochu. Home-made umeshu. Mainly local products, especially organic vegetables.

Izakaya are the best places to visit in Japan if you wish to know and taste local food and products.
Naturally they come at different prices and levels, but here in Shizuoka it is a true embarrassment of choices!
We are lucky to have recently moved near arguably the best izakaya in Shizuoka Prefecture, Uzu, so it is only a question of visiting it regularly for a dinner of Shizuoka (and elsewhere) specialties!

It is located away from the busy center of town and not easy to find, although really famous!
The day’s specialties are always announced in calligraphy outside!

Some of the great sakes waiting for you inside!

Uzu!

A beautiful noren/暖簾/entrance curtain!

The snack coming with the first drink!
For once we sat at the counter in front of the kitchen!

While the Missus had her wine I ordered a 5-sake sampling set! You can choose your sakes when ordering such a set!

Most of the earthenware used for serving are locally made!

likewise for individual plates and bowls!

The sashimi is always superlative in Uzu.
So what did we order?

Kan sawara/寒鰆/Winter Spanish Mackerel Sashimi!
This is a difficult fish to find in Shizuoka Prefecture and Uzu serves one a year. We were surely lucky!

For a closer look!
It was served slightly seared for more savors!

Rainbow Trout from Kunugi Rainbow Trout Farm in Fujinomiya City!

For a closer look!
So tender and served with grated wasabi from Umegashima, up the Abe River in Shizuoka City!

After the sashimi it was time to sample some meat!
Mangenton pork cutlets with plenty of chopped leeks!

The pork from Sanoman Co in Fujinomiya City is served as deep-fried cutlets!
I know a lot of friends abroad who would jump in the sea for that!

Uzu always serves extraordinary local organic vegetables: Giant burdock (oura gobo) roots chips salad!

This burdock comes from Matsuki Bio Farm in Fujinomiya City!

We followed this with a vegetable of the sea: Mozuku/水雲、海蘊 、藻付、海雲/an edible weed that comes by the name of Cladosiphon okamuranus

A very thick variety from Okinawa!!

We were still a bit hungry and opted to order the Giant Hokke!
Hokke/法華 goes by the unusual name of Arabesque Greenling and comes from Hokkaido! Ours was a truly enormous sample!

Grilled to perfection, it is savored with grated daikon, soy asuce and lime!
It certainly needed the two of us to finish it!

To be continued…

UZU
Shizuoka City, Otowa-cho, 3-18
Tel.: 054-249-6262
Business hours: 17:00=23:00
Closed on Mondays and first Tuesday
Reservations recommended
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, 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,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), 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: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Cruise finds Fukushima pollution: Good News-Sea radiation levels near Fukushima are not harmful, by Jonathan Amos of the BBC!

Just found this article written by Jonathan Amos for the BBC

Marine organisms were collected for evaluation

Radioactive elements from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant have been detected in seawater and marine organisms up to 600km from Japan.

But the scientists who made the discovery stress the natural radioactivity of seawater dwarfs anything seen in their samples.

The results come from a research cruise in June last year led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

The initial findings were presented to the biennial Ocean Sciences Meeting.

“Just because we can measure radioactivity doesn’t mean it’s harmful,” WHOI’s Ken Buesseler told the gathering in Salt Lake City.

“There’s a pretty good news story in here – that the levels [of radioactivity] offshore are not of significance to human health in terms of exposure, or even if you were to eat the seafood offshore,” he added.

CONTINUE HERE>>>

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, 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,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), 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: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Eel Restaurant “Atsumi” in Hamamatsu City!

Shiroyaki Unagi

Service: traditional and friendly
Facilities: old-fashioned but clean
Prices: Slightly expensive (“real” eels are expensive anywhere in Japan!)
Strong points: True traditional Japanese eel restaurant.

Hamamatsu City is famous all over Japan for some of its large companies (Yamaha, Kawai, etc) but it also known all over the country for one of its gastronomic specialties, eel, or unagi/鰻!
Eels have been a favorite food in that City for untold ages to the point that they have developed different competing “schools” as pertains to its preparation!

One of the most celebrated restaurants is Atsumi in Naka Ku, the downtown area.
Even in freezing weather customers form a queue a long time before they open for lunch!

It was first opened in 1907!
The English and Japanese noren/entrance curtain proves it is also popular with expats!

Be it downstairs or upstairs, it looks venerable indeed!

Only the signs are modern!

Very traditional surroundings. Old fashioned but clean, the more for it that the establishment is entirely non-smoking!

These critters will end up in our plates and bowls!

The Missus ordered “Kabayaki/蒲焼 style” set. The eels are dipped into “tare/sauce” while being grilled over charcoal.
The tare makes the difference, and it is a good indication of the proficiency of the chef!

The Missus ordered it with some tare on the rice, too.

I ordered the “shiroyaki/白焼き lunch set”.
Shiro stands for white, and yaki for grilled.
Shiroyaki means that no tare was applied on the eel while being grilled.

But I ordered it on top of rice seasoned with tare for perfect balance!

The great thing about shiroyaki style is that you can season each piece of eel with grated garlic, ginger, onion or wasabi before savoring it!

The liver/kimo” of the same fish is served in a clear and delicious soup!

And they always serve a Shizuoka fruit for dessert!
In this case muskmelon!

Eel Restaurant ATSUMI
430-0934 Hamamamtsu Shi, Naka Ku, Chitose Machi, 70
Opening hours: 11:30~13:40, 17:15~19:30 (could close earlier if run out of eels!)
Closed on Wednesdays (with two more holidays either on Tusdays or Thursdays. Reserve beforehand anyway!)
Reservations highly recommended
Credit Cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
Entirely non-smoking!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, 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,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), 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: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Japanese Traditional Local Festivals: 5th Annual Miwa Cherry Blossoms Festival in Shizuoka City!

Recent times have seen a revival of local festivals in Japan, especially in the rural areas, probably because people wanted to forget the sluggish economy and come back to more basic social gatherings after long years spent away in dehumanizing cities.
My good friend Neil had mentioned that his neighborhood in Miwa was organizing their 5th Annual Sakura Festival yesterday so I rode my bicycle for a good 45 minutes from home till the other side of the Abe River in Shizuoka City!

I left my bicycle at Neil’s place and walked till the Miwa Primary School where I found this banner announcing the Cherry Blossoms Festival!

For once that the weather was fine I walked on the causeway along the Abe River.

It is still winter and the water was pretty dry in all senses of the word!

I finally espied the site!

The Festival has been scheduled on the 3rd Sunday of February whatever the conditions or weather.
Unfortunately the last three weeks have witnessed unseasonal cold and the early-blooming Kawazu Cherry Trees had not blossomed yet!

For a closer view!

On the other hand the Japanese plum trees were still very much in flowers!

And the kumquats were everywhere for a picking!

We are full in leek season! Great to fight colds!

Plenty of beautiful colors to be found in private gardens!

But someone had made sure we had some cherry blossoms on site!

Neil had been designated as the sound engineer of the event!

You can’t have a festival in Japan without drums!

I wonder what those fox masks are for!

Robust ladies!

Oranges and tea on sale!
Notice the “dustbins”!

The site was small but certainly crowded!

Local bonsai on sale!

Local farmers selling their produce!

What are they preparing here?

Tonjiru soup for free!
Very thoughtful of the organizers!

Ashikubo Green Tea!

Sweet dango/balls!

Boxed lunches and wagashi cakes!

Chirashizushi bento!
All bentos are really home-made before put on sale!

Okonomiyaki!

Grilled sausages!

Deep-fried sweetmeat buns!

Yakisoba!

Candy Floss!

Grilled mochi cakes!

Local Benihoppe strawberries!

Home-made umeboshi!

They even had a small flea market!

Oden!

Dorayaki!

Very traditional dance!

Another very traditional dance!

And very traditional drinking!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, 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,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), 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: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery