This weekend, February 3, was Setsubun (節分). This holiday used to be where the seasons divided from winter to spring but now it’s know more for being the start of risshun (立春) or spring. Setsubun a holiday where you throw dried soybeans at an “oni” or demon. Usually the dad puts in an oni mask and the other family members throw soy beans at them outside the house saying “Demons outside, Good luck inside” or お庭外! 腹話内! I heard that after you throw them you have to eat one bean for every year of your age. So if you’re 25 like me you have to eat 25 dried soy beans!! That’s way too many. Even though I didn’t do that I celebrated Setsubun in my own way. I went to Yonago with my friends and we took a picture with an oni by the bar we were going to. We haven’t seen each other since leaving for Christmas to it was nice catching up and playing Jenga. But then more friends arrived at the bar and the bar owner from across the street saw a group of us and made us Ehoumaki. Ehoumaki is a long sushi roll eaten on Setsubun for good luck. It also has to be eaten facing the lucky direction of the year and this year you had to face East! You can also buy these from many grocery stores and konbini’s around Japan! So hopefully as it becomes Spring we all have the best luck in this new year! Ja~~~
This month on the 22 Coca-Cola releases a new flavor of coke to get us in the Spring mood. Which I think we do desperately need with all of this snow.
Last year Japan had ginger coke as a flavor in winter but this year it’s…….PEACH!
That’s right Peach Coca-Cola
It taste so good. It’s got a light sweet peach flavor with the same coke taste underneath.
If you live in Japan you can find these at your local grocery store and the Convenience store.
So even though it’s been a while since I’ve wrote Japan hasn’t stopped coming out with new and interesting food.
This is a pudding that pancake flavored with real maple syrup!
It really does taste like pancakes but it also taste kinda like a soft cream brûlée. It’s really good. If you’re in Japan you should try it!
Earlier this month I had a friend come from Hiroshima and stay with me for Golden Week. Golden week is a week in the Spring where Japan has many celebrations and holidays such as ‘Boy’s Day’ and the Emperor’s Birthday.
For the spring the island next to me had a wonderful display of flowers. On the island of Daikonjima there is a Japanese garden named Yuushien Garden it is a traditional Japanese garden and they’re well known for ginger and peonies.
During the spring peony festival they have over two million peonies of two-hundred and fifty different types bloom, of those the ‘Chinsen Peony’ early blooms get chosen and they are then put in the pond for display. Apparently Daikonjima is so well equipped to grow peonies because of the volcanic ash on the island since it is still an active volcanic island. So the gardeners use that and in turn cultivate millions of peonies.
They were so beautiful and vibrant floating in the pond. When there were wilted ones you could see many of the garden keeps out there with baskets picking them up and replacing them with new ones. It was so magical almost to see so many flowers just floating in the pond.
During this festival I also discovered that the peony is the Prefectural flower of Shimane! This was such a beautiful event, yet another reason why Spring is the best season.
In March it was a long break for me, school ended and then my friend came from America to come and see me for almost 3 weeks. I have so many pictures from Tokyo that I will end up making blog post about, so don’t worry!
But when I came back home from all of that Tokyo exploring I have been to the castle almost twice a week checking on the cherry blossoms or sakura to see if they had bloomed already. But every time I went they were still naked trees. Still a beautiful castle just no blossoms in sight!
But a friend and I went and even though it drizzled a little we persisted and still had a wonderful Hanami. My friend and I sat under a cherry blossom tree with my favorite snack genmai dango, which I found out is made with brown rice, and just relaxed.
There were a few people who actually had Hanami parties and bought loads of food and were talking and drinking on the castle grounds. It was so fun to see everyone finally taking a break and relaxing.
And there was even a ninja!
So today I went to the local Family Mart with my friend who went to buy a ticket for the Beerfest happening next month and I was walking up and down the isles just looking and I happened upon these bad boys!
Hands down this is the most interesting chip flavor that I’ve ever had.
So the weather is finally turning into summer weather!! It’s finally breaking from that spring chill allowing for a BEACH DAY!!
We found the most majestic beach near Saikaminato. It’s between mountains and was absolutely beautiful. Photos don’t do this beach justice.
So while Starbucks in America has the Unicorn Frappe that is causing a huge social media stir Japan has a new frappe too!!
I bring to you the American Cherry Pie Frappe!!
I’m not the biggest fan of cherry pie, but if you love it you would love this it tasted practically like eating a pie!!
So when I don’t have classes to teach I sit and correct my JHS student’s English journals. So the ones I usually correct are from my 2nd and 3rd graders. Which in America are 8th and 9th graders. And they tend to write the funniest things, well at least I think they’re funny. I take pictures of all of my favorites.
So this will just be a post of ones that I have collected so far. I hope you laugh as much as I laughed when reading them.
So Japan is no stranger to canned cocktails. Here they call them Chu-his! And that is a mix of two words, since they are made from “Souchu” a type of rice liquor and “Hi” for Highball or cocktail. Here they usually range from 3-7% They are the Japanese equivalent to Smirnoff Ice, Mixxtails and Flipflop cocktails. I am sure there are more American canned cocktails but these are all I can think of.
Many of the Chu-his are made by Suntory or Kirin.
They come in all kinds of flavors, and they even have special seasonal ones. And for that season that means…..(insert drum-roll here) SAKURA! I waned you earlier I will have many more Sakura post and I was not lying.
So Suntory has this new Sakura Chu-hi called Sakura Sakuranbo. It actually has two cherry flavors with real Cherries and Sakura liquor. As soon as I opened it all I smelled were cherries.
But after drinking it I will say that I am not a huge fan. It taste like a cherry Slurpee or some cherry drink with alcohol, I was really excited but I think I will pass on this again.I am excited to see the next seasonal Chu-hi come out.