見るほどに 美味さいや増す 椿寿司

Rosanjin Kitaoji, a well-known gourmet and cook, said, “The tableware is the kimono for cooking.”  Japanese cuisine, which is currently attracting attention from around the world, is not only interested in the ingredients and taste, but also in the dishes and the utensils on which it is served.  If the vessel is a kimono for cooking, the flowers and leaves that accompany the dish are accessories that decorate the dish and the vessel.  As you can see, the characteristics of Japanese cuisine have been to value the appearance as well as the taste as an important factor that makes the food look delicious.  Even with the same dish, the quality of the presentation can make a big difference in the satisfaction you get when you eat it.  That’s why we add seasonal flowers and leaves.  Recently, we often hear the word edible flower. Edible flowers have actually been used in Japan for a long time.  Edible flowers that are often seen in Japan include chrysanthemums that are served with sashimi or used for dipping, and rape blossoms that are eaten with sesame dressing.

美食家・料理家で著名な北大路魯山人は「器は料理の着物」と言いました。今世界から注目されている日本料理は、食材、味だけでなく、それを盛る器にも関心が寄せられています。その器が料理の着物なら、料理に添えられる花や葉は、さしずめ料理や器を飾るアクセサリーです。日本料理の特徴はこの様に、お料理が美味しく見える大切な要素として「味」とともに「見た目」を大切にしてきました。同じ料理でも、盛り付けの良し悪しによって食べたときの満足感は大きく変わるものです。季節季節に合った花や葉を添えるのもその為です。最近はエディブルフラワーという言葉をよく耳にします。エディブルフラワーとは「Edible =食べられる」「Flower=お花」、つまり『食べられるお花』を意味しています。エディブルフラワー=食用花も、実は日本でも古くから活用されていました。日本でよく見られる食用花には、お刺身に添えられていたりお浸しに使われる菊や、胡麻和えなどでいただく菜の花があります。

極寒を 潜って逞し 蕗の薹

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Hukinotou(the butterbur sprouts), which survived the record-breaking cold and sprouted, look very strong. Hukinotou is one of the edible wild plants native to Japan.  In recent years, the number of individuals growing wild in the mountains and fields has been decreasing, and the sight of Hukinotou growing in colonies in satoyama has almost disappeared. Hukinotou is Huki flower, and after this flower blooms, leaves (Huki) that extend from the underground stem will appear.  It has been used for food since ancient times, and is widely used as a spice for its unique aroma and bitterness, and as an early spring ingredient for tempura and marinated dishes.


おお寒や 人待ち顔の 水仙郷


At Narcissus Village in Tonboike Park in Kishiwada City, Osaka Prefecture, 60,000 daffodils are in full bloom from early January to mid-February, and are enveloped in a unique sweet scent.  Many people visited during the Narcissus Festival held in mid-January, but after the cold weather began, it snowed and the cold became even more severe, so there were almost no people.  The red umbrellas and scarlet rugs hanging on the floor stand out.  It’s early, and it’s already a little bit more in January, and there’s Setsubun this weekend, and it’s going to be Risshun(the first day of spring).  Many of the plum blossoms in the park are in full bloom, and the scarlet cherry blossoms are in full bloom.  At the convenience store on the way home, a big advertising flag of Eho-maki(the thick sushi rolls which is believed to bring good fortune if eaten while facing the year’s “Eho”;good luck direction) was fluttering in the cold wind.


気は急くが さくら予想に 勇む胸

The day before yesterday, the 26th, the Japan Weather Association announced the 2023 cherry blossom forecast (1st).  It seems that this year’s cherry blossoms will be blooming nationwide at the same level as in normal years.  It will bloom later than last year, which bloomed earlier than usual.  Cherry blossoms will start blooming in Kochi on March 21st, and by the end of March, many parts of Kyushu and Kanto will be in full bloom.  This winter (December-January), due to the frequent blows of cold air, the temperature has been lower than normal, especially in December, with over 10 cm of snow observed in Kochi and Tokushima.  As a result, the dormancy of cherry blossom buds was successfully broken (the flower buds that had entered dormancy after being formed in the previous summer woke up in the winter after being exposed to low temperatures for a certain period of time).  This cherry blossom forecast is based on Yoshino cherry trees, so it does not include Okinawa, where Yoshino cherry trees are scarce.  The cherry blossom forecast in Okinawa is based on Hikanzakura (Kanhizakura), and it has already started to bloom in January.  Including Okinawa, the cherry blossoms run through the Japanese archipelago over four months, from mid-January to mid-May.


真白にぞ 春を見守る 富士の嶺

Signs of a full-fledged recovery in inbound demand can be seen in response to the significant relaxation of border measures against the new coronavirus last fall.  The number of foreign visitors to Japan, which had been near zero for a long time, increased to 930,000 in November 2022, about 40% of the pre-corona level.  Based on global air travel demand forecasts, the number of foreign visitors to Japan is expected to recover to a level of over 20 million on an annualized basis by the end of 2023.  One of the most popular spots for foreigners visiting Japan is Mt. Fuji. When a research organization surveyed the degree of awareness of Mt. Fuji’s registration as a World Heritage Site, 94.5% of Japanese answered that they “know”,  and combining the 3.0% who answered “somehow know”, the recognition rate reached 97.5%. In addition, China also shows a high recognition rate of 86.0%, including those who “know” and “somewhat know”.  On the other hand, the recognition rate in South Korea is 66.0% and in Taiwan 59.5%, indicating that the recognition of Mt.Fuji.  Regarding the image of Mt. Fuji, the most common answer was “beautiful”, with 17.8% of Japan, 28.3% of South Korea, 22.2% of Taiwan and 19.4% of China.  It is the top in three countries except Taiwan, and it seems that Mt. Fuji has a “beautiful” image not only in Japan but also overseas.  The second most common answer on average for the four countries was “solemnity”, which was ranked first in China along with “beautiful”, second in Japan and South Korea, and third in Taiwan.  It can be seen that the image of “solemnity” is also common in each country.


寒の雪 そっと寄り添う 梅二輪

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, as of 7:00 p.m. on the 25th, five locations, including Maniwa City in Okayama Prefecture and Kobe City, had the highest amount of snowfall in a 24-hour period up to last winter.  In addition, the lowest temperature was below freezing in 46 prefectures excluding Okinawa, and four locations including Tokoname City in Aichi Prefecture and Miyazaki City set new record highs. On the 26th, the peak of the cold weather passed, and we were relieved to hear that the 20-hour or more stuck on the Shin-Meishin Expressway due to the heavy snow had been resolved.  However, last summer and this winter, the number one record in observation history continued.  Moreover, this trend is not only limited to Japan, but is a global trend, so it is thought that it is due to climate change due to the effects of global warming.


 雪の中 クリスマスローズの お出迎え

While heavy snow warnings have been issued nationwide, Christmas roses, which are said to be winter ladies and winter jewels, are blooming vigorously.  It’s like enjoying the snow.  The name “Christmas Rose” was originally given to the cultivar “Niger”, which belongs to the ranunculaceae and genus Helleborus and blooms in December. The flowering season for most Christmas roses other than Nigeru is February to April in Honshu, and April to May in the Tohoku region and Hokkaido. Because the flowers bloom when it snows, it is also called “Hatsuyukiokishi” or “Machiyukiso” in Japanese.  In addition, tea ceremony masters gave it the Japanese name “kanshakuyaku” and displayed it in tea ceremonies.  The Christmas rose has a legend that it was born from a girl’s tears, but it was introduced to Japan as a medicinal plant from the Meiji to the Taisho eras, and it is now a very popular plant as an undergrowth in Japanese-style gardens as a shade-tolerant plant.


丸窓に 影を落とすや 牡丹雪

Snow is falling deeply at Gio-ji Temple in Sagano, Kyoto.  Gio-ji Temple is known as a tragic nunnery where Gio, who was favored by Taira no Kiyomori, was driven out of the capital due to Kiyomori’s change of heart, and entered the priesthood with his mother and sister.  It is located in the precincts of the old Ojoin Temple, which is said to have been built by Ryouchin, a disciple of Honen Shonin.  It seems to have existed until the end of the Edo period, and was then in ruins, but in 1895, the prefectural governor Kunimichi Kitagaki, who learned of the tragic love of Shirabyoshi Gio and others, donated his tea room that was in his villa in Saga in memory of Gio. And Tessai Tomioka and others built the current Gio-ji Temple with this as the main hall.  There is a large round window in the antechamber of the thatched hut called Yoshino-mado.  It is also called the “Rainbow Window” because the sunlight that shines through the green leaves of the precincts reflects the colorful colors on the shoji screens.  Now, many shadows of Botanyuki(large snowflakes) is falling silently on the round window.


枯れ草も 彩り添えて 寒見舞い

Aside from summer greeting cards, there are probably many people who do not know about winter greeting cards. There are six types of seasonal greeting cards: nengajo, winter greeting card, lingering cold greeting card, hot summer greeting card, lingering summer greeting card, and mourning greeting card.  Kanchumimai is a seasonal greeting card that is generally sent out from January 8th in the Kanto region, January 16th in other regions, and until February 3rd in both cases.  The number of seasonal greeting cards is decreasing year by year, and the planned number of New Year’s postcards for 2023 is 1.64 billion, which is 10% less than the previous year’s result, and it is about a third of the size of the peak 4.45936 billion, in 2004. The spread of the Internet is considered to be the main reason.  At the same time, I think the greater reason is that the changing times have changed people’s consciousness in all respects.


咲き初めし 梅にショールの 淡雪か

It’s cold.  Even in Osaka, the temperature this morning was -1°C.  It seems that the cold will still be tough in the middle of the week.  The more severe this cold weather is, the faster the plum blossoms and the cherry blossoms will bloom.  Flowering will be delayed if the cold weather is not sufficient to break dormancy.  In other words, the conditions for plum and cherry blossoms to bloom early are that the winter is cold and the spring is warm.  It’s not just plums and cherry blossoms.  The same is true for many plants.  Kanjime of vegetables is the process of exposing vegetables to the cold air of winter to produce sweet vegetables.  Kanjime vegetables include a surprisingly wide variety of vegetables such as Japanese radish, Chinese cabbage, carrots, green onions, Japanese mustard spinach, taasai, and spinach.  Plants produce sugar and nutrients through photosynthesis, but under low temperatures, the absorption of nutrients by the roots is suppressed, the water content is reduced, and instead sugars and nutrients are stored in the body to prepare for low temperatures.  It may apply to humans as well.