Friday, August 31, 2012

Oshidori Hinabe, Chinese Hot Pot In Osaka

Oshidori Hinabe Restaurant is located near 天満橋 Tenmabashi Shopping Street in Osaka, the longest shopping street in Japan, about 3 km long. (天 ten mean heaven, 橋 hashi means bridge.)

Oshidori おしどり is Mandarin Duck, also written in kanji 鴛鴦. Oshidori Hinabe is a Chinese restaurant and a dish name. It is a Chinese hotpot with chicken, vegetables, mushrooms. Oshidori hinabe 鴛鴦火鍋 is also called Yuanyang hot pot.

Sometimes, customers cook their own meal in Japan. And in this yin-yang pot, there is one hot side, and one plain flavoured side - and the customers receive the ingredients on a separate plate, and put them in the base soup themselves.

nabe is hotpot. There are so many recipes of nabe in Japan, each area having a specific way of cooking nabe.

These were the ingredients for Oshidori Hinabe: tofu, meat, three types of mushrooms, vegetables, meat balls. The thin-and-long white mushrooms are called enoki, so delicious. On the left there are moyashi, soy sprouts, which I presented on 21 July on the blog.

I was told that this dish is a symbol of "good couple in long life" in Japan. A "good couple" is called oshidori fuufu おしどり夫婦 lovebirds. Similar to the name of the dish. :-)
Fuufu 夫婦 is couple, formed of 夫 husband and 婦 woman.

These Chinese noodles are called glass noodles, crystal noodles or cellophane noodles. They are added towards the end of the meal.

鴛鴦 火鍋 is Oshidori Hinabe, the name of the restaurant. (火 hi means fire.)

Inside the restaurant:

鳥 behind this bird is tori, meaning bird.

Dessert with sakuranbo さくらんぼ, the cherry fruit:

This is a typically Chinese sign of good fortune - you hang it upside down so that the luck could lay on you.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kokeshi - Japanese Wooden Dolls

Kokeshi こけし are handmade, without limbs. It is just a head and a simple trunk. They originate from the north of Japan. There are 11 types, and the appearance can say from which part of Japan each doll comes. Kokeshi are usually painted in red, black and yellow.

I read that the word kokeshi is from the Sendai dialect, and I actually received a beautiful one bought in Morioka, Iwate-ken. I received it from a lady who is a survivor of the tsunami in March 2011. Eiko-san, the doll received from you stands always on my desk, just next to the laptop. Thank you for a beautiful present!

I noticed these dolls in a hotel in Hokkaido. They appear as a couple because they are placed near the entrance to the onsen, the hot spring.

I noticed this kokeshi in the cemetery of Sumadera 須磨寺, Suma Temple, Kobe.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Red-Crowned Crane, Tanchou - Kirigami And A Japanese Story

It is a rare bird, about 2,700 of them in the world. It is a symbol of Japan, though the national bird of Japan is actually the green pheasant. This crane is considered to live 1,000 years, and it symbolizes good luck, longevity, fidelity. It is 150 cm tall. In Japanese, it is called 丹頂鶴 tanchou-dzuru (red + top of the head + crane).

Though it can be seen in Hokkaido, these are some photos taken in Korakuen Garden.

Little red combined with white is a beautiful combination in Japan, where even the flag (国旗 kokki) contains the two colours.

A bowl of food in Hokkaido:

The salmon roe is called イクラ ikura in Japanese. It is written in katakana because it probably comes from the Russian "ikra" - fish egg.  

The other species of crane are called tsuru 鶴 and the most famous origami represents this bird. This is an uchiwa, round fan. The second post on this blog, in June, was related to uchiwa and its famous place - Marugame.

It felt special to see some tanchou in Hokkaido, even from the bus window - such a graceful bird.

It can be cut from paper, kirigami crane - a square paper in the favourite colour, folded in two and cut like so:

When unfolded, Facing Cranes:

In Japan, books are usually packed at the bookshops and read with a cover made of paper, and this pattern can be glued on some book cover:

A famous Japanese story is The Crane Wife. A poor man finds a wounded crane and takes care of it. When healed, he releases the crane and a woman comes at his door. They get married, and the wife offers to weave silk clothes to be sold for money on the condition that he never watches her while she is weaving. Curiosity is sometimes a flaw, and one day he takes a look at his wife while she is working. He is shocked to see at the loom a crane plucking feathers off its body to weave them. On seeing him, the crane flies away and never returns. There are some variations of the story. The crane wife is sometimes called Yukiko - the Snow Child.

The Japanese title of the story is Tsuru no Ongaeshi - the crane who repays for the kindness received. Ongaeshi refers to returning the favour received from somebody.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Noda City Museum, Chiba-ken

Noda is a place in Chiba prefecture, located near Tokyo. Noda City Museum is the first registered museum in Chiba-ken, in 1959. The building of the museum was designed by a famous architect, Mamoru Yamada. Since Noda is a place well-known for making soy sauce, 醤油 shouyu, you will see inside the museum many tools and materials related to this field. Also, some historical and archeological exhibits. Entrance is free.

The first three kanji are 野田市 Nodashi or Noda city. 野 is field, 田 rice field, and 市 shi means city, town, municipality.

A nice origami I noticed at the entrance.

This is a koto, a Japanese musical instrument with 13 strings. It has an interesting kanji: 箏.

Impossible to take a proper photo through the glass, though such a valuable and beautiful painting depicting the process of making the soy sauce. Although it was first made in Wakayama-ken, nowadays Noda and Choshi are famous places in Japan for producing soy sauce. In Noda there is also Kikkoman Soy Sauce Museum.

Buddha is represented on a lotus with 1000 petals. In India, even the uppermost chakra, called Sahasrara, is described with 1000 petals, referred to as thousand-petaled lotus. Sometimes Buddha is represented with 1000 arms. Japanese people call "very many things" as one thousand. It is a smaller figure though, I think. Like, 1000 statues in Sanjuusangen-dou temple in Kyoto, 1000 jizo statues. Maybe it is less than 1000 actually.

Old shouyu ads:

I think this wooden board is an old tool for washing clothes. I have seen something similar in a film.

In 1661, two families in Noda started to make shouyu and miso.

I like museums very much. I hope you enjoyed this short visit, too. Noda is a beautiful place, and a special friend helped me to discover it.