#29 しょうゆ Soy Sauce

Twice a month, my friend and I organize the event, “Let’s talk about Kyoto in English and Japanese”. Today’s theme was Shoyu, soy sauce.
I took memo of useful expression 🙂

(All from “Trad Japan” NHK publisher has copy right.)
Soy sauce is a multi-purpose condiment essential to Japanese cooking.

Sushi and sashimi are dipped in soy sauce before eating. Sukiyaki meat smells and tastes great because it’s seasoned with soy sauce.

There are many kinds of soy sauce. The koikuchi variety is the most common one. It’s dark in color and has a strong aroma. The usukuchi variety is pale. It’s perfect for accentuating the tastes and colors of natural ingredients.

By using different types of soy sauce according to your cooking needs, you can make your dishes tastes better and look better.

Let’s look at the traditional way of making soy sauce.

First, you need steamed soybeans and roasted wheat. A type of mould called kojikin is added to them, and the ingredients are carefully mixed.

Let for a few days, the mould breeds, and the culture is now called koji.

Next, a solution of salt in water is added to the koji. The resulting mixture, called moromi, will into soy sauce.

When left in vats for a few months, the moromi undergoes the chemical change known as fermentation.

The mould breaks down the protein in the soybeans to make amino acids, which are responsible for producing umami. There are many fermented food products in Japan, such as miso, natto, and sake- and soy sauce is one of them.

Some soy sauce producers let their moromi mature for as long as five years.

Making soy sauce requires a lot of labour as well. For instance, the moromi needs to be stirred thoroughly to let oxygen penetrate evenly. This promotes fermentation.

When the maturation process is complete, the moromi is strained through cloth. What comes out is soy sauce.

A great deal of time and effort goes into making delicious soy sauce.

There days, the use of soy sauce is not limited to Japanese cuisine. In French cuisine, for example, it’s used to add flavor to certain dishes. And in United States, it’s key ingredient of teriyaki sauce.

A traditional condiment in Japan, soy sauce has crossed national borders and is now an essential element in many cuisines around the world.

The hiroma in a traditional Japanese house is a multi-purpose room.

Matcha has a distinctive aroma.

The hall was filled with the aroma of incense.

Tempura tastes best when it’s freshly cooked.


mould とyeast
菌類は広くfungus(複数形fungi)と呼ばれます。fungusにはカビ(mould/米国ではmold)やキノコ(mushroom)など意図状の構造をとる糸状菌(filamentous fungi) と、単細胞生の酵母 (yeast) があります。麹はカビの一種で、でんぷんやタンパク質を糖やアミノ酸に分解する役割があり、一方、酵母は糖分をアルコールに分解する役割を果たします。いずれも食品化学では欠かせない存在です。

If you add midair to soy milk, it will turn into tofu.

When fermented, soybeans turn into natty.

In sake production, the rice koji breaks down the starch in the rice into sugar.

Many kanji characters can be broken down into several parts, each of which has its own meaning.

High-quality kurozu, black rice vinegar, is kept in jars for several years to mature.

It takes a great amount of time and effort to produce Nishijin-ori.

(All from “Trad Japan” NHK publisher has copy right.)

Japanese TV drama “Ossan’s Love”

These few weeks, I was obsessed with a Japanese TV drama,
“Ossan’s Love”.
It’s a love comedy, but concepts and how they show the character’s feeling  was very new and caught my heart!

For many years, I don’t have TV. When I want to watch some TV program, I’ll find it or buy it online.

This time, I saw the drama online, but I also enjoy reading other people’s reaction on Twitter too. I found very good review about the drama on Twitter, and enjoyed reading them too. It’s kind of new way to enjoy TV these few years.

I’m not sure you can find the drama online now, but if you can find it, I recommend you to watch this. This drama makes you laugh, smile, and cry.
Then, please read this blog. It’s touching.
Mr. Yoshiaki Yokogawa’s review about this drama ↓(in Japanese):




There’s lots of amazing lines I enjoyed on this drama, but this is one of the best and they described it on the drama.
I probably watch this over and over again 🙂

#27 Dashi だし

Twice a month, my friend and I organize the event, “Let’s talk about Kyoto in English and Japanese”. Today’s theme was Samurai.
I took memo of useful expression 🙂

(All from “Trad Japan” NHK publisher has copy right.)

A simmer dash of pike conger and matsutake mashroom, featured in an expensive kaiseki meal…
Standerd fare, such as miso soup and soba… All these dishes use some type of dashi, cooking stock.

One common dashi ingredient is a type of kelp called konbu. Over 90 per cent  of domestic wild konbu comes from Hokkaido.

Konbu can grow to five meters long or more. A special tool is used to twist the kelp growing on the seabed and hoist it out of the water. The freshly harvested konbu is immediately dried in the sun. This concentrates one of the compounds responsible for umami, or savoriness, in the konbu.

Simply soaked in water and heated, konbu releases its umami flavor components. It’s important not to overdo the heating; otherwise bitterness with be imparted to the stock.

It was in the 18th century, after a new maritime route from northern Japan to Osaka was developed, that Hokkaido konbu became commercially available around the country. There are still many shops in Osaka that specialize in konbu. People in the Kansai region tend to enjoy delicately flavoured dishes, so konbu-based dashi is very popular there.

An equally common dashi ingredient is katsuobushi.

Katsuobushi is made from bonito. Fillets are first boiled and then smoked to reduce their moisture content. The fillets are then treated with mould because it helps to drive out moisture even more and also break down fats. This method was developed about 200 years ago. After six months of curing,  the fillets are a mere one-sixth of their original weight. Packed with umami, the katsuobushi is now ready for consumption.

Katsuobushi blocks are shaved into fine flakes. The larger the surface area of these shavings, the more effectively the flavor components will be released. The flakes are placed in boiling water, and the heat is turned off immediately. After about one minute, the liquid is strained. To create dashi from bonito requires many steps and a great deal of time and care.

Since ancient times, the Japanese have been making great efforts to enrich their culinary culture, and the unique types of stock they’ve invented-collectively known as dashi- are infused with their wisdom and ingenuity.

1. domestic flights 国内線

tools はナイフやハンマーなど職人が手に持って作業を行うための道具
instrument は正確さを必要とする科学的な作業を行う道具
implement は特定の目的にかなうように作られた特殊な道具
utensil は台所用品など家庭でつかう道具
The abacus is still widely used in Japan as a calculation tool.

3. releaseは「〜を解放する」が原義。CDをrelease する、釣った魚をその場で逃がすのを「catch and release」。
Koboku regrant woods release a pleasant aroma.

When the air is dry, tatami mats release the moisture they have absorbed.

4. overdo 〜をやりすぎる
Kendo provides excellent exercise, but overdoing the practice can hurt your joints.

5. maritime 海の、海上自衛隊はthe Maritime Self-Defense Force
During Edo period, maritime transport was strictly regulated under the isolation policy.

6. equally 同様に
In Judo, etiquette and throwing skills are regarded as equally important.

7. treat A with B 「AをB でもてなす」
treat him with respect 「敬意をもって彼を遇する」
Items that have been treated with lacquer have a distinct gleam.

8. culinary 料理の
culinary skill 料理の腕前
Kaiseki ryorui is regarded as Japan’s consummate culinary art.

The invention of soy sauce was a landmark in Japan’s culinary history.


(All from “Trad Japan” NHK publisher has copy right.)




#25 Tsukemono つけもの

Twice a month, my friend and I organize the event, “Let’s talk about Kyoto in English and Japanese”. Today’s theme was Tsukemono.
I took memo of useful expression 🙂

(All from “Trad Japan” NHK publisher has copy right.)

Pickles are deeply embedded in the lives of the Japanese to the extent that Japan is sometimes called a “pickle superpower”.

Japanese pickles, tsukemono, are made by pickling the ingredients, primarily vegetables, in salt or other seasonings. They’re usually quite salty.

Many different types of vegetables can grown in Japan.

The country is surrounded by the ocean, which means that salt has always been available in abundance.

Tsukemono made using salt were developed as a means of effectively preserve vegetable.

Rice is Japan’s staple food. It’s rich in nutrition but relatively simple in flavor.

Tsukemono provide a perfect complement to it, and a tremendous range came to be produced.

The many varieties of tsukemono available today are created by altering the seasonings and methods of pickling.

These tsukemono were pickled in sake lees, The distinctive aroma and flavor of the alcohol are evident.

Here are tsukemono pickled in soy sauce. Their rich, mellow, salty flavor goes well with rice.

These tsukemono were picked in mustard. They have a spicy kick!

And this is nukazuke- arguably the most popular type of tsukemono. Narazuke are made by packing seasonal vegetables in nukadoko, a bed of rice bran.

The basic ingredient of nukadoko is rice bran, a byproduct of rice polishing. Salt, water and other ingredients vegetable are packed in to the mixture. They’re removed repeated daily for a week or so; then the nukadoko is ready.

You can now pack any vegetables of your choice into the nukadoko and leave them overnight to create mild-flavored tsukemono with a fresh salad-like appeal. If the vegetables are left for several days, further fermentation occurs and the tsukemono deepen in flavor.

You can use the nukadoko over and over; so long as it’s well tended. For this reason, nukadoko can be passed down from generation to generation, and the tsukemono made in it may very well take on a flavor that’s unique to that household. To prevent the growth of mould, it should be mixed from the bottom up once a day, every day.

In modern times, the Japanese diet has become heavily influenced by Western foods, but rice and tsukemono remain an integral part of the manu.食生活が欧米化して来た現代でも、ご飯と漬物の組み合わせは、日本人の食卓に欠かせないものとして受け継がれています。


(from “Trad Japan”, NHK publisher has copy right.)

1. extent は「程度」を意味する語。
to a great extent 大いに、to some extent ある程度
Buddhism influenced the Japanese way of thinking to a great extent.

2. abundanceは「豊富、大量」の意味。
in abundance は豊富に、大量に。
In the late Edo period, ukiyo-e were printed in abundance.

3. be rich in は「〜が豊富だ」の意味。rich は特に有用や、あるいは価値がある物質を大量に含んでいるというニュアンズで用いる。
ex.  Japan is rich in marine products.
Japan is poor in natural resources.

4. provide 「〜を与える、供給する、提供する、もたらす」
In the Edo period, terakoya private schools provided primary education.

5.「 やお=八百」は数が多いこと

6. of your choice 「あなた好みの」
ex. With nabe ryori, you can use ingredients of your choice.

7. so long as 「〜する限り」
A kimono lasts forever, so long as it’s well looked after.

8. integralは「不可欠な」の意味。全体の一部分として絶対に必要な物事に対して用いる。
Shinto has always been an integral part of Japanese culture.

Courteous manners are an integral part of Japanese martial arts like judo and kendo.

– 日本では年間約100万トン、およそ4,000億円分もの漬物が出荷されている。
– 漬物は太古から食されていたと考えられ、9世紀の平安時代の書物には49種類の漬物が記されています。13世紀の鎌倉時代、禅宗が盛んになって肉食を避けるようになると、米と漬物は重要な位置を占めました。

(All from “Trad Japan”. NHK publisher has copyrights)

#26 Samurai さむらい

Twice a month, my friend and I organize the event, “Let’s talk about Kyoto in English and Japanese”. Today’s theme was Samurai.
I took memo of useful expression 🙂

(All from “Trad Japan” NHK publisher has copy right.)

There’s useful expression memo:

The word “samurai” is derived from the word “saburau”, which means “to serve”.

It’s believed that the forerunners of the samurai were men who served the nobility as guards, roughly 1,000years ago.

At the end of the 12th century, Minamoto no Yoritomo established the Kamoakura shogunate, and the reign of the samurai began.

During the age of civil war in the 16th century, samurai warriors fought and died in the battles for land expansion and power. A series of superstar warlords emerged. It was an era when military strength was the key to gaining political power.

The beginning of the 17th century opened a stunning new chapter in the history of the samurai.
The Edo period shogunate was established in what is now Tokyo, and therefore, around 250 years of peace world reign throughout Japan. Fighters by trade, the samurai had no choice but to embark on a completely different way of life.

During the Edo period, the shogunate promoted the teaching of Chu His Confucianism, a school of Chinese philosophy. And the samurai incorporated these ideas into everyday life.

A strong spiritual backbone became the hallmark of samurai values.

Be loyal to your master.
Observe proper etiquette.
Do what’s right without hesitation.
Show compassion for the weak.


The advent of the Meiji era in the late 19th century brought and end to the age of the samurai, but their spirit remained the basis of Japanese moral values.

Other useful expression we studied:

Hiragana are derived from Kanji.

Dash soup stock is the key to Japanese cuisine.

After the Meiji restoration, many Japanese started to adopt a Western way of life. (明治維新の後、多くの日本人は西洋風の生活様式を取り入れ始めました)

*儒学(Confucianism)は孔子(Confusius, 前551-前479)の政治論理思想を研究する学問。一方、朱子学(Chu Hsi Confucianism) は南宋時代の中国の儒家、朱熹(Chu Hsi, 1130-1200)が大成させた新しい儒学説。朱子学の特徴である大義名分論は封建体制の維持に論理的支柱を与え、江戸時代には官学として重視された。

The tea ceremony is often regarded as hallmark of Japanese culture.

The advent of Hiragana characters encouraged many Heian ladies to become writers.

With the advent of the Meiji period in 1868, Japan started a process of modernization.

Ito Tadataka, the late Edo period surveyor and cartographer, was the first person to create very detailed maps of Japan.

The architectural style used for traditional tea house is referred to as sukiyaki-zukuri.

All from “Trad Japan” NHK publisher has copy right.

Sakura, sakura, sakura 🌸

Sakura, cherry blossom, start burst into bloom in Kyoto.
Compare to last year, they start blooming early this year.

One reason why people in Japan love Sakura so much is the elegant, subtle shades of pink color of the petals, and how they fall. I love to get sakura shower when I bike Kamo river.

But big reason why we love Sakura so much is we see transience of life in them.
We’re wait Sakura bloom for a year, and then finally they bloom, then fall in two weeks or ten days.

In 10th century, one of the aristocrats made the poem:

散ればこそ いとど桜はめでたけれ
うき世になにか 久しかるべき


“It’s because the cherry blossom fall
That they’re beautiful in the eyes of all.
Nothing is eternal in the world we live in.”

The aristocrats saw their own mortal lives reflected in Sakura that bloom and fall too quickly.

*Reference: “Trad Japan” NHK publisher, theme-sakura

Here’s some Sakura pictures I took this week, March 25th to 31st.

Kakizome, a special piece of calligraphy for the New Year

Happy New Year 2018  \( ˆoˆ )/

New years holiday, I was walking on the street, and found my friend in a bar.
She gestured me to come it, so I went there and interestingly at the bar, people were doing Kakizome, a special piece of calligraphy for the New Year.

Kakizome is Japanese traditional event for the new year. You write your dreams or goals of the year in New Years Holiday.
It’s nice to set goal, so I decide to do it.

Mine is “fullfill” myself and make myself happy.

I’ve learned Japanese calligraphy for almost ten years.
The bar master complimented my writing, and I remembered how I was enjoying Japanese calligraphy.

Maybe this year, I’ll try Japanese calligraphy again 🙂

New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day in Japan

New Year’s Eve in Japan is busy.
This year I spend New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day in a typical Japanese way.

Lots of people do “O-souji”, deep cleaning, purifying the house and get ready to welcome new year on Dec 29-31.
I myself did deep cleaning for my room, windows, and entrance.
Then I hang new year decoration on my entrance.

Then on Dec 31 night my friends and I ate “Toshikoshi-soba”.
We eat soba noodle to wish for a long lasting life like soba, buck wheat noodle.

During we eat soba, we watched “Kohaku utagassen”, popular music TV program which continues 68 years.

Some of my friends stay awake and went out to shine in midnight to pray for new years wishes in a shine, but I decided to go there next morning, Jan 1st then went to bed.

Next morning, I wake up and my friend serve me “Shiro-miso soup” In new years day, we eat some kind of special soup, and it’s different up to region, but my friend from Kyoto made this white miso soup. It was delicious.

Now I get ready and go to shines to pray wishes for new year, 2018.

Happy New Year 2018.
I wish it’ll be amazing year, and each of our dreams comes true 🙂