Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tsubo Niwa Garden: Before and After

Tsubo niwa is a very small courtyard garden.  And our Machiya guesthouse "Maeniiya" has one that the guests can view from the tatami living room.

Our tsubaki (camelia) tree was not doing very well, so we replaced it with nanten (nandina) tree. Nanten is regarded as a lucky tree from its name: Bad (=nan) things turn (=ten) good things. Nanten is a very popular tree for Japanese gardens.



Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bontan Candy

"Bontan Ame" is a soft and chewy candy made from a citrus fruit called bontan, which is similar to a grapefruit. It's been made since 1926 in Kagoshima, southern part of Kyushu.

My two nephews who live in Canada absolutely love this candy. Whenever they come back to Japan, they make sure to pack as many boxes as possible when they leave Japan.

Recently, there is a half sized box.

And a mega sized one also!!!

Each candy is wrapped with an edible film "oblate" made from starch and agar.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Happy New Year!

I've tons of things I want to achieve in 2010. As the tradition of Japan, I visited Yasaka Shrine to pray for the prosperous year.

There are lines of tables to sell special new year items of omamori (amulets), omikuji (fortune telling papers), ema (votive plaques), hamaya (arrow shaped goodluck charm), etc.

And lots of food stalls along the way. Noodles, fried chicken, tako-yaki...

After my New Year's visit, I walked through the crowds of the Shrine (West Gate) to the Shijo Dori Avenue and then to "Pontocho" for New Year's Party with friends.