FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (8)-12019/01/25（Fri）
♪ All of the northern part of Tottori prefecture face the Japan Sea. In this prefecture, heavy snow falls in winter, and has a very hot and humid climate in summer. The famous sand dune (“Tottori Sakyu” in Japanese) near Tottori city that is the prefectural capital city. In the western part of this prefecture, there are Sakaiminato city and Yonago city which have large landings of marine products. In agricultural products, Tottori prefecture has special products such as “20 century pear (“Nijuseiki Nashi” in Japanese)” and “Sand Dunes Scallion (“Sakyu Rakkyo” in Japanese), etc. For marine products, “snow crab (“Zuaigani” in Japanese)” and “red snow crab (“Benizuaigani” in Japanese)” are famous. So, many attractive local cuisines using the local food products are abundant in this prefecture.
☆The preference of "food" in Tottori prefecture is that the prefectural people love fruits. The rank of purchase amount of Tottori’s people among all Japanese prefectures is as follows: Pear is 1st , banana 2nd, persimmon 2nd , watermelon 3rd, and orange 5th.
♪ Agricultural Products of Tottori Prefecture
☆Tottori prefecture is agricultural prefecture as well as fishery prefecture. The agriculture is popular approximately all regions in the prefecture. Vegetables and fruits such as rice, shallots, strawberries, persimmons, melons, watermelons, pears, grapes, etc. can be taken abundantly in this prefecture.
☆“20 Century pear (“Nijuseiki Nashi” in Japanese) which is a fruit of a speciality in Tottori prefecture. It is the first discovery of this pear that a 13-year-old boy of Matsudo of Chiba prefecture found it by chance around the trash dump in 1888. After that, Eiji Kitawaki who lived in Tottori city bought and planted 10 seedlings of “Nijuseiki Nashi”. This was the beginning of the cultivation of “Nijuseiki Nashi”. By the way, the name of “Nijuseiki” means the wish which will become a representative pear in 20 century (“Nijuseiki” in Japanese). Consequently, the wish was achieved wonderfully. The good geological feature of the drainage and the climate of sand dune of Tottori (“Tottori Sakyu” in Japanese) had been suitable for cultivating the pear. The cultivation became popular from around 1933.
☆“Sand Dunes Scallion (“Sakyu Rakkyo” in Japanese)” was taken out by the load of Tottori clan from the Koishikawa herb garden in Edo (Tokyo now). When he tried to be brought up it in “Tottori Sakyu”, he found out that the ”Rakkyo” were grow up at “Tottori Sakyu”. This is the start of “Sakyu Rakkyo”. Because purple beautiful blooms of “Sakyu Rakkyo” were open in autumn, the scallion field becomes the wonderful scenery which is like spreading purple carpet.
♪ Livestock products in Tottori prefecture.
☆“Mt. Daisen” is a mountain which located in Daisen town in Tottori prefecture with 1729m in height. Pasturing at the foot of the mountain is popular from old time. “Daisen Ruby” is a brand pork which was developed by Tottori prefecture in 2002. The original pig of “Daisen Ruby” is grown up at the foot of Mt. Daisen.
☆The foot of “Mt. Daisen” produced many Japanese beef cattles which have been raised since the Edo period. A brand beef which was named as “Tottori Beef Olein 55 (“Tottori Wagyu Olein 55” in Japanese)” developed by Tottori prefecture was also obtained from “Daisen Japanese beef cattle”. This brand beef includes more than 55% of oleic acid.
♪ Many kinds of marine products can be taken in Tottori prefecture, because the northern part of the prefecture faces the Japan Sea . For example, snow crab (“Zuaigani” in Japanese), red snow crab (“Benizuaigani” in Japanese), flying fish (“Tobiuo” in Japanese), Spanish mackerel (“Sawara” in Japanese), Tanaka eelpouts (“Tanaka Genge” in Japanese), etc. Let's introduce crabs among them.
☆Snow crab (“Zuaigani") is generally said to be "Matsuba crab ("Matsuba gani” in Japanese)”. The yield of “Zuaigani” in Tottori prefecture is the number one in Japan. And Sakaiminato port mainly contributes to the yield. In addition, in Tottori prefecture, the consumption per household of crab including this crab is also the best in Japan.
☆"Red snow crab (“Benizuaigani"). “Beni” means “red color”. Its shape is similar to “Zuaigani” , but it is taken from the deeper sea than “Zuaigani”. It is red even if not boiled, so this name was given. Although it is considered to be inferior in taste, because it is cheaper than “Zuaigani”, it is not inferior to “Zuaigani” in taste.
♪ Thus, Tottori prefecture is full of vegetables, fruits, livestock and fishery products.
♪ For local cuisines of Tottori prefecture, it is impossible to cover all of the cuisines here, so let's introduce several examples.
☆“Baba-chan Nabe”. For this cooking, a fish, “Tanaka Genge”, is used. Our Japanese often call old ladies “Obaｈ-chan” or “Baba-chan”. Because the face of “Tanaka Genge” is similar to that of old ladies, local people call the fish Baba-chan”.
This cuisine is boiled using tofu, mirin, Chinese cabbage, green onions, edible chrysanthemum, mushrooms such as enoki and shiitake and other vegetables, addition to this fish in a pot. Collagen is full in “Tanaka Genge”. A landlady of Japanese style hotel introduced the recipe of this cuisine.
♪ In Tottori Prefecture, the development of "new local cuisines" is also thriving.
Let’s introduce ”Tottori Curry” among them.
☆“Tottori Curry” is a typical new local cuisine. Tottori prefecture is number one in consumption of curry roux in Japan. This cuisine has developed by such Tottori’s prestige. It is an exclusive roux made by putting local products of Tottori prefecture such as “Zuaigani”, “Sakyu Rakkyo”, “Tottori Wagyu”, etc. As curry soup, Nijuseiki Nashi and maturity tomato grown in “Tottori Sakyu” are also used.
♪ The degree of happiness rank of Tottori prefecture is the 4th place in all Japanese prefectures. This No.4 ranking may be depend on the abundance of food stuff s and local cuisines described above. Indeed you will be happy when eat those.
♪ Shimane prefecture is a country of myths, and this prefecture was the most important area in ancient time, because the Emperor’s Court was there. The prefecture alredy had ironwares at that time. The iconic thing of the culture may be the existence of “Izumo Grand Shrine (“Izumo Taisha” in Japanese) in which “Izumo” means the old name of Shimane prefecture. The shrine was established in 659. Flesh water clams (“Shizimi” in Japanese) that can be taken at “Lake Shinji (“Shinjiko” in Japanese)” and loach (“Dojo” in Japanese) related to Yasugi region are famous. There are also known local cuisines such as “buckwheat noodles of Izumo region ("Izumo Soba" in Japanese), etc.
☆”Shinjiko” is a brackish lake. The species of ‟Yamato clam (“Yamato Shijimi” in Japanese) “ which can be taken at Shinjiko grows up with water containing salt up to 4 m in depth. It is characterized by nutrient rich and delicious white extract that seeps out of shellfish. The yield amount of the “Shijimi” accounts for 48% of the whole amount of “Shijimi” of Japan. “Yamato Shijimi” is used for pasta, gratin and ramen in addition to Japanese cuisines (“Washoku” in Japanese).
♪ A relation among a folk song sung at Yasugi region ( “Yasugi Bushi” in Japanese), loach (“Dojo” in Japanese) and a method for catching loach with basket (“Dojo Sukui” in Japanese) will be introduced here.
☆About 300 years ago, a young "Geisha" girl in Yasugi (Yasugi city now) whose name was “Osan” made the prototype of “Yasugi Bushi”. From ancient time, loaches (“Dojo” in Japanese) were cultivated using rice field after rice was harvested in Yasugi . Meanwhile, in the end of the Edo period, people who had harvested “Dojo” were danced at their banquet. They danced with the behavior which shows to catch “Dojo” with basket. At that time, they danced according to the music of “Yasugi Bushi”. Thereafter, “Yasugi Bushi” and “Dojo Sukui” behavior became “Dojo Sukui Dancce (“Djo Sukui Odori” in Japanese)”. Cuisines with “Dojo” are sweetened boiled and dehydrated “Dojo” (“Kanroni” in Japanese), “Dojo soup (“Dojo-jiru” in Japanese)”, boiled cooking in pan (“Yanagawa Nabe” in Japanese), etc.
♪ A local cuisine in Shimane prefecture named as “Heka Yaki”. What is this?
☆“Heka Yaki” is a baking cuisine in which “Heka” means the plow head made from iron and "Yaki” means “ baking”. In old time, agricultural people in local region of Tottori used “Heka” instead of cooking with pot, when they are busy. For cooking “Heka Yaki”, “Dashi” juice made from soy sauce, mirin, etc. and fish such as tilefish (“Amadai” in Japanese), grunt (“Isaki”in Japanese), etc, and vegetables such as onion, eggplant, burdock (“Gobo” in Japanese) are entered into the shallow pot and boiled. There are many unique local cuisines in Shimane prefecture other than “Heka Yaki.
♪ Japanese confectioneries (“Wagashi” in Japanese) in Matsue
♪ ”Matsue” is the capital city of Shimane prefecture. It must be mentioned about the load of “Matsue Clan” whose name is Harukuni Matsudaira or “Fumai-ko” as his nickname when we mention “Wagashi” in Matsue. Generally people of his clan and even we use “Fumai-ko” when say about him. He came to Matsue from Edo (Tokyo now) in 1768 and developed the culture of tea ceremony (“Sado” in Japanese) and Matsue’s Wagashi. “Fumai-ko” has rebuilt the finances of the “Matsue clan” just before the bankruptcy due to natural disasters. He was also a wonderful cultural person. In “Sado”, he occurred the “Fumai School” which raised both “Sado” and “Wagashi”
☆ Akiko Kin of Osaka City University published an article titled “Matsue and Wagashi”. According to her article, “Sado” and “Wagashi” of Matsue seem to be characterized by suppressing gaudiness, reflecting the idea of “Fumai-ko”. The Fumai-ko’s idea is characterized by suppressing gaudiness,allowing common people to drink tea or eat ”Wagashi” in everyday life.
☆The tea ceremony began in the 1190s and became very popular in the 1570s. “Wagashi” at this time were something like rice crackers, baked wheat flour dissolved in water. Later, sweet confectionaries using sugar came to Japan from China. But such confectionaries could not be eaten for common people, because these were super high class according to using shugar.
☆”Wagashi” was developed in Kyoto and Edo later. In Kyoto the articism was pursued. On the other hand, in Edo, wealthy merchants addition to samurai ate “Wagashi”. But they were classified to be common people as compared with aristocracy in Kyoto. So, “Wagashi” was still expensive in Edo.
☆“Fumai-ko” tried to make common tea ceremony and “Wagashi” in Matsue. However, in fact, “Matsue’s Wagashi” was sufficiently expensive for Matsue’s common people . Accordingly, “Wagashi” gradually disappeared from Matsue. But due to the fact that sugar came to be available cheaply after around 1900. The passion of “Wagash” craftworkers” in Matsue wanted to make “Fumai-ko’s Wagashi” again. Consequently, citizen of Matsue can eat “Wagashi” when they wish to get relux now. Thus, “Fumai-ko’s mind” that he wish to spread ”Wagashi” with reasonable price over Matsue’s common people have succeeded at present.
♪ ”Matsue’s Wagshi” is never expensive (about half price of Kyoto’s). Please come to Shimane prefecture and visit “Izumo Great Shrine”. Furthermore, enjoy the food culture of Shimane prefecture and ea t”Matsue’s Wagashi” in particular.
♪ Next will be mentioned for the FOOD CUTURE ANECDOTES of Okayama, Hiroshimaand Yamaguchi prefectures as FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part1 (8)-2.
Refer to FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (7)-3 (Osaka and Wakayama Prefectures).