FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (2)-22017/09/21（Thu）
♪ On the impact of “Tohoku Earthquake” in Fukushima Prefecture
☆In Fukushima Prefecture, cereals, vegetables, wild vegetables, mushrooms, fruits, livestock products and marine products have been taken in plenty before the “Tohoku Earthquake”. However, the impact of the “Tohoku Earthquake” including radiation damage on agricultural and marine products was enormous.
☆Regions faced the Pacific Ocean in Fukushima Prefecture suffered tremendous damages by the earthquake itself and derived Tsunami. For example, Shirakawa City, Tomioka Town and many towns in such region were recorded to be upper 6 in Japanese seismic intensity scale. Other municipalities such as Fukushima City (capital city of Fukushima Prefecture), Kawamata Town, Tamura City, Iwaki City, Soma City, etc. were recorded less than 6 in the seismic intensity .These municipalities were also hit by a large Tsunami of 7.6 m - 14.5 m in wave height. For human damage, the number of died and missing people is more than 3,800.
☆Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant of TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Co. Inc.) sufferd big damage from the earthquake and tsunami. As a result, severe radiation leakage occurred from the broken building and power generating equipments of the plant. Leaked radioactivity caused severe radioactive contamination to the natural environment including soil, agricultural products, livestock products and marine products of Fukushima prefecture.
☆However, as mentioned in Miyagi Prefecture section, in Fukushima Prefecture the restoration and recovery from the damages of the earthquake and tsunami have advanced considerably by the efforts and supports from citizen of the prefecture and all Japanese power. Accordingly, in Fukushima Prefecture the food environment is restoring vigorously. Currently the radioactive contamination is decreasing due to the radioactive contamination treatment of contaminated soil etc.
☆For example, according to the announcement by Fukushima Prefecture on August 31, 2017, the monitoring inspection results of the radioactivity for 9039 of 9042 items of agricultural products, livestock products and marine products of Fukushima Prefecture indicated to be safe in the radioactivity level which was below the standard value. Three items that did not pass the safety standard value were one of the wild vegetables and two freshwater fish, Iwana and Yamame.
☆But there are the following reality problems. There are people who can not return to their hometowns from the place they evacuated because the intensity of radiation in their home environment shows more than the safety radioactive value. Namie, Futaba and Okuma Towns correspond to such place at present. In addition, the permanent storage places for the radioactively contaminated soil scraped off are still not decided. And since in the plant of TEPCO’s Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, the reactor core in the nuclear reactor melted down and very high radiation and high temperature have been emitted from the melted down core, there is still problem in the treatment of water used for cooling down of the melted reactor core.
☆Since there is virtually no problem for “Fukushima’s foods”, please visit Fukushima Prefecture and enjoy sightseeing and local cuisines without worrying about excessive harmful rumors to radioactive contamination.
♪ Boiled Pork Cutlet with Sauce on Cooked Rice in Bowl made in Aizu (“Aizu Sosu Katsudon”), Disk Dumplings(“Enban Gyoza”) and Rice Cooked with Boiled Surf Clam (“Hokki Meshi”)
☆ Fukushima Prefecture is divided into three areas from the west side, "Aizu [from name of place (Aizuwakamatsu)] area", "Naka-Dori (means road between sea side and mountain side) area", "Hama-Dori (means road of sea side) area" according to geographical, climatic and historical situation of each area. Eeach area has its own unique food culture and local cuisines. Here, charming local cuisines will be introduced from each area.
☆ "Aizu Sosu Katsudon” has been spreaded around Aizuwakamatsu City in the 1945s. On a cooked rice in bowl, small chopped cabbage and a pork cutlet boiled with sauce and Japanese “Dashi” (like bonito flakes dashi).
☆”Enban Gyoza” is a cuisine whichi was made by a Japanese restaurant in Fukushima City (in Naka-Dori) at the end of the 1945s. “Gyoza” is a dumpling with minced pork and vegetable stuffing. In this “Gyoza” cuisine, baked “Gyoza” are arranged on a large dish in a circle shape. However, in this case, the number of the “Gyoza” on the dish is many outside common sense. It will be 30 pieces (usually less than 10 pieces), and persons born in Fukushima eat all of 30 pieces alone. Since when “Gyoza” is baked with a lot of oil, the “Gyoza” becomes like “Fried Gyoza” whose crispy feeling is preferred by Fukushima’s people.
☆The Surf clam (“Hokki Kai” in Japanese) can be caught off coast of Joban City (in Hama-Dori). “Hokki Meshi” is a local cuisine using “Hokki Kai”. Once this clam was caught too much in this area, so “Hokki Meshi” is a fisherman 's dish. The fishermen cooked various kinds of dishes using “Hokki Kai”. It includes “Hokki Miso”, “Vinegared Hokki Kai”, “Hokki Kai’s Sashimi”, “Hokki Kai’s Tenpura”, “Hokki Kai’s Curry and Salad”, “Baked Hokki Kai with butter” and so on. Among them, the main dish is "Hokki Meshi”.
☆The soup stock made of ”Hokki Kai’s juice”, sake, mirin, ginger, etc. is mixed with rice and then boiled. Finally such cooked rice is further combined with boiled body and string of “Hokki Kai” to make “Hokki Meshi”.
♪ Fermented soybeans of Mito (“Mito Natto”)
☆”Mito” is the capital city of Ibaraki Prefecture. The history of “Mito Natto” is said that the military commander, Yoshiie Hachimantaro (Minamoto), stayed at a house of a rich man living near Mito for several days of 1083 in the course of march for suppressing Tohoku District.
☆The rich man made a boiled soybean for horse feed and he wrapped the boiled bean with straw. Although after several days, the wrapped boiled soybean emitted a strange smell and yarns, it was delicious when eaten. So that the rich man asked Yoshiie’s vassasl to eat the thing. Since the evaluation against taste of the thing by the vassals was good, they offered it to Yoshiie. The taste evaluation by Yoshiie was also good and Yoshiie named it “Natto”. “ Natto” means "beans dedicated to the Shogun,”Yoshiie".
☆Later, Seizaemon Sasanuma who lived in the suburbs of Mito undertook commercialization of “Natto” in 1884. “Natto” was often eaten in Edo at that time. Seizaemon had thought that since soybeans which is the raw material of “Natto”are produced in Ibaraki Prefecture, the “Mito Natto” may be able to sell in Edo. And then, Seizaemon sent Torakichi Abe to Sendai to learn “Natto” manufacturing technology. Torakichi finally succeeded in commercializing “Mito Natto”. Due to starting selling “Mito Natto” at Kiosk [shops in JR (the Japan Railway Company) stations], the name of “Mito Natto” has come to be known all over Japan.
♪ Mitsukuni Tokugawa [ Mito Komon (Komon-sama)]
☆About the great “Shogun”, Ieyasu Tokugawa has been mentioned in the previous Anecdotes of Miyagi Prefecture. The direct line of Ieyasu was called “Tokugawa Family” whose eldest son only basically could become “Tokugawa Shogun”. Sons other than the eldest son must help the “Shogun Family”. Among such helping families, the following three families were called “Tokugawa Gosanke (The Three Families of Tokugawa)”.
☆”Tokugawa Gosanke” were “Owari Tokugawa Family” (in Aichi Prefecture now) that was established by Yoshinao Tokugawa in 1616, “Kii Tokugawa Family” (in Wakayama Prefecture now) that was established by Yorinobu Tokugawa in 1619, and “Mito Tokugawa Family” (in Ibaraki Prefecture now) that was established by Yorifusa Tokugawa in 1619.
☆Mitsukuni Tokugawa was son of Yorifusa of “Mito Tokugawa Family”. He was also called “Mito Komon”. He was not the minister (“Shogun”) but was the vice-minister (“Fuku Shogun” in Japanese) of the “Tokugawa Shogunate”. In ancient time of China, the vice-minister worked in a house with “Yellow Gate (“Komon” in Japanese)”. So, since Mitsukuni had worked in his office as the vice-minister (“Fuku Shogun”) ，people called him “Mito Komon” or “Komon-sama” ( Mr. Komon) despite of no yellow gate at his office.
☆One day when “Komon-sama” treated “Udon” which is a leading noodle in Japan together with “Soba” to a Confician scholar come from China，the scholar gavea Chinese noodle to “Komon-sama” for his return. This story came to us that “Komon-sama” had eaten “Ramen” for the first time in Japan. Furthermore it is said that “Komon-sama” liked cheese, “Gyoza”, “Mito Natto” and so on.
♪ Melon of Ibaraki
☆Ibaraki Prefecture is very rich in agricultural products and seafood products too. The yielding amount of melon in Ibaraki Prefecture has been No.1 in Japan. The reason why Ibaraki Prefecture became the leader in melon production in Japan is that melon farmers and related persons developed the melons from affordable to high price melons and that various species of melon can be harvested for long period from April to November.
☆You are possible to eat “Otome Melon” and “Kinsho Melon” from April to May, “Ibara King” from April to June, “Andes Melon” and “Prince Melon” from May to June, “Quincy Melon” from May to July, “Takami Melon “ from to July and “Earls Melon (Musk melon)” from August to November. So you can eat melons at any price and any time in Ibaraki．
♪ Next will be mentioned for the food culture of Tochigi, Gunma, Nagano and Yamanashi Prefectures as Food Culture Anecdotes Part 1 (3).
Refer to Food Culture Anecdotes Part 1 (2)-1 (Yamagata and Miyagi Prefectures) 2017/09/14