FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (3)-22017/11/14（Tue）
♪ Chestnut Confectionery of Obuse in Nagano Prefecture
☆It is said that Tsunemichi Hagino who was Tanba Takayama castle owner (in Nantan City of Kyoto Prefecture) planted chestnuts brought from Nantan to Obuse (Obuse Town now) in 1367. This is said to be the beginning of the cultivation of chestnuts in Obuse. Since then, Obuse became a producing place of chestnuts. And in the middle of the Edo period, Ikuemon Sakurai created a dry confection of chestnut (“Kurirakugan” in Japanese). Since then, the generations of the Sakurai Family have developed chestnut confectionary. And still develops and sells chestnut confections. Obuse is a cultural city. Kozan Takai who was the Cofucian scholar and painter invited “Hokusai Katsushika” who was a famous painter of Ukiyoe to Obuse. Kozan met with 83-year old “Hokusai” in Edo. “Ukiyoe” is a Japanese woodblock print pictures created in the Edo period. The lifetime of “Hokusai” was 89 year old (1760-1849). It is said that “Hokusai” visited Obuse four times during 83-88 year old, and made creative activities. This is the reason why there is “Hokusai Hall” in Obuse.
♪ Local cuisines of Nagano Prefecture, “Oyaki” and “Gohei Mochi”
☆"Oyaki" was originally made and eaten in regions where rice was not harvested. First wheat flour and/or buckwheat flour are mixed with water and stretch it thinly to make skin which is to wrap “Nozawanazuke”, vegetables (eggplant, mushrooms, pumpkin, walnut and so on), trout,,etc all of which are produced in Nagano Prefecture. “Nozawanazuke” is a pickles of the leaf vegetable taken in Nozawa Onsen Village of Nagano Prefecture. The wrapped thing is baked to make “Oyaki”.
The birthplace of “Oyaki” was Azumino (Azumino City now) area, and it spread throughout whole Nagano Prefecture.
☆ "Gohei Mochi" which is a cuisine of rice cake. ”Mochi” is made of glutinous rice pounded into paist, “Gohei” may be come from first name of a woodcutter who made a “Mochi” as a snack. But in the other theory represents that the shape of “Gohei Mochi” resembles “Gohei” that is wooden wands decorated with zigzag paper streamers used for the Shintoism ceremony. This theory is generally accepted. “Gohei Mochi” was made in Ina and Kiso area in the southern part of Nagano Prefecture as a local cuisine or snack by the residents of the mountain in the middle of the Edo period. In addition to Nagano Prefecture, similar things can be eaten at Gifu, Toyama, Aichi, Shizuoka and Yamanashi Prefectures. Glutinous rice is cooked remaining rice grains somewhat. After it was shaped into a flat elliptical shape (sandal or oval shape), it was poured cooked with sauce which was made with soy sauce or miso contained with sesame, walnut, perilla, sugar and so on. Finally it was baked to make “Gohei Mochi”.
♪ Relation between Average Life Span and Salinity in Nagano Prefecture
☆The average life span in Nagano Prefecture, according to the authorized data in 2010, was 80.88 year old for men and 87.18 year old for wemen. Both ages are the first rank in all prefectures in Japan. For reference, The average life span in Nagano Prefecture was ninth rank in men and twentysixth in women in 1965.
☆Nagano Prefecture was the No. 1 mortality rate due to stroke in 1965. However, in 2010, the number of deaths by stroke in Nagano Prefecture, that is, the deaths of stroke in Nagano prefecture decreased to 54 males and about 32 females per 100,000 population. One of the reasons why the number of deaths due to stroke was high is that Nagano Prefecture people like pickles such as “Nozawnazuke” and miso soup which contained a lot of salt.
Here, next section will be mentioned “Salinity” which greatly influence health, particularly, stroke.
♪ About Salinity (Influence on blood pressure and stroke)
☆Continuing large amount of salt intake for many years into human body causes high blood pressure and results in stroke.
For Japanese, salted food staffs such as vegetables and fish play important role as member of meal. Also, we like cuisines to taste with miso soup and soy sauce, which have also caused a large amount of salt intake. Therefore, stroke due to too much salinity was a problem that should not be ignored.
♪ About Japanese Pickles (“Tsukemono”)
☆Next, the salinity of Japanese pickles (“Tsukemono” in Japanese) will be focused. “Tsukemono” has played a role as the supplier of salinity to Japanese people. Salt concentration of ”Tsukemono” gradually declined. Prior to 1954, the salinity concentration of “Tsukemono” was usually over 10%. The following are the change of salinity concentration (%) for some “Tsukemono” from 1960 to 1999 (the change is shown by ⇒). ‟Umeboshi” (about 20 ⇒ about 8), ”Fukujinnzuke” (10～10.5 ⇒ 5～5.2 ), “Kimchi” ( 4 ⇒ 2), “Takuan” ( 12～ 14 ⇒ 4 ～ 5).
♪ Strategy for longevity undertaken by Nagano Prefecture
☆In Nagano Prefecture, since Dr, Shunichi Wakatsuki came to the Saku General Hospital in Saku City of Nagano Prefecture in 1950, himself and his proponents made efforts to improve the dietary habits and social activity of Nagano Prefecture people who were rather conservative.
☆In Nagano Prefecture, it was thought that there was an unfavorable chain of a large amount of salt intake ⇒ high blood pressure ⇒ stroke ⇒ short lifetime. Therefore, in order to prolong the average life span in Nagano Prefecture, Dr, Wakatsuki and his proponents challenged the problem of reducing the salt intake of the prefectural people. Since the latter half of the 1960 's, "reducing salt movement" was promoted by citizen meetings, etc. There is no doubt that the "reduing salt movement" has definitely contributed greatly to extending the average life span of Nagano Prefecturel people.
To the extension of the average life span, there are reasons other than salt-reduction.
It seems that Nagano prefecture' s geography and climate, serious prefecturality, "few fast food shops" etc are also related to the extending the average life span in Nagano Prefecture.
Nagano prefecture is full of charm including delicious ingredients, local cuisines, hot springs and winter sports. Everyone please go to Nagano !
♪ Grape of Yamanashi Prefecture
☆The yield amount of grape in Yamanashi Prefecture is No.1 among all Japanese prefectures. It is said that grape of Japan was come by passing through the “Silk Road”. After European grapes arrived in China, a priest brought grape from old China to cultivating it around the present Katsunuma Town of Yamanashi Prefecture in 718. This is a traditional theory.
☆In 1186,”Kageyu Amemiya” of Kamiiwasaki (Katsunuma Town now) found a wild grape and transplanted to his own field. This was the first cultivation of grape in Yamanashi Prefecture. Afterwards, the ”Amemiya Family” plays a central role in grape cultivation in Yamanashi.
On the other hand, “Takeda Family” had governed “Kai” (Yamanashi Prefecture now) for long time, especially, “Shingen Takeda” who was the 19th Lode of “Takeda Family” was strong and smart Shogun. He bothered the strongest “Shogun”, “Ieyasu Tokugawa”. But the “Takeda Family” was destroyed in 1582. After the “Takeda Family”, the” Asano family” governed “Kai”. This Family encouraged the cultivation of grape in Yamanashi.
In 1771, “Eikichi Amemiya” moved grape seedlings to the present Katsunuma Town.
In 1877, engineers went from ”Kai“ to France to get method how to make wine. As a result, Yamanashi Prefecture is number one in producing wine in Japan at present.
“Takesuke Amemiya” began the cultivation of a grape species “Delaware” in the present Enzan City in 1886.
Since the Kofu Basin where is located in the northern part of the prefecture and surrounded by mountains, the basin shows rather large temperature difference between day and night time. It is not easy task for people related to the grape cultivation in Yamanashi Prefecture to have continued their efforts about 830 years.
♪ ”Hoto” (Unique Noodle Cuisine of Yamanashi Prefecture)
☆As a food culture of wheat in China, there is a kind of sweet called "Putto" .This "Putto" is said to be the etymology of "Hoto". In ancient time, people in the upper class of China preferred eating “Boiled Putto”, that is, the origin of “Hoto”. Because a high priest told “Shingen Takeda” about “Boiled Putto” of China, “Shingen” requested cooks of “Takeda Family” to make “Hoto” and ate it. “Hoto” was liked by Shingen and “Hoto” become popular among ordinary people in Yamanashi later. ”Hoto” is a Yamanashi's delicious local noodle cuisine boiled in miso soup with thick hearty Udon noodles, mushrooms, chicken, pork, fried bean-curd, pumpkin etc. Yamanashi Prefecture is said to be more convenient natural conditions for the production of wheat than rice. By using such wheat, "Hoto" was created. “Hoto” can be eat in not only Yamanashi regions but also in whole Japan now.
♪ ”Awabi no Nigai” (Boiled Cuisine of Abalone) , the Preserved Food Specilty of Yamanashi Prefecture・・・Why is there such shellfish cuisine while Yamanashi Prefecture does not face any sea?
☆Like ”Hoto,” “Shingen” liked this cuisine. This is a preserved diet boiled with whole body of abalone in soy sauce. In old time, in order to procure sea food stuffs including salt, “Kai” (Yamanashi Prefecture now) was depend on “Suruga” (Shizuoka Prefecture now) facing the Pacific Ocean. Since Shingen had been treated with abalone’s cuisines at Suruga, he wanted to eat the cuisines in “Kai”. So wisdoms around Shingen offered an idea that abalons are put into a barrel and soaked in soy sauce to avoid to decaying. During it is carried by horse from Suruga to Kai, by a synergistic effect of horse body temperature it will becomes good taste. We are very impressed with the wisdom of old people.
Thus, since Yamanashi Prefecture has many food materials and cuisines with history, please go and eat !
☆In the Civil War Period, there is a Shogun in Echigo (Niigata Prefecture now) as strong and as ”Shingen”. His name is “Kenshin Uesugi” who was the rival and enemy of “Shingen”. We know that ”Kenshin” presented salt to “Shingen”. That has been well known as an anecdote, “To give salt To Enemy”. We use this anecdote as a beautiful friendship. But when we think the human relation between “Shingen” and “Kenshin”, is it true friendship in this case?
♪ Next will be mentioned for the food culture of Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa Prefectures and Tokyo Metropolis as Food Culture Anecdotes Part 1 (4).
Refer to FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (4)-1 (Chiba and Saitama Prefectures) 2017/12/11
Refer to FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (3)-1（Tochigi and Gunma Prefectures) 2017/10/17