FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (5)-22018/04/19（Thu）
♪ ”Toyama Bay” and ”Firefly Squid (Hotaruika in Japanese)” of Toyama
☆Toyama Bay having depth of 1000m or more with indigo-blue color is one of three major deepwater bays in Japan (others are Suruga Bay and Sagami Bay). Therefore, it is said to be “natural large and deep fish-pond”. There is a layer of deep sea water in bottom of the pond.
☆”White shrimp (Shiroebi in Japanese)” and “Hotaru-ika” live in the depth of 300～600m and 200m in Toyama Bay, respectively. Both are designated as the Toyama Prefecture’s fish together with yellow tail fish (Buri in Japanese).
☆Toyama Prefecture is the largest producing area of “Hotaru-ika” . This squid has a light emitter on a tentacle or body surface. When they touch something, they emit a blue-green color like a firefly (Hotaru in Japanese) and protect them from their enemies.The mechanism for emitting light in “Hotaru-ika” is a chemical reaction in which a chemical substance called ”luciferin” is converted to a luminescent substance by an enzyme called “luciferase”. Dr. Osamu Shimomura who discovered luminescent substances called GFP from “Owan-kurage”. As a result, he was awarded the Nobel Prize. Dr. Shimomura was said to have participated in elucidation research of the luminescent material of “Hotaru-ika” at his young age.
♪ ”Yellowtail (Buri in Japanese)” of Toyama
☆Yellow tail fish (Buri in Japanese) caught during the coldest period (from the end of November to the beginning of February) in Toyama Bay. Such “Buri” is called “Kan-Buri” in Japanese. It is very famous because of its good fat and good taste. The weather of strong winds and rough waves of the above season is called “Buri-okoshi” in Japanese which is said to be an information that “Buri” will come soon. “Buri” that comes beyond such rough wave has physical strength and much fat.This is “Kan-Buri”. It is worth just going to Toyama to eat Sushi using “Kan-Buri”.
☆In Toyama Prefecture, food tradition and custom are still kept well today. One of such food culture in Toyama Prefecture is "Kelp (Konbu in Japanese) food culture". In the annual expense for purchasing “Konbu”l of one household, Toyama City occupies No. 1 sutuation in Japan for nearly 50 years. As a result, "Konbu food culture (Kombu culture)” grows in Toyama Prefecture. The driving force for “Konbu culture” in Toyama Prefecture may be "Kitamae ship (Kitamae Bune in Japanese)" and "Migrate workers” from Toyama to Hokkaido" in the Meiji Period.
☆Maeda family of Kaga Clan made and developed the "Kitamae Bune” which was worked from the Edo period to the Meiji period. "Kitamae Bune” loaded Konbu, Herring, Salmon, etc. in Ezo (Hokkaido now) and dropped off them at various ports in Japan. On the other hand, “Kitamae Bune” carried various products of the visited regions to Ezo. Thus, “Kitamae Bune” carried a large amount of Konbu and dropped it at ports of Fushiki and Shinminato in Toyama Prefecture. The ship carried Miso, soy sauce, medicine, etc from Toyama to Ezo.
☆ When entering the Meiji period, personnel was necessary for cultivating Hokkaido, and many people went to Hokkaido from all over Japan as "Migrate workers". So, many Toyama people went to Hokkaido because the experience of fishery and diligent people in Toyama were wanted for working in Konbu production area of Hokkaido. In Rausu of Hokkaido where is famous as Konbu production site, 70% of migrants were people from Toyama Prefecture. This "migrant" people from Toyama sent Konbu to their relatives and friends in Toyama Prefecture. These are the reasons why Konbu culture grew up in Toyama Prefecture.
☆It is said that the influence of culture of Kanazawa and Kyoto is strong on west region of Toyama Prefecture and east region of the prefecture is influenced by culture of Edo. A good example is seen in “Zoni” which is a Japanese nationwide cuisine to eat in the new year. For “Zoni”, basically vegetables and sticky rice cake (“Mochi” in Japanese) are used as the ingredients which vary from region to region in Japan. As soup of “Zoni”, soy sauce and Miso are generally used.
For example, in the case of “Zoni”, circle shaped “Mochi “is used and boiled it in Miso taste soup in Kansai area including Kyoto. Meanwhile, in Kanto area, baked corner cut “Mochi” is used and boiled in soy sauce taste soup. “Zoni” of Toyama is a mixed type of Kansai style and Kanto style, that is, what made boiled cut mackerel and tailored soy sauce is common.
♪ Rice of Niigata Prefecture
☆Production volume of rice in Niigata Prefecture is always ranked number one nationwide together with Hokkaido. Among them "Koshihikari" is famous. The descendants of “Koshihikari” are “Akitakomachi”, “Hitomebore”,” Kirara 397”,” Natsu Hikari”, and so on.
♪ About Salmon of Murakami
☆ There is a city called Murakami City in Niigata Prefecture. It is a city of calm with history and culture. Salmon, “Murakami Beef” and “Murakami Tea” are well known as Murakami's products. The description that salmon was taken from Miomote River flowing through Murakami City was seen in the middle of the Heian period. Although the harvest amount of salmon taken from the river gradually declined, in the middle of 1700 Buheiji Aoto who was a samurai in Murakami clan is said to have recovered the reduced amount due to ingenuity to protect the spawning of parent salmon. His performance is said to be the first salmon farming in the world.
☆It seems that salmons flew from Miomote River during the Heian period. In the Edo period salmons served the finances of the Murakami clan and was presented to influential people such as Shogun. However, from the middle of the Edo period, salmon harvests began to gradually decline, and the clan's finances were tight. At such time ( middle of 1730's ) , Buheiji appeared.
☆He enthusiastically observed and studied the habits of salmon, and as a result, he learned about the regressiveness of salmon. From that habit, he will conceive of protecting salmon spawning and helping laying eggs. Therefore, he thought that the salmon moved up Miomote River needed a place to lay eggs with confidence. For that purpose, he devised to stop the diversion of the river. This work took 30 years. So that the amount of the harvested salmon recovered and then finances of the clan revived.
♪ ”Sado Island (Sadogashima)”
☆”Sado Island (Sadogashima in Japanese)” is located western part of Niigata Prefecture and is well known to be the largest island in Japan. Speaking of Sado, "Sado Gold Mine (Sado Kinzan in Japanese)” and " Japanese folk song (Sado Okesa in Japanese)" are famous.
☆In ancient time of Japan, people those who had committed crime were sent to remote islands as penalties that was said as “Shimaokuri” in Japanese. This means “exiling to islands”. Ieyasu Tokugawa (the first Shogun of the Tokugawa family of the Edo period) encouraged the development of “Sado Kinzan” and therefore the sinners sent due to “Shimaokuri” were launched and worked at “Sado Kinzan”. Eventually, “Sado Kinzan” achieved the world’s best gold output in 17th century.
☆There is the theory that those sinner workers are able to enjoy drinking, singing and dancing with the folk song called “Sado-Okesa” once a year.
☆”Sadogashima” has been hated by political and power persons for 700 years from AC 700. So that, many cultural people and intellectuals have been flushed. They elevated the level of culture in “Sadogashima” which were art and so on. This resulted in the establishment of “Sado style culture”.
♪Why do not you visit Niigata Prefecture Including “Sadogasima” ?
♪Next will be mentioned for the FOOD CULTURE of Shizuoka and Aichi Prefectures as FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (6)-1.
Refer to FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (6)-1 (Shizuoka and Aichi Prefectures).
Refer to FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (5)-1 (Fukui and Ishikawa Prefectures).