FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (6)-12018/06/01（Fri）
♪ ”Tea”(“Cha” in Japanese, which is originated from China) of Shizuoka
☆Production volume of Cha in Shizuoka prefecture is the largest in Japan. The history of Cha was started from very old time, and Cha tree has already been found in China in 2700 BC. Cha has been treated as a medicine in both China and Japan. In the Kamakura period, Zen master named Eisai brought tea seeds from China to Japan. This is said to be the first planting of tea tree in Japan. The introduction of tea to Shizuoka prefecture was performed by Seiikkokushi who was a high priest. For cultivating Cha, it is important the existence of clean water. Furthermore, it is required that this water becomes fog to avoid direct sunlight. Another condition is the temperature difference in a day. These conditions are satisfied in Cha production places in Shizuoka prefecture.
☆There is the following proverb in Japan: ”Young girls those who are not very beautiful in the commonwealth class are sufficiently attractive when they are 18 years old”. This proverb is drived from the parable that “The fragrance from the first hot-water extract (Debana in Japanese) of relatively low grade tea which is called “Bancha” in Japanese (coarse tea) is very good”. Cha is proving to be good for health because its components like catechin, and it also has a role to relax.
♪ Japanese horseradish (“Wasabi” in Japanese) of Shizuoka
☆”Wasabi” has unique sweetness and flavor and has anti-bacterial activity. So, it is used along with Sushi and raw fish (Sashimi in Japanese) to prevent food rot. When Wasabi is kneaded into soy sauce, the anti-bacterial activity of Wasabi is said to decrease sharply together with its flavor and sweetness. After 1800, Wasabi became popular among common people in Edo (Tokyo now) because flavor of Wasabi was fit to the taste of “Edo-mae sushi”.
☆Wasabi of Shizuoka prefecture was found around 1600 by villagers at Amagi region in Shizuoka prefecture. This was the beginning of raising native species. After that, in the middle Edo period the lord of Amagi clan, Kanshiro Itagaki, planted seedlings of Wasabi in Mt. Amagi and made it into an industry.
☆The growth conditions of Wasabi is clean and cold water which should be from spring. In addition, there is no change of water volume throughout the year. Mt. Amagi region satisfies these conditions until now. Consequently, Wasabi of Amagi becomes one of the specialty product in Shizuoka prefecture.
♪ Local cuisines of Shizuoka
☆”Fujinomiya Yakisoba (Japanese fried noodles)”: Fujinomiya city is located in eastern part of Shizuoka prefecture and a part of Mt. Fuji belongs to this city. “Three biggest Yakisoba in Japan” are well known. One of them is “Fujinomiya Yakisoba” and other of which are “Yakisoba”s of Yokote in Akita prefecture and Ota in Gunma Prefecture. In Fujinomiya, originally "Yakisoba" was made by mothers as a snack for their children. Later, the mother’s Yakisoba developed to ” Yakisoba” in specialty shops.
☆For the reason why Yakisoba business developed in Fujinomiya, there were mainly three reasons. First, the paper producing industries were developed in Fuji city where is apart less than 10km from Fujinomiya city. Consequently many workers of the paper industries came to eat relatively cheap “Fujinomiya Yakisoba”. Second, “Fujinomiya Yakisoba” has characteristics which do not find in Yakisobas in other regions. The characteristics are stiffness of the noodles, hard sauce, meat residue (nikukasu in Japanese) and saldine flakes (iwashikezuribushi in Japanese). Third, an organization called “Fujinomiya Yakisoba Academy” was created to promote “Fujinomiya Yakisoba” from various sides such as commercial problems, publicity activity, recipes, etc. Let’s eat “Fujinomiya Yakisoba” while watching Mt. Fuji.
☆”Oden” is a typical Japanese cuisine for winter season. Many different foods are boiled in a large pot with soy sauce soup and dried bonito flakes. The ingredients are bean curd, potatoes, boiled eggs, Konnyaku, radish, kelp rolls and Hanpen etc. We eat each ingredient by wearing hot mustard.
☆”Shizuoka Oden”, this local cuisine was born in Shizuoka city in the Taisho period. and developed after the Second War. One of the features is the black colored soup which is composed of dark colored soy sauce and soup from beef mustle meat. And it is also a stabbing all ingredients using bamboo skewers. We eat it with mustard and Miso.
☆”Baked eel ( Unagi no Kabayaki in Japanese)” of “Lake Hamana (Hamana-ko)”. Hamana-ko belongs to Hamamatsu city. So, there are many Unagi restaurants in Hamamatsu city. In which you can eat Unagi cuisines such as “Unagi no Kabayaki” , “Unagi bowl (Unagi Donburi in Japanese)”, etc. Unagi body after cut away fillets and tail is opened from back side. Such opened body is pierced by iron skewer. And then the pierced body was baked on charcoal fire. It is said that it takes a life time to get skilled baking technique. because of the difficulty of temperature control. Since the taste of sauce is also important, each Unagi cuisine shop has “Secret Sauce”.
☆As written in FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part1 (5)-2 (Sadogashima in Niigata prefecture), in ancient time in Japan, people who had committed were sent to remote islands as penalties that was said as “Shimanagashi” in Japanese. This means “exilling to islands”. The Izu peninsula which located in southern part of Shizuoka prefecture was surprisingly an exile place despite being inland. In fact, Yoritomo Minamoto was caught by his enemy,” Heike”, and swept away to Nirayama in Izu peninsula. “Heike” held the Government in the second half of the 12th century, but later Yoritomo returned from Nirayama to Kamakura . And then he defeated Heike Government.
☆Izu peninsula is one of the most famous sightseeing places in Japan, because many food stuffs such as vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, sea foods, etc. are harvested. Moreover, there are many hot springs and excellent sceneries including Mt. Fuji. Welcome to Izu peninsula.
♪ Aichi prefecture has been divided into "Owari" and "Mikawa" regions for a long time. Between the two regions, the personality, custom and culture are different. As the geography, the plains are spreading in the western and southern parts of the prefecture. So that, agriculture and livestock industry are thriving here. And there are many river flows such as Kiso, Shonai, Yahagi and Toyokawa rivers. Many river fish are taken from those rivers. Furthermore because the prefecture faces sea, marine products are abundant too.
♪ About “Hatcho Miso”
☆“Miso soup” is said to be begun in the Kamakura period. At that time, people drank soup which was juice made by hot water and beans placed in bottom of a vessel. After that, they ate sinking beans in the bottom.
☆The material of "Hatcho Miso" is soy beans, so it is called “Mame (Bean) Miso”. This miso is also called "Red Miso" due to its corler. By the way, “Rice (Kome in Japanese) Miso” is called “Kome Miso” or "White Miso". In Owari region of old days, soybeans were well harvested, Accordingly, “Mame Miso” has been made in Owari with the aid of “Soybean Koji (Mame Koji in Japanese)”.
☆The making method of “Hatcho Miso” is as follows: Using steamed good quality soy beans and salt, “Mame Koji” was made and fermented for more than 2years with water and salt. It seems that the taste is dry , color is dark, and feeling is hard, but salty taste is moderate. Recently, Miso has been evaluated as healthy seasoning, orders from Europian countries have been increased.
☆The origin of name of “Hatcho Miso” was come from “Hatcho Village (Htcho town now)” in Okazaki (Okazaki city now). Hatcho town is located in the place having distance of “Hatcho [ 8 (Hatchi in Japanese) “Cho” by the Japanese old distance scale corresponds to about 880 meters]” from the castle of Ieyasu Tokugawa who was the first Shogun of the Tokugawa family that means the first Shogun of the Edo period. The taste of “Hatcho Miso” is thick and dry and used for local cuisines such as “Miso Nikomi Udon (Miso stewed Udon noodles)”, “Miso Katsu (Miso cutlet), etc.
☆"Kishimen" is udon made from the early Edo period in the Mikawa (now Kariya-shi Imagawa Town), a unique udon with a flat shape. Kishimen is easier to breathe water than ordinary udon, to reduce the moisture of the juice and so short simmering time is better. For general way of eating, after put hot juice on boiled “Kishimen”, add fried Tofu (Abura-Age in Japanese) and chicken meat. It is a way to put plenty of green leek and bonito. Because it used to be that region around Okazaki wheat was much yielded. That may drive flourishing of “Kishimen” and Udon.
☆”Hitsumabushi” is a well known cuisine in Aichi. About the name of “Hitsumabushi”, two eel restaurants came up in the late 1880s. Later, in 1987 one of the two restaurants gained a registered trade mark of “Hitsumabushi”. Consequently other shops could not use the name of “Hitsumabushi”. In the name of “Hitsumabushi”, “Hitsu” was due to a kind of vessel and “Mabushi” came from the meaning that a finely chopping ingredient is sprinkled over a cuisine. The other meaning of “Mabushi” may come from “Mamushi” which means eel in Kansai area including Osaka. Eel is “Unagi” in Japanese.
☆For the vessel for “Hitsumabushi”, a bowl of crockery was used. But since the crockery bowl was often broken in the caurse or delivering the cruisine or collecting dishes after eating takes time and effrt, the founder of this crusine were thought that the vessel of crochery is changed to “Ohitsu” whichi is a wooden barrel with low edge. And another advantage of “Ohitsu” is that food inside can be divided into large groups.
☆The Unagi is baked with special sauce (Tare in Japanese) without steaming process which is done in Kanto area. The baked Unagi with the soup is said “Kabayaki” in Japan. In “Hitsumabushi”. “Kabayaki” is minced and put on cooked rice.In the formal way to eat “Hitsumabushi”, there are four kinds of eating methods. But because the four processes are very complicated even for our Japanese, it will be omitted here.
♪ About “Nagoya Meals (“Nagoya Meshi” in Japanese)”
☆Since Nagoya (Owari and Mikawa in old time) is (was) important historically, geometrically and economically, it gives big influences on Tokyo (Edo) and Osaka (Naniwa). So, "Nagoya Meshi" contains not only Nagoya but also the area around Nagoya. Furthermore, it contains the Chukyo area other than Aichi prefecture and even in Tokyo.
☆Main ingredients of cuisines belonging to “Nagoya Meshi” are “Ogura Toast”, “Hitsumabushi”, “Tenmusu”, “Morning Set in Coffee shop”, “Doteni”, “Misokatsu”, “Misonikomiudon”, “Shachipon”, “Uiro”, ”Nagoya Cochin Chcikin”, “Kishimen”, “Hatchomiso”,etc. There are other kind “Nagoya Meshi” which are not originated from Nagoya, but developed mainly in Nagoya. These are “Curry Udon”, “Fried Shrimp”, “Italian Spaghetti, etc. Therefore, you are good just to understand that “Nagoya Meshi” is matters which can be eaten as a specialty in Nagoya or Aichi area. However, to any of “Nagoya Meshi”, the value of the creative power, ingenuity and development power of the Aichi people inherited from Owari and Mikawa has been used for seasoning foods, cuisines ,processed goods, and coocking methods, eating methods, etc. It is true food culture of Nagoya．Well, let’s introduce ”Ogura Toast” and “Morning Breakfast Service” as famous “Nagoya Meshi”.
☆In ”Ogura (Ogura An)” of “Ogura Toast” is sweet azuki bean paste. 'Ogura Toast' is made by that after butter and margarine were painted on a toasted thick bread, further painted Ogura on it. It is a classic menu in Nagoya’s cafe. The combination of toast and Japanese-style bean past (Ogura An in Japanese) offers exquisite taste. It is said that this “Nagoya Meshi” started after 1921 in a Nagoya’s café.
☆“Morning Breakfast Service at Coffee Shop (Morning Set in Japanese)” were supplied at coffee shops at Ichinomiya city and Toyohashi city for customers and employers, respectively, from 1950 to 1960. In both shops, “Morning Set” were composed of coffee with toasted bread, boiled egg, peanuts and so on. Saladas and “Ogura An” and other items are attached now. And this type of breakfasts are seen in cafes, fast food shops, family restaurants, restaurants in hotels in everywhere in Japan now.
♪Because about the difference in food culture between Kanto and Kansai was described in FOOD CULTURE Anecdotes Part3 Osaka (2) showing several examples, please refer it.
♪”Seasoning of Aichi Prefecture” is basically heavier than the seasoning of Kansai in taste.
☆Although the food culture of Aichi prefecture representative of Nagoya contains both of food culture of Kansai (Osaka) and that of Kanto (Tokyo), as whole the food culture of Aichi prefecture may be influenced somewhat strongly by the food culture of Kanto.
☆For the above way of thinking, it is said that because Ieyasu Tokugawa whose birth place was Aichi opened the government in Edo (Tokyo now). Consequently. many thinks may be influenced by the culture of Edo. However, we should remember the independent Nagoya culture which is neither Kansai nor Kanto has been seen in the Nagoya original "Mamemiso", "Tamari Soy Sauce (Tamari Shoyu in Japanese)", "Ketchup・ Tomato Sauce", "Nagoya Meshi",etc.
♪ Next will be mentioned for the FOOD CUTURE of Gifu and Mie Prefectures.
Refer to FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (6)-2 (Gifu and Mie Prefectures).
Refer to FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (5)-2 (Toyama and Niigata Prefectures).