The national flower of Japan is chrysanthemum, but no flower is as familiar and loved by the Japanese as cherry blossoms. The cherry blossoms is called Sakura in Japanese.
Do you know why cherry blossoms are so deeply loved by the Japanese people?
It is because cherry blossoms are graceful.
Today I would like to introduce Cherry blossom, Samurai spirits and Japanese sakura foods.
The word of "Isagiyoi"
Japanese people have graceful as our motto for life.
“Isagiyoi” in Japanese language.
This “graceful” doesn’t mean elegant or cleanly.
I think this word of “Isagiyoi” is one of the really Japanese.
This thinking is based on Bushido(Samurai spirit), which has been a part of Japanese culture for over 500 years.
The meaning of this word is not stick to anything, forgetting the past once and for all, then going positively toward the future.
Are you sticking to your ex-someone, the company you quit, the old rules, or when you were young…?
No one can change the past.
If that’s the case, The Samurai sprit’s way means let’s make use of the past as one of our experiences and look forward to the future.
Cherry blossoms resemble this spirit of Bushido.
Have you ever seen dried flower cherry blossoms?
I have never seen such them.
The Sakura does not wither, but fall in as their beautiful way at a beautiful time.
So, the state of the cherry blossoms falling in the midst of their beauty looks like the one of ideal for Samurai. Sakura does not stick to their beautiful time and the state.
Foreigners say that it is beautiful to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom. But, Japanese people think it is beautiful to see the state of sakura falls completely and neatly without any hesitating.
And this state is the very “Isagiyoi” for us.
Although there are no more samurai in Japan, the spirit of loving cherry blossoms remains as same as Bushido.
So today I would like to introduce Japanese food using sakura.
Japanese people pickle cherry blossoms and leaves in salt and add them to food, sweets and tea. When using them, we remove salt before use. If too much is added, it becomes too salty, so it is used as an accent in cooking.
Japanese sweets with Sakura paste is sold during March to April limited edition. If you are in Japan during this season, why don’t you try them?
“mochi” means rice cake.This is a typical Japanese sweets made with sakura.
The one wrapped in a thin skin is the Kanto style. Another name is “Choumeiji”…Japanese does not know this name, though.
This another one covered with a grainy skin called Domyoji is the Kansai style. This is ordinary the sakura mochi for Japanese.
The bean paste is used sweet red bean paste usually.
The cherry leaves wrapped around its outsides have a slightly salty taste brings out the flavor of the sweetness. Of course, you can eat whole. With a hint of cherry blossoms, it is a famous wagashi of spring.
Domyoji means the Domyoji Temple at Fujiidera in Osaka. The flour made here is called Domyoji flour.
The temple is famous for its nunnery. It is also famous for one of the plays in Kabuki.
They are fragrant with the flavor of cherry blossoms and have peanuts inside. It is a spring-only snack.
This confectionery sales company also sells flour, yeast, and many kinds of ingredients from various countries.
In Japan, sakura-an paste which is mixing cherry leaves and red bean paste is launched only in spring. We call red beans paste “an” or “anko”.
It has slightly scent of cherry blossoms and elegant taste.
Anpan means bread inside anko. We call bread “pan”.
Bread was introduced to Japan by the Portuguese 500 years ago, so “Pan” is Portuguese. This is not known to the Japanese, though.
Anko+ bread is the best combination. I swear!
This anpan is spring only. This bread is used sakura-an.But, This bread is too sweet that my teeth may melt…awful…
sakura steamed pan
This is sakura flavored steamed bread.
Japanese people often eat steamed buns as a snack.
Ichi roku Tart
A specialty of Ehime Prefecture, the roll cake is filled with red bean paste. The outside of the cake is Sakura colored.
Sakura shaped marshmallows in a cherry blossom flavored cafe latte.
This is a great pick-me-up!
Senbei is a rice cracker. They are cherry blossom shaped crackers with cherry blossom flavor and salt flavor with green seaweed.
This is also only in spring.
This pasta is colored pink with beets. I paired it with a basil sauce. It tasted like ordinary pasta.
The garnish is marinated artichokes.
Next time, I will introduce a drink made with cherry blossoms.