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?
Because cherry blossoms are graceful.
Today I would like to introduce Cherry blossom, Samurai spirits and Japanese sakura foods.
- The word of "Isagiyoi(潔い)"
- Sweets (和菓子)
The word of "Isagiyoi(潔い)"
Japanese people have graceful as our motto for life.
“Isagiyoi(潔い)” 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.
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.
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.
In Japan, there are ingredients made from cherry blossoms and other unique them that are only used in spring.
Sakura an (桜あん)
We call red beans paste “An” or “Anko”.
This Sakuraan paste which is mixing cherry leaves and red bean paste is launched only in spring.
It has slightly scent of cherry blossoms and elegant taste.
Japanese people pickles cherry blossoms and leaves in salt and add them to food, is called “Sakurazuke“. We use this into sweets or 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.
Domyoji means the Domyoji Temple at Fujiidera in Osaka. The flour made here is called Domyoji flour.
This is used to dye it pink for spring.
This temple is famous for its nunnery. It is also famous for one of the plays in Kabuki.
The original pronunciation is “Dou- myou- ji” which is three syllables.
Japanese sweets are called wagashi. There are about 100 types of these, which I will introduce on a separate page.
“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.
This confectionery sales company also sells flour, yeast, and many kinds of ingredients from various countries.
Monaka (もなか / 最中)
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…
Mushi pan (蒸しパン)
This is sakura flavored steamed bread. “mushi” means “steamed” and “pan” means bread in Portuguese.
Japanese people often eat steamed buns as a snack.
A specialty of Ehime Prefecture, the roll cake is filled with red bean paste. The outside of the cake is Sakura colored.
“Ichi” means 1. “roku” means 6.
Sakura shaped marshmallows in a cherry blossom flavored cafe latte.
This is a great pick-me-up! Kawaii!!
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.
There are also other sakes and cocktails made with cherry blossoms. I will introduce them on a separate page😄