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What is Eho-maki (Lucky Direction Sushi Roll) and why people eat it in silence on Setsubun (3 February) in Japan?

It’s Setsubun on 3 February each year in Japan.

“Setsubun (節分) is the day before the beginning of spring in Japan.” (From Wikipedia)

Setsubun is known for the special ritual called Mamemaki(bean throwing), but have you ever heard of Eho-maki?

It’s a sushi roll eaten facing that year’s Eho (lucky/good fortune direction) strangely in silence for good luck on Setsubun in Japan.
The Eho changes every year and the Eho for 2019 is east-northeast.

The following video “Lucky Eho Maki (Salmon Avocado Alasca Futomaki Sushi Roll) Recipe 福を呼ぶ恵方巻き レシピ” by ochikeron shows you how to make Eho-maki.
More about Eho-maki, ingredients and how to make directions can be found on the linked Youtube page.

I grew up in Hiroshima, and when I was little, I did Mamemaki (bean throwing and eating :)), but didn’t know about Eho-maki until I moved to Osaka for my university.

I was surprised (a bit shocked) when I first heard of the Eho-maki because a friend told me that her all family members would eat it in the same room, facing the same direction (the year’s Eho), in SILENCE!!!
Can you imagine that???

I think Eho-maki is now widely known regardless of the region in Japan.

Do you want to know how strange it is to eat Ehomaki in silence, and how it became widely known?

Check the following video How to Eat Eho-maki, Japan’s “Lucky Direction” Sushi Roll, and Get Rich! 恵方巻の正しい食べ方(英語版) by Japan Headlines.

I just also want to mention that Eho-maki food waste was on the news last year (2018).

‘Lucky direction’ sushi roll trend makes a wasteful winter’s end (THE ASAHI SHIMBUN on February 20, 2018)

I think it’s good to keep the tradition, but hope the food waste would be minimised this year.
Probably, one of the best solutions is to make your own Eho-maki as you need it!

Comparison of three different price level Sushi restaurants in Japan


BuzzFeedVideo
Published on 30 Sep 2018

I haven’t been to any of the three sushi restaurants, so very much enjoyed watching this video.

Which restaurant are you most keen to try?


Revolving Sushi Bar Kurasushi
Ikebukuro Sunshine 60 street store
1-29-1, Higashiikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo Saint-Tropez Ikebukuro building 6F

Revolving Sushi Bar Kurasushi Homepage
Menu, Location Search for all Kurasushi branches in Japan etc.


Sushi Dokoro Shun Yushimamise (GURUNAVI -Japan Restaurant Guide)
1-13-6 Ueno, Taito, Tokyo
*One of the restaurant review site (not GURUNAVI) says it will be closed for good on 31 October 2018. Please check with the restaurant in advance if you are planning to visit there.


GINZA Kyubey
8-7-6 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo


Wagashi – Traditional Japanese Sweets

They are mostly made from rice or beans and sweetened with natural ingredients.
(My father has diabetes, but his Japanese doctor says it okay to eat wagashi, but not Western sweets.)

和菓子(Wagashi) … 和(Wa = Japanese) + 菓子(Gashi/Kashi = confectionery)
和食(Washoku) … 和(Wa = Japanese) + 食(Shoku = meal)

和 also has so many different meanings such as sum, harmony, concord, peace, peacefulness, serenity, calm, calmness and quiet.

Wagashi is not just sweets, different wagashi for each season or traditional occasions… it is so much more than that!

Watch the video and enjoy the art of Washoku, and its beauty.

Sushi Saito, a 3 Michelin Star sushi restaurant in Tokyo


Saito: The Sushi God of Tokyo by Simon and Martina (Video length: 17:04)

I think there is no need for me to explain…
Just enjoy watching how the chef, Takashi Saito, prepares beautiful Sushi, starting early morning from the Tsukiji, the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world.
And also how Simon and Martina enjoy eating those beautiful mouth watering Sushi!!!

Yellowtail (鰤 – Buri)
Fatty Tuna (大トロ – Ootoro)
Small Scallops (小柱 – Kobashira)
Pickled Gizzard Shad (コハダ/小鰭 – Kohada)
Marinated Red Tuna (マグロのヅケ – Maguro no Zuke)
Marinated Salmon Roe (イクラ – Ikura)
Pickled Mackerel (鯖棒鮨 – Saba Bou Zushi)
Sea Urchin (ウニ – Uni)
Golden Cuttlefish (墨イカ – Sumi Ika)
Sea Eel (穴子 – Anago)

Throughout the video, you will feel the chef Saito’s passion for Sushi!

Sushi is circling in my head right now. 🙂
The video made me sooooo hungry! I’m sure it will make you hungry, too.

SUSHI SAITOU
ARK Hills South Tower 1F
1-4-5 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Have you ever wondered about the right way to eat sushi?


How to Eat Sushi: You’ve Been Doing it Wrong by Munchies (Video length: 06:25)

In the above video, the owner chef of the Sushi Bar Yasuda, Naomichi Yasuda, will show you how to eat Sushi in the right way!

Did you know Sushi Rice is as important as (or more important than) the fish?
Did you know that there is Special Soy Sauce for Sushi?
The chef will tell you about Ginger, Wasabi, Nori seaweed etc.
Then he will tell you how to eat rolled sushi and nigiri-zushi.

I knew that we should dip only the fish side of the nigiri-zushi into soy sauce, but even many Japanese do the rice side into soy sauce. I think it’s because it’s a little tricky to do it correctly with chopsticks.

BTW the salmon came from New Zealand, where I live!!!

Now you know how to eat Sushi in the right way, so why don’t you eat Sushi for lunch or dinner today?

SUSHI BAR YASUDA
Minami-Aoyama426 Building B1
4-2-6 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo

High quality Japanese eggs – people can eat them raw

Watch the above video to find out how the high quality Japanese eggs are produced.

Why do Japanese eat raw eggs?
Japanese eggs are safe to eat raw and it is quite common for people to eat raw eggs.
“Tamago Kake Gohan” (raw egg on rice) is a popular Japanese breakfast menu and people eat Sukiyaki dipped in raw egg. (It may sound odd or yuck to some, but they are quite nice! Try them in Japan when you have a chance.)

What is Umami? One of the key factors in Washoku

Have you heard of the word, Umami?

Umami (/uˈmɑːmi/), or savory taste, is one of the five basic tastes (together with sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and saltiness). — Umami (From Wikipedia)

It’s a Japanese loanword, but the taste is universal.

Have you ever found it hard to describe the subtle taste of Dashi stock(Japanese Dashi broth)?
It’s Umami.

Not sweet, not sour, not bitter, not salty, but tasty!!!

Washoku at Narita International Airport

Visiting Japan through Narita International Airport?
If so, try some Washoku, Japanese cuisine at the airport.

About a month ago (17 November 2016), Narita Airport opened NARITA Dining Terrace, which is a new area on the 4th floor of the Central Building in Terminal 1 including six authentic Japanese restaurants.
Those restaurants are the ones you can find in the central city of Tokyo, but now you can taste their quality authentic Japanese cuisine while at the airport.

New 6 Japanese Restaurants “NARITA Dining Terrace” Open ! (Narita International Airport Official Website)

 

Not only the above six Japanese restaurants, but also there are other restaurants at the Narita Airport, where you can try some Japanese food.
Here is a list of them for you:

Terminal 1, Central Bldg, 5th Floor

Homemade Udon Noodles KINEYAMUGIMARU
Udon noodle, tempura, onigiri
* This restaurant’s kitchen is halal certified.

KAISEN MISAKIKO
Kaitenzushi (Conveyor belt sushi)

Williams
Fried pork cutlet, curry dishes

 
Terminal 1, Central Bldg, 4th Floor

KEISEI YUZEN
Japanese-style family restaurant specializing in set menus (fish and meat dishes, tempura, sashimi and udon noodles)

NAGASAKASARASINA NUNOYATAHEE
Soba noodles

Yakiniku syokudou Yanma
Grilled meat dishes

Tonkatsu shinjuku saboten
Deep-fried pork cutlets

Japanese Ramen Tomita
Ramen noodles

gihey
A new brand of Kyoto’s established rice connoisseurs, Hachidaime Gihey

Tsukiji – Sushiiwa
Sushi

NANOSATO
Wazen(Japanese-style set meals), donburi, udon and soba noodles

SUSHI YURAKU
Sushi

Dashichazuke EN
Dishes with the rich taste of the highest quality dashi stock

 
Terminal 1, Central Bldg, 3rd Floor

My Favorite Japanese Foods TATSU
All-time favorites from Japanese household menus (Udon noodles, hamburger steak, curry, Sukiyaki, Ochazuke, Tempura rice bowl, fried noodles, Japanese stew etc.)

 
Terminal 1, No.3 Satellite, 3rd Floor

Sushi Kyotatsu
Sushi
*After passport control.

 

Terminal 2, Main Building, 4th Floor

TENTEI
Tempura
* This restaurant’s kitchen is halal certified.

SOJIBOU
Soba noodles

obon de gohan
A cafe serving healthy, well-balanced meals (Set meals with generous servings of vegetables, meat and fish dishes, Dashichazuke(rice served with dashi soup), Udon noodles)

TONKATSU INABA WAKO
Pork cutlet dishes (Some chicken cutlet dishes as well)

SUSHIDEN
Sushi

Sushi Misakimaru
Edo style sushi and set menus

SANBEI
Udon wheat noodles and soba buckwheat noodles

KYOTARU
Takeaway sushi

Sushi-go-round GANSOZUSHI
Kaitenzushi(Conveyor belt sushi)

CAFE & DINING N’s COURT
A spacious cafeteria with over 200 seats (Japanese food to Western and Chinese cuisine)

TAKOBON
Takoyaki(Octopus Balls – wheat flour-based cooked batter balls containing pieces of octopus.)

 
Terminal 2, Main Building, 2nd Floor

YOSHINOYA
Beef on rice donburi

 
Terminal 2, Satellite, 3rd Floor

YOSHINOYA Satellite
Beef on rice donburi
*After passport control.

BLUE SKY MISO KITCHEN
Japanese dishes with Miso
*After passport control.

 

Restaurants & Shops at Terminal 3

Terminal 3, 2nd Floor

Miyatake Sanuki Udon
Udon and soba noodles

Nagasaki Champon Ringer Hut
Champon noodles

BOTEJYU EXPRESS
Teppanyaki

TATSU SUSHI
Sushi

Hope the above list is helpful!

Are you serious? Strawberry shortcake instant yakisoba noodles

Myojo Yakisoba Ippei-chan Shortcake
Photo: Myojo Foods

It’s less than a month before Christmas, and you may be thinking of a Christmas cake.
Here in New Zealand, where I live, it’s common to have a rich fruit cake for Christmas.
(By the way, I thought ‘Christmas mince pie’ was made from beef mince until the very moment I had it the first time. :-))

Unlike in New Zealand, it’s quite common in Japan to have a strawberry shortcake for Christmas.
But not Strawberry shortcake instant Yakisoba noodles!!!

Strawberry shortcake instant Yakisoba noodles are set to cause a stir this Christmas (RocketNews24)

It’s available nationwide in Japan from 5 December 2016.
It comes with vanilla flavoured mayo…

This is not the first time!
Myojo released Yakisoba noodle with chocolate sauce earlier this year.
We try new yakisoba noodles with chocolate sauce (Spoiler: it’s awful) (RocketNews24)

Hmm… Strawberry shortcake Yakisoba noodle or Chocolate Yakisoba noodle…
Which would you like to try?

Must eat food in Japan

“What should I eat when I visit Japan?”

This is one of the most common questions, people ask me before they visit Japan.
Hmm… it’s a really good question.
There are so many tasty different sort of food in Japan, which I wish everyone has a chance to try.
And what I think my non-Japanese friends would like to eat (and enjoy the taste!), is not always the same as what they actually would.

So I found an interesting article on The Guardian for you, Best places to eat and drink in Japan: readers’ travel tips.
They are the Japanese food, which people tried and liked!

There are 12 travel tips for best places to eat and drink in Japan in the article, and Takoyaki (Nishiki Market in Kyoto) is the winning tip.
If you’ve never heard of Takoyaki, read the linked article. (We often say all Osaka people have at least one Takoyaki maker at home! Popular and very yummy!!!)

But for me, Okonomiyaki pancakes (Hiroshima) is definitely the winner! (I’m from Hiroshima, by the way.)
Don’t be confused with Kansai (Osaka) style Okonomiyaki.

Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki and Kansai (Osaka) style Okonomiyaki are different.
They are both tasty, but Hiroshima style is better!!! (And as you guessed, people from Osaka will say Kansai style is better if you ask them about Okonomiyaki. :-))

Okonomi Mura (in English)
Okonomi (short for Okonomiyaki) Mura(village), where 20+ eateries are in Hiroshima’s Okonomiyaki building.
The page explains about Okonomimura with a list of restaurants(eateries) and an access map.

If you are visiting the Okonomi Mura area, also check:
Restaurants near Okonomi Mura