Washoku Explained

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!

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.

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

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!!!