月別アーカイブ: 2018年9月

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Toast the Beauty of the Harvest Moon with Eikun Jumai Ginjo Koto Sennen!

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Tsukimi Festival Traditions and Culture

Tsukimi festival is traditionally celebrated on the 15th of the 8th month of the old calendar, and in 2018 this jugoya (fifteenth night) falls on September 24th.

Tsukimi festival originates in the Heian era (794 to 1185). In this period, Japanese nobles would gather and read the poetry while drinking sake and viewing the moon. In the Japanese lunisolar calendar, this gathering usually falls on the 8th month. The Japanese believed that the 8th month is the most favorable timing for the moon viewing since the positions of the Earth, sun, and moon further illuminate the night sky.

Later, the event developed to much more; decorations were made, Tsukimi ryori, sake, and other food were shared by everyone viewing the moon. People who attended the gathering also started expressing their gratitude to moon god and praying for another bountiful harvest. Even when the moon is not visible or there is rain, the festival is still being held. The Japanese call it mugetsu (no moon), or ugetsu (rain moon).

The most common activity during Tsukimi is to offer food and sake to the moon. One the most common Tsukimi offerings are Tsukimi-dango. These round white dumplings are usually stacked in a pyramid shape where the tip symbolizes the connection to the spiritual world. People also often eat soba or udon noodles topped with an egg, as the egg represents the moon. Other offerings may include an arrangement of susuki (Chinese silver grass), which is said to protect the home from negative powers.

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Tsukimi festival also celebrates the folklore legend about rabbits living on the moon, which plays a major role in the festival. The story goes like this:

“A long time ago, the spirit of the moon came to earth in the form of an old man. He came upon several animals and begged them for food. The fox offered fish and the badger fruit, but the rabbit had nothing to give, so he had the other animals build a fire and he offered to give himself as a sacrifice to the man by throwing himself into the fire and allowing the beggar to eat him! But before the rabbit could do so, the spirit of the moon transformed back into his original form. He thought that the rabbit was a very kind soul and took it to live on the moon with him.”

To this day, the Japanese continue to honor this old tale. Restaurants, fast food chains, and other places in Japan have rabbit-themed foods to celebrate this folklore and the festival. You can also find scenes of rabbits gathered together or rabbits pounding mochi (rice cakes), which is one of the Tsukimi ryori.

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Tsukimi Sake Recommendation

To commemorate this festival, you can also offer sake to the moon in order to thank for an abundant harvest!

The recommended sake is Eikun Kotosennen Junmai Ginjo which is super clean and fruity. Sweet and sour fragrance reminiscent of grapefruit, mandarin orange, pineapple and yogurt slowly spreads in the mouth until the very end of the palate. It is made with highest quality ingredients from Kyoto prefecture. Water comes from Fushimi which is distinguished by having access to spring water of exceptional quality. This water produces elegant, not too overly sweet, and soft sake. It is made with Iwai rice which gives this sake fragrance and nice mouthfeel.

We invite you to have Tsukimi festival in your home, while sipping sake and reading some poetry with the view of the moon. Toast the beauty of the harvest moon with Eikun Jumai Ginjo Koto Sennen!

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Try Echigo Koshihikari Beer with delicious Ebi Fry!

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Echigo Koshihikari Beer has a crisp and refreshing flavor, and exceptionally soothing and smooth quality. The sweet aroma of rice, and eloquent fragrance of hops, make it the perfect complement to any Japanese dish.

While the malt ingredient is imported from Europe, the rice is harvested literally from the backyard of Echigo Brewery. Though this beer is categorized as being dry, the brewery uses the time-consuming German decoction method to bring out the natural sweet flavor from the Niigata grown Koshihikari rice, which can appeal even to those who do not like dry beer.

We recommend you try this beer with UMAMI Panko Ebi Fry. This crispy ebi fry pairs well with the refreshing Echigo Koshihikari. This beer is a great match for food because of the complexity of its flavor, its ability to provide refreshment and to interact with many food flavors. Ebi Fry (fried prawn) is one of the most popular Yoshoku in Japan. Yoshoku refers to a Japanese-style western dish, which originated during the Meiji Restoration between 1868 and early 1900.

It is a very popular dish at many restaurants in Japan, from big chain family restaurants to mom-and-pop style small corner eateries. Ebi fry is often eaten with a choice of thick Worcester sauce, Hoisin sauce, lemon juice or tartare sauce.

It also common to eat ebi fry brushed with egg only and placed on top of a bowl of hot rice. That is called Ebi-don (海老丼 or エビ丼, fried prawn and egg over rice).

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In Nagoya, you see shrimp fry almost always as the day’s lunch special or in your boxed lunch. Ebi fry is considered as one of Nagoya’s specialty food due to a joke made by TV celebrity. He was known to make fun of Nagoya people pronouncing “ebi furai” as “ebi furya”. The joke spread around the whole Japan, which led to the misunderstanding that ebi fry is a specialty of Nagoya. Ebi fry has now actually become Nagoya’s new signature food. Some coffee shops even serve it with bread, such as ebi sando (shrimp sandwich) and ebi dog (shrimp hot dog).

We recommend you try the Nagoya’s signature food with Echigo Koshihikari beer.

How to make ebi fry sandwich:

1. Prepare cabbage salad (chop cabbage and add salt, pepper and mayo to your liking).

2. Make scrambled eggs.

3. Cook UMAMI Panko Ebi Fry according to the instructions (3 shrimps for one sandwich).

4. Spread the butter, mayo and mustard on 2 pieces of toast.

5. Put sauce on the ebi (tonkatsu sauce or Worcester sauce).

6. Layer cabbage, scrambled egg, and ebi and sandwich between 2 pieces of toast.

7. Enjoy it while sipping on Echigo Koshihikari Beer!

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Get to know Fushimi-ku in Kyoto

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Fushimi (伏見区 Fushimi-ku) is one of the eleven wards in the city of Kyoto, in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. This region has always been blessed with good quality groundwater, and a rich natural environment even to this day. Fushimi retains the atmosphere of the old days, and is enjoyed by many as a place with rich history and culture.

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Fushimi Inari Shrine is undoubtedly the most famous spot in the area. The highlight of the shrine is the rows of torii gates, known as senbon torii. The custom to donate a torii started to spread in Edo period to make a wish to come true or to thank for a wish that came true. Along the main path there are around 800 senbon torii gates, however including the small torii gates there are around 10,000 torii gateways of all sizes along the mountain paths leading to Fushimi Inari Taisha. These torii gates are donations by individuals and companies, they have donator’s name and the date of the donation inscribed on the back of each torii. The cost for the gate starts around 175,000 yen for a small sized gate and can go over one million yen for a large one.

Fushimi Inari is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. There are around 30,000 of these shrines all over Japan. Foxes are believed to be Inari’s messengers, which is why you will see many fox statues across the shrine grounds. They are often seen with a key for the rice granary in their mouths.

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Fushimi Castle

Fushimi Castle was originally built for Toyotomi Hideyoshi between 1592-1594 and it was here the great warlord passed away in 1598. It is particularly famous for its Golden Tea Room in which both the walls and the implements were covered in gold leaf. However, It seems that Fushimi Castle was never destined to have a successful life. Just one year later after finishing construction it was destroyed in a great earthquake. Hideyoshi commanded another castle to be built near this location. Tokugawa Ieyasu then moved into the castle which was destroyed in a battle before the battle of Sekigahara. He rebuilt the castle again only to have it dismantled as a part of his own one castle per country laws. Some of the buildings, yagura, and stone walls were repurposed to other castles and temples around the area including Fukuyama Castle, Yodo Castle and Osaka Castle. Although the castle is closed for the visitors at the moment, there are plans to reopen it.

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Fushimi Sake District

Although written with different characters now, the name Fushimi originally comes from characters fusu + mizu, meaning “hidden water”. In other words, the location was known for good spring water. The water of Fushimi has particularly soft characteristics, making it an essential component to the sake brewed in Fushimi. This also explains why the area developed as a sake-brewing center in Kyoto. Today, Fushimi is the second greatest area of Japan in terms of sake production.

Fushimi has also been in the past on a strategic road where all sort of goods would pass through, including rice. During the 17th century, in the Edo period, progress was made on the construction of a canal, making Fushimi into a center of transport between Kyoto and Osaka. This, along with the superb quality water, made it possible for many breweries to thrive.

On the small surface of 2 square kilometers around here, there are 25 sake breweries (there used to be 41 breweries 40 years ago), and Fushimi sake district has become a prominent sake region valued by many sake enthusiasts.

Saito Shuzo is one of the breweries in Fushimi. We recommend trying their Eikun Junmai Koto Sennen. It is super clean and fruity sake. Sweet and sour fragrance reminiscent of grapefruit, mandarin orange, pineapple and yogurt slowly spreads in the mouth until the very end of the palate. It is made from Iwai rice which gives this sake fragrance and nice mouthfeel. Great to enjoy it chilled right beginning of a meal. Match it with seafood, chicken, or Chinese food.

We invite you to try Eikun sake made with one of the best underground water in Japan following a recipe of hundreds of years of experience and traditions.

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Refreshing Yuzu Umeshu Goes Well with Chicken Karaage

Yuzu umeshu is very refreshing and light. It has just the right amount of sweetness of plum and refreshing taste of yuzu with a slight touch of bitterness. It goes well with many dishes but especially with fried meals since it reduces the feeling of oiliness in your mouth.

Yuzu is a Japanese citrus lemon that is valued for its highly aromatic rind. The fruit is believed to be a hybrid of a papeda and a mandarin. Nakano BC Yuzu Umeshu is a unique blend of yuzu juice, which was extracted from fruits in Shikoku Island and umeshu liqueur. Kochi prefecture in Shikoku island is the number one producer of yuzu in Japan. Using highly-fragrant yuzu juice creating a fresh yuzu aroma, this product tastes clean and is rich in flavor thanks to a perfectly-harmonious combination of the sweetness of umeshu and the tartness of yuzu. Drink well chilled or over ice!

While Nakano BC Yuzu Umeshu is especially great as an aperitif with light meals such as salads, sandwiches or desserts, we also recommend pairing it with oily foods because of its refreshing taste. Chicken karaage with yuzu umeshu would be the perfect combination!

Karaage is the Japanese take on fried chicken. It is a popular appetizer or main dish at home or restaurants and often found in a bento box. It is also a very commonly found in izakaya.

We recommend trying Nakano BC Yuzu Umeshu with UMAMI Karaage Ichiban.

This juicy chicken karaage is made with quality chicken following the authentic Japanese recipe! It is fully cooked, ready to serve after warming up so there is no hassle!

Japanese karaage is already seasoned so it should not be consumed with heavy sauces. A squeeze of lemon or a light dip in Japanese mayo (it is richer and with more umami flavor than regular mayonnaise) is sufficient for the best experience.

The best way to drink yuzu umeshu is mixing with soda water, that way it will become even more refreshing and leave a clean feeling in the mouth.

Try this combination if you want to feel like you are in a Japanese izakaya from your home!

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Udon Izakaya Maedaya

A good news for sake lovers in Melboure

2nd shop of Sake & Grill MAEDAYA, “UDON IZAKAYA MAEDAYA” newly opened in 168 Bourke St, Melbourne CBD!

Introducing a wide range of Udon Noodle & Otsumami dishes along with a self poring SAKE ALL YOU CAN DRINK!

Come in and try our signature YASAI TEMPURA UDON & SAKE!

UDON IZAKAYA MAEDAYA

168 Bourke St, Melbourne

OPEN 7 days  LUNCH 11:30 – 15:00 &  DINNER 17:00 – 23:00

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