Hina Dolls in Shizuoka

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

 I discovered a cute Tsurushibina or hanging hina doll. You can see a cat with a gold coin. They made a set of hanging Hina dolls from old kimono cloth.

Some areas have Hina festival from March 3rd for one month and others start on April 3rd.

They believed that if you touch the dolls, the dolls will take all of your bad luck onto themselves. After doing so people place  the dolls down the river or ocean. Since they throw them away, that type of hina dolls was very simple.

 In the Edo era, as people’s lives became more stable they started to decorate more expensive hina dolls and they didn’t throw them away in the river.

By the way ” a gold coin before a cat” in Japanese is ” neko ni koban”. Neko means a cat and koban means gold coin. It means ” Don’t offer anything of value and merit to those who are incapable of appreciating it”.

Tuna and Japanese

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010


Many people talk as if Japanese have been eating tuna for long long time.In fact, “ chyu toro nigiri “ or small oval rice balls with relatively fatty part of tuna isn’t a very old food. Nigiri zushi was invented in the Edo period but people didn’t eat tuna even though it was abundant and available. Because it was too fatty and tuna is such a big fish so people didn’t choose to eat it. In the year of 1923, a big earthquake called “ kantou daishinsai “ devastated Tokyo and surrounding areas.  After the disaster people couldn’t get any fish for sushi, but tuna was available. So they utilized tuna but when things came back to normal mode, people stopped eating it. Then after the Second World War, the Japanese diet changed dramatically. We started to eat more fatty food. This is the time when we started to eat tuna again. So I don’t think tuna is a Japanese traditional food. As raw fish I prefer bonito. For sushi I prefer blue fish. If I have to name some traditional Japanese foods, I’d say “ Onishime” and“ tsukemono”. The other day I had some visitors at home but I didn’t have time to cook. I asked Ms. Suzuki ( Garden Bells ) to cook these two dishes. They all loved her dishes and said this is the real Japanese home cooking. I don’t know why the food she cooks always makes people happy. I’d like to learn how to cook. Each time I say so, she just shows her modest smile. For me she is more than a five- star- chef.

Pastoral Kanbara Shizuoka

Monday, March 15th, 2010

I went to Kanbara. We had miserable weather the last few weeks but now it is getting sunny. I feel so happy. Kanbara used to be a town but it has been merged with Shizuoka City. Still Kanbara stays the same. Its a quiet and peaceful place. Since this town functioned as one of the station towns of Tokaido in the old days it has many old houses which used to be inns for travelers.


We went to Gotenyama. Gotenmeans castle and Yama means mountain. It is such a nice place with many cherry trees. It was too early for cherryblossoms though. 




  I saw some cute stone statues. Arent they lovely  They stand there surrounded by beautiful trees and flowers. A long time ago commoners were not permitted to enter this mountain. They could collect wood and wild vegetables only for the castle’s use. But now during cherry blossom viewing time many people visit there to enjoy its nice view or go on a picnic.

Happy Wedding

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

 One of my students got married and I was invited to their wedding party. The party was held at http://www.fugetsuro.co.jp/ It used to be the 15th Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobus property and is now used for these kind of gatherings.?It is such a beautiful place. 

?It is said that more than 700,000 couples get married in Japan and more than 60 percent of all Japanese wedding ceremonies are?Christian style. However this couple had a Shinto Wedding at Shizuoka Sengen Shrine. http://www.shizuokasengen.net/index.html

I know another couple who are going to get married this month and they are going to have a wedding at the same shrine.?


The bride was dressed in white at the Shinto Shrine. After that she wore a colorful kimono at the party. She looked so beautiful.?The party was fun. We heard stories about how they got to know each other, etc.  We also enjoyed a delicious dinner.




Later she wore a white wedding dress. She looked great in the dress, too. When she made a thank you speech to her parents she was in tears and her tears were as beautiful as diamonds. I was touched very much and almost going to cry. I didnt know that she is such a great speaker. All in all she married a very promising engineer and he is loved by many people. Im sure she is going to build a happy family.

It was such a nice wedding party.





The inn with a great view of Mt. Fuji

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

I went to a Japanese style inn to have lunch with the ladies who come to my English class. One of my students knows the owner of the inn and arranged lunch for us.

Each room has great view of Mt. Fuji. Unfortunately on that day we couldn’t see Mt. Fuji , though.


Every summer Fujinomiya City hosts students from Santa Monica since they are sister cities. The people from Santa Monica love this inn which commands one of the best views of Mt. Fuji.

We had lunch in one of the rooms. We had a variety of small dishes. Each one was little but we had many kinds and we ate them slowly. I felt really ful when I finished it. This inn prepares meals for vegetarians, too. The person who arranged it is a vegetarian so some of her dishes were different from the rest of us. For example, while we had griled fish, she had ” miso oden” or devil’s tongue with bean paste.

For kaiseki dishes, seasons are a very important factor in deciding what to cook. It was the end of Feb. the beginning of spring. In April or May we are in the middle of spring and enjoy eating bamboo shoots, ” fuki” a kind of wild vegetable ,  ” kinome ” a small green herb on top of the bamboo shoot can be seen in April and May. These kinds ingredients which are early in the season are called ” hashiri ” On the other hand ” nagori” is the ingredients behind the season. We can enjoy the changing of the seasons.

You might find more about this inn at http://www.tachibana-fuji.co.jp/