The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 13 – Mitsuringo 蜜りんご (Honey Apple) Namayatsuhashi 生八つ橋

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Welcome to Chapter 13 of ‘The Mochi Diaries’ (餅の日記), in this post I shall be introducing Mitsuringo 蜜りんご (Honey Apple) namayatsuhashi 生八つ橋!

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It’s almost as if I never run out of yatsuhashi to review, there are just so many varieties and I how I love them so ( ^ω^ )
So every time I head up to Kyoto I always end up coming home with a box! Last year I took a to trip to Arashiyama 嵐山 a rather pretty district of western Kyoto for a day of momijigari 紅葉狩り(Autumn leaves viewing) with some friends. On the way home I picked up this box of Honeyapple yatsuhashi as I had yet to give the flavour a try.

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A note in regards to the packaging, breaking away from the norm the box was squarish with 2 layers of yatsuhashi as opposed to the usual long rectangular box, not that that stopped me opening the second packet soon as I finished the first one however (≧∇≦)

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Now these look more or less identical to the Kuri yatsuhashi 栗八つ橋 (chestnut) that I reviewed a couple weeks ago here.
That said the filling was radically different from any yatsuhashi I have ever tried before, I would consider these Japanese inspired mochi rather than anything traditional to say the least. Most Japanese sweets tend to go easy on the sweetness front most of the time, these however were very sweet and appley, the taste was quite reminiscent of apple pie filling, whilst maintaining the regular yatsuhashi texture and all in all incredibly delicious to the point where I ate the entire box in one sitting!!

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Want to read more Mochi Diaries Posts?

Mochi Diaries: Chapter 12 – Ichigo Daifuku苺大福

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 The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 14 – Haru Yatsuhashi 春八つ橋

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The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 10 – Kaki Mochi 柿餅

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Welcome to Chapter 10 of the Mochi Diaries, Kaki Mochi 柿餅!

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During a recent trip to Nara I picked up one of these boxes, having quite the affinity for anything Kaki 柿 (Japanese Persimmon) related I was quite excited to have a nom these guys.

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Now firstly upon opening them I was completely taken aback at the intricate detail that went into producing every single mochi in the box!

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Made to resemble the fruit of which they are flavored the mochi consist of four separate ingredients.

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I translated the important bit of the diagram above that came in the box explaining what they are made of.

Essentially they are mostly kaki flavored mochi filled with a core of kaki an 柿あん (persimmon flavored red bean paste).
The leaves are made of dango 団子 held in place by a thin piece of konbu 昆布 (dried sea kelp), honestly the konbu is some what annoying since you must remove it before eating each mochi being inedible.

So you ask, ‘but Daniel what is the difference between mochi and dango?’
Well they are pretty much the same thing, the only difference being in the technique used to make them.

When making mochi, you begin by grinding glutinous rice to a paste which is then steamed and l finally pounded into a sticky dough.
Dango on the other hand is made from rice flour that has been mixed with hot water to make a dough, before being boiled in salted water.

Anyhow beyond the novelty of the mochi, the taste was just ok, that said it was more than made up for by the awesomeness of the presentation of the sweets!
3.75/5

Want to read more Mochi Diaries Posts?

The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 9 – Mochitsuki Special Edition 餅搗き増刊

<———– Last

The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 11 – Kagami Mochi 鏡餅

Next ———>

二十四節季 Nijushi Sekki

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This morning I was rudely awoken in the wee hours by whining winds. Grumpily I dragged myself out of bed and looked over to my calendar, glancing the date to be October 23.
A little note Soukou 霜降 sat in the box meaning ‘descent of frost’ thinking of the storm raging outside my window I chuckled to myself and though ‘yeah sounds about right’.

Unlike much of Asia the Gregorian calendar has been in use in Japan since 1873 when it superseded the Chinese lunisolar calendar which had been in place for almost 1200 years.

The Chinese calendar divided one solar year into twenty-four points signifying significant celestial events such as solstices, equinoxes and the beginning of the seasons or natural phenomenon. In Japanese these are referred to as Nijushi Sekki 二十四節季 and are still retain some importance in modern society.

The Nijushi Sekki or seasonal days are as follows:

Risshun (立春): February 4—Beginning of spring

Usui (雨水): February 18—Rain water

Keichitsu (啓蟄): March 5—Awakening of Insects (from hibernation)

Shunbun (春分): March 20—Vernal equinox, middle of spring

Seimei (清明): April 4—Clear and bright (skies)

Kokuu (穀雨): April 20—Grain rain

Rikka (立夏): May 5—Beginning of summer

Shōman (小満): May 21—Grain Fills

Bōshu (芒種): June 5—Grain in Ear

Geshi (夏至): June 21—Summer Solstice, middle of summer

Shōsho (小暑): July 7—Little Heat

Taisho (大暑): July 23—Great Heat

Risshū (立秋): August 7—Beginning of Autumn

Shosho (処暑): August 23—End of Heat

Hakuro (白露): September 7—Descent of White Dew

Shūbun (秋分): September 23—Autumnal Equinox, middle of Autumn

Kanro (寒露): October 8—Cold Dew

Sōkō (霜降): October 23—Descent of Frost

Rittō (立冬): November 7—Beginning of winter

Shōsetsu (小雪): November 22—Little Snow

Taisetsu (大雪): December 7—Great Snow

Tōji (冬至): December 22—Winter Solstice, middle of Winter

Shōkan (小寒): January 5— Little Cold

Daikan (大寒): January 20—Great Cold

Many zassetsu days occur in multiple seasons:

Setsubun (節分) prefers to the day before each season, or the eves of Risshun 立春 (Spring), Rikka 立夏(Summer), Risshuu 立秋 (Autumn), and Rittou 立冬 (Winter). However it is most commonly attributed the day before the first day of spring (risshun). Setsubun falls on the 3rd or the 4th of February on the calendar today.

Doyō (土用) refers to the 18 days before each season, especially the one before fall which is known as the hottest period of a year.

Higan (彼岸) is the seven middle days of spring and autumn, with Shunbun at the middle of the seven days for spring, Shūbun for fall.

Shanichi (社日) is the Tsuchinoe (戊?) day closest to Shunbun (middle of spring) or Shūbun (middle of fall), which can be as much as −5 to +4 days away from Shunbun/Shūbun.

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Kaki 柿 (^∇^)

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So Aki 秋 (Autumn) is finally upon us and with it a plethora of new fruits and vegetables become available in Japan.
The one I have been looking forward to since I discovered they were popular here are Kaki 柿 (persimmons).

Pretty much my favourite, fruit I grew up eating 3 or 4 of these every day at the end of every summer back in Australia.
Not that they were all that popular back home, however being of italian decent my grandfather has a passion for growing things, having 2 large trees which would shower us in them each year!!
Oddly enough in Italian イタリア語 persimmons go by the same name as they do in Japanese which is well Kaki!

Slicing one of these up really brought back some fond memories for me of summers growing up in Melbourne and exactly what I have to come home to 🙂

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The only real detractor I could attribute to the Japanese version of these orange gems would be that they ate over packaged (like all Japanese fruit) to the teeth, god back home we would just chuck a couple dozen in a bag! Also being priced at around 130-150¥ each, they are much cheaper than some apples (think 300¥ a piece), however still totally outside of my regular budget, alas they make for a nice treat to remind me of home.
(*^◯^*)

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Back to School 学校に戻る(−_−;)

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So it’s becoming quite apparent that the seasons are changing and natsuyasumi 夏休 (summer holidays) is nothing more than a fleeting memory.
I intend to write a post about the onset of Aki 秋 (Autumn) in the near future, as Japan is a country that is overly enthusiastic about embracing the seasons, alas it’s not just the temperature that is subtly changing.

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This week I was thrust back into the routine of the daily grind quite rudely I might add as classes began to pick up again. Twas only a week or two ago thar I was ‘enjoying the summer’, knocking back beers and exploring Kansai on the daily. This week however I am teaching 5 days straight of 4 classes a day at both my shougakko’s and chuugakko, shit hasn’t been this hectic since I arrived in Japan!

To make matters worse all my schools are currently training for their taiikusai 体育祭 (sports festival) so what little free time I manage to muster is spent outside yelling 頑張って at the kids!

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The icing on the cake is I have been reunited with my arch nemesis…….. Kyuushoku 給食 (primary school lunch). I swear it will be the death of me!!

I know I complained about the perpetual 34degree days and the boredom of being the only staff alongside kyoto-sensei at the time, but what I would do to go back to having a chill stress-free schedule now.

To be honest its not as if the temperature has plummeted all that much in the last month, the most notable difference is that I can now sleep without and aircon on all night and just a fan instead. Furthermore I get the feeling that although the midday heat feel is all to similar to that of the summer, rather than the temperature wavering 3-4degrees at night it is actually quite cool in the mornings and evenings.

But hey at least I can ride my bike to school now without arriving looking like I just stepped out of a sauna, a look I wore well throughout the warmer months Σ( ̄。 ̄ノ)ノ