Last Saturday we went to participate to a little local event called Mochi Nage in which six men throw dozens of rice cakes to people. This might sound a little bit strange to you but it perfectly makes sense to Japanese people as it is a custom.
It is believed that men’s disaster years are when they are 25, 42 and 61 year old.
So why these men throw tons of rice cakes ? It’s because they want to keep evil away by throwing these rice cakes which represents bad spirits.
Traditionally this event takes a place in temples or shrines or when a new house is built. A few men stand on the roof and throw rice cakes while other people wait on the ground to catch them.
It’s quite a lot of work to catch them as everyone want to get some.
We wish you a Happy New Year and hope 2013 will bring the best to you and your relatives!
New Year is a big event in Japan however Japanese people prepare and celebrate it in a very different way.
They traditionally want to start a new year with a fresh and clean mind and to symbolically get rid of all the bad things from the previous year by doing a big cleaning of their house and car just a few days before the end of December.
Despite internet it is also still very popular to send a lot of cards for the event before December 24th so it can be delivered exactly on the 1st of January. Note that if someone died during the previous year the members of his/her family should not send any New Year card.
Usually a variety of food is prepared for the next few days so there is no need to prepare anything for this resting time. At midnight it’s common to prepare soba to welcome the new year.
Unlike in many countries New Year Eve is not an especially an exciting event in Japan as most of people gather with family to eat and watch a TV music show on NHK called Kohaku which is broadcast every 31st of December since 1953!
If you have time and patience you can also grow the queue in one of the numerous shrine for a couple of hours in order to be able make a wish.
In our sides we still have many ideas and projects for Tokyo Smart including more pictures, more Facebook and even some videos!
See you soon for more news
They arrived a bit later than the other ones, here are the last models of cup and bowl we have added to the shop.
The tea cup Kaiun Daruma represents many kind of daruma dolls and the bowl Maneki Neko is decorated with maneki-nekos.
These are the last products we add for this year!
Five new products have been added to the shop.
Here are four teacups including a very original one with a Daruma shape, two other that you can find in sushi restaurants here in Japan and a last one which is more classic and has a ‘sakura’ design.
Finally we also added a small rice ceramic bowl rather fun representing globe fishes called ‘fugu’.
Two new models of Maneki-Neko have just been added to the shop.
The tabby one is called Maneki Neko Tora and the white one Neko Onegai.
These two models are ceramic piggy banks made in Japan.
Both bring some originality to this category where most models come from the same manufacturer.
We also plan to add a green model following several requests but that will be a bit later.
Five new bento boxes as been added to the list. We hope you will like those new boxes.
As promised two traditional wooden models in replacement of Choukaku Nidanbento that we no longer offer. These are the Iriko Keiyaki and the Awase Koban. Both are lacquered with traditional urushi lacquer and have an exceptional finish.
Also you will find three new plastic bento boxes respectively named Hana Red, Hana Black and Temari.
All these three models all have a little handy trick: the removable part of in the middle can turn upside down and make the bento less high when the meal is finished. So it takes much less space! The better to understand the system is to go take a look at the pictures of these products.
This time I (Yumi) take a chance to talk about something I found interesting these days.
I would like to talk you about bento boxes and give you an idea about how it has evolved for the last 30 years.
Bento boxes I was using 30 years ago were made from aluminum. Most of aluminum bento boxes disappeared by early 80′s and plastic ones replaced them since then.
My bento life finished as aluminum bento boxes disappeared and started again in junior high school thanks to hermetic plastic models which solved the problem of wet dish leaking into the bag.
I remember that my favorite bento meal was some rice with nori (seaweed sheet). It was simply plain rice with nori added on the top. Other things such as octopus shaped sausages, omelet and apple rabbit completed the meal. I was very happy with this simple bento.
These days kid’s bento has changed a lot. The style which is very popular at the moment is called Charaben (character bento). Of course kids like them, but this is mothers who are really crazy about. There are many blogs featuring pictures and teaching how to make them.
I was very surprised when I heard that bento became very popular overseas.
Here is some little advices for those who are thinking to start a bento lifestyle.
- try to avoid wet dish in the box.
- use soft silicon cups in the case you put wet dish.
- enjoy your new lifestyle
With a few days late here are some pictures of sakura blossom taken last Monday.
We thought it would be quieter on Monday than during the weekend but there were still many people! It seems that retirees and mothers had the same idea as us.
So we went with family in a park located in Chita-shi.
This year the trees have flowered a little later than usual.
At first we were rather skeptical but we have finally decided to add a small ‘Pin it’ button on all our product pages. We changed our mind after reading several articles in English and the comments to these articles. Also we were pleased to find that some of our products were already on the site!
It turns out that the addition of the function is very easy and is free so why not give it a try?
To add a product to your ‘board’ simply click on the ‘Pin it’ button located next to the Facebook button.
In case you never heard about Pinterest, it is a social network that allows you to share the stuff you like using ‘boards’. On these boards you can virtually ‘pin’ pictures of things that you find interesting. As for Twitter, the whole community can see what you post on your account. Also anyone can ‘re-pin’ your selections.
Right now this new network is particularly popular in English speaking countries but it should not take long before it is getting popular elsewhere.
You still need an invitation to open an account but considering the rapid development of the site this may change very soon.
If you already are a Pinterest user we are very interested about your feedback!
Otherwise feel free to ask us for an invitation!