I have been back in the US for about two weeks now after finishing another round of our Culinary Tour of Japan. Weather was perfect with lush of greens and signs of summer everywhere. Food was delicious as always and we enjoyed freshly fried tempura, seasonal seafood, lots of Japanese sweets and local sake and wines. We also took time to explore a depachika or the basement of a department store as this is a much different experience in Japan. These areas are packed with food vendors of all kinds selling delicious things such as desserts, fresh vegetables, pickles, seafood, tea, ice cream and lots more.
My brother Kai joined us in Nagano and Yamanashi and gave us an insider scoop on life in rural Japan as he lives in Yamanashi prefecture. It’s a scenic area with wineries, ski areas, wasabi farms, mountains, and a thriving arts and crafts community. On the last trip, I was too tired to check out public hot spring in Suwa, but this time after dinner I walked to the nearby hot spring to “wash off my tiredness” (this is a Japanese phrase, tsukare wo arai nagasu). The town of ShimoSuwa (Suwa consists of ShimoSuwa and KamiSuwa) itself has over 10 public hot springs and 5 foot springs (not counting private hot springs ), and heavily used by locals.
On my visit, I purchased a ticket, which was about two dollars for an adult, I took my shoes off and put them in a cubby. Then I handed a ticket to a clerk and entered women’s changing room. At 7 o’clock in the evening this place was packed (at least on women’s side) with families with kids, high school girls, grandmas and others, like me. We have a post about hot spring etiquette on our website, to help you prepare for a visit.
In June, I had a wonderful opportunity to spend one-on-one time with people who share same passion as TanpopoStudio has, to help preserve Japanese local food and culture by providing hands on experience to people from Japan and other countries alike. In the August Newsletter, I will introduce some of the creative and talented people we are working with in Japan who have helped make TanpopoStudio happen, so stay tuned.
Here is what’s happening at TanpopoStudio.
We’ve just opened this for registration. This is a 7 day tour from Tokyo to Matsumoto with an additional extension to Kyoto. Matsumoto, a hotbed of arts, is also the birthplace of several well known Japanese artists including Yayoi Kusama. It’s also home to one of Japan’s finest feudal era castles.. Read more about Matsumoto and this tour on our blog.
Classes and Workshops
Don’t forget to join us for delicious and informative Japanese food and sake pairing at Cooks of Crocus Hill. We will be sampling sake from Shizuoka and Hyogo prefecture. Kanpai!
Sake it To Me!
July 21st at 6 pm at Cooks of Crocus Hill, Saint Paul
Koshiki and Benjamin Smith