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Japan

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Carlo Ben

on 5 October 2012

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Transcript of Japan

Japan is an island nation in East Asia comprising a stratovolcanic archipelago extending along the Pacific coast of Asia. Japan consists of several thousands of islands, of which Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu are the largest. CLIMATE GEOGRAPHY According to mythology, Japan's ancient history is tied to the sun goddess, Amaterasu, who sent one of her descendants to the island of Kyushu to unify the people. At the core of unification was Shintoism, a religion indigenous to Japan and marked by its worship of nature, ancestors, and ancient national heroes. BRIEF HISTORY J A P A N The country is southeast of the Russian Far East, separated by the Sea of Okhotsk; slightly east of Korea, separated by the Sea of Japan; and east-northeast of China and Taiwan, separated by the East China Sea. Japan's territory is 377,923.1 km2 (145,916.9 sq mi), It's population is about 125,000,000, including approximately two million foreign residents. More than half of the non Japanese population is of Korean descent. Due to the large North South extension of the country, the climate varies strongly in different regions. The climate in most of the major cities, including Tokyo, is temperate to subtropic and consists of four seasons. The winter is mild and the summer is hot and humid. There is a rainy season in early summer, and typhoons hit parts of the country every year during late summer. The climate of the northern island of Hokkaido and the Sea of Japan coast is colder, and snow falls in large amounts. In Okinawa, on the other hand, the mean temperature of January is a warm 17 degrees Celsius. In the sixth century, Buddhism, which originated in India, was introduced to Japan via China and Korea. Nara Period (710-784) Heian Period (794-1185) Kamakura Period (Around 1185-1333) Muromachi and Azuchi-Momoyama Periods (1336-1598) Edo Period (1603-1868) Angelo Carlo Ben JAPAN'S POPULAR of which 374,834 km2 (144,724 sq mi) is land and 3,091 km2 (1,193 sq mi) water. This makes Japan's total area slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Montana, and slightly larger than Finland. In the early seventh century, Prince-Regent Shotoku, a great admirer of Buddhism and a beloved figure even today, carried out political reforms, established a constitutional government, sent Japanese scholars to China to study Buddhist teachings, and constructed a multitude of temples. JAPANESE CUISINE Geography, Climate and Brief History
Holidays and Festivities
Preparing and Cooking Techniques
Herbs and Spices
Popular and Authentic Dishes JAPANESE CUISINE'S Different cooking techniques are applied to each of the three okazu; they may be raw (sashimi), grilled, simmered (sometimes called boiled), steamed, deep-fried, vinegared, or dressed. This Japanese view of a meal is reflected in the organization of Japanese cookbooks: Chapters are devoted to cooking techniques as opposed to ingredients. There may also be chapters devoted to soups, sushi, rice, noodles, and JAPANESE COOKING METHODS COOKING TECHNIQUES The following are some of the basic methods: Tempura or Tendon: In 1550, batter-dipped and fried shrimp was introduced to the Japanese by Portuguese traders. The Portuguese did not eat meat on Catholic Ember Days (four times annually); these days came to be known as Quatuor Tempora and the fried shrimp that became the specialty was called Tempura. Tempura now refers to the Japanese cooking method of coating cleaned cut or sliced foods in a light batter and frying quickly in a light vegetable oil. Tendon refers specifically to fried crustaceans. These foods so prepared are served with a base of rice or noodles, accompanied by sauces for dipping. SAUCES: Aside from those sauces providing obviously contrasting flavors - for instance, shoyu, hot mustard or grated horse radish - most sauces are made from the boiled stock of trimmings and entrails. Sauce is well reduced then finished with a small amount of dashi, shoyu, grated fresh ginger-root, or horse radish. Sushi: Refer Breads and Grains in Japanese Foods section. Sashimi: a method of preparing thinly sliced raw fish or chicken and sometimes raw lobster, shrimp, or clams garnished with paper-thin slices of raw vegetables. They are eaten by dipping into a light sauce seasoned with shoyu or horse radish. Sometimes sashimi is prepared by dipping the raw slices of fish or vegetables very briefly in boiling water before eating. Fresh ocean fish is best for this method. Fugu Sashimi: the highly skilled preparation of raw blowfish. Since the liver and ovaries contain a lethal poison, incorrect handling or preparation could contaminate the meal. More than 100 dead each year are mute testimony that eating this delicacy is fraught with danger. SOUPS: Suimono: clear broths made from bits of meat, fish, bones, trimmings, entrails, skins, etc. These are strained and flavored lightly with salt, shoyu, and dashi. Misoshiru: thicker and heavier soups made with the addition of miso, fermented bean paste. Substantial soups that are more like chowders or thin stews and make a meal in themselves, these may be made from fish or chicken. Zoni: this is a special soup made for New Year's, comprising a rich chicken broth with slivers of chicken meat but flavored with Japanese herbs (nanakusa) and fish paste (kamaboko). Threads of lemon and spinach and sprinkles of shoyu and dashi complete the soup. To serve, Zoni is poured over specially made cakes called o-mochi. There are basically three types of soups SUKIYAKI: suki means a plow and yaki means roasted. This dish is cooked at the table in front of the diners, with the ingredients artfully sliced and arranged on a platter. Sukiyaki is usually made with prime quality tender beef and an array of vegetables which may include onions, leeks, types of seaweed, carrots, radishes, squares of tofu, shirataki (Japanese noodles), spinach, bean or bamboo shoots or sprouts, konnyaku (devil's loot squares), and mitsuba (marsh parsley). The liquids to be added are water, sake, and shoyu. Nabe is the frying pan which is placed over a hibach or hibachi, an earthenware cooking pot heated with charcoal embers. The cooking ritual of Sukiyaki begins with the sauces heating in the pan, then the meat slices are browned, and finally the vegetables, pushed each to one side as they are cooked. The meal is begun with a clear soup, sake or beer served throughout, rice served before or after the Sukiyaki. Foreigners like to eat the rice with the sauces; to the Japanese this is unthinkable. Rice is revered and is savored usually by itself. The meal concludes with fresh fruit and then tea. Beef is the classic meat, but any other fish, meat, or seafood and any vegetable variety may be used. YAKITORI: Spit-roasted meats or foods grilled on tiny wooden skewers are prepared by this process. Often the meats are marinated first, basted with the marinade while roasting (miso or dashi-shoyu marinade), and dipped in sauces while eating. Finely minced ginger or horseradish may enhance the flavors. Teriyaki is one version using shoyu and mirin as marinade. NIMONO: This refers to boiled foods. This is also called one-pot cooking and may be done at the table or in the kitchen. Meats or seafood (in appropriate pieces) are boiled in the broth then removed and kept hot. Vegetables are then added and boiled until done, and then removed. The cooked, slivered vegetables and sliced meats are well drained, placed on a plate, and served with a little broth as sauce. MUSHIMONO: This is the classification that includes all steamed foods.

There are three main methods: 1. Various ingredients are steamed in individual bowls and served in the same dishes.

2. Foods are steamed in one large platter or in layers of platters in a large steamer and then portioned out individually.

3. Prepared foods are arranged over hot coarse salt in a special earthenware (unglazed) dish called a horoku. The fresh foods placed on the scalding-hot salt release their own moisture to steam-cook the foods. The dish is covered during cooking time. Dobin: a small teapot used for steaming single dishes. Chawan-Mushi: Classic dish of sliced chicken, shrimp, mushrooms with chestnuts or ginkgo nuts layered in individual dishes with an egg custard pored over. After steaming till set, the dishes are garnished with a sprinkle of lemon juice and lemon slivers. Odamaki-Mushi: Similar to Chawan-Mushi except that on the bottom is a layer of noodles that are topped with ham, sliced fish paste, vegetable slices, and finally the egg custard. A sprinkle of lemon juice sharpens the taste before eating. AGEMONO OR KARAAGE style: Kara means empty and age to fry. Tendon and tempura are part of this style, although generally the term refers to foods pre-dipped in cornstarch and lightly fried in a little oil. SALADS: Japanese "salads" are made from pre-cooked vegetables, meats, fish or seafood, cooled and dressed and served as zensai (appetizers), side dishes, or small separate courses. Each of the ingredients may be arranged in little mounds and sliced, chopped, grated, or shredded. The dressing is called aemono (or mixture). Tsukemono refers to pickled vegetables while sunemono means vinegared dishes. These are usually eaten accompanied with many rounds of sake. Pickling is done with salt or salt and rice bran to aid fermentation. Jeanette Gallardo  
Special Holidays:
January 1 - New Year's Day (Ganjitsu)
The second Monday in January - Adult's Day (Seijin-no hi)
February 11 - National Founding Day (Kenkoku Kinen-no hi)
March 20 or 21 - Vernal Equinox (Shunbun-no hi)
April 29 - Showa Day (Showa-no hi)
May 3 - Constitution Memorial Day (Kenpou Kinenbi)
May 4 - Greenery Day (Midori-no hi)
May 5 - Children's Day (Kodomo-no hi)
The third Monday in July - Marine Day (Umi-no hi)
The third Monday in September - Respect-for-the-Aged Day (Keirou-no hi)
September 23 or 24 - Autumnal Equinox (Shuubun-no hi)
The second Monday in October - Health/Sports Day (Taiiku-no hi)
November 3 - Culture Day (Bunka-no hi)
November 23 - Labor Thanksgiving Day (Kinrou Kansha-no hi)
December 23 - Emperor's Birthday (Tennou Tanjoubi) Tanabata ‘The Star Festival’ 7-5-3 Festival (Shichi-go-san)
Date: November 15th
The 7 and 3-year old girls and 5-year old boys (Shichi-go-san is Japanese for the numbers 7,5 and 3) are dressed up in their best kimono - although these days suits are more common for the boys - and brought to the shrine to pray for their future. Originally, this ritual was based on the fact that Japanese believe certain ages to be prone to bad luck. Japanese Lantern Floating Festival
Date: 19 July 2012
Information: The Usual practice to mark the end of the Bon Festival. Small paper lanterns containing a burning flame are either set afloat to a river, lake or sea or they are let go and float away into the night. Their light is intended to guide the way for deceased family members' spirits. Usually the person who lets the lantern go will write a message on the side. Bon Festival 
Date: 13–15 August
A Buddhist observance honoring the spirits of ancestors. Usually a "spirit altar" (shōryōdana) is set up in front of the Butsudan (buddhist family altar) to welcome the ancestors' souls. A priest is usually asked to come and read a sutra (tanagyō). The welcoming fire (mukaebi) built on the 13th and the send-off fire (okuribi) built on the 16th are intended to light the path. Tanabata ‘The Star Festival’
Date: July 7
It originated from a Chinese folk legend concerning two stars-the Weaver Star (Vega) and the Cowherd Star (Altair)-who were said to be lovers who could meet only once a year on the\\ 7th night of the 7th month provided it didn't rain and flood the Milky Way. It was named Tanabata after a weaving maiden from a Japanese legend, named Orihime who was believed to make clothes for the gods. . People often write wishes and romantic aspirations on long, narrow strips of coloured paper and hang them on bamboo branches along with other small ornaments. Children's Day 
Date: May 5, the fifth day of the fifth month
is actually a celebration for boys, corresponding to the Doll Festival for girls. Warrior dolls or mock samurai armor are displayed and koinobori or carp streamers are flown by families with boys (the carp is considered a symbol of success. Doll Festival 
Date: March 3
It is a display of dolls representing the emperor, empress and their court in formal dress. Most homes with young girls will have a display, from simple dolls and cards to elaborate setups costing hundreds of thousands of yen.  Beginning of spring (setsubun): 
Date: February 3
For many centuries, the people of Japan have been performing rituals with the purpose of chasing away evil spirits at the start of spring. It is the Bean-Throwing Festival or Bean-Throwing Ceremony. Coming of Age (seijin no hi): 
Date: 2nd Monday of January
All young people who turn twenty years old in that year are celebrated on Seijin no hi. Twenty is the age considered as the beginning of adulthood. It is also the minimum legal age for voting, drinking and smoking. The New Year:
Date: 1–3 of January
is the biggest events in the annual calendar. Families are expected to gather at the family home - no matter how scattered the members may be - to honour their ancestors.
On New Year's Eve or the next day, they visit their local shrine. Klyron Viel de la Luna JAPAN'S HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVITIES PREPARING AND Nikujaga is a popular dish of home style cooking made of sweet stewed meat (niku) and potatoes (jagaimo).
Nikujaga Shabu-shabu is tender, thin slices of beef held with chopsticks and swished around in a pot of boiling water, then dipped in sauce before being eaten. Shabu-shabu Tonkatsu is a deep-fried pork cutlet rolled in breadcrumbs. Tonkatsu Yakitori is made up of small pieces of chicken meat, liver and vegetables skewered on a bamboo stick and grilled over hot coals.  Yakitori Sashimi is sliced raw fish eaten with soy sauce.  Sashimi Tempura is food deep-fried in vegetable oil after being coated with a mixture of egg, water and wheat flour. Among the ingredients used are prawns, fish in season and vegetables.  Tempura Sushi is a small piece of raw seafood placed on a ball of vinegared rice. The most common ingredients are tuna, squid and prawns. Cucumber, pickled radish and sweet egg omelet are also served. Sushi Rice balls, or Onigiri, are made of cooked rice and are usually wrapped in nori seaweed. They are usually lightly seasoned with salt and often contain a filling such as umeboshi (pickled Japanese plum), okaka (dried bonito shavings and konbu), or salmon. Rice balls are a popular and inexpensive portable snack available at convenience stores, but are also commonly served at general restaurants and izakaya. Rice Balls (Onigiri) Soba and udon are two kinds of Japanese noodles. Soba is made from buckwheat flour and udon from wheat flour. They are served either in a broth or dipped in sauce and are available in hundreds of delicious variations. Soba and Udon Kaiseki ryori is regarded as Japan's most exquisite culinary refinement. Consisting mainly of vegetables and fish with a seasoning base of seaweed and mushrooms, the dishes are characterized by their refined savor.  Kaiseki Ryori Sukiyaki is prepared right at the table by cooking thinly sliced beef together with vegetables, tofu and vermicelli. Sukiyaki AND AUTHENTIC DISHES HERGIE SOLLESTRE A fragrant and spicy, purple variety used as a garnish and palette refresher for sashimi. Benidate The fruit of the shiso plant which remains after the plant has flowered and is likened to a rose hip. It can be battered and cooked as tempura, or mashed up and mixed together with soya sauce and wasabi to serve with sashimi. This style of sauce is called, “ohba shouyu”. HOJISO Commonly known for its role in accompanying sushi, this is the thinly sliced root ginger which is pickled in vinegar and naturally turns red if it is fresh when it is pickled. Gari is used as a palette refresher between pieces of sushi but its original role in accompanying sushi was the result of its use as an antibacterial agent which helped raw fish to be eaten safely when there were no refrigeration techniques. It can also be chopped up and mixed in with sushi rice for chirashi-zushi. GARI JAPAN'S There are three different soya beans which are used in Japanese cuisine distinguished by their respective colours; white, green and black.
The white beans, called “miso mame” meaning “miso beans”, can be eaten boiled, but they are also the main ingredient of miso, shoyu (soya sauce), tofu (bean curd), natto (fermented soya beans), yuba (tofu skin) and kinako (soya bean flour).
The green beans are eaten in their unripened form as edamame, mashed and added to soup, or boiled and sweetened (uguisu mame).
The black beans are eaten boiled as kuromame and are served as part of the New Year cuisine, osechi ryori. SOYA BEANS Water peppers are eaten raw with fish because they have alkaline properties and can balance the acidity of the fish in the same way as other raw vegetables do.
A green and bitter cress called “water pepper” which can be eaten raw. Tade is used only with “ayu” (Sweetfish) as it enhances its flavour. Tade (Water pepper)
Tade A variety of shiso which turns pink when added to vinegar. It is akajiso which gives the pink colour and adds some flavour to umeboshi (pickled plums). It is also used as a paste or mixed with salt, which is called, “yukari”. As yukari it can be mixed into rice to make onigiri where it lends its very distinctive flavour to the rice. Akajiso The green, Japanese basil leaf which can be served as tempura, in salads and with sashimi. It is also ground and used to flavour sauces, added to ponzu (a soya sauce, dashi (fish stock) and daidai juice sauce), used in nabe (Japanese stews) and Japanese-style spaghetti dishes. The leaves can be soaked in soya sauce for a year and wrapped around rice to make a tasty onigiri (Japanese rice ball), or chopped up, boiled in soya sauce and sugar and left to ferment to make tsukudani, which is eaten as a side-dish to accompany rice. Sea bream, flounder and prawns can be wrapped in ohba leaves and grilled to produce fragrant fish dishes. Shiso (Japanese Basil)
Ohba/ Aojiso In the same family as mitsuba, this is a dropwort plant which is used in a very similar way to mitsuba. It can also be eaten with sashimi, boiled in soya sauce and eaten as sunomono (food pickled in vinegar). Boufu A herb of the dropwort family, native to Japan, valued partly for its fragrance and partly for its use as a garnish. Its culinary uses include being boiled and wrapped around sushi such as squid and flounder, when it lends its flavour to the sushi; being boiled and marinated in soya sauce to make a dressing; and in nabe (a Japanese stew). It is also used in miso soup, dobin-mushi, o-suimono and chawan-mushi (an egg-custard dish containing ingredients such as ginkgo nuts, shiitake mushrooms, chicken, prawn and chestnuts which are selected according to season and local tradition) when it is used both as a decoration and to add flavour to the dishes Dropwort/Sweet Cicely Mitsuba Kiyuzu (literally “Yellow yuzu”) is a yellow citrus fruit originating in China which is ripe throughout autumn and winter. The fruit is at its best when it is yellow but can also be used when it is green (and unripe), however, it does not have such a strong aroma in its green state. Yuzu The root of a plant in the cabbage family which is similar to horseradish but with more of a pungent aroma. The natural, unprocessed form of wasabi is made by grinding the root on shark skin, the natural spice and fragrance being brought out to the full when it is then mashed with the back of a knife. Wasabi is sold in various forms in the United Kingdom; powdered, frozen and as a paste. Frozen wasabi solely consists of the wasabi root, but the powdered and paste wasabi contains horse radish amongst other ingredients. Its main use in Japanese cuisine is as an accompaniment to sushi and sashimi. However, at Matsuri restaurants we mix it with double cream and soya sauce to make a delicious dip for teppan-yaki dishes. Wasabi Together with the typical root ginger which originates in China and is used in many different cuisines, Japanese cuisine uses this young ginger shoot, which looks similar to a spring onion with a white bulb graduating to green leaves. It can be eaten raw, or pickled in vinegar, the white bulb turning pink when pickled. Hashouga Root ginger is used ground in Japanese cuisine and mixed with soya to marinate pork prior to sautéing it, as the flavours of pork and ginger complement one another well. It is also served on top of a pyramid of daikon (Japanese white radish) to put in the tempura dipping sauce. Shouga is also used in okayu (rice porridge) which is eaten particularly in the winter due to its warming properties, and drunk in an infusion with honey as a medicine to alleviate high body temperatures. SHOUGA Beni-shouga is red, salt-pickled ginger used to add flavour to okonomiyaki (a Japanese style tortilla), itame-gohan (fried rice mixed with other ingredients) and yakisoba (stir-fried noodles). The red colour is derived from red perilla or shiso. Beni-shouga HERBS AND SPICES RENAN OMAYAO
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