Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sweet Seasons / July 2007 - Young Sweetfish -

"Wakaayu" (Young Sweetfish)

It's been a hectic week for me, and as if it's not enough, a typhoon is coming (AGAIN!) It might hit us tomorrow evening. (Well, I cheated on the date again. I actually wrote this on Aug. 1st.) So I wanted to post a refreshing photo here in order to soothe my mind as the week gets messy.

I'll write more about this cute wagashi later this week or weekend. Until then, PLS enjoy this photo. Hey, don't you feel like jumping in the stream and swimming with this sweetfish? ;)

Wakaayu is a common summer wagashi that you can find at most traditional wagashi shops in Japan in June and July (maybe August, too.) The cute face and fins are branded on the golden-brown wrapper, which is usually done by hand work.

Those who are familiar with wagashi such as dorayaki or mikasa might expect to see an (sweetened bean paste) inside because this pancake-like wrapper and an makes such a popular combination. Actually in Kanto area, i.e., the eastern part of Japan, sweet bean paste is wrapped inside this wagashi (sometimes WITH gyuhi). However, in Kansai (the western part of Japan), especially in Kyoto, what’s inside of wakaayu wagashi is only gyuhi, soft and sweet rice cake made from mochiko.

When I tried this wagashi for the first time in my childhood, I was a little disappointed to feel the texture of gyuhi on my palate because I was expecting an inside. But now, as a middle-aged woman, :P I very much enjoy the lighter sweetness and silky texture of gyuhi with this not-too-sweet wrapper. Wagashi with too sweet bean paste often makes me thirsty, but wakaayu doesn’t, yet it goes very well with cold green tea, I think.

This site shows you how wakaayu is made. See how they shape the hot pancakes with their fingers? Though this wagashi is supposed to represent the refreshing coolness of the river in summer, the procedure of making it seems to be the opposite. (Thank you, confectioners, for doing all these works to please our taste buds and eyes.)

* Wagashi by Ogasawara



Anonymous said...

Wow, the photo is fantastic. The fish sitting on the glass plate that looks like clear stream water, and the background "water" scene. Just beautiful!

child-prodigy said...

Lovely looking fish! I hope you guys won't get flooded though *crosses fingers that everything will be alright* wow typhoon...

Anonymous said...

Fantastic styling! Words can't describe the feeling it brings me.

Pinkity said...

Cute!!!! Waiting for your next post obachan! :)

K and S said...

Looks great! hope you were safe with the typhoon passing over Kochi.

Anonymous said...

Told my parents about your ayu wagashi. They said "Natsukashii!" Just beautiful on the glass plate. Almost looks like the fish will jump out of there!

Evie said...

Obachan- I love your blog. I just started my own blog and I have added a link to yurs. I hope that is ok. If not, let me know and I will remove it.


obachan said...

Thanks. I went to a nearby park to take this shot of the stream. I guess people at the park thought I was crazy. :P

Luckily, the typhoon didn’t hit our prefecture and I didn’t even evacuate my plants from the balcony.

Sometimes words are not enough to express your emotions, I think. Maybe that’s why there are other ways of expression, like painting, music, dancing and photos, etc…

Thank you.

K & S
The typhoon wasn’t as terrible as we had expected. The only thing was that mom was in town for her tea ceremony lesson. After her lesson, she chatted with other students for a long time. Then she went to the train station and found out that the train was just stopped because of the typhoon. She stayed at my apartment overnight.

Oh your parents loved this wagashi? I’m glad to hear that.

Hi. Thanks for your comment. Yes, linking is OK. And I love your amigurumi work. It’s so cute.

Anonymous said...

I have not ever seen these before.
The Kyoto mochi ones are making my mouth water..!!

obachan said...

Oh, you like the mochi-version? Hope you have a chance to taste it someday...

Anonymous said...


obachan said...

Yeah, there are several wagashi shops selling wakaayu now, and I thought this one looked cutest.