Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sweet Seasons / January 2008 - Year of the Rat -

Eto-gashi by Nishigawaya

Did you think I gave up on this series? Nope! And I think this time I really made good use of the time. In the past couple of days, when I was not at the "Hello Work" (local employment agency), I read a couple of how-to websites on food photo shooting. And today I spent the whole morning trying to apply the newly acquired knowledge to my photo shooting.

Also, this morning, I downloaded several fonts from a free font website. This one on the photos here is the one I finally picked. What do you think?

When I started this "Sweet Seasons" series, I was planning to include a wagashi trivia in each entry. Especially, I was hoping to be able to cover different wagashi ingredients (sugar, rice flour, etc.) because once in a while my readers write to me asking, "Obachan, what's the difference between XXXX and XXXX?" (There are so many different types of rice flour, you know.) But I couldn't do it as much as I wanted because when I picked wagashi that were made into the shape of plants or animals of the season, they were almost always nerikiri and their ingredients were always the same.

So this year, I'll try to post about a wider variety of wagashi, and include a trivia about different wagashi ingredients. (Well, I'll TRY, at least. :P)
Oh, in case you're wondering... I have been posting a wagashi entry on the last day of the month so that the monthly archive of this blog always has a wagashi entry on top of each month. Yeah, it's weird to see, on the last day of the month, January's entry which is related to New Year celebration. Hahaha...

OK. Now I should add a trivia about this wagashi in above photos, but I'm a bit tired. Forgive me... I'll take care of that tomorrow. For now, I just say that the Chinese character on this wagashi means "rat" and that is why this is called eto-gashi (wagashi with the Chinese zodiac theme).

* Wagashi by Nishigawaya



Ian said...

lovely photo, though can I say something, the letters are being slightly lost in the food, the contrast between your font and food is to low, it may be better to drop the letters to the second grey line on your corner border, or slightly alter the colour of the font, then again it may be the contrast on my screen that is out, I am totally losing the N on Kitchen and Garden. Beautiful choice of font, food looks delicious and you are wonderful, hope you find a nice job soon, hugs from the UK

Anonymous said...

IMHO, the placement, itself, of the new watermark obscures the view.

Anonymous said...

Obachan, your photos are incredible. Since you asked for feedbacks, I'd give a suggestion: drop the writing of "Obachan's Kitchen and Gardens" to the lower part of the photo so that it doesn't sit right in the smack center of it, which takes away the the attention paid subject of your photo.

K and S said...

lovely font and photo. I would also move the writing to the bottom of your photo. :)

Makoto said...

Your photos always look amazing. It a nice font, but also I agree that its getting a bit lost in the background.
And the wagashi look amazing as always. Only wish I could find a store here.

obachan said...

Hi guys,

Thanks for the feedback. And don't worry too much about the letters being partly lost in the background. I put them there to take some attention away from the details of the photos and I don't really need to have them completely legible, because my blog title is clearly mentioned on the top. But I'll probably play around with the location of the watermark.
(So this is called "watermark!?" I spent such a long time yesterday trying to find out what it is called. Thank you! :D)

Don't worry. You'll get used to this soon. Or I may get tired of it and go back to the way it was. ;)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Fabulous, simply gorgeous!



☆Hachiko☆ said...

Oddly, I think this wagashi resembles my dad's mahjong pieces *o*

Yi Hwa said...

Pretty as always Obachan~ Keep up the good work!

obachan said...

To those who gave me feedbacks/advices about how to make the watermark more clearly visible:
Maybe I didn’t sound very appreciative? Sorry about that. It’s just that it never occurred to me that watermarks should be clearly visible. Perhaps because I saw them for the first time on this stock photo website which I mentioned in one of my sake to sakana posts. Try clicking on the thumbnails like 99601040 or 0018585. Seeing so many photos like those, I took it for granted that watermarks often get lost in the white (or whitish) background, and that’s the way it is. So please don’t feel bad if I don’t seem to make efforts to improve that point. But I really appreciated your feedbacks. Honestly. :)

Thanks. The problem was that it was a cloudy day so I couldn't get enough light.I'm not very happy with the color of these photos. But I think now I know better about blurring the background. :)


Yi Hwa
I'm sure I'll keep trying this and that for the rest of the week because I have a plenty of time (until I find a new daytime job...)

Marcela said...

Hello Obachan, :)
I found your blog, a long time ago actually, looking for information about wagashi. So every last-day-of-the-month post makes me spring of joy.
I really like your photos. You have a lot of skills.
Best wishes,

obachan said...

Hi Marcela,
I'm so happy to hear from wagashi lovers who live outside Japan.Sorry I skipped wagashi posts for Nov. and Dec. last year. I'll be more diligent in 2008 and continue this wagashi series hopefully with better photos.

Anonymous said...

All of the sweets that you make look amazing...

obachan said...

Thank you. Actually the wagashi I post about in this wagashi series are store-bought ones made by professionals. That's why they look good. I usually put the name of the confectioner with an asterisk at the bottom of the post, but I often forget to do so, so please forgive me when that happens. ;P

Rei said...

Hello Obachan,
The kanji pressed on the wagashi is it "ko" or "shi"? what does it mean? Ko, as in anko, referring to the tsubu an? Sorry, just so curious...having a hard time with kanji.
I have to tell you that a Japanese confectionery has opened in my neighborhood. I am so excited, my order will be ready on Sunday. Previously only certain omanju were offered "fresh" from California.

obachan said...

Hi. Sorry I forgot to answer your question. As you say, the kanji is usually pronounced "ko" or "shi" and it means a child. But when in Chinese zodiac, it is pronounced "ne" and it means "rat" or "mouse." That's why it is pressed on this eto-gashi, and it has nothing to do with anko.

So have you tried some wagashi from the new confectionery in your neighborhood? Hope you enjoyed them. :)

Rei said...

Hello Obachan,

Thank you for helping me with kanji vs. Chinese character "ne". I guess it all depends on context. There is just so much to consider.

Yes, the wagashi is fabulous! Its truly other worldly, totally divine abd nothing like I have ever had before. I will email you her web site if you'd like to take a look.

Thanks again for help with everything.