Ume (Japanese sour plum) trees are blossoming in Osaka. Their fragrance is like in a dream.
Old style yatsuhashi sweets (from a shop, not home-made). They are a specialty tea cake of Kyoto, whose production started in Yatsuhashi (8 bridge street) in 17th Century.
The oldest ones were yaki yatsuhashi that are cookies, shape in half cylinder, like the bridge that gave the name. Today, it’s nama yatsuhashi (fresh time), a more recent type.
My green tea looks muddy. I have added a little matcha (ceremony powdered tea) in my cup of sencha (Japanese leaf tea)…
Matcha is NOT powdered sencha, they are from different tea leaves, from tea bushes grown differently, so tastes differ, but they went well together.
This yatsuhashi is matcha flavored. This is a variation, not too recent. They recommend it for this season as green is the color of Spring, of course.
The sweet is made of a sheet of mochi, inside tsubuan (chunky sweetened azuki beans).The powder around is kinako (roast soy bean flour) slightly sweetened.
To know more about ingredients :
Wagashi Saga : Photo-menu of all Japanese sweet posts.
Now, hanami, the blossom viewing festival means cherry blossoms in Japan. Over 1000 years ago, ume plum blossoms were the most popular , and there were other flower events. High society refined people would have small picnics under the tree, to hear poetry and music.
All these traditions were those of the princes of China. Japanese nobles imported their lifestyle and pertpetuaded long after it became extinct in China.
The historic yatsuhashi, the nikki flavor. Nikki is cassia, Chinese cinnamon. Yes, that’s the one that is toxic, but amounts are small here.
They recommend this flavor for the season as the nikki taste is complex and fragrant and relates to the smell of the ume flowers.
Hey, you don’t eat anything at any time of the year, in Old Japan. You have to tune all your life to nature, stars and moon.