Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Treasure Trove of Ingredients: Kochi’s Food Culture

   Kochi Prefecture is full of nature with mountains, rivers, and the sea. As a result, it is one of the few prefectures blessed with abundant seasonal foods. Utilizing a vast range of high quality ingredients available within the prefecture, Kochi’s unique food culture has been passed down from generation to generation. “Sawachi Ryouri”, where sushi, sashimi and an aray of foods are served together on large plates, has brought life to dinner parties since long before, and is very representative of Tosa local cuisine. The grandeur achieved by maximizing the beauty of fresh ingredients is said to be one of the defining aspects of Tosa cuisine. Also, as eating vegetables has become more popular among Japanese recently, Kochi vegetables are held in high regard outside of the prefecture and are gaining popularity. Even certain celebrity chefs have taken a liking to Kochi produce, featured the ingredients in cookbooks and endorsed them on media platforms. Kochi’s unique food culture is likely to spread and be passed onto future generations.

Purchasing Tosa Food at the Gairo-ichi Market!

Fresh food that you don’t normally see at the supermarket!
   We went to buy food at the “Thursday Market”, which is held every Thursday. It takes place around 270m away from the streetcar/tram stop opposite the Kochi Prefectural Office (Kencho-mae) and consists of about 77 stalls. This market is full of local customers, as opposed to tourists from outside the prefecture, and gives an impression of being deeply rooted in the local community. As well as juicy fruit and vegetables in an array of colors, the market offers a range of seasonal Tosa flavors, including seafood, side dishes such as sushi rolls, and homemade bread and mochi. It’s also fun to ask stall owners for advice about which food to choose! They kindly told us what was in season, and how to use it when cooking.
   In addition, the “Sunday Market”, has been representative of the city dweller’s kitchen for over 300 years. It spans approximately 1300m starting from the foot of Kochi Castle, has around 420 stalls, and is bustling with both locals and tourists.

Here, we will show you 4 recipes that feature Kochi’s autumn ingredients, obtained from the street market. We guarantee they all will be good!

Yuzu to Shoga no Kaorizushi (Yuzu Ginger Infused Sushi)
   Kochi prefecture is one of the top yuzu growing regions in Japan. From autumn to winter, fresh aromatic yuzu can be found at the street markets. This dish lets you enjoy sushi rice infused with yuzu and ginger aromas.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
   • 2 cups of rice
   • 1/4 piece saba (mackerel)
   • 70g ginger
   • 1/4 of the peel of one yuzu
   • 2 tbsp roasted white sesame seeds
   • Myoga and mitsuba for garnish
   • A(20ml rice vinegar, 30ml yuzu juice, 2½tbsp sugar, 2tsp salt)
1. Put washed rice into the rice cooker, add water to the line marked “sushi”, and cook.
2. Cook the saba on a grill, and flake the meat with a pair of chopsticks. Mince the ginger and yuzu peel. (It is better to remove the white part under the yuzu peel.)
3. Mix the ingredients in A. Add A to the cooked rice, and mix well in a cutting motion with a rice scoop. After mixing, add 2 and the sesame, and mix while cooling the rice with a fan. (Mix gently so as not to crush the rice.)
4. Put on a plate, and garnish with the minced myoga and mitsuba colorfully.

※ Advice: Please adjust the amount of yuzu juice to your liking, It is ok to substitute shiso (green perilla) for the yuzu peel.

Kochi Life Q&A : Earthquakes

Q: I felt shaking! How do I stay safe?
A: If you’re at home, keep your head protected by crouching under a sturdy desk. Once the shaking has stopped, after turning off the gas at the mains, turn off the electrical circuit breaker. Check the exits are clear, and cover your head with a hard object when you go outside. Watch out for falling objects or things that could collapse, and make your way to a “hinanjyo” (shelter). Carry a radio so that you can receive updates on the situation. If you’re near the coast, don’t wait for official announcements to be given, but prepare for a tsunami and evacuate to “takadai” (high ground)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Invitation to the Shikoku Pilgrimage Experience

   The Junior Chamber International Japan, Shikoku Area Kochi Block Council is planning to hold a mini Shikoku Pilgrimage event. And Nankoku-shi International Association will be supporting it.
   If you participate in this pilgrimage event, you will learn a lot about henro, pilgrimage, culture through the members of JC and the English guides.

   August 28, 2016 (Sun)

   8:00(in front of the Nankoku City Office entrance)~ 17:00
   5km walking pilgrimage from Dainichiji to Kokubunji
   Dainichiji, Konan City: Worship Etiquette・Temple Explanation・Worship(Offerings)
   Kokubunji, Nankoku City: Worship (Offerings)・Temple Explanation
   Transportation to Chikurinji will be by bus
   Chikurinji, Kochi City: Worship (Offerings)・Temple Explanation・Sutra Transcribing
【Accident Insurance】
   Participants are insured against accidents
   The Junior Chamber International will provide tomato curry
   Clothes and shoes that are comfortable to walk in
【Things to Bring】
   Water bottle・change of clothes (if necessary)・towel
 If you suffer from car sickness, please bring motion sickness medication.
【Deadline for Entry】
   August 10th.
   Sachi Nagano, Nankoku-shi International Association
   TEL: 080-3162-2310
   Email: mumsachi@yahoo.co.jp

Friday, July 1, 2016

Enjoy an Organic Lifestyle at “English Garden House”

The roses bloom from early spring to
October, with their peak in early May.
   The scent of roses warmly enveloping the area, colorful and vibrant flowers, the faint sound of insects going about their business, and creative cuisine made from naturally farmed ingredients—you take peaceful refuge from the day-to-day and treat your five senses to something special. At least, that’s what we felt when we visited English Garden House in Kagami-cho, Konan City in search of an organic lifestyle.

Get in touch with Kochi’s Natural Side at “Nishijima Horticultural Park”

They’re even more delicious
when you pick them yourself!
Surrounded by Flowers and Fruits…
   Stepping into this Horticultural Park is like finding yourself in paradise—you are surrounded by tropical plants and have access to fruits like watermelons and Japanese melons year-round. This time, we tried our hand at strawberry picking! There is no time limit, and it’s all-you-caneat. The strawberries we picked ourselves and ate on the spot were very delicious. It’s so popular that you have to go early in the day before they run out. Sadly, this year’s season is over, but Nishijima has many other attractions that we will introduce below.

Enjoy Unique Art: Kaiyodo Hobby Museum and Kappa Museum

The unusual outside of the Hobby Museum.
Go out of your way for it! The distant Hobby Museum
   Get in touch with some unique art in this treasure chest of a museum that boasts the world’s largest collection of plastic models, by the world’s most famous designers! You can appreciate the craftsmen’s masterpieces, enjoy your favorite figures, and even make your own dioramas in a special studio. It’s an experience you can’t have anywhere else.

Kochi Life Q&A : Going to the Doctor

How do I choose a doctor / hospital?
   In Japan, the patient decides which department to go to. For example, for a cold, go to internal medicine (内科 / naika), and for a broken bone, go to surgery (外科 / geka). If you are unsure of where to go, go to the front desk of the hospital for help. You can ask for a “Multilingual Medical Questionnaire” (1) that is available in 18 languages to help determine the appropriate department to visit.
   For non-serious illnesses, we recommend going to a private doctor first. If necessary, they will write you an introduction letter to a general hospital, where you can get special treatment. You can also use the “Kochi Iryo Net” (2) (available in English and Japanese) to search for medical institutions in Kochi Prefecture. It includes information about hospitals open at night and weekends, as well as emergency care hospitals, so check it in your free time.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Watch Yamaguchi Sagi Style Kyogen with Foreigners!

Sponsor: Nankoku-shi International Association (NIA)
Ticket Reservations (Deadline: 6/10) and Questions:
080-3162-2310 (Ms. Nagano)
(NIA members have priority for tickets. If the event approaches capacity, non-members may be denied entry) 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Looking for SNS Reporters!

Promote Shikoku tourist information to the world by using the hashtag #LOVESHIKOKU
[Apply by: May23 (Mon.) ]

Award of Contribution Excellence A travel voucher will be awarded for the highest total number of Likes, Comments and Shares.

#LOVE SHIKOKU SNS Reporters Application Form

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Susaki's Beloved Character ☆ Shinjo-kun

It might be good luck to touch
Shinjo-kun’s bellybutton!
 (Saki-chan is on the left.)
Who is Shinjo-kun?
   Shinjo-kun is Susaki City’s mascot character based on the Japanese river otter, which is now considered to be extinct but was last seen in the Shinjo River, which runs through Susaki City. He wears a hat shaped like Susaki’s famous nabeyaki ramen, and sometimes he lets his fellow mascot friends who are other mascots wear his hat.

Shinjo-kun's Big Break?
   Shijo-kun gradually became more and more well-known after being introduced as an “interesting character” by fellow mascots like Barysan, Udonnoww, and Osaki-Ichibantaro, whom he co-starred with at events. He has also been introduced by the celebrity character Funassyi as a “character about to make it big,” but Shinjo-kun himself still doesn’t feel like he’s part of the big leagues.

Are You Hatappy (Happy)? ♪ Hatappy

Our staff was also surprised at just how cute Hatappy was!
Who is Hatappy?
   Hatappy is a daruma sunset* fairy who was born in 2013 to promote the Hata region (southwest Kochi). She’s a girl with a quiet personality, but she gets fired up when talking about the Hata region. Highlights of all six municipalities in the Hata region are represented on her small body. For example, her body itself is a daruma sunset from Sukumo City. The decorations on her hat represent the bountiful mountains of Mihara Villege, the Shimanto River from Shimanto City, a wave from Otsuki Town, whose ocean has the most variety of fish types in Japan, the lighthouse and tsubaki trees from the Ashizuri Cape in Tosashimizu City, and a whale from Kuroshio Town, which is famous for whale watching. Her necktie is in the shape of Shikoku, with the red portion representing the Hata region.
*Daruma Sunset = an optical illusion in which the winter setting sun around Sukumo City takes the shape of a daruma doll or snowman.

Kuroshio-kun, Poster Child for Kochi Prefecture

Check out Kochi’s internet broadcasting agency
Bringing Kochi’s Appeal Nationwide!
   Kuroshio-kun, Kochi’s “poster child,” was born in 1997 out of efforts to improve Kochi’s image and increase its appeal.
   Using the motif of the Kuroshio Current which flows through Tosa Bay, Kuroshio-kun expresses the silhouette of Kochi Prefecture boldly advancing into the 21st century. He’s frequently mistaken for a whale or a tadpole, but make no mistake, he is the Kuroshio Current!!
Kuroshio-kun Makes Waves at the National Sports Festival in Kochi
   At the 2002 National Sports Festival in Kochi, Kuroshio-kun contributed greatly as the mascot of the competition. Thanks to his cute shape, his stuffed toys sold out on the first morning of the competition, and his popularity was so extraordinary that the regional media named him “The most successful mascot in competition history.” Kuroshio-kun goods are only sold at competition-related events, so if you happen to own something featuring Kuroshio-kun, you actually own a very rare object!
   Also, in the Nenrinpics in Kochi 2013 (national sports festival for the aged), Kuroshio-kun debuted a new red vest and white hat outfit, and enlivened the competition as “the face of Kochi.”

Kochi Life Q&A: When an Acquaintance has Passed Away

   Today, we will give an example of the progression from when you hear that an acquaintance has died, through the end of a Buddhist funeral. (Be aware that there are differences depending on religion, denomination, and regional customs.)