Monthly Archives

June 2012

Japan

A Survey of Delicious Japanese Pastries

Taiyaki!

My favorite Japanese treat. Taiyaki literally means ‘baked sea bream’. But really, they’re these thick pancakes shaped like fish and filled with either custard or sweet red bean paste. I personally favour the custard, but the beans aren’t bad either. Sometimes you also see them being sold just as circles (kind of like the pancake version of a pizza pocket). My favorite part is biting into them when you first get them. This one place where I usually go (a little bakery in the Dojomonzen shopping arcade) keeps them hot in cast iron moulds until you order them. I really like biting into the warm pancake and tasting the super hot custard. It’s like delicious lava. It’s so good. Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure the circle-versions can’t be called ‘taiyaki’, because, well, they don’t look like fish. Whenever you see the circle versions at bakeries, normally they’re just listed on the menu as クリーム (cream) or カスタード (custard). So to order one, you’d say something like “クリームをひとつお願いします。” (One cream please).

Anyway, if you ever go to Japan, you should definitely try them. You can find them in most Japanese-style bakeries, or being sold at festival stalls.

Destinations Japan

Hiroshima Peace Park and Atom Bomb Museum

Paper cranes folded in memory of Sadako, a young girl from Hiroshima who died from Leukemia after being exposed to radiation from the A-Bomb in 1945 when she was 2. Thousands of these cranes are folded in careful chains and left all around the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan. Especially large concentrations can be found around the children’s peace memorial. 

Destinations Japan

Porn Floyd

A funny story from last week in my Anthropology class. Our professor, Yasuno sensei, was spending a good hour and a half discussing the construct of ‘sexy’ with us, bless her. Sexy in Japan, sexy in the West, sexy… everywhere. Really a fun way to spend some time. Anyway, we got on the topic of porn (of course). In Japan, pornos are colloquially referred to as ‘pinkueiga’ or ‘pink movies’ ピンク映画。And so a lot of other risqué things here adopt the prefix ‘pinku’ as well. So, because of that my professor was under the impression that the band ‘Pink Floyd’ was a naughty porn band.

Pretty funny.

I explained to her that no, alas, they were not a porn band… I couldn’t quite find the words to explain to her in Japanese what exactly a psychedelic rock band was, so I just said they were philosophical instead. 

For the record, Pink Floyd’s name actually comes from a combination of Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, two American blues guitarists who passed away in the 70s. This was because in their early days, Pink Floyd saw itself as more of a jazz band.