Sunday, September 2, 2012

Miyajima Crafts

Welcome to September! We have been sweating through the humid summer heat here in Iwakuni. I went back through our adventure entries from last summer and can't believe we were out in this heat! Walking around at that! While reliving last year's adventures I loved the entries regarding Miyajima. (see: Miyajima Island, Animals, or Aquarium). With no big plans for the Labor Day holiday we decided to go back to the island (and take some friends who had never been). But repeat adventures always need a little spice, so we added in some new craft experiences.

First on the schedule was a class on making momiji manju. I've written about these tasty cakes before. They are maple leaf shaped pancakes with a soft center. The traditional inside is bean paste, but can also be found with chocolate, cream, cheese, jellies, green tea paste, or just about anything.

For a small fee we got plastic aprons and a lesson on how to make the cakes. We made two sets - one with bean paste and one with chocolate. After enjoying our cakes with some cold wheat tea, we thanked our sensei and went up another floor to learn how to make traditional wooden rice scoops.

There were five different types of wood to choose from. Dustin selected a dark cherry and I picked a light maple. First we got a lesson on how to sand the rough edges and curved surfaces.

Next we got lessons on how to use the stamps and then were set free to decorate our wooden rice scoops.

The stamps were hot so we burned the images into our spoons. Reminds me of getting our stamps on our trek up Mt. Fuji. The stamps had different designs so we could pick and choose our decorating pattern. Dustin and I had a great time learning how to make momiji manju and rice scoops.

Afterwards we walked around the stores and booths. For lunch Dustin had cold soba noodles with a dipping sauce. I had oyako-donburi, which is one of my favorite dishes in Japan. It is warm rice, egg, onion, and chicken with just a tad bit of broth. With miso soup, I was stuffed. It was great to spend the day in the sun on this beautiful island!

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