Japan Environmental Exchange

The second“Wagashi / Japanese sweet-making class" report

Emi Hirayama

We, JEE opened a wagashi/Japanese sweet-making class, which was our second time, at Miyako Ecology Center on March 21st (Fri). March 21st is the Spring Equinox, so we made 'ohagi'.
'Ohagi' is a sweet rice cake that we traditionally have on the Spring (and Autumn) Equinox.
We enjoyed the 'ohagi' we made with a bowl of Matcha green tea, and spent a peaceful spring afternoon.
We opend a morning class and afternoon class, the attendants, from 3 years old through 87 years old, were 27 people in total. Unexpectedly, most attendants had never made 'ohagi' at home, at first they looked nervous, but once they started making, they could make it neatly! They all liked their 'ohagi', a 3 year old girl tasted 'ohagi' for the first time in her life - besides it was the first experience for her to make'ohagi' with her mom. The 'Ohagi' delighted her, she said,"I love this red bean paste!"
We chose Tanba Dainagon azuki red beans and Kuromame/black soy bean powder for the ingredients.
Fortunately we can always have fresh and tasty local products grown in Tanba, Kyoto.
But we tend to think lightly of this because we are too much familiar with it.
Nowadays people buy special foods for the traditional annual events at the shop, seldom make at home. Last December, 'Washoku', Japanese traditional cuisine was added to UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list. This let us realize that Japanese cuisine including sweets has appreciation for the seasons and nature again.
That was a day which reminded me of the importance of home-cooking, turning my thoughts towards farmers who grow vegetables carefully with love.