The Shuni-e (commonly called Omizutori) ceremony has been held at Todaiji Temple in Nara since the Nara Period (710-784).
Although the large torches that shower sparks on people are famous, they are simply meant to lead the monks to the temple hall. The monks pray for the happiness of all living things and go through the cycle of penitence and prayer.
Besides teaching Japanese cuisine in Tokyo's Akasaka district, Naoyuki Yanagihara frequents libraries to read documents from the Edo Period (1603-1867). He believes that studying the originality and ingenuity of his forerunners will show him the path he should take.
"I try to learn the changes in the ingredients and cooking procedures and make use of them today," the 39-year-old cooking expert says.
The word "gratin" may conjure images of a white-sauce-based dish. But at Shiseido Parlour's main restaurant in Tokyo's Ginza district, the red color of the tomato-flavored gratin stands out.
"Some guests are surprised to see a dish that is quite different from what they had imagined," says Naohisa Inoue, the 50-year-old grand chef of the restaurant.
"Become friends with fire" was the key piece of advice Naohisa Inoue was given soon after he entered the kitchen of a restaurant run by Shiseido Parlour Co.
The experienced staffers advised the young cook on the importance of winning the fire over and interacting with it as if they were "kindred spirits."
For the last 10 years Midori Takahashi has been spending two days a week in her husband's hometown. When the "food stylist" began visiting Kuroiso in Tochigi Prefecture, she fell in love with a warehouse with a nostalgic feel close to the station.
She felt the town could do with a little more vibrancy, so she and her husband renovated the warehouse and opened the antique shop Tamiser Kuroiso in 2009. They hoped it might attract a few more people to the area.
Midori Takahashi likes to reread essays by actress Sadako Sawamura (1908-1996), and "Watashi no Kondate Nikki" (My menu diary), in particular, serves as a guide to "ways of living and cooking" for the 60-year-old "food stylist."
The book lists the menus that Sawamura began recording when she was 57. It shows that despite her busy schedule working on films and TV dramas, she based her life around the dinner table she shared with her husband and planned thoughtful menus.
TSU, Mie Prefecture--In a nation filled with expensive fruit and food gifts, the Mie prefectural government and a teamaker have teamed to offer something for the well-heeled to wash them down with.
Ise Kabuse, a 720-millilter bottle of tea priced at 23,000 yen ($210), excluding tax, will be sold from February by the Maruha Teas Co.
Travel agency H.I.S. Co. said Tuesday that a robot will serve drip coffee to customers at a cafe it plans to open next month at its flagship branch in central Tokyo.
The agency will open its "Henn Na Cafe" or "strange cafe" featuring a robotic arm and an automated coffee maker inside its store in Tokyo's Shibuya district.
"Food stylist" Midori Takahashi specializes in maximizing the potential of dishes through choices of plates, place mats and more to effectively enhance them and the perception of the cook responsible for them.
After studying pottery in a two-year college, Takahashi, 60, worked at an illustrator's office before striking out on her own. Her skill for highlighting depictions of cooked dishes earned her a reputation, and she decided to follow her chosen career.
Jiji Press YAMAGATA (Jiji Press) — Some wineries are moving to change their product indications containing geographical names ahead of the planned tightening of place-of-origin rules aimed at preventing consumers' misunderstanding amid the rising reputation of domestic wines.
Among them is Takeda Winery in the city of Kaminoyama, Yamagata Prefecture, whose mainstay products include the Zao Star series. The product brand name derives from the Zao mountain range, known for popular ski resorts and the tourist-attracting scenery of frozen snow-covered trees.