Kanten is made from seaweeds such as Tengusa and Ogonori. It different from agar and gelatin. It gives stronger coagulation, but tastes smooth and very soft. Kanten has a lower transparency, so it is often used for Japanese sweets (Yokan, Ammitsu etc) and Japanese cooking. There is a lot of fiber in Kanten, so it’s good for your health. It is famous for diet in Japan.
Ingredients (for 6 persons)
Kanten powder … 4g
Water … 500ml
Put the water and Kanten powder in a pot.
Mix with a spoon, and cook a low heat until fully dissolved.
Bring to a boil for 2 minutes a low heat.
Ladle into a clean shallow rectangular pan very carefully.
To harden the Kanten, let it cool completely at the room temperature or put in the fridge.
Once hardened, cut the Kanten in small mouth-size cubes to eat.
There is no taste so it can be added salad, or we can eat it with fruits, fruit juice, fruits syrup, milk or soy milk. You can also replace the water with Dashi to give it umami taste. You can arrange it as you want.
We use various woods in our bracelets that are a staple of traditional Japanese Juzu making:
Shitan – 紫檀
Known in the west as red sandalwood or indian rosewood, it has a very fragrant and dense grain with a deep red hue. It has been used for centuries to make fine cabinetry, buddhist statues and jewelery in China and Japan. It’s hardness and inherent flavor makes it a favorite for use in Juzu as holding it against skin gives it a deep lustre without damaging it.
Ryokudan – 緑檀
Also known as green sandalwood, it has similar properties to Shitan, also with a strong fragrance, but with a green hue.
Kokutan – 黒檀
The most well known in the west, ebony. With a very dark and almost black hue, it is also denser and heavier than the previous two woods. It is often used in soroban (abacus) and heftier juzu bracelets as it is more shock resistant.
Kome-Koji is a base of Miso, Soja sauce, Ama-saké, Japanese seasoning and skincare etc. We can get it easily in Japan, so we often make a seasoning to use for daily cooking.
It started fermentation culture in Japan. It’s great for your health certainly, it includes many enzymes, so it helps well your digestion and absorbing nutrition of vegetables and meat too.
Shio-Koji is a Japanese condiment that can be used to replace salt. You can put it in salads, in pasta sauce, in soup, curry, spread on meat… Shio-Koji is packed with enzymes and Umami. You can use it in any kind of dish, it’s a super-food for us.
Ingredients (for 3 months worth)
Hot water 60℃ 300cc
Add the Kome-Koji to a jar.
Cover with the hot salt water (60℃) and mix gently with a spoon.
Close the jar and keep at room temperature.
The Kome-Koji mixture should be wet like porridge. After 6 to 12 hours, you should check and add or remove water depending on the consistency. This is very important for proper fermentation.
Mix gently with a spoon once a day for 5 days (in summer) to a week (in winter).
Taste the mixture, if it’s still too salty it needs more fermentation.If you start tasting sweetness, it is done and should be put in the fridge to stop the process.
Once the fermentation is complete, you can keep it in the fridge for up to 3 months.
We’ve been hard at work designing an extension to our line of precious stone bracelets and they are now live in the shop.
Inspired by traditional 数珠 (juzu) buddhist prayer beads or meditation bracelets but with a modern everyday look. We’ve added two new 3-loops bracelets which combine precious stones and precious woods for a nice contrast on your wrist and a slightly lighter wear:
We also added single loop versions with all stones and a single larger bead of wood which are perfect for a lower key look.
Of course, these are all handmade by our partner artisans in their workshop in Kyoto, Japan and are available in various sizes from XS to L.
A beautiful sunny Friday outing to see the ginkgo trees (イチョウ) in Aoyama Jingu Gaien park (神宮外苑)
It’s a 300 meter long avenue planted with tall ginkgo trees on both side, leading to the imposing Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery building at the end.
During the second part of November, when the leaves turn a bright gold color, the avenue is closed to cars to let visitors walk freely. Many events, such as beer gardens, are also organized during that time.
We decided to skip the beers and crowds and go to a new spot a few minutes walk south of there, closer to the Aoyama cemetery (青山霊園), called SHARE GREEN AOYAMA.
A wide green grass area surrounded by a good coffee roastery, a flower and plants shop and plenty of tables and chairs for lounging in the sun.
Back to our trip to Gifu prefecture last month, I’d like to present you a little excursion to the Gifu Castle (岐阜城) in Gifu city.
In the middle of the city there is a small mountain called mount Kinka (金華山) and the castle was first built in the 16th century at the very top.
At night it is illuminated and seems to float in the heavens above the city.
There is a ropeway to get to the top of the mountain although hiking seems to also be a popular activity. When we were there the trees had just started taking their autumn colors.
As you climb the last few meters from the ropeway station, you are presented with beautiful views of this white and gold castle. We were very surprised that it is actually much smaller than it looks from the city. What magic is that?
As an additional treat, right outside the ropeway station is Risu-mura (リス村 – squirrel village), a small attraction where you can pay 200 yen and spend as much time as you like feeding dozens of Japanese forest squirrels while taking as many photos, videos and selfies as you like!