Autumn - The Best Season for Japanese Food!

The Japanese government has started easing their Covid restrictions and will start to welcome people from abroad from October according to The Diplomat Magazine.

It's the first time in three years that they're opening their border to almost everyone. Some of you may start planning a trip for next year, or even during the Christmas holidays. There's still a bit of time before it happens though, so I'd like to introduce some highlights of Japanese Autumn.

The Best Season for Food - Shokuyoku no Aki ( Appetite of Autumn)</h5>
As a lot of people know already, Japan has a rich history, culture, and food. Actually, the best season for Japanese food is the Autumn, especially in October.

Traditionally, Autumn is well known as "The season for harvest" - rice farmers harvest rice and take it to market as "fresh rice", and other vegetables such as mushrooms, carrots, and sweet potatoes are in season. Along with vegetables, it's also the best season for many fish as well - salmon, mackerel, and herring, being the most popular.

To enjoy the best of these seasonal foods, I love to make "Takikomi Gohan" (Japanese mixed rice). I usually use mushrooms, carrots, and bamboo shoots with rice and season it with soy sauce, mirin, sake, and fish stock. It's the simplest and best way to enjoy seasonal foods all together. You can also make it with other ingredients, sweet potato, salmon, and abura-age (deep fried tofu). Here's recipe I found on YouTube, if you'd like to try making it for yourself!

Take Care of Yourself - Aki no Yonaga (Long Autumn Nights)</h5>
Autumn is right around the corner, and with it we can expect the nights to get longer, which is traditionally called "Aki no Yonaga" in Japan. After people survive the hot days for almost three months, it starts to get more comfortable to go out. Traditionally it was believed that people tend to get sick or depressed during the transition between summer and winter. Hence it's important to take care of yourself as your body starts to get tired from the sudden cold. In Japan, people tend to relax at home, do yoga, and drink lots of tea!

To keep your body relaxed and warm, drinking tea is always the favoured option for long nights in Autumn. It may be same in the UK - even though the autumn in the UK is shorter than in Japan - we should make our body rest and prepare for the coming winter.

The Season for Arts - Geijutsu no Aki (Arts of Autumn)
Another thing to enjoy during Autumn in Japan is going to museums and exhibitions. The three biggest art competitions are held in Autumn every year -

Nika-Ten / Nitten and Inten - each of these competitions select works of art from more than a thousand candidates.

Nitten in particular is the most famous competition which has more than one hundred years of history behind it. The competition includes Japanese painting, Calligraphy, and Sculpture, along with crafts and western paintings. This year, more than three thousand pieces of art will be showcased at the National Art Centre and around twenty judges in each category will choose the winners.

I hope you learned something new about the Japanese Autumn and I wish you a great and relaxed autumn!


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