Sake Ceremony & Mochi Pounding Events for New Year at Japan Centre

Hmm if only I lived nearer London!

Japancentre blog

Sake Ceremony and Mochi Making

New Year will be soon upon us again and that means it’s time for some traditional Japanese celebrations! New Year, called Shōgatsu in Japanese is one of the most important festivals of the year with plenty of tasty food and drink, as well as a fantastic variety of interesting customs.

If you want to experience some of the fun that happens during the Japanese New Year celebrations, why not join us at Japan Centre and get involved. There’s free samples to be had to make it even more tempting! 🙂

Mochi Pounding

Called mochitsuki in Japanese, mochi pounding is the custom of pounding large amounts of mochi rice into soft, stretchy and sticky mochi! Using a giant hammer and a huge mortar, one person hammers down on the mochi while another person adds water and flips the mochi over in between pounding to stop it from sticking. It is a…

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The Gaijin’s Insight to Choosing the Right Kimono

One of the earliest “go to” resources I found when I was starting to look more deeply into wafuku. The entire blog is lovely, (what there is of it- sadly they didn’t complete the scope of the project) but you do need to check the comments for corrections to some of the spelling/terms.

The Plum and Blossom

So your company’s holding a Dinner and Dance soon. You’ve gotten the bee in your bonnet to wear a kimono. Which do you choose? In fact, there are nearly a dozen types of kimono available to you, all with varying degrees of formality and appropriateness, that selecting one can seem totally mystifying to most. Not to mention that you have to pick the obi, of which there are four types, accessories and shoes.

In order to help us gaijins, I’ve compiled a list of kimono and accompanying obis and shoes according to their degree of formality or appropriateness (i.e. married or not?). However, I will not be including Uchikake, Kakeshita or Shiromuku in my list, since all three are for brides to wear on their wedding day. I will, instead, be focusing on the kimono that most of us would wear practically and for a variety of reasons or occasions…

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We won, we won!!!

As you will recall from a couple of posts ago, we entered the Japan Center #Samuraimo competition and they tweeted us today to say we have won.

We are so excited!

As promised we will now reveal the winning photograph …

Just as a reminder we were aiming for this:

This is the mo we were going for

After much posing, giggling and growling, plus the magic of an app that makes everything look like sepia, the winning #samuraimo’ looked like this:


Apparently we captured the spirit of Samurai 🙂

Thank you again the lovely people at the Japan Centre for the chance to enter!

Tea Ceremony

Through reading and research I have found that as I try and focus on one subject it leads me to another. So I am now going to focus on the Japanese tea ceremony and will be posting information as I go. The two things that I have found in common through all that I have read, is that almost all things that were studied and learned did not take days or even months to learn but years of practice and study. Whether it be geisha or samurai or sword makers or fishermen, there was a perfectionist way to learn and do things and I think it had to do with reaching Zen, or total enlightenment. The second thing that I have learned so far as I read about the tea ceremony itself is that it was common to all people. Status, income or social rank did not matter.

Currently Reading:

The Japanese Tea Ceremony by Anthony Man-Tu Lee 1999

New Arrival Bento Box

Well, my love of bears is well documented, so of course when I saw a bargain Rilakkuma bento box and chopsticks on Amazon, I had to have them!

They arrived today :



I’m very impressed with the size and also how tightly the lids fit. The chopsticks in the box are a little small, but they aren’t really meant for hands my size lol.

I can’t wait to try them out!

Thanksgiving and Crochet cheating

I took a few days off from Bento for Thanksgiving. We don’t celebrate in the UK, but I always book time off from work to spend it with Mr Kuma on Skype and this year we had the baby bears too.

So no work lunch means no bento.

It did give me time to finish off the crochet bear I started (see post ).
The orginal was supposed to be a white bear, but my mine was off white to start of with and then got handled a lot while I fiddled and unpicked things and that was before I spilled coffee. So in the end I thought I would borrow from Aki Kondo and make the bear into Korilakkuma as much as possible.


I was quite please by the results, although any one who knows crochet will see I cheated and did a rib stitch instead of a proper single crochet, as I was out of practice.

I am doing the next one properly:


#Samuraimo competition at the Japan Centre

Mr Kuma has been off work a few days now because of snow, so he has had a some time in which to cultivate a rather spectacular amount of facial hair. (To be fair it has been so cold in Michigan that he has been growing it for insulation even when he is working.) So when we saw that the Japan Centre in London were running a Samurai ‘Mo competition to celebrate ‘Movember’, we couldn’t resist.

The idea was to look as fierce or dignified as possible, so we got the kids to help with the styling (well youngest daughter, eldest daughter just died of embarrassment at the sight of his new style, which we found hilarious)

and we decided to model the pic on one of the chaps suggest by the Japan Centre Oda Nobunaga who you can see below. Mr Kuma duly scraped his hair back, wrapped himself in my robe and assumed a dignified expression Which is harder than you think wrapped in a woman’s robe with 3 kids and one wife giggling at you!.


Oda Nobunaga: A formidable warlord during the warring states period, this daimyo conquered nearly a third of Japan. We think the source of his almighty power lies in that thick ‘tasche of his. Reckon you can grow a Mo like Oda?

We tweeted our entry, so you can follow us on twitter to take a look, or if we win, we will do the grand reveal on the blog here. It was a lot of fun and we were very grateful for the chance to enter.