Ice is a common commodity regardless of the season, but in the days when ice-making technology did not exist, ice was extremely valuable.

In ancient times, people built huts in cool caves or underground to store natural ice in order to make use of it during the winter. In Japan, this was called "himuro," and the first day of the sixth lunar month was celebrated as "Himuro no Sekku." On that day, ice cut from the icehouse was offered to the shoguns, and ice was a luxury item, especially in summer. Instead of ice, the common people would eat sweets that resembled ice, such as himuro-manju or minazuki, to get rid of the heat.

It was not until the Meiji period (1868-1912) that the common people in Japan were able to obtain ice throughout the year. The world's first business selling natural ice was established in Boston, U.S.A., and the ice, called "Boston ice," was exported all over the world. In Japan, Boston ice was also imported due to demand from foreign doctors treating burns and other conditions. However, they were very expensive, so attempts were made to produce natural ice domestically.

The first to begin domestic production was Kahei Nakagawa, who established the Yokohama Ice Company (now Nichirei). He built ice houses in various locations, including at the foot of Mt. Fuji, Lake Suwa, Nikko, Kamaishi, and Aomori, and attempted to transport the ice to the port of Yokohama, but all failed, with most of the ice melting during transport. Later, they traveled to Hokkaido, and Hakodate finally succeeded in collecting and transporting ice thanks to the water quality of Goryokaku and the convenience of the port. The ice was called "Hakodate ice" and became widely available due to its lower cost and superior quality compared to Boston ice.

Ice has now become indispensable. The Kurikyu's Magewappa Ice Pail can be used without wetting the table because the ice does not melt easily and does not condense easily due to the insulating properties of the cedar wood. The time spent drinking your favorite alcohol or beverage with cold ice will become even more special.

Kurikyu's Magewappa Ice Pail
Otera Kohachiro Shoten's Kanamari M



[Dashimaki-Don for Two]

When making a bowl of dashimaki-don for two, you want to serve two at once. But there is only one Tamagoyaki Pan.

Nakamura Douki's Tamagoyaki Pan L is used daily. This one can roll dashimaki using around four M-size eggs. Crack the eggs into a bowl, mix well with chopsticks, then add 6 tablespoons of dashi broth, 2/3 tablespoon each of sake and mirin, and a pinch of soy sauce and salt. Put the omelet pan on medium-high heat and roll the dashimaki. Adjust the temperature by changing the distance between the pan and the heat.

The dashimaki is soft because it contains a lot of broth, so it may be difficult to turn it over with chopsticks towards the end, but if that happens, don't push too hard and use a turner to turn it over. While still hot, cut the dashimaki in half on the Tamagoyaki Pan and place it directly on the bowl with the turner. Even half the size is enough to satisfy your appetite, and the broth from the dashimaki will soak into the rice, doubling the deliciousness of the dish. Of course, please enjoy the "dashimaki onioroshi-don" with plenty of grated oni (grated devil's tongue) on top.

Nakamura Douki's Tamagoyaki Pan L
Sori Yanagi's Stainless Steel Bowl
Seiryugama's Donburi
Kagoshima Takeseihin's Onioroshi


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[Homemade Chirashi-Futomaki]

In Japan, there is a special type of futomaki-sushi named "ehomaki." On Setsubun day, the day before Risshun, the beginning of spring, it is believed to bring good luck to eat one of these futomaki-sushi wrapped in seaweed with ingredients such as tuna, shrimp, cucumber, and omelet, together with vinegared rice, facing the best direction of the year without saying a word. The custom of eating ehomaki originated in Osaka and other parts of the Kansai region, but in the 1990s, ehomaki began to be sold at supermarkets and convenience stores in various regions, and ehomaki is now eaten throughout Japan on Setsubun.

Another type of sushi that is essential for the Girls' Festival and other early spring celebrations is chirashi-sushi. In Tokyo and other parts of the Kanto region, chirashi-sushi consists of sashimi and other ingredients neatly arranged on a bed of vinegared rice. In the Kansai region of Kyoto and Osaka, chirashi-sushi is made by mixing small slices of ingredients with vinegared rice and sprinkling a nori (seaweed) and a kinshitamago (egg) on top of it.

"Chirashi-futoimaki" is made by rolling chirashi-sushi like ehomaki. By adding many ingredients, the cross section when cut becomes gorgeous. Since it can be cut into pieces of an easy-to-eat size, it is recommended for parties where people gather. Serve with the standard soy sauce and wasabi, or with mayonnaise or your favorite sauce.

February 3 is Setsubun day, and the direction of blessing in 2023 is "slightly south of south southeast." According to the Japanese calendar, spring begins on February 4. We wish you all a wonderful spring!

Yamaichi's Sushi Handai
Kiya's Handai
Kiya's Sushimaki
Tadafusa's All-Purpose Knife
Yoshita Handi-Design Studio's Cheese Board
Otera Kohachiro Shoten's Kanamari M