"Takosen" is a takoyaki that I walked around eating in Namba, Osaka. It is a takoyaki sandwiched between large shrimp crackers (senbei). Takosen got its start in Kishiwada City, Osaka Prefecture in the 1960s when a takoyaki shop where children on their way home from cram school would stop by was troubled by the littering of garbage containers and used rice crackers instead of plates.

By sandwiching the hot, freshly made takoyaki between the senbei, they could hold it in their hands, and since it was packaged in a burger bag, it was safe for children to have it. The happiness of being able to buy the food and immediately eat it right there on the spot is truly irresistible.

The "Wanaka," which I ate this time even though I had to wait in line, is an exquisite takoyaki with a melty texture. When freshly baked, the takoyaki is crispy, fluffy, and melt-in-my-mouth. The takoyaki are so small that I could eat as many as I wanted, and I even followed the takoyaki from a separate box of takoyaki I had bought to the takosen.

Takoyaki can also be finished with a choice of sauces such as "special sauce," "kettle-cooked salt," "dashi soy sauce," "spicy sauce," "ponzu," and other carefully selected sauces that go well with the batter.

The entire store is full of passion and energy, and the sight of baking and shouting while standing in line will energize you. Please enjoy the freshly baked cakes with a smile on your face while saying, "It's super hot!" and enjoy it with a smile on your face.

Takoyaki Wanaka





February has gradually brought warmer days. Even on days when it feels cold, the air is not as stuffy as it used to be, and a sense of calmness reminiscent of spring can be felt. The flower shops are becoming more lively with spring bulbs, yellow rape blossoms, mimosas, and tulips in bright colors. After purchasing tulips, I searched for "tulip" again and found a "Japanese band," which was formed in 1968 as The Four Singers, which I did not know before. The band's debut as "Tulip" was in 1972, and they have been on their 50th anniversary tour for two years now. This year, encore performances were held in various cities, and every show was sold out! That's what I'm talking about.

The tulip was first introduced to Japan in the Edo period (1603-1867), but it was only for viewing by a small percentage of the upper class, so it did not become very popular. Later, the tulip became a popular flower in Japan, especially among girls, and was used as a pattern on lunch boxes and embroidery on handbags, and if I recall, tulips were always planted in flowerbeds at elementary schools.

As for the country of origin, the image of tulips and windmills is inputted in the image, "Netherlands!" However, the tulip is also the national flower of neighboring countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, and Kazakhstan. In Turkey, the tulip is not only the national flower, but also has a sacred meaning, with beautiful tulip designs on mosques, ceramics, textiles, and chai glasses. Later, the tulip was introduced to the Netherlands, where it became a status symbol for aristocrats and wealthy people, a symbol of "wealth." As collectors and enthusiasts emerged, and as the variety improved, the tulip became more expensive than gold. This is called the "tulip bubble," the world's first bubble economy. I could never have imagined that such a thing had happened over tulips, as I was a schoolchild running around with flowerbeds by my side.

As I did more research, I learned that the language of flowers of the tulip varies depending on the color and the number of tulips.

Red tulip
Confession of love

Pink tulip
Sincere love

White tulip
New love / Lost love

Yellow Tulip
Honesty / Fame / Hopeless love / Unrequited love

Orange Tulip

Purple Tulip
Immortal love / Nobility

Green Tulip

Good for confession or proposal: 1 "You are my destiny", 3 "I love you", 4 "I will love you forever", 9 "Please be with me forever", 12 "Please be my lover", 40 "I pledge eternal love", 99 "Eternal love", 108 Please marry me," etc. The three yellow tulips I happened to buy at a local flower shop were for "I love you, but my love is not rewarded." What a pity.

The world of tulips was unexpectedly enjoyable, and just a little hint of spring in a room that has been winter-colored will change the mood. You can use your favorite vase as a vase, and there are also modern and beautiful vases available. Please take a look at the Shokunin.com site.

Ceramic Japan's Still Green
Ceramic Japan’s New Crinkle Super Bag
Seiryugama's Ichirinzashi


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[Sendai's Beef Tongue Grill]

My first trip to Tohoku in two years started in Sendai. When I think of Sendai, the first and foremost thing that comes to mind is the "beef tongue set meal." The flavorful grilled beef tongue, the pickles served with the meat, the savory aroma of the charcoal fire, the barley rice mixed with white rice, and the tail soup with chopped white onions. I look forward to eating the beef tongue set meal at least once every few times I go to Sendai, and the agonizing over which restaurant to choose this time, given the limited time available, is one of the most enjoyable parts of a trip to Sendai for me.

Beef tongue is now a well-known specialty of Sendai, but its history began after World War II, when Keishiro Sano, the first owner of a restaurant called "Tasuke," opened a restaurant specializing in grilled beef tongue in the center of Sendai City in 1948 to make effective use of the tongue and tail left behind by U.S. troops stationed in the country after the GHQ occupation. The first restaurant was opened by Keishiro Sano, the first owner of a restaurant called "Tasuke," in the center of Sendai City. Mr. Sano was told of the deliciousness of beef tongue by a French chef under whom he had studied, and in the course of his subsequent research, he was inspired by the French dish of tan stew, and invented a method of cooking thin slices of tongue and grilling them with salt. Beef tongue became popular among people relocating to Sendai or working alone during the high economic growth period, and was also favored by health-conscious people as it was introduced in the mass media for its high protein content, low fat content, and high nutritional value. In this way, Sendai's grilled beef tongue became increasingly well-known and is now called Sendai's specialty, both in name and in reality.

Arriving in Sendai in the evening, we were still unable to decide on a restaurant on the moving train, but on the way back from our business partner Tohoku Kogei, we asked a staff member about a popular beef tongue restaurant. He recommended a restaurant where each piece of beef tongue is grilled right in front of your eyes, giving it a live atmosphere. We headed for a restaurant called "Umami Tasuke," which has inherited the flavor of "Tasuke." For 60 years since its establishment, the restaurant has been serving salt-flavored grilled beef tongue, following the words of its predecessor, "Salt is the best way to maximize the flavor of beef tongue," and attracting many fans from all over Japan. The owner carefully piles up each piece of beef tongue right in front of you at the counter, and as you watch him grill it at a brisk pace on the grill, your hunger will be at its peak. It is tempting to eat all four pieces of thick, moderately charred beef tongue at once, but we carefully eat each bite, balancing it with the rice and soup. For me, who likes beef tongue with a perfect salty taste and a firm chew, not even a dash of lemon, this is exactly the right strike.

The simple seasoning brings out the best of the ingredients, and you will never get tired of the beef tongue set meal until you finish it. Umami Tasuke is located a four-minute walk from Kotodai Koen Station on Sendai's Namboku Subway Line. If you happen to be in Sendai, please visit us.

Umami Tasuke
Tohoku Kogei