December 2023




[Tororo Soup on the Third Day of the New Year]

New Year's traditions vary from region to region and from household to household, but in the Tohoku, Kanto, and Chubu regions, there is a custom called "mikka tororo" (grated yam) soup on the second or third day of the New Year.

Mikka tororo is considered auspicious because it is believed to bring good luck due to its association with longevity and good health. Some belief consuming tororo during the period of "Matsu no Uchi" (the time when New Year's pine decorations are displayed) prevents catching a cold. As a tradition to wish for longevity and well-being, people may also apply tororo at the entrance of their homes or scatter it around to ward off evil and ensure that no harm enters.

Yams used in yam soup, such as Japanese yam, nagaimo, and yamatoimo, are nourishing and contain a lot of diastases, a digestive enzyme, so they are effective in promoting digestion. It is also found in Chinese medicine under the name "sanyaku (山薬)," and has long been known as "the eel of the mountains" for its energizing properties.

Mikka tororo can be served over rice or combined with miso soup. Like the seven herbs rice porridge eaten on January 7, yam seems to be a good way to regulate the tired stomach and intestines of the year-end and New Year's holidays.

Ichiyougama's Mortar
Azmaya's Wooden Pestle








[Hatoya Hotel]

The Hatoya Hotel is located in Ito City, Shizuoka Prefecture, and is well-known for its commercial. If you are going to Ito, you must go to Hatoya. I stayed there a few years ago and still have very fond memories of it.

The hotel was founded in 1947. The founder of the hotel, Seiji Haraguchi, who was a businessman at the time, bought the 14-room "Hatoya Ryokan" and rebuilt it into a hotel, which was the beginning of the Hatoya Hotel. The original owner of the inn was a magician who became famous for his pigeon magic, hence the name "Hatoya." In 1975, the third generation of the Hatoya Hotel established a sister hotel, the Sun Hatoya.

First of all, a nostalgic font sign of "Hatoya" welcomes you from the exterior. Upon entering the lobby, you will find a spacious area with chandeliers, red carpets, and everywhere you look, there is something sparkling and nothing that feels "now" about it. It is not halfway retro, but rather a perfect example of the Showa period. The corridor leading to the annex is spacy, and the futuristic design envisioned by Showa-era people spreads out before your eyes, giving you a strange feeling of being in a dream, as if you were in a new, nostalgic world. Although the interior of the hotel is showing its age, the guest rooms are clean tatami mat rooms with a view of the city of Ito and the sea from the spacious and deep porch, and even have a bath with natural hot spring water. Pigeon motifs are scattered everywhere, so be sure to look for them when you visit.

Dinner was a buffet dinner. We entered a room with a sign saying "theater venue" that can accommodate about 600 people, and the first thing that surprised us was the scale of the venue. The high ceilings, large windows covering the entire wall, tables and chairs lined up in rows, and even a second-floor atrium when you look up, make it look like a concert hall. The variety of dishes ranges from standard dishes to seasonal and local dishes, and the variety of seafood such as sushi, shellfish such as turban shells, and boiled fish is especially exciting. Breakfast is also served at the same venue, with a view of Sagami Bay from the window and a wide selection of both Japanese and Western dishes. Dining at the Hatoya Hotel was truly entertaining, including the liveliness.

The ultimate highlight was the undersea hot springs at the sister hotel, the Sun Hatoya. The dinner show with pigeons flying around, so memorable in the commercials, is now held at the Sun Hatoya, not at the Hatoya Hotel. The dinner show with pigeons flying around, so memorable in the commercials, is now held not at the Hatoya Hotel but at the Sun Hatoya. It was an unknown experience in many ways, and it is a miracle that this facility still remains in this condition, and I was glad to have been able to come and stay even once.

The Hatoya Hotel has various facilities such as a game corner, swimming pool, bar, and Hatoya's original goods store, but my only regret was that I could not use the Ramen Corner because it was closed. Both Hatoya Hotel and Sun Hatoya have a lot to offer, so if you have a chance, please visit them. I am sure it will be an unforgettable experience.

Hatoya Hotel
Sun Hatoya


151118 8402

[Miso Soup with Turnip Grated Radish]

Turnips are one of the vegetables that catch the eye in the supermarket in winter. Turnips have two seasons, spring and autumn. In spring they are soft and tender, while turnips from autumn to winter are characterised by their sweetness and richness. Turnips have a long history of more than 2,000 years, as they are mentioned in the Shijing, the oldest Chinese poetry, and in ancient Greek history. It is now grown all over the world, as it is easy to cultivate and grow even on poor land.

There are many ways to enjoy turnip berries, including as an ingredient in soups such as pot-au-feu, simply steamed in a seiro (earthenware pot), and the leaves can also be used in kenchinni (boiled and seasoned), furikake (sprinkled on rice) or fried rice, but the recommended way to eat turnip berries in winter is in 'turnip miso soup with grated radish'. Both the turnip's fruit and leaves can be cooked at once, and it doesn't take much time. Add plenty of sakekasu to the soup to warm you up from the inside out.

Peel the turnip and grate it with a devil's grater. Finely chop the leaves with a knife. Put the soup stock in a pan over medium heat, bring to the boil, add the grated turnip and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat once, dissolve in sake lees and miso, turnip leaves chopped when the heat is turned on again, add turnip leaves and cook quickly over medium heat. Enjoy the crunchy texture of the turnip leaves. If you want to add one more ingredient, thick fried tofu is recommended as it is hearty and filling.

In winter, you will increasingly use slightly larger bowls for miso soup. It's just a lazy reason for wanting to avoid the hassle of reheating miso soup in the kitchen and having to order another bowl, but don't you feel happy just with a bowl full of miso soup and white rice? Sonobe Sangyo's Meibokuwan come in three large sizes - cherry, zelkova, and beech - and the Meibokuwan series, which won the Good Design Award in 1996, has been a long-seller for over 20 years. These bowls are beautifully rounded and make your dining table feel at home. These bowls will be used in the coming season for miso soup with lots of ingredients, pork miso soup, and New Year's zoni. Please take a look at it.

Sonobe Sangyo's Meibokuwan Zelkova L
Kagoshima Takeseihin's Onioroshi
Nakamura Douki's Copper-Made Yukihira Pot

References (Recipe)