How to make Good Sakura-cha (Cherry blossom tea)

We have Sakura-cha, Cherry blossom tea from Japan. It has a small instruction on the back of the package but not very many people would notice; I am Japanese but I have never known that before either! We just would like you to have the best tea at home, so here's the instruction :) 

さくら茶を当店でも扱っておりますが、頂き方はご存知でしょうか?私は調べるまで詳しくは知らず、そのままお湯に浮かべればよいのかと思っていたのですが、、、塩抜きをしなくてはいけないとのことでした!!美味しく頂いていただくためにも、煎れ方をシェアしたいと思います。

 

 

 

  1. Boil hot water and pour it in a tea cup
  2. Put one cherry blossom in the cup and wait for about 5 minutes to get rid of salt, or it would be too salty!
  3. Pour another hot water in a new cup, float the cherry blossom which you just rinsed
  4. Scoop the salty water from the old cup about one tea spoon, and put it in the new cup (if you want more flavor, you can adjust the amount of the salty water to add)
  5. Enjoy!!

 

It is not sweet, more like soup with a mild flavor of cherry blossom. I'm sure it would taste also good if you add a little bit of sugar/honey in it!

昆布茶のように甘くないタイプ、でもお砂糖や蜂蜜を少し足してもこちらは美味しそうですね。

 

 

We hope you enjoy it!!

お食事の前菜などにも最適だと思います。ぜひお楽しみください!!

Hina-matsuri (Doll's Day/Girl's Day)

Hina-matsuri is a special day in Japan (not a holiday, though!). It is celebrated each year on March 3rd.

もうすぐ雛祭りですね!皆さんは何か特別なことをしますか?

マサチューセッツに引っ越してくるまでは、日本独特のお祭りなどをしようとは思わなかったのですが、こちらの日本人の方たちは甘酒やお餅など、いろいろなものを手作りしていらっしゃり、とてもマメで大変驚きました。そしてこのブログ記事を書くにあたり、いろいろと調べ、我が文化ながら知らないことも多く、大変勉強になりました。

 

Families display Hina-ningyo to celebrate the day. Hina-ningyo is a set of ornamental dolls representing the emperor and empress in traditional court dresses of the Heian-era. There are bigger sets as well with attendants and musicians, 15 dolls and 7 tiers in total.

Generally,  families start to display the dolls from February and take them down immediately after the festival because there's a superstition which says that leaving the dolls past March 4th will result in a late marriage for the daughter... Kind of a horror story for girls!!

 

Food for this festival : 

  • Hina-arare, bite-sized rice crackers flavored with sugar/soy sauce or both. Modern ones have 5-10 chocolate-covered crackers in a bag and they are poplar among children!
  • Hishi-mochi, a diamond-shaped rice cake which has a three-color-layer of pink, white and green (from the top to the bottom). 
  •  Chirashi-sushi, a bowl of sushi rice topped with a variety of sashimi and vegetables/garnishes. There's no set formula for this dish; you can put anything on top as long as it's delicious!
  • Ama-zake, a sweet, low- or non-alcohol drink made of  rice and koji mold. It is believed that Ama-zake is very nutritious. It contains Vitamin B1, B2, B6, Folic acid, Dietary Fiber ect.
  • Ushio-jiru, salt-based soup containing clams still in the shell. Clam shells in food are deemed the symbol of a united and peaceful couple, because a pair of clam shells fits perfectly, and the no pair but the original pair can do so!

 

We have one pair of Hina-ningyo in stock. They are on the front display :)

Tokaiでは1点、雛人形の取り扱いがございます。この機会にいかがでしょうか?

 

Or how about a handcrafted bunny Hina-ningyo? They are adorable!!

それか、ハンドメイドのうさぎ雛も場所をとらずに良いですね。ぜひお立ち寄りください、お待ちしております!!

Happy Girl's day!!

 

 

2016 Calendars and Year of the Monkey

One of our long-time traditions at Tokai has returned once again for the holiday season! We now have our lovely 2016 calendars back in stock. Printed in Japan, our calendars offer a variety of beautiful and charming scenes ranging from tranquil gardens to stunning wood-block prints. Each calendar captures the vibrant essence of Japanese culture and brings it to your space. As a gift for someone or for yourself, they are the perfect way to start the new year.

 

Additionally, we have just added our New Year's Eto figurines for 2016 the Year of the Monkey. Each one is delicately crafted and hand-painted in a very cheerful and charming way. Do you have any "monkeys" in your life? You might if they were born on the following years: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016.

Cards made with love

Today, we are very excited to introduce our new products from a talented artist, Aiko (also known as Shikakibito-Aico in Japan). She has been working as an artist for more than a decade and her workshops and exhibitions are always full of people. Those who have been to Japan might have seen her products in department stores. And now she has arrived in Boston!

It has been a few months since we started working with her on our designs. After we received her initial samples, we were very excited about having her products in our store. That's a good sign, right? We asked her right away if she could make something special for us. We are happy to announce that Aiko's products are now available exclusively at Tokai.

 

今日は新商品についてお知らせいたします。日本で、お客様の気持ちを言葉や絵に描く活動をしてきたアーティストの詩描人あいこさんが、この度ボストンでアーティスト活動を始めました。日本にお住まいの方、日本に行かれたことのある方は、彼女の作品をデパートなどで見かけたことがあるかもしれません。彼女の素敵な作品の数々をここボストンでも広めたいと思い、当店ではあいこさんにスペシャルオーダーをお願いしました。スペシャルオーダーをするにあたり、たくさんのサンプル商品を送って頂きました。ひとつひとつに目を通す間にも、店頭に並んだあいこさんの商品を手に取るお客様の姿が想像できて、とてもワクワク楽しい気持ちになっていて、すぐに何か作っていただけないかお願いしました。そしてようやく皆様にお伝えできる日がやってきました!あいこさんの素敵な商品が、当店にてお買い求めになられます。嬉しいことに当店限定販売です。

Aiko's Cards

Aiko's greeting cards, like many of her works, are original and detailed. The colorful heart-warming designs will make you smile and bring happiness to your day. They are perfect gifts for your loved ones. Check out Aiko's website below for more information.

カラフルでほっこりと優しい気持ちになれる、あいこさんのグリーティングカードは見ているだけで笑顔になれますね。大切な方へ贈られてみてはいかがですか?あなたのお気に入りがみつかりますように!あいこさんのホームページにも是非お立ち寄りください。

shikakibito-aico.com

Japan Festival Boston

We are delighted to hear that the Japan Festival will take place again this year in Boston!

Japan Festival Boston
Date: Sunday, April 26th 2015
Time: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Location: Boston Common
Admission: Free

This event is a wonderful display of Japanese culture accessible to visitors right here in the heart of Boston. Continuing on their 4th year, the Japan Festival Boston has attracted crowds of visitors each time looking to enjoy a taste of Japanese food, entertainment, and arts.

Tokai will be hosting a booth at the festival this year where you may find an assortment of Japanese crafts. Please come and visit us!

As seen through Japanese lens

Over the years Tokai has been filmed by several local TV shows such as Neighborhood Kitchens and Chronicle. More recently however we were grateful to have a Japanese TV show "Challenge to the World!" (asahi.co.jp/sp/japanpride/) visit our store. The crew and chefs spent the day at our store picking out some tableware to be featured in a cooking competition between sushi chefs from Ginza and Boston.

The show originally aired in Japan on Friday January 9th. You can check out our brief appearance here (at the 4:48) : www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpj0ToXCHMM&t=285

2015: Year of the Sheep

What's with all the sheep popping up in our store? Well according to the Japanese zodiac calendar, also known as "Kanshi" or "Eto" (干支), 2015 will be the year of the sheep! While the Chinese zodiac follows a lunar calendar, in Japan the beginning of the sheep year is celebrated on January 1st. If you know someone who was born in the following years, they belong to the year of the sheep: 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003.

Sheep_2015.jpg

Check our shop section in the upcoming weeks for sheep-related items! Or contact us and we can ship anything from our main store that is not yet available online.

Happy New Year and we wish you a prosperous and fortunate year in 2015!

Origami Christmas Cards

Happy Holidays everyone! We're taking some origami paper and making Christmas cards. The patterned washi paper works really well for the tree.

Holiday_Card.jpg
Holiday_Card_02.jpg

We took a regular 15cm sheet and trimmed it into four pieces of descending size (trim about 1cm extra each time). You can find instructions here except on step 9 we folded it flat across the front and back. For the star, it is just a simple paper strip star (you can take two 1/4 strips of origami and glue them end to end).

Great way to show a little extra love in your holiday card. Enjoy!