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We have a lot of way of eating mochi (Japanese rice cake).

I like mochi (rice cake). Nowadays, most people buy mochi at store or supermarket.

But in old days how to make mochi in a traditional way was hard work.
1. One person pounds steamed rice* with a heavy wooden pestle. *Rice is soaked in water overnight after rinsed off in the day before making mochi. 2. The other person overturn mochi.
1. and 2. are repeated rhythmically.
The kind of rice for rice cake is different from rice for principal food. It is sticky. In addition, the stickiness is produced by how to make mochi.

I’ll introduce some kinds of Mochi and some ways of eating Mochi.
○Ankoro Mochi
Mochi covered with Ann paste (sweetened red bean paste).
The looking of Ankoro Mochi is similar to Ohagi (Botamochi). But inside Ohagi is different. Inside Ohagi is rice which is not mashed perfectly.

○Yomogi Mochi
This is green color Mochi. Because when it is made, Mochi rice was mixed with boiled a kind of weeds,Yomogi.

○Zunda Mochi
Mochi is covered mashed green soybeans, sugar, salt and…

Bonsai_the Origin, types of Bonsai, Musium, super-mini-Bonsai

・What is Bonsai(盆栽) ?
Pine tree Bonsai
Bonsai (盆栽) is potted plants or trees. But pot is also an important element in Bonsai.

The image of the world of nature is expressed in Bonsai. People try to create natural landscape into a small world by means of Bonsai.

In this point, Bonsai is different from usual potted plants or trees.

Bonsai is living plant and there is no “completion”. People who love Bonsai spend decades of time and effort to make it into their desirable shape.

・The origin of Bonsai
It is said the origin of Bonsai goes back to Bonkei(盆景) in Tou(唐) period(618-907) in China.

Rock, sand and moss are placed on tray together to express nature landscape.
Bonkei was brought to Japan during the Heian period(794-1185). It was spread through common people during Edo period(1603-1868) and it became basis of Bonsai.

・Types of Bonsai
○Syouhaku-Bonsai(松柏盆栽)
Pine tree Bonsai
Syouhaku means a coniferous tree (example pine tree, cedar tree).

Most coniferous trees are evergreen tree so we can appreciate them from season to season.

○Zouki-Bonsai(雑木盆栽)
maple tree bonsai
Zouki means miscellaneous forest. For example Bonsai of maple tree belongs to this.

We can taste them of each season.
Spring→bud
Summer→fresh green
Fall→autumnal tints(red or yellow)
Winter→desolate tree

○Flower-Bonsai(花もの盆栽)
flower bonsai
Bonsai of ume, camellia, cherry blossom and wisteria are in this group.
We can enjoy the beauty of flowers and the fragrance.

○fruit bearing-Bonsai(実もの盆栽)
For example crab apple, Chinese quince, pomegranate and Hong Kong Kumquat.
We can appreciate fruits change color from autumn to winter.

○Grass-Bonsai
grass bonsai
We plant common grasses which bloom in different seasons in one pot together.
This bonsai is like wild field. We can feel four seasons into one small bowl.

・Bonsai exhibition
Bonsai exhibition
Usually different types of Bonsai are decorated all together for one expression. Space is also important element.

・Bonsai technique
People have to use many cares and techniques to design Bonsai. I’ll introduce some of them.

○watering (水やり)
Bonsai needs watering every day because it has little soil and easy to dry.

○trimming(剪定)
Branches are cut with scissors.

○fertilizer and disinfecting (肥料と消毒)

○moss(苔)
Good soil is prepared for Bonsai. People put moss on the top of the soil. They are for beauty and also a barometer of moisture.

○harigane-kake (針金かけ)
People sometimes use wire to adjust the shape of the trunk and/or branches.

・Bonsai Museum
In the past Bonsai was considered a hobby of the middle aged but nowadays, young people who enjoy Bonsai have been increasing.

In addition, the popularity of bonsai is rising abroad as well.

There are Bonsai museums in Japan, UK, Holland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia, USA and Canada.

・Super-Mini-Bonsai(超ミニ盆栽)
It is very small Bonsai and even smaller than Mini-Bonsai. (The picture below is Mini-Bonsai.)
Mini Bonsai
The height of Full-sized Bonsai is about 20cm.(It takes more than 20 years.)
But the height of Super Mini Bonsai is 3cm (It can reach its full height in just 3 years. )

Nowadays, super mini Bonsai is also popular.You can see photos in this site (URL: http://www.wa.commufa.jp/tyoumini/ )

・preserved-Bonsai(プリザーブド盆栽)
Do you know ‘preserved flowers’ ?
preserved bonsai is similar to preserved flowers
They are not fresh flowers. They are preserved by using some chemical solution and staining solution.

‘Preserved-Bonsai’ is similar. It is preserved tree. And dried moss is put on the root of the tree. We can mail order it.

In my opinion, I don’t like it very much because it isn’t living plant. But we can decorate it inside room. It doesn’t need sunlight and watering, either.

It may convenient. And it is good for person who have allergies for soil or pollen.

If you have a chance, you should see actual Bonsai!


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