“Hanaragu manju” in Hanazono
Today I’d like to introduce the “Hanaragu manju” to you.
It is a sweet bean confectionary made by a pastry shop “KINUYA” near the Hanazono rugby stadium. Since the shape of the confectionary looks like a rugby ball. It is popular as a souvenir for rugby fans. Their homepage says that the inside is green peas paste which is inspired by the green grass in rugby field.
↑The shape is a rugby ball.
↑The inside is green peas paste which is inspired by the green grass in rugby field.
I bought a 3-piece package(360 yen, tax not included), when I went to see the game Kintetsu Liners vs Toyota industries corporation shuttles on Nov. 24th. (the game’s result was 33-22)
The day was Thompson Luke’s last game in his home ground “Hanazono”. He was a member of the Japan national rugby union team. He is a very popular player.
“Manju” is one of the Japanese communications
Now let’s go back to the “manju.”
For those who have lived in Japan for a long time, you would know that most “manju” taste the same. This one is no exception. Although it does have a cute appearance, the taste is quite ordinary.
I think when people buy this souvenir, they are not going after the taste. It is the look that attracts the customers. If you know anyone who is a rugby fan, this souvenir would be a perfect gift.
When Japanese buys “manju” as souvenir, they are usually not looking for the taste. Instead, they are telling the receiver that we thought of you during the trip. This is the unique Japanese “manju communication”.
Have you been to an Opera?
I went to see the “Teatro Verdi Trieste”(椿姫) opera at the Osaka festival hall with my friend last Saturday.
This is my first time seeing an opera.
My friend and I promised each other to wear kimono to the opera.
She showed up with an orange kimono. She was very beautiful. I wore a blue kimono and black kimono belt with bats design embroidery. I saw some other people were also wearing kimono.
Italian songs and Japanese translation
Although our seats were on the 3rd floor, we were at the front row. So I could see the orchestra pit and the stage very well.
The opera was Italian, but we could see Japanese translation on the side of the stage. Since I don’t speak Italian, the translation really helped me a lot to understand the story. Actually it was a bit busy to read the translation and watch the play at the same time.
The performance of the casts was stunning! The main cast, Marina Rebeka as Violetta, sang amazingly even when she was lying on the ground. I was overwhelmed by her breathtaking performance.
The total time was almost 3 hours
The time allocation of the opera was quite interesting. Act one was 30 mins, Act two was 65 mins, Act three was 30 mins. There were 20 mins breaks in between each Act. So the total time was almost 3 hours.
It didn’t feel that long at all. I really enjoyed this opera. I want to see another one again soon if I have the chance.
After the opera, we were a bit hungry so we went to a stand-up sushi bar. You see, we are two ladies, dressed in kimono, eating at a sushi bar after watching an opera. It is pretty stylish and cool, right!?
I went to a British pub to watch the Rugby World Cup game
I went to a British pub “HUB” in Kyoto with my friend to watch the Rugby World Cup game. The game was the semi final, England vs New Zealand.
Even though the game started at 5 pm, we got to the pub at 4 pm to grab our seats. There were already many customers at the pub, most of them were foreigners. Luckily we got one of the last few empty tables.
Some customers were wearing black t-shirts, of course they were All blacks fans. White t-shirts fans were England supporters. They were already drinking beer and wine.
One hour before the game, my friend and I had some fish & chips, pizza, Doritos and drinks.
It was exciting to wait for the start of the game.
When the TV started playing England’s national anthem, some customers stood up and sang it loudly together. On the other hand, nobody sang when the New Zealand anthem played on TV. Maybe Kiwi are shy people.
England beat New Zealand
In the first half, England dominated the game with 10-0. I heard England supporters shouted many times.
There were so crowded in the pub and many foreign supporters who couldn’t get tables were watching TV through the large window from outside.
In the second half, right before the All Blacks tried, suddenly the TV screen went off for a few seconds. Everyone shouted and booed. Nobody could watch the All Blacks first try.
In the end, England beat New Zealand, 19-7. New Zealand missed the historic chance to win the World Cup 3 times in a row.
I was surprised that New Zealand lost.
The day before the game, Japan was hit by Typhoon
Finally I went to see the Rugby World Cup game at Hanazono rugby stadium in Higashiosaka on Oct. 13th.
The game was USA vs TGA. One the day before the game, Japan was hit by Typhoon Hagibis. I worried that the game may get canceled due to the typhoon. Actually two other games were canceled because of the typhoon on Oct. 12th. This is the first time ever Rugby World Cup have been canceled.
Tonga beat USA
The game started with a moment of silence to show respect to everyone who had been affected by the typhoon.
In the first half the score was USA 12 – Tonga 7.
Tonga bounced back in the second half to get their first win at RWC 2019 and fourth spot in Pool C.
The most memorable scene for me was when Tonga player Hingano tried in the second half. He jumped into the in-goal like a flying fish. It happened in front of me so I could see it very clearly.
USA couldn’t maintain their form in the second half and Tonga beat USA with a final score of 31 – 19.
Both teams are going home. Although, they can’t go to the quarter finals, it was a very evenly matched game.
I enjoyed the RWC and hope it will go smoothly.
I cheered loudly and enjoyed the match.
Watching the games really gave me lots of excitement and energy.
A lot of the foreign fans were dressing up. One dressed as Elvis Presley. It was fun to see such fans, too.
I hope the rest of the RWC will go smoothly and not affected by another typhoon.
There are many great teams left in the tournament so only time will tell who the world champion is.
Haniwa doll figure pudding cup
Yesterday I bought a pudding at a limited event at a department store.
The design of the pudding cup was a haniwa doll figure. Since it was a pottery, I decided to keep it after I finished the pudding, so that I could use it as a cup. It was not very big. The height was around the length of my index finger. It was very unique.
The burial mounds in Sakai was designated as a World Heritage site this year.
This year, the burial mounds (Kofun) in Sakai city was designated as a World Heritage site. Thanks to this honor, I can see a lot of related goods in the shops. For example sweets, stationery, clothes and books. Most of the goods have haniwa doll figure and tomb designs.
“Haniwa Bu-cho” (Chief Haniwa Officer)
When I was buying the pudding, I saw the business card of Chief Haniwa Officer at the cashier. Chief Haniwa Officer, short for CHO, is the official PR Yuru-chara for the burial mounds in Sakai. He is 1600 years old and is still single.
“He visited our shop and left his business card here,” the shop staff was very excited, “ I even took a picture with him!”
I didn’t know that he was recently promoted. Originally he was only a manager (Haniwa Ka-cho). Then on August 28(We can call the day “ha-ni-wa” in Japanese) this year, he was promoted to general manager (Haniwa Bu-cho).
I am not sure why he was promoted. Maybe he contributed a lot of his time to promote the burial mounds, which led to the recognition.
The aquarium “Umigatari”
I went to the aquarium “Umigatari” in Joetsu city, Nigata. This Japan sea facing aquarium was renovated just last year. It was a modern and cozy aquarium in the city.
The water tanks looked like they were joined to the ocean!
The “Sea of Japan” and the “dolphin stadium” were two of the most popular attractions. Both places were designed in such a clever way that in the water tanks looked like they were joined to the ocean. You can see a complete view of the Sea of Japan and the beautiful sky above it.
↑The “Sea of Japan”
↑the “dolphin stadium” Can you see a dolphin?
You can also see two beluga whales and many Magellanic penguins. They were so cute and very popular.
↑A beluga whale
↑many Magellanic penguins
↑Wearing beluga whale hat Magellanic penguins
A cute guide
This time, my 6 years old nephew-in-law showed me around in the aquarium. He has an annual passport.
I bought a penguin umbrella, which he wanted, for him. That was a token of my gratitude for his nice and cute guide.
Mr. Maric’s book
One day I was at the bookstore. I saw a book and an old song immediately came to my mind. It was the theme song used by the famous psychic entertainer Mr. Maric. He was very popular on TV in the 1980’s.
The book was written by him. The title is 「超魔術の裏技術」(The trick of super magic).
I bought the book since I am a fan of him.
What is the key of super magic?
This book doesn’t reveal any magic tricks.
He says that the key of super magic is not only the magic skills but also the presentation skills. They include the part of conversation and presenting yourself.
He would change the way to speak based on the number of customers. One to one, one to a few, one to tens of people and one to many and unspecified. The explanations are detailed and easy to understand.
One section describes the way to give a good impression to your partner is by looking at one of their eyes. (Not both eyes)
Mr. Maric’s theme music
I liked his theme music. Actually the music originally was from the song “Legs” composed by the famous English band “Art of Noise”.
Mr. Maric’s iconic phrases are “Kite-mas! Kite-mas!”(It’s coming!) and “Hand-Power!”. Those phrases were social phenomenon back in the days.
I think he is the best performer in Japan because he chose such unique theme song that sticks to your head and the catchy phrases.
↑The Art of Noise – Legs (from Official Video)
I bought tickets to the Rugby World Cup on the internet.
The Rugby World Cup will be held in 12 different stadiums across Japan in September and October.
I chose the game that is the most convenient to go to. It is the game between USA and Tonga at Hanazono rugby stadium on Oct. 13th.
The ticket price was 7000 yen per person.
I am a longtime fan of rugby. I have watched rugby games at many stadiums but I’ve never been to Hanazono in Osaka.
So I’m quite looking forward to going to Hanazono.
I haven’t decided which country, USA or Tonga, to support yet.
Maybe I will support the weaker team.
To eat grilled eel in hot summer is popular in Japan from a long time ago. It is because eels have good nutritions like vitamin A and B.
I went to my parents’ home in Chiba for obon holiday.
Since eel cuisine at restaurant is sort of expensive, we went to buy grilled eels without seasoning at fish shop.
We bought 2 grilled eels. Each grilled eel costed 2100 yen.
There were also fresh loaches and crayfish in the buckets at the shop.
The shop staff gave us a recipe on how to make delicious eel.
After we got home, my mom steamed the eels with sweet soy sauce.
Then we ate the cooked eel on rice. The three of us shared two eels.
It was so delicious! I like “sansho” seasoning on the top of eels. It smells really good, too.
I really enjoyed eating eels with my parents this obon holiday.
I made miso paste from scratch in a miso cooking lesson last Sunday. It was the third time to make miso paste for me. So this time, I could be more relaxed and get used to it than before. I made 5kg of miso paste.
A Tupperware container
I bought a Tupperware container to store the miso paste. I heard that Tupperware is a good container that can keep the miso dry and avoid mold. After making it, all I can do is just waiting for it to ferment for 3months. After 3 months, I can eat it. The miso paste was light brown when I put them into the Tupperware. The color would turn brown when I open the lid of the Tupperware next time.
Unfortunately I can’t open the lid and see the paste because the Tupperware is not transparent.
I’m a little worried about mold because it is summer time now. I hope it would turn into some good and yummy miso paste.
↓Here is my previous post about “Miso-making challenge”(2017)