I’ve been quiet for the past few weeks because we have been traveling in Japan, where the seasons are noted and celebrated in daily life and the food people eat.
It was spring when we arrived in Japan and that means one thing, even to non-Japanese, it was cherry-blossom time (in Japanese, sakura).
On our first morning, following breakfast in a local coffee shop, we found that we were just across the road from the Kuromon Market. Oh for something of this quality in Canberra.
A morning walk down the stalls took us past tempting displays of seafood,
and other displays that we were rather less enthusiastic about.
This led us to the fruit and vegetable section of the market. It turned out that strawberries were in season. It is not unusual to see stalls in Japanese markets that have such large displays of a single item of produce in season.
The more expensive fruit was individually wrapped.
To celebrate the spring season there were also stalls selling sakura mochi, a pink-tinted rice ball around a centre of red-bean paste and wrapped in a pickled cherry leaf.
They made for a tasty mid-morning snack while we travelled by train into the countryside, looking for cherry blossom as we went
Once I decided to use the beans for drying it all started to make sense. The Lazy Housewife bean rapidly goes to pod, but looks can be deceiving. I started picking quite a few apparently full pods only to find that the beans inside were very small. So now, before I pick anything I sidle up to the pods and give them a good feel. That way I at least know that there is a decent sized bean inside.