Kumamoto from the sky

I flew to Kumamoto prefecture the day before yesterday. It is famous for active volcano called Aso. Kumamoto has a nickname, Hi no kuni, country of fire, literally. Its scenery is much different from other areas in Japan. It is like the area near Mt. Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan. The mountainous land is proper to field for vegetables rather than rice producing. So, you can see colorful fields from the sky.


The season of strawberry has come. The season of strawberry harvest used to be spring, but it has changed due to Christmas. In Japan, we celebrate Christmas Eve, having strawberry shortcake. We have more options other than strawberry shortcake for Christmas nowadays. Yule log cake is one of the most popular option. A stollen, German fruit cake has also very poplar as another choice. Nevertheless, strawberry shortcake is still a synonym of Christmas dessert. So, the peak demand of strawberry has become Christmas Eve.

Ito-King is a pancake sandwich filled with strawberry cream, but it holds a whole piece of strawberry only during the harvest season of Amao, the king of strawberry as a speciality of Fukuoka prefecture.

It is very popular as a souvenir of Fukuoka, as a winter delicacy sold even at the Fukuoka airport.

There is a message card in the package. It says that “We are professional manufacturer. We will be never defeated in the competition of desert of Amao produced in Fukuoka. I think it is not easy to handle Amao because the quality is not stable. They adjust the ingredients of cream and pancakes according to the condition of Amao.

Their message didn’t betray. It was more juicy and fresh than expected.

Elaborate French

I think the restaurants are required more than quality of foods and usual table services these days. Some restaurants provide entertainments with a small surprise. One of the traditional services is writing messages such as “Happy birthday !” on desert plates. It used to give a small surprise, but it is nothing special nowadays. Besides, these are common techniques to entertain guests at French cuisine restaurants.

Flambe on the plate, or allow alcohol to flame and cook out in front of guests.

Smoked freshly in the last minutes by covering the dish with smoke.

Icing with dry ice or dressing sauces iced by liquid nitrogen.

Those techniques are based on concept of live, living as fresh as possible. Each of them is becoming very common nowadays.

Presentation of dishes are also becoming elaborate nowadays.

Here are some good examples.

Aperitif on the natural rock
salad on the round-shape glass that covers red and yellow leaves to emphasize the season.
Pasta with turban shell sauce that was hidden by a real turban shall on the plate.

I think it is very creative to invent new recipes in terms of presentation as well as tastes and ingredients.

That is why star chefs are admired in the world.

Bounen Kai season

I haven’t written articles for a while. I have been busy with engaged dines with business associates. Some of you may know, we have such engaged dines at the end of the year many times. It is called Bounen-kai, written in 忘年会. It literally means the gathering to forget the year. Some of them are something like a year-end party with many participants and others are held in small groups. The common factor is that all the participants drink alcoholic beverages a lot and get drunken heavily as if they want to forget all about the unpleasant incidents occured this year. Bounen-kai season usually starts at the begining of December in Japan. But, some Bounen-kais are scheduled at the end of November. If you missed one with some business associates, another engaged dine will be held at the begining of the next year. It is called Shinnenn-kai. It literally means a new year party.

In my case, it almost starts this week.

I don’t drink alcohol beverages and never get drunken at the party, but enjoy talking about the incidents of the year. It is very interesting that we try to forget about unpleasant incidents by reminding all the incidents of the year.

Talking about the incidents of the year, some news in those days are topics about the top rank of the year. For example, Buzzwords-of-the-year contest and Kanji-of-the-year are paid attention among nationwide. Both news remind us of the year.

Pizza Margherita

To try new pizzeria for the first time, I would recommend you to order Margherita, the most simple pizza. You can taste tomato paste, cheese and pizza dough simply. If it has a good quality, you would enjoy any kinds of pizzas at that pizzeria. The good cook always goes back to basic and applies it to his complicated recipes.


I hadn’t been there for so long, but the bakery restaurant was very crowded at lunch time yesterday. Yes, it is not a pizzeria and pizza is not their basic in that sense, but they serve various pizzas at lunch time, so margherita is still their basic in a sense. I like their breads, so it is no surprising that I love the dough of their pizzas. Of course, baking breads and using pizza oven is totally different. However, I think the basic is the same. The simple menu like bread and pizza depends on the basic technique and good quality ingredients. Yes , this bakery restaurant uses the quality ingredients. That is why whatever you have, you are not betrayed. I believe that the price reflects the quality and the passion.


This is the best Tonkatsu I have ever had. The pork is distributed by Meat Yazawa that is very famous wholesaler of meat. Next to this Tonkatsu restaurant, the steak restaurant of Meat Yazawa is located. Actually, these two restaurants are sisters.