The month of October is the peak of the harvest season

Autumn is the best season for Japanese who love eating.
We have an old proverb in Japan that goes, “Autumn with the sky clear and blue, and horses growing stout.” I think that not only horses, but also people grow stout since there are plenty of seasonal foods with nutrition for a year on the table, and we have a good appetite as the heat lets up.
But those who are on a diet don’t need to worry about gaining weight. It is said that Westerners visiting Japan even lose weight when they go home because of Japanese healthy foods.

案山子

Kakashi/ J.Matsumoto

棚田

INABUCHI TANADA (shelf rice paddies) /Photo: J Matsumoto

Address: Asuka Inabuchi, Nara Prefecture; 奈良県高市郡明日香村稲淵
http://www.asukamura.jp/english/index.html

奈良県高市郡明日香村稲淵

 

10月は収穫シーズン真っ盛り

食べることが好きな日本人なら、秋ほど楽しめる季節はありませんね。
昔から「天高く、馬肥ゆる秋」ということわざがありますが、一年分の栄養が詰まった旬の食べ物が食卓を賑わせ、暑さが和らいで食欲が出てくるので、肥えるのは馬よりも、人間なのです。

日本に来た欧米人は、ヘルシーフード和食のおかげで、皆スリムになってお帰りになるそうですから、ダイエット中の人もそれほど心配はいらないかもしれません。

Harvesting rice and new rice season

Rice fields are a common sight in Japan’s countryside. The crop of rice is usually harvested from late September up to October. You might be able to see scenes of harvesting from the window of the train or bus you are riding. The fields start as flooded patties in the gold waves as the rice grows and matures.
Nowadays, farmers often use an agricultural tractor in order to harvest rice.

棚田

Photo: J.Matsumoto

棚田

J.Matsumoto

稲

Photo: J.Matsumoto

棚田

INABUCHI TANADA /Photo: J Matsumoto

Autumn_ASUKA_4 (800x450)

INABUCHI TANADA /Photo: J Matsumoto

Rice plants

Rice plants/Photo: J Matsumoto

稲刈り

Photo: J.Matsumoto

稲刈り

Photo: J.Matsumoto

New rice is on sale at the store starting October. As you cook it, you’ll find out how fresh both its taste and texture are. Japanese are apt to be pleased to eat it.

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米

rice

稲刈りと新米シーズン

日本の田舎の風景といえば、田んぼ。9月の下旬から10月にかけて、稲刈りが行われるので、電車やバスの車窓から収穫シーンを見ることができるかもしれません。
収穫前の稲穂は黄金色に光り、実りの重みで垂れ下がっています。 現在では専用のトラクターで稲を収穫することが多いです。
10月から売り場には新米が並びます。新米は瑞々しいので、炊くと食感も味もフレッシュであることがわかります。新米を食べて喜ぶのも日本人の特徴です。

Onigiri (Rice balls)

Onigiri are made by rolling rice in the palms of the hands. They are also called “Omusubi”. They are formed into triangular or oval shapes, filled with some ingredients and wrapped in laver.
They are the most popular item for a lunch box or for going on a hike. Also, they become popular food items in convenience stores and supermarkets. They cost about 100 Yen, so I recommend this for those who are willing to economize. Although there are onigiri with various fillings and flavors, tuna, umeboshi (pickled Japanese plum) and okaka (dried bonito shavings) are the top 3 best.

Onigiri

Onigiri

The onigiri wrapping

The Onigiri wrapping: convenience store

Umeboshi

Umeboshi are pickled plum in salt, and exposed to the sun for drying. They are extremely sour and salty, but it is known as the healthiest food that helps a tired or sick body recover.
By the way, when I met French Bossa Nova singer, Ms. Clémentine, at the radio station in Japan, her interpreter told us that she loved umeboshi and ate only onigiri with it. Since she seemed to be interested in umeboshi, which we had at that time, we offered it to her. When she started eating a piece of umeboshi, she repeatedly said, “Oishi (Delicious) !”. It is a great honor that a French, known for gourmet, loved our Umeboshi.

Umeboshi

Umeboshi

おにぎり

おにぎりとは、ご飯を両手で丸めた食べ物です。おむすびとも言います。三角形か丸形で、中に具を入れて、海苔で包みます。
ハイキングやお昼のお弁当として持参する、最もポピュラーな食べ物。コンビニエンスストアやスーパーで人気の食品の1つで、1個100円くらいですから、節約したい人にオススメ。さまざまな具のバリエーションがありますが、ツナ、おかか、梅干が人気トップ3。

梅干
梅干とは、梅の実を塩漬けにし、日に当てたもの。酸っぱいですが、疲れたとき、体調の悪いときに最適の健康食です。
ちなみに、以前、ボサノヴァ歌手のクレモンティーヌ (Clémentine) にラジオ局でお会いした時、通訳の方が「彼女は梅干が大好きで、おにぎりは梅干しか食べない」と言っていました。私たちが持っていた商品の梅干に興味がありそうだったので、彼女に「食べてみますか?」と促すと1粒食べて「Oishi!」を連呼。食通のフランス人が好んでくれるとは光栄です。