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Japanese Culture | Hot Spots | Products

| Food TM

Sep. 2018

No. 43 FREE www.bentoboxmag.ca


Contents September S b 2018 20 8 5 5V 43

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Taking pancakes to new heights

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Feature: Little Tokyo

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Restaurant: Kushimaru

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Ingredient: Hozuki, the edible lantern

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Travel: Wakkanai and neighbouring islands

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Event: JET Programme

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Only in Japan: Luxury fruits

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Event: Next Music From Tokyo vol. 13

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Event: Sanko celebrates 50 years

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:[HɈ7PJR! Fuwa Fuwa

EDITOR’S NOTE ;VYVU[V»Z]LY`V^U3P[[SL;VR`V 3H[LS`[OLYLOHZILLUHUPUÅ\_VMUL^1HWHULZLZOVWZ[VV\YJP[`-YVTZV\ўt WHUJHRLZ[V1HWHULZLKLWHY[TLU[Z[VYLZHUKL]LY`[OPUNPUIL[^LLU^L»YLS\JR` [VOH]LZVTLVM[OLILZ[VM1HWHUYPNO[VUV\YKVVYZ[LW0U[OPZPZZ\L^LZOV^`V\ OV^[VLUQV`HKH`PU;VYVU[V;VR`VZ[`SL:[VWPUH[:HURVVU8\LLU>LZ[[V JLSLIYH[L[OLOPZ[VY`VM1HWHULZL;VYVU[VUPHUJ\S[\YL[OLUOLHKVUV]LY[V3P[[SL Tokyo along Dundas West and see where the future is headed.

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter facebook.com/bentoboxmag

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Editors Nina Hoeschele, Amanda Plyley, Yumi Nishio ,KP[VYPHSJVVYKPUH[VYZ Nina Hoeschele, Yumi Nishio Writers Amanda Taylor, Ariel Litteljohn, M Crowson, Nina Lee, Sarah Dickson, Steven Tanaka, Walter Muschenheim Designers Chieko Watanabe, Midori Yamamoto Assistant Saki Asao (K]LY[PZLTLU[ THYRL[PUN Kazu Maruyama 7\ISPZOLY Kazu Maruyama

)LU[V)V_*VTT\UPJH[PVU0UJ | 3003 Danforth Ave. PO Box 93628, Toronto M4C 5R4 Phone: 416-964-0981 | www.bentoboxmag.ca | Email: info@bentoboxmag.ca

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eat and shop at Little Tokyo

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147 Dundas St. W. 647-351-7899 tsujiri-global.com

112 Elizabeth St., Unit 1 416-506-7653 pokeguys.ca

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Hot Spot | Kushimaru

By Nina Lee

IT’S OK TO PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD AGAIN

Kushikatsu

Newcomer Kushimaru’s entertaining take on traditional Osakan bar food.

J

surprisingly devoid of shops serving skewered snacks. An d t h a t ’s h o w Ku s h im a r u , w h i c h c e le b r a t e d it s g r a n d o p e n in g in A u gu st 2 0 1 8 , c a m e t o c a ll To ro n t o ’s L i t t l e Tok y o d is t r ic t h o m e .

A fter spending sever al ye a rs w ork i n g an d tra v elling in Japan , K u sh i m a ru ’s R aymo nd and his wife Me gu m i re t u r n e d to Toronto with a plan to open a Japanese restaurant . A well- t rave l l e d f oodi e w i t h a vi s i on, Ray mond wan t e d t o bri n g some of Japan’s mo re obsc u re c u i si n e to the Canadian masses. For a city s a t u r a t e d wit h r amen, su sh i , i z a ka ya an d teriyaki rest aurant s, Toron t o i s

Diners in this cor ner restaurant are w e l c o m e d w it h o r ig in a l a r t w o r k c r a f t e d by a l oc a l a r t is t in m a n g a s t y le . T h e e xt e n si v e m e n u o ff e r s 3 0 + o p t io n s se rve d o n b a m b o o s k e w e r s , f ro m c a u l i fl owe r a n d e g g p la n t , t o c h ik u w a ( f i sh pa s t e ) w it h c h e e s e , s q u id , b e e f a n d e ve n u n a g i ( e e l) — w it h n o t h in g c ost i n g m o re t h a n $ 3 . Ku s h im a r u h a s re c e n t l y e x p a n d e d it s s id e d is h s p re a d t o i n c l u d e s t a p le s lik e g y o z a, c h ic k e n ka ra a ge , s a la d s , t a s t y r ic e b o w ls a n d n oodl e d is h e s p r ic e d re a s o n a b ly f ro m $4. 50 t o $ 1 3 . T h o u g h t h e re s t a u r a n t w a s on l y a w e e k o ld w h e n I d ro p p e d by, i t s din e r s h a v e a lre a d y p ro n o u n c e d t h e i r f a v o u r it e s : a v o c a d o , c a u lif lo w e r,

apan is kno w n for a m u si n g and offbeat re st a u ra n t s— f rom prison rest au ra n t s t o vi de ogame- t hemed ba rs. In t h e 1920s , a new concept sw e pt O sa k a : ku sh i ka t su, por k skew e re d, ba t t e re d w i th a panko cr ust and de e p-fri e d. O n ce re ser ved for labou re rs l ook i n g for an economical and hearty meal, k u sh i k a t su has broadened its horizons by incorporating n ew fl a v our s and now si t s f i rm l y a t t h e i n tersect ion o f inexpensi ve a n d w h i m sy.

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Hearty morsels sinfully battered, deep-fried and served piping hot on bamboo skewers. (99¢–$2.99 each)

q u a il e g g , b e e f , a s p a r a g us , chees e and O re o c o o k ie s , e a c h it e m d eep -fr ied a n d s e r v e d o n a s k e w e r. P o ached saba (mackerel), chicken wing karaage and b eef stew with miso also find themselves f illin g t h e b e llie s o f h u n g r y feas ter s . Kushimaru has taken the typical k u s h i k a t s u re c ip e a n d g i v en it a new s p in . An a r r a y o f in g re d ients are d ip p ed in a lig h t ly t a r t y o g u r t - b a s ed b atter t h a t p e r f e c t ly b a la n c e s t he d eep -fr ied in d u lg e n c e s . Ea c h d is h is s er v ed with a v a r ie t y o f t o p p in g s — t h e m o s t p o p ular b e in g t h e h o u s e - m a d e O s aka to nk ats u a n d g a r lic p o n z u s a u c e s , and the g re e n t e a s a lt . Ku s h im a r u’s d r ink m enu c o m p le m e n t s t h e d is h e s , ho wev er the Japanese hi-ball stands out—a traditional J a p a n e s e c o c k t a il m a d e with whis ky a n d s p a r k lin g w a t e r. In true whimsical Japanese restaurant


Hungry for more? Let’s dig in!

fashion, Kushimaru serves not only meals on sticks, but games and desserts, too. C ompet it ive diner s de vou ri n g d eep -fried cheese st re t c h t h e i r st ri n gy mel ti ng morsels across the table for the privilege of calling t hem se l ve s a c h e e se p ul l i n g champio n. Oreos, ba n a n a s a n d sesame- filled mochi, b a t t e re d, fri e d a n d served warm wit h g oo e y c e n t re s, further amplify the restaurant’s whimsical t a k e on ku shikat su cuisine. A fter a lo ng day at wo rk , som e t i m e s i t’s n i ce t o g o t o a pla c e t h a t doe sn ’t take i tself t o o ser iously. K u sh i m a ru i s a p l ace so effervescent t h a t e ve n t h e food i s ent er t aining. A w e l c om i n g spot to forg et abo ut yo ur da y a n d pl a y w i t h you r foo d.

Kushimaru Restaurant 64 Edward St., Toronto | 647-358-3988     @KushimaruToronto OPEN: Sun–Thurs 11:30 am–3 pm, SPòSP÷)ULò6DWDPòDP

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Ingredient | Hozuki

By Sarah Dickson

gate which welcomes visitors as they enter the marketplace. Visitors have the option to choose between cut hozuki plants or potted plants to bring home and cultivate for themselves. According to legend, the first occurrence of this 200-year-old annual market took place after a servant in the home of a samurai had a dream where a god appeared and advised that eating the seeds of the hozuki would reduce irritation. The servant then awoke to the sight of 1,000 hozuki. Despite the vague advice, the story goes that the mysterious appearance of the hozuki the next morning marked the first hozuki market.

HOZUKI

ほおずき 愛らしい姿が印象的。 初夏∼秋の風物詩、ほおずき。

The edible lantern This is a plant that can adorn your home or your plate. Bladder cherry. Chinese lantern. Japanese lantern. Strawberry groundcherry. Winter cherry. What all of these terms have in common is that they each refer to the same tomato-like fruit surrounded with an easily identifiable bright red husk. Perhaps you have seen this plant used as a garnish, with its yellow berry similar to a tomatillo. But there is more to this ingredient, known in Japan as hozuki, than meets the eye. Despite the variety of English names this

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fruit has, hozuki is easily recognized by the bright, tomato-red, lantern-shaped husk surrounding the edible berry inside, which turns golden-yellow when ready to eat. The vibrant colour that these plants possess makes them very attractive to the hordes of people who flock to Asakusa every year for the hozuki market held near Senso-ji temple. People have been going to this early August festival since the Edo period to get their hands on these plants, which are not unlike the giant lantern at the Kaminari-mon

These plants are purchased not just to add a drop of colour to homes. They were originally cultivated for their medicinal properties: not only are they believed to reduce irritation as in the legend, but they are often used by modern-day pregnant women to reduce discomfort. They are also used as a part of the summer obon, an annual Buddhist custom that honours the spirits of ancestors. The seeds of the hozuki fruit are used as offerings to help the souls of the deceased find their way back to the afterlife. Hozuki is most often enjoyed with salads or as a garnish, the golden-yellow hue of the berry and husk being the ideal finishing touch for late summer or autumn dishes. Waiting until the fruit appears golden-yellow is a must, as the unripe green berries are toxic if eaten. Ripened hozuki have a texture that is similar to a tomato, with a soft outer skin and watery flesh. Their flavour is slightly sweet, making them easy to incorporate into a number of dishes from sweet to savoury.


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Travel | Wakkanai

By Nina Lee

WAKKANAI AND NEIGHBOURING ISLANDS ĺŒ—ćľˇé “ă Žćœ€ćžœă Śă Žĺœ°ă€ ç¨šĺ†…ă ¨ĺˆŠĺ°ťă€‚ ĺ¤§č‡Şç„śă Žĺ ‰ĺ¤§ă •ă‚’ć„&#x;ă ˜ă‚‹ć—…ă€‚ Dogsledding, fields of alpine flowers, glaciers, Siberian cuisine and fresh crab. This is Japan North at the 45th parallel.

Welcome to the northernmost point in Japan. So far north that locals can see Russia on a clear day. Spread over more than 800 km2, Wakkanai and its neighbouring islands are home to some of the most spectacular alpine scenery anywhere. This remote region was home to the Indigenous Japanese Ainu for centuries EHIRUHWKHðUVW-DSDQHVHVHWWOHGWKHDUHD in 1685. Since then, it has been an active trade port, a WWII submarine base—and today, it is a popular location for tourists from Russia’s Far East to visit, eat and shop. While located at the farthest reaches of Japan, Wakkanai’s climate is quite mild, and it will remind many Canadians of home with its cold, snowy winters and warm summers. Despite its faraway location, Wakkanai and its neighbouring islands are well served by trains, planes, ferries, tour buses and public transit.

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At the northernmost tip of Japan’s QRUWKHUQPRVWFLW\VLWV&DSH6Ĺ?\DDVFHQLF windy coastal park. The ocean views from this cape are some of the most epic in Japan, and visitors enjoy looking across the water to Russia’s Sakhalin Island, located just 43 km from the shore. Not far from WKHFDSHVLWWKH6Ĺ?\D+LOOVUROOLQJVWHSSHV heavily populated by cows—which produce Mirupisu, a popular local drink made from milk and lactic acid. The region’s unique landscape was formed by glaciers about \HDUVDJRDQGWUDYHOOHUVĂąRFN WRZDWFKWKHKLOOVHUXSWLQĂąRZHUVHYHU\ summer. Being a northern destination, the region is also popular for its winter activities—from dogsledding (Japan’s best mushers compete at the Japan Cup National Dogsled Championship, held here annually in February), to warming up in a hot spring bath (or onsen). Bathers sit in fragrant pools overlooking spectacular coastline views of the crowning mountain rising from one of the nearby islands.


Japan meets Siberia in this northern destination

Just a few kilometres from Wakkanai ZP[[^VPZSHUKZ!9PZOPYP[ͻHUK9LI\U [ͻ6ULVM[OL[VWOVSPKH`KLZ[PUH[PVUZ PU/VRRHPKV9PZOPYP[ͻPZHWHY[VM[OL Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park, and home to Mt. Rishiri, a dormant volcano that bears a striking resemblance to Mt. Fuji. Hiking and cycling are some of the top activities on the island, and throngs of tourists descend on the island’s wetlands, gardens and forests when alpine flowers, brilliant orange daylilies and violet keyflowers bloom in June and July. Himenuma, a manmade pond that sits at the foot of the dormant volcano, is a popular destination providing adventurers with a tranquil setting to watch wildlife. Nearby sits the Senboushi-Misaki Coast on the southern [PWVM9PZOPYP[ͻ^OLYL\UPX\LYVJR formations were created by lava flow. 3PRL9PZOPYP[ͻ9LI\U[ͻPZRUV^UMVYP[Z landscape. Jaw-dropping Cape Sukai, at the northwestern end of the squid-shaped

island, inspires visitors with rocky vistas and vast oceanscapes. Not surprising given the location, the region is famous for its seafood—freshly caught crab, sea urchin, squid, salmon and scallops make for delectable ramen, savoury rice bowls and scrumptious sushi dishes. But the abundance of Siberian cuisine often surprises travellers—with restaurant windows steaming from bowls of borscht and hearty plates piled high with pelmeni (meat dumplings) and tushenaya kapusta (braised cabbage).

WA K K A N A I 【稚内】 Located about 330 km north of Sapporo, Wakkanai is the northernmost city in Japan, with a mild climate home to many spruce forests and alpine species.

From serene rolling hills and rocky coastlines to unexpected cuisine and floral landscapes, Wakkanai and her ULPNOIV\YZ9PZOPYP[ͻHUK9LI\U[ͻ invite visitors to experience the best of northern Japan while enjoying a taste of Far East Russia on the side.

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Event | JET Programme

By Amanda Taylor

EXPERIENCING JAPAN WITH JET Canada’s latest group of adventure seekers has departed for Japan.

n August 3, the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto hosted a gathering of 64 young adults who all had two things in common: a keen sense of adventure and a love of all things Japan. It was the farewell party for the newest group of JETs who would be departing for Japan the very next day, embarking on a year-long trip that will forever change who they are and how they view the world.

O

JET stands for the Japan Exchange and Te a c h i n g P ro g r a m m e — a n e x c h a n g e program sponsored by the Japanese gover nment. JET brings university graduates from all over the world to come to Japan and work as assistant language teachers (ALTs) in schools, or as coordinators for international relations (CIRs) in local government offices.

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Yannick, a recent grad who has briefly studied abroad in Japan before, says the most exciting thing about becoming a JET is learning from Japanese culture. He references the manners and respect Japanese show one another and the elderly in particular. Miguel, another departing JET, says he applied to the program because of an interest in Japanese pop culture ever since he was young. He’s most looking forward to soaking in a Japanese hot spring. And for Brandon, who has already spent a month in Japan on vacation, the first stop will be the popular Japanese curry restaurant CoCo Ichibanya. And if there’s anything that makes him nervous, it’s the inventive pizza toppings.“All my concerns are food related,” he says. Clarissa Jewell, co-chair of the JET Alumni

Association, Toronto chapter, says the ideal JET is someone adaptable, adventurous and able to talk easily with others. Being able to think on your feet is also crucial to dealing with life’s daily challenges on the exchange, like getting around in a new country. And while JET offers a lot of support to its participants, getting involved with the local community is the surest way for JETs to get the most out of their experience. For anyone inspired to apply to the JET Programme, Yannick has this advice: “Put your heart into it. Don’t worry if you get rejected. I was rejected last year, but here I am.” For more information visit jetprogramme. ca/about/jet-programme


Only in Japan | Luxury fruits

By M Crowson

MILLION-DOLLAR MELON Discover the gorgeous, shockingly expensive world of luxury Japanese fruits. なんでそんなに高いネン? フルーツ好きには厳しい国、日本。

higher-quality fruit at lower volumes. Think of it as boutique farming. Yubari melons, for example, are hand-pollinated, meticulously pruned so all the plant’s nutrition goes to a single fruit, and the melons are topped with a little sun hat to ensure even and pleasing colour.

Illustration by Chieko Watanabe

Earlier this year, Sapporo City hosted a spring auction where a pair of Yubari melons was sold for a whopping ¥3.2 million (about $37,875 CAD), the highest bid on record. Grown in the nearby town of Yubari, the melon is cousin to our familiar cantaloupe, but you won’t find the Yubari chilling uneaten in the corner of a container of fruit salad at your neighbourhood BBQ. These gourmet melons were carefully cultivated to exacting perfection. While they may have been the season’s elite, it’s not uncommon for Wester ners to get a bit of sticker shock for even the typical fruit you find at a

Japanese grocery store. A non-auction Yubari could cost you more than $70, a single sekai ichi (“world’s best”) apple will run you $20, with even regular apples costing around $3 apiece. And you may have already seen the $200 square watermelon (which—spoiler alert—is grown in a sturdy square box). As a rule, Japanese fruit is less of a daily staple and more of a luxury item. Part of this has to do with resource scarcity. Only 12% of Japanese land is usable for agriculture, so most orchards are small operations that focus on cultivating

Geography isn’t the only factor influencing this fancy industry. Fruit plays important social and spiritual functions, especially when it comes to gift-giving practices and Buddhist ritual offerings. These gorgeous fruits are often given at special occasions, like weddings and business meetings. A high-end fruit is a prestigious gift that conveys respect and helps to cultivate good relationships. Fruit is also a common part of Buddhist devotions: it’s often placed on altars as an offering to deities and ancestors. Fruit can symbolize enlightenment, or the successful fruition of one’s efforts. The best time to enjoy a beautiful fruit is when it’s in season. September is a great time to try out the Fuji apple or nashi, a dimpled Japanese pear that’s golden and perfectly round. Another good bet is the “king of grapes,” the Kyoho, a giant, deep purple variety with a thick skin. Produced in Yamanashi Prefecture—also known for its wine—the Kyoho can be eaten skin-on or peeled for maximum sweetness. Enjoy it alone, or as a topping for a parfait or fluffy cake. The vine’s the limit.

Enjoy the fruits of their labour Looking to dip your tongue into the high-end fruit world? Not to worry, we have a simple, three-step guide for you to follow. Read on and eat up!

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DO NOT

DO

DO NOT

eat unaccompanied fruit.

give a fruity gift.

break the bank.

If you see one on an altar in ZVTLVUL»ZOV\ZLOHUKZVќ ;OH[»ZH)\KKOPZ[VќLYPUN[V[OLPY ancestors.

If you’ve stayed with a friend or colleague, consider gifting them one of these beautiful sweet treats as a thank-you.

On a budget? Try Kit Kat’s limited-edition Kyoho Grape flavour, or the local konbini brand of Kyoho Grape popsicle!


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Hakone Owakudani & Mt. Fuji Panorama (Return by Shinkansen) 1 Enjoy a dynamic tour of Mt. Fuji and Hakone. Experience the charm of Mt. Fuji with all five senses! This tour offers scenic views of magnificent Mt. Fuji.   2 Visit the quintessential Japan location! The tour will be guided to Arakurayama Sengen Park, a renowned scenic spot that everybody should visit at least once in their lifetime.   3 Highly popular! See vast panoramic views on Fuji-Q Highland’s popular ‘Fuji Airways’ attraction. Take a seat and watch the gigantic screen as it rolls out seasonal landscapes of Japan's iconic peak on this fascinating virtual flight.   4 See some of Japan's best dynamic scenery for yourself! Board the Hakone Ropeway which offers a 360-degree vast panoramic view of Mt. Fuji and Lake Ashi, and head to Hakone’s famed Owakudani.

TOUR BASIC INFORMATION Departure city: Tokyo | Visits: Kanto, Yamanashi, Hakone, Mt. Fuji Duration: Approx. 11 hours | Date: DAILY (Until November 30, 2018) Includes: National Government Licensed English Guide Interpreter, lunch, other admission fees and transportation costs included in the tour, Fuji-Q Highland Fuji Airways ride charges *Price is valid for month of September 2018. *Price may fluctuate monthly due to change in exchange rate.

PRICE

187

HOW TO PURCHASE

CAD $

Reservations can be made by either telephone or email. Please contact JTB International (Canada) Ltd. at Phone: 416-367-5824 | Toll-free: 1-800-268-5942 | Email: jtbtoronto@jtbi.com | Website: www.jtb.ca

I T I N E R A RY 8:50 - 9:00

17:00 - 19:30

Reception & departure from check-in counter on the 3rd floor of Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo’s Main Tower in Shinjuku Please arrive by 8:50. The bus will depart at 9:00. [Located] 5 minutes on foot from Shinjuku Station West Exit (JR Lines, Subway), or 1 minute on foot from Tochomae Station B1 Exit (Toei Oedo Line) www.keioplaza.com/map *Customers who are late for the departure time will have their bookings cancelled. Please leave plenty of time to reach the meeting location. (120 min via the Metropolitan and Chuo expressways)

Arakurayama Sengen Park

50

Fuji-Q Highland Fuji Airways Attraction

min

Participants will see vast panoramic views from Fuji-Q Highland’s popular ‘Fuji Airways’ attraction. Take a seat and watch the gigantic screen as it rolls out seasonal landscapes of Japan’s iconic peak on this fascinating virtual flight. Also includes a meal coupon that customers can use for their preferred food!

Owakudani

40

min

Owakudani is a volcanic valley created about 3,000 years ago as a result of Mount Hakone’s most recent explosive eruption. Volcanic activity can still be experienced here, with plumes of white smoke rising up from the barren rocky landscape.

min

Visit the renowned photogenic spot where Mt. Fuji and a five-storey pagoda can be seen simultaneously. - Get off the bus near Shimoyoshida Station, and walk for about 10 minutes to the entrance of Arakurayama Sengen Park. - From the park entrance, climb the 397 steps to the five-storey pagoda. It takes about 10 minutes to walk to the peak.

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Hakone Ropeway

Odawara Station Board the Kodama Shinkansen to Tokyo in the nonreserved section.

18:00 - 20:00

Tokyo After arrival, please head to your next destination on your own from Tokyo Station. (Customers may also get off at Shin-Yokohama and Shinagawa.)

16

min

The ropeway is a popular way to take in beautiful views from high above the ground. There’s plenty to see at 700 metres above sea level from this 360-degree panoramic vantage point including Mt. Fuji, Lake Ashi and Sagami Bay.

Togendai Get off the ropeway at Togendai.

40

min

Notes: 1. Arakurayama Sengen Park: Please wear clothes that are easy to move around in and shoes that are easy to walk in. 2. Seats are assigned on the bus. The National Government Licensed Guide Interpreter will give instructions to participants on the tour day. Seating requests cannot be accepted. Smoking is not permitted on the bus. 3. Children age 5 and younger will not be assigned a bus seat and must sit on the lap of a parent or guardian. If a seat on the bus is required for the child, please make a booking at the child rate (6-11 years old).

For more information, please contact JTB International at 1-800-268-5942 (toll-free) or email at jtbtoronto@jtbi.com www.bentoboxmag.ca

All photos ©JNTO

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By Steven Tanaka

Event | NMFT vol. 13

NEXT MUSIC FROM TOKYO VOL. 13

JAPANESE WOMEN SHOW CANADA HOW TO REALLY ROCK.

N

ext Music from Tokyo (NMFT) is an annual tour that introduces Canadians to the most creative and skilled bands from Japan’s indie and underground music scenes. The tour began in 2010 and brings a different group of Japanese bands to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver each year. Female musicians in rock bands are more prominent in Japan than any other country in the world and this is reflected in the lineup for NMFT vol. 13. MASS OF THE FERMENTING DREGS (MOTFD) ZLOOEHFRPHWKHĹUVWEDQGWRPDNHDWKLUGDSSHDUance on the NMFT tour. Formed in 2002 by three girls from Kobe, MOTFD performs a blend of postpunk that combines beautifully melancholic vocals with ferociously powerful instrumentation. The anomaly of such a huge, powerful sound coming from an all-female band drew MOTFD a large underground following and allowed the group to become an important inspiration for bands such as tricot and paranoid void. After a series of lineup changes including a five-year hiatus, founding bassist/

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vocalist and leader Natsuko Miyamoto remains the only female and original member. However, MOTFD VRXQGVEHWWHUWKDQHYHUDQGKRWRijWKHKHHOVRIWKH EDQGŖVĹUVWDOEXPLQHLJKW\HDUVWKHVHORFDOOHJHQGV are dying to perform a slew of new songs for their Canadian fans. paranoid void is a female math rock band from Osaka. Inspired by MOTFD, paranoid void began by playing music that was loud, fast and heavy. However, the last three years have seen paranoid void delving into math rock with more challenging compositions involving odd time signatures and dextrous instrumentation. paranoid void represents the perfect storm of beauty, power, soul and technical skill. Elephant Gym is another math rock band but with a more chill and relaxing tone. Its music is intricate and challenging but has more melody and pop sensibility than is usual for math rock. Female bassist Tif and her skilled bass playing is the focal point of the band’s music and the origin behind the band’s name

(Elephant = bass, Gym = gymnastics and skill). +DLOLQJIURP7DLZDQ(OHSKDQW*\PLVDOVRWKHĹUVW non-Japanese band to participate in NMFT. otori is a four-piece band with a truly unique style that incorporates no-wave, hardcore-punk, krautrock and noise. In 2015, otori rocked Toronto with a legendary performance at the now-defunct Soybomb and this year the band is back to perform new songs from its upcoming album. UlulU is an all-female trio with a garage rock revival sound similar to the Strokes and Arctic Monkeys. Its music is soulful, bluesy and unpretentious with occasional bursts of power. With a long track record of sold-out shows, NMFT is proof that music played with energy and passion transcends language barriers and can be appreciated by audiences anywhere. The Toronto shows will be held on Oct. 5 at the Rivoli and Oct. 6 at Lee’s Palace. Detailed information can be found on the tour website: nextmusicfromtokyo.com.


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By Saki Asao

News | Sanko

BUILDING A JAPANESETORONTONIAN COMMUNITY SANKO TRADING CO. IS CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF JAPANESE CULTURE IN DOWNTOWN TORONTO.

One of Sanko’s managers, Steve Mizuno, t e l l s u s t h a t h e w a n t s t o in t ro d u c e Torontonians to Japanese products and provide a healthy lifestyle through Japanese food. The enthusiasm and dedication that Sanko has for providing its customers with high-quality Japanese goods sets the store apart in the city.

f you turn the corner at Queen West and Claremont, walking along the side wall of Sanko Trading Co., you will discover a breathtaking mural of colourful graffiti art. This is a reflection of how Sanko fits with the positive vibes of Queen Street West, which was once chosen as one of the top coolest neighbourhoods in the world by Vogue. Unique vintage stores, comic book shops, restaurants and bars pepper the district, making up a trendy scene that attracts talented artists and musicians. W ith such friendly and eclectic surroundings, Sanko Trading Co. fits right in.

Sanko carries 50 years of history in sharing Japanese culture with Toronto. The store was first opened near Spadina and Dundas in 1968 by Sadao Mizuno, Steve’s father. After moving the store to its current location on Queen West, the family faced significant challenges due to Sadao’s health issues. Steve explains that during these hard times, it was t h e s u p p o r t from the local Japanese community that really helped the family persevere. These ties within the community are of utmost importance to Sanko, Steve tells us.

I

S a n k o i s a J a p a n e s e g r o c e r y s t o r e that has b ee n run by a lo ca l J a pa n e se Canadian family for the past 50 years. The store offers a great variety of goods, like soy sauce, noodles, tea, fresh vegetables and Japanese snacks—as well as dishware, knives and a wide selection of beautiful gift items. It is definitely worth walking around the store to get a look at the many products on offer. 26

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Community bonds are also expressed through the graffiti art on Sanko’s side w a l l . Th e h u g e m u r a l f e a t u re s ro b o t s , anime figures, cherry blossoms and mountains. The wall perfectly represents both Japanese culture and the funky Queen West neighbourhood—nicely encapsulating the way this store brings Japan and Toronto together. The wall also represents positive change.

Graffiti was already widespread in the Q u e e n W e s t a r e a , s o t h i s m u r a l transformed a former problem into a beautiful work of art. As well, the mural was originally funded by the City of Toronto: in 2013, artists collaborated on the mural to mark the 25th anniversary of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s formal apology to Japanese-Canadians for the injustices they suffered during World War II. The project was intended to empower Japanese-Canadian identity, celebrate Japanese culture and strengthen intergenerational connections within the community. And it’s not just the Japanese community that’s part of the Sanko family. Torontonians of all kinds and visitors from all over come to Sanko to browse its variety of goods. At Sanko, you immediately feel the warm, friendly vibe when you enter the store. It is not only a Japanese grocer, but also a place for building local community in Toronto. T h is Se p t e m b e r, t h e re w ill b e ev en m o re re a s o n s t o d is c o v e r this p iece o f J a p a n e s e - To ro n t o n ia n his to r y : to celebrate its 50th anniversary, Sanko will be holding an anniversary sale and giving away prizes to some lucky visitors. Make sure to visit the store and take part! toronto-sanko.com


G O Let's

llearn earn

N I H O N G O

easyJJapanese apanese

Otsukimi Otsukimi (お月見) means moon-viewing. This festival is performed in mid-September and is thought to originate from aristocrats reciting poetry under the full moon of the eighth month of the solar calendar.

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Otsukimi is a festival to view the full moon.

Otsukimi traditions include offering Japanese pampas grass (susuki) and rice dumplings called tsukimi-dango.

Susuki is believed to invite the Moon God and it also works to keep evil spirits away.

お月見は満月を見るための お祭りです。 Otsukimi wa Mangetsu wo miru tame no omatsuridesu.

”Noun + to do (verb)” means Do (verb)するた めの noun.  E.g.: Toshokan wa benkyo suru tameno basho desu (図書館は勉強するための 場所です。A library is a place to study.)

お月見ではススキや 月見だんごをお供えします。

ススキは月の神様をお招きし、 また魔除けになると信じられています。

Otsukimi dewa susuki ya Tsukimidango wo osonae shimasu.

Susuki wa Tsuki no Kamisama wo omaneki shi, mata mayoke ni naru to shinjirarete imasu.

お供えします means “offering to god.” E.g.: Kyokai de hana wo osonae shimasu. (教会で花をお供えします。We offer flowers to god at a church.)

魔除け means “protecting you from evils.” E.g.: Ninniku wa mayoke ni narimasu. (ニンニクは魔除けになります。Garlic protects you from evils.)

Compiled by Andrea Levac and Mitsugu Nobumasa. Brought to you by the Toronto Japanese Language School | www.tjls.ca | @tjlsca | info@tjls.ca

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pular summer Peach isaapapon. This off-menau. The Tiramis J fruit in a real taste of Osaka espresso sauu Pancake com ce es item is rich matso cut through wt ith carpone. he

Staff

Walter Muschenheim

Walter is a Toronto-bas W ed translator and writer. A real globetrotter , he has lived in France, Germany and the United States and explored Euro pe and Japan. On O his adventures, he loves to learn about languages and food: the two co erstones of culture! corn

The art of the pancake 3PRLHYPZPUNZV\ɊtFuwa Fuwa takes pancakes to new heights.

T

he taste is so familiar it will bring back childhood memories of weekend breakfasts with your family, but you will also be surprised how different these pancakes are from the flapjacks at your local diner. This is Fuwa Fuwa—Japanese for “fluffy fluffy”—a new Annex eatery that is introducing Toronto to the latest Japanese take on a traditional dish.

For example, “the tiramisu is cheese and chocolate, so we have a slightly bitter espresso sauce that cuts through the richness. For the crème brûlée, the caramel on top is crispy and the pancake is soft in the middle, so we are playing more with the texture. For different plates, although the pancake itself is the same, when it all comes together, each is a different experience.”

Benson Lau and co-owner Yuka Naka hit on the idea for soufflé pancakes while they were both studying pastry at Le Cordon Bleu in Tokyo. “We think that pancakes make people happy and when we opened a dessert shop, we wanted to make people happy.” True to their culinary background, they treat the pancake as a serious dish, finding ways to explore its possibilities while still elevating its essential pancakeyness. When I ask if it is just the toppings that change from one menu item to the next, Benson corrects me: “What matters is the balance.”

Soufflé pancakes originated in Osaka, where Yuka grew up. There, they are served at celebrations, especially weddings. T h e t h i c k c a k e s a re m a d e w i t h b e a t e n e g g w h i t e s a n d cooked at a carefully controlled temperature t o c r e a t e a n a m a z i n g c l o u d - l i k e t e x t u r e h a l f way between a pancake and a soufflé. T h e kitchen at Fuwa Fuwa makes its batter fresh every morning with freshly c r a c k e d e g g s . W h e n m y o rd e r a r r i v e s , Benson shakes the plate proudly to display the trademark soufflé pancake jiggle.

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Benson says he chose Toronto for the city’s open-mindedness and Torontonians’ appetite for originality and new food trends from around the globe. A quick stop by the café shows that locals have embraced it with open arms. Even at 3 pm on a weekday the dining room is packed. Westerners like to come for breakfast or brunch and Japanese people typically come for afternoon tea, which is a traditional time to eat something sweet. As for me, I know exactly where I’m taking my friends for our next weekend brunch!

Fuwa Fuwa Japanese Pancakes 408 Bloor St. W., Toronto | 647-618-2868 www.fuwafuwapancakes.com OPEN: Mon–Thurs 11 am–7:30 pm -YPHT¶WT‹:H[HT¶WT Sun 10 am–7:30 pm


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Bentobox Magazine 43  

Bento Box Magazine, a Toronto-based Japanese New Concept Magazine. Our mission is to provide our readers with the latest news in Toronto, ri...

Bentobox Magazine 43  

Bento Box Magazine, a Toronto-based Japanese New Concept Magazine. Our mission is to provide our readers with the latest news in Toronto, ri...

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