|Five of the six courses that made up lunch at Fujita Japanese Cooking Studio|
|An example of the packed Japanese breakfast tray,|
this one at Tokaitei in the Dai-Ichi Hotel, Tokyo.
Learning about these basic building blocks of Japanese eating were part of a crash course in Japanese foodways that I participated in as a member of an eight-day food fellowship trip sponsored by the Foreign Press Center/Japan.
|Fujita-sensei working on fresh sea bream.|
|Fujita-sensei salting pork back rib slices for her rice dish.|
The "soup" in this iteration was an unusual one, centered on hanpen, a cloud-like version of fish cake that has been pounded and spongified with grated mountain yam and beaten egg whites. The hanpen slices floated in a clear dashi made with konbu (kelp) and katsuobushi (grated dried bonito) and garnished with mitsuba (a parsley-like green). As if it weren't light enough, Fujita-sensei added beaten egg whites at the end to up the lightness ante.
|Simmered yellowtail with ginger and pickled plums.|
|Fujita-sensei and her assistant Sugiyama san bidding us farewell.|
Fujita-sensei says that as in other developed countries, fewer and fewer young Japanese are learning to cook from their mothers or grandmothers, adding that not many young people are interested in cooking traditional dishes. After Japanese-style washoku cooking was named a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, however, interest in their native cuisine has revived somewhat among young people, she says.
For more on washoku, and how the Japanese government is working to spread its techniques, flavors and spirit around the world, check out my Discover Nikkei article on the Washoku World Challenge 2015.