What to Give? It’s Almost White Day

What to Give? It’s Almost White Day

The Production Peak of Confectionery Shops in Fukui

There is very little time left before White Day on March 14th, where Valentine’s Day gifts are returned. In a confectionery shop within Fukui Prefecture’s Fukui City, the production of cute heart-shaped sweets is reaching its production peak. Enveloped in the sweet aroma, male customers have been closely evaluating the products.

At “HanaEchizen” (in Fukui City, Ninomiya, 3-Chome), there are eight kinds of sweets on display. The most popular is a heart-shaped baumkuchen. Dried rose petals are studded within the strawberry-flavoured dough, and then coated with white chocolate. A rectangular baumkuchen is also available, with nuts and cranberries, it has a sweet and sour flavour, using a lot of ruby chocolate.

“It would be great if a couple’s relationship can deepen with the sweets,” said the male shop owner (aged 62).

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/1046610

Abura-age Sales Numbers, Fukui City Immovable from Number One Spot in Japan

Abura-age Sales Numbers, Fukui City Immovable from Number One Spot in Japan

2019 Survey, Top for 57 Years in a Row

According to a family finance survey by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications on February 28th, Fukui Prefecture’s Fukui City claimed the top spot nationwide for average abura-age and ganmodoki purchases per household in 2019, for the 57th year in a row. The average amount spent was ¥5,245, which is ¥201 lower compared to 2018; however, Fukui City was still able to pull ahead of Ishikawa Prefecture’s Kanazawa City, which held second place with ¥4,462, maintaining its top position.

The survey results distinctly aggregated Fukui Prefecture’s data, and was ranked against fifty-one other prefectural cities and government ordinance cities across the country. Stating in an analysis by the Fukui Prefectural Brand Department, “a primary factor is the custom of eating Houonkou dishes, which is tied to the Jodo-Shinshu sect of Buddhism.”

Fukui City also claimed first place with cutlet purchases (¥4,889) for the third year in a row; the city was also first in tempura and other fried foods (¥7,742), and croquettes (¥3,211), for the second year in a row.

Other products where Fukui City placed first were rice (3rd in 2018), kombu tsukudani (3rd in 2018), yakiniku (3rd in 2018), and potatoes (11th in 2018). As for mochi, yokan, and sembei, Fukui City placed in second.

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/1038778

Triple-Coloured Hishi-Mochi Production, Before the Peach Festival

Triple-Coloured Hishi-Mochi Production, Before the Peach Festival

Final Stages in Shops within Fukui, A Gorgeous Atmosphere

Before the Peach Festival on March 3rd, Ogata Beika, a shop within Fukui Prefecture’s Fukui City is heading towards the final production stages of hishi-mochi (a rhombus-shaped mochi with multiple layers of different colours). Having the vivid colours of pink, white, and green, the triple-coloured mochi emanates a gorgeous feeling.

The pink represents the flower of peaches, white is for snow, and green is for the colour of fresh leaves. First, glutinous rice produced within the prefecture is used, and then one of the three colours of the hishi-mochi are added to each batch; it is then put into a wooden box, carried over from previous generations, with the different colours layered on top of one another. The boxes are then stored in a refrigerator overnight, where the mochi becomes firm, then the company manager (aged 63) and staff cuts the mochi into roughly seven centimetre long rhombuses.

“We hope to adorn the sweets with wishes for the children and grandchildren to grow healthy and full of energy,” said the company manager.

Hishi-mochi production began during early January, with roughly 500 pieces to be made, as is the yearly average. The mochi is available at Ogata Beika and HEIWADO shopping centres within the prefecture. On the online shopping site “hyakuyoko”, the hishi-mochi is available as a set with hina-arare (sweet rice cakes).

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/1028746

Zoni with Brown Sugar, “A Curious Flavour”

Zoni with Brown Sugar, “A Curious Flavour”

Obama’s Food Culture, A Mix of Salty and Sweet

On January 2nd, in the Food Culture Museum located in Obama City, Fukui Prefecture, zoni (Japanese soup containing mochi rice cakes) with special brown sugar was prepared for visitors. Visiting families feasted on the unconventional flavour, experiencing a part of Obama’s food culture.

In the past, brown sugar was a precious commodity, used only on certain dishes on special occasions, and that weight has carried on to the present day. Three women associated with “Group Mermaid”, a group that promotes healthy eating habits, prepared the zoni by placing a round mochi in a bowl of miso broth; 50 portions were served.

Visitors sprinkled their desired amount of brown sugar before enjoying the zoni.

A man from Katano City, Osaka Prefecture (aged 26) explained, “The miso’s saltiness mixed with the sugar’s sweetness makes for a curious flavour, but it is very delicious.”

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/1003579

Introducing a Consulting Service Site to Overcome Truancy

Introducing a Consulting Service Site to Overcome Truancy

Support for Elementary, Middle, and High School Students, by Fukui Prefecture

Fukui Prefecture has launched the “Fukui Prefecture Hikikomori and Truancy Support and Information” website, which is geared towards hikikomori (a person suffering from social withdrawal), truant students, and concerned family members; the site consolidates all relevant information regarding the various issues. Each city and town started up its designated consulting service counter, for those struggling to establish a place for family gathering or where one can feel at home; visitors can find a catalog of recent news and contact information for public and private support groups. Associates with the services are eagerly standing by to connect with anyone looking for advice.

According to an investigation result published by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) on October 17, the number of truant students in public elementary, junior high, and senior high schools in the prefecture, during 2018, totalled to 1,054 students. According to the national survey, there was an estimated total of one million hikikomori, with ages ranging between 15 and 64. In the Fukui Prefecture Hikikomori Regional Center (located in Fukui City), within one year, there have been over one thousand cases that received consultation services.

The support groups in each are of the prefecture set up a system to inform concerned persons and families, on the steps of how to reconnect with society. In conjunction with the establishment of the consultation service website, each city and town’s health and welfare bureau will be designated for the services. Including prefectural institutions, a total of 34 places are listed on the site. Details and contact information of 13 public and private support groups, such as nonprofit organizations (NPO) who open their free space for family gatherings or a personal safe space, and alternative schools, are gathered and displayed on the site. Information on various events and lectures within the prefecture are also listed and updated as needed.

A Fukui Prefecture Disability and Social Welfare department secretary managing the site, Shigehiro Kato, explained the current situation, “There are many cases where those afflicted and concerned family members are heavily burdened with anxiety for many years, unable to confide their troubles with anyone.” Up to now, many are unaware of the consultation services, with many afflicted people and families often saying something like, “I wish I had used these services sooner.” Secretary Kato said, “Taking advice from an outside party also means they are taking steps towards improvement. I wish more people to visit the site, join the various events, and reach out to connect for advice.

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/968158