As some of you might already know, I looove wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets). Not only are they super delicious but often also unbelievably pretty and cute♡
I especially love dango and daifuku, but also all kinds of mochi.
In Germany I have access to a (compared to Japan) big kitchen with an oven. I used to bake cakes and cookies and just be creative in the kitchen all the time. Even though I don't eat cake much, I love making and especially decorating it.
But my dorm room here in Tokyo has only one single stove, a rice cooker and a water kettle. So, much left to be desired (T_T) I think I can't even really call it a kitchen lol
I guess I don't have to mention that it is impossible to create any special meals and I definitely can not bake.
Because wagashi are so different from Western sweets (many made by rice and sweet bean paste), I've always been curious about how to make them myself. Since they don't require an oven, some of them should possible to be made even in my tiny room.
I don't own any of the tools to make most of them, so I thought before I buy any of it I will first take a class to see if I even like it. Unfortunately classes in Tokyo are quite expensive. I frequently visit my boyfriend in Kyoto, but as I often stay just for two days I never found the time to book a lesson there.
I don't know if you have heared about White Day. In Japan, Valentines Day girls and woman give chocolates to boys/men, so only the men get presents. One month later, on March 14th however, Japanese people celebrate White Day which is the day where boys/men give gifts to the females who gave them chocolates.
My boyfriend gave me the best present ever - we went to a "wagashi taiken" 和菓子体験 (wagashi experience) class together（＾◇＾）♡
The place we went to is called 八つ橋庵かけはし"yatsuhasian kakehashi"in Kyoto.
I think it's a fabric where yatsuhashi are made but they also have a small café where you can eat wagashi, a shop and they offer quite a lot of lessons.
They have lessons for yatsuhashi, manju, neri kiri, dango and a few more. You can find the link here. http://taiken.yatuhasian.jp/ka
I decided to take the nerikiri lesson because I figured it is possible to make the other sweets at home, while for nerikiri you need a few tools to shape them (neru = to knead, kiri = to cut).
We booked our lesson online where we were able to choose the date and time as well. The classes are in Japanese but I think you can get the instructions printed in English. Also, you can't take the lesson alone. You must be in a group of at least two people.
When we arrived, we were lead to the classroom and told to wash and sanitize our hands before entering.
Because we chose our time sloth, I assumed it would be a lesson just for us. But in fact there were other people in the room taking different lessons at the same time. There were two teachers hopping from table to table to introduce the next steps.
Making the Wagashi
On our table we found the already made dough as well as tools, anko (sweet red bean paste) and color for our wagashi.
We first were taught into how many pieces to cut the dough and which part to color how. We made a yellow ball, a red ball, a green ball and a ball with the left-over uncolored dough.
We first made a shape called はさみきく"hasamikiku" (hasami = scissors).
For that, we took the white ball and rolled it flat. Then we put the red ball on it and wrapped the white around so it became a white ball with red inside. Then we rolled the ball flat again and wrapped it around a ball of anko. Now the difficult part started - we had to cut little blossom leaves with a kind of scissor. I got it wrong because I didn't know how to use the scissors correctly and my flower didn't turn out as it was supposed to, but I was still happy it because it didn't look too bad^^ Then we took a tiny part of the yellow dough and stamped it into the middle.
Next was おとしふみ"otoshifumi". We used the green dough and a tiny bit of the white. We rolled it and used a biscuit cutter to make a leaf which we wrapped around a piece of anko. Then we put two tiny balls on top and finnished! By far the easierst and prettiest one ( ´∀｀)
Last but not least we made つゆくさ"tsuyukusa".
For that, we got a bamboo-thing (I don't know how it's called) with little holes on the top. We put all left-over dough on it and pressed it through the holes with a flat wooden tool. Then we removed the bamboo thing. We each took one ball of anko and put the now tiny dough pieces on it with chop sticks to make it a colorful ball.
After we finished all three pieces, we received a paper boxes where we wrote our names on and put the sweets inside.
All in all the class was an awesome experience and I had so much fun!
I just wished, the teacher would have showed us how to do it instead of just explaining by words.
Afterwards we ate our sweets in a park near by and then went to Sanjo, where we ate some more wagashi and ice cream and checked out a few shops^^
By the way, I bought these cute little ultra soft plush birds on that day. Seriously, they are the softest plushies ever!♡
We called them Neri and Kiri because of the wagashi we made xD
It was the best White Day ever ♡