Experiencing Staying In Old Private Homes In Countryside For The First Time (Part 2)

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Experiencing Staying In Old Private Homes In Countryside For The First Time (Part 2)

We next proceed to build a snow house, which is easier when there is thick snow. It saves the trouble of piling the snow and one just needs to dig a hole. The aim is to build one which can accommodate five people. The finished product is a snow house 2m high and 3m wide.

For dinner, prepare Niigata’s speciality, Hegi soba. Funori seaweed is stewed and then mixed with buckwheat flour. After boiling, the soba is put into chilled water – made of fresh snow - and later placed on a square sieve called Hegi. Do try your hand at preparing grilled anbo, a Tokamachi speciality which is made using dried persimmons and fried hyacinth bean mixed with white bean paste. Guests of Mirai are allowed to order items from a butcher shop, so another item we’ll be having is grilled duck meat. Other dishes include natural Japanese yam and homemade natto topped with grated radish. After all the dishes are prepared, enjoy the traditional meal in the completed snow house, for a truly countryside experience.

Meanwhile, during our homestay vacation in an old private house – Nakanoya - in Chiba, Boso Peninsula, we will soak in a relaxing drum bath before feasting on a delicious dinner by the hearth. Dishes include bonito tataki broiled with straw, lobster – a Boso speciality - grilled abalone, and braised kenomi served with rice.

The next morning, make some delicious rice balls before getting ready to celebrate the Dolls Festival. The owner of the private house we’re staying in has a treasure box of several dolls, many of which are 50 years old. There is even a Dolls’ Rack, used for decorating the dolls. After getting the dolls ready and decorated, it is time to prepare some festival food. One traditional dish is sakura rice cake. Soaked glutinous rice is placed in a basket and steamed for 40 minutes, after which it is moved to the mortar for making rice cakes. The rice is pounded, after which some ground strawberries are added to make the sticky rice pink in colour. Mix the rice with some red bean paste before shaping and rolling it. Next comes the chirashizushi. Cook some rice and mix it with some sushi vinegar and ginger, after which stewed hijiki seaweed, carrots, deep fried tofu and dried gourd are added. The dish is topped with pickled ginger, shredded egg and raw alfonsino. After the food is done, don your kimonos, feast on the food and celebrate the Dolls Festival the traditional way in the countryside.


THIS WEEK'S TIPS:

  • It is said that it is easier to build a snow house when there is a thick layer of snow
  • Prepare local delicacies during a traditional homestay, such as Hegi soba in Niigata and lobster in Boso Peninsula

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