Ajinomoto and Japanese Foods through the Seasons

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A foodies dream affair with seasonal cuisines.  Head over to Japan with us as Ed Gouet shares Japanese Foods through the Seasons.  Whether you fly or cruise, once you are in Japan open up your taste buds to Ajinomoto.

Courtesy Ajinomoto

Japan is considered a country of change – a quality that is even seen with the passing seasons of spring, summer, fall, and winter. And just as the colors of the season change from one to another, so do the food selections that are served by the Japanese. These culinary changes would be dictated by the different events and celebrations that occur at different times throughout the year. These events are celebrated and followed in the hopes of having good health, longevity, and a blissful growth. Sekku, or division of seasons, has been observed back in the Edo era with five events that mark the passage of time. No matter what kind of festivity it may be, food is always in the center of it, and Ajinomoto is now a part of this culture because it makes all foods, especially meats, soups, and noodles, taste meaty and savory.

At the beginning of the new season, Hinamatsuri (Doll Festival) is celebrated on March 3, a day of wishing good luck, health, and growth to little girls by decorating Hina (small) dolls and peach flowers. They enjoy a bowl of chirashizushi (mixed sushi rice) along with an osuimono (clear soup) with clam, sprinkling both bowls with a little Ajinomoto to improve the taste and experience a heartier meal. Tango no Sekku (Children’s Day) is the boys’ version of the event and happens after Hinamatsuri. During this special day, boys set up musha ningyo (samurai dolls) and kionobori (carp banners) and then the family gets together and eats kashiwamochi (oak leaf-wrapped rice cake) and chimaki (bamboo leaf-wrapped rice dumpling).

In summer, Tanabata (Star Festival) is remembered for the story of Orihime (Vega) and Kengyu (Altair). They are two mythological lovers who are fated to only meet once a year, as illustrated in their respective constellations. Somen (thin noodles) is eaten at this celebration as a sign of long life, and wellness. In autumn, treats like kikkashu (rice wine with chrysanthemum petals), dango (round rice dumplings), and Kurigohan (Chestnut rice) are taken as the change of the leaves and the weather is occurring. At wintertime and in the end and beginning of the New Year, Ajinomoto graces most cuisine such as Toshikoshi soba (buckwheat noodles), and nanakusa gayu (rice porridge with seven plants of spring) by increasing the meaty flavor so that meals, including the loaded osechi ryouri, can be eaten with full of zeal and excitement.

Ed Gouet is a lover of Japanese food, and he has enjoyed its taste since his days of youth. Experiencing dashi had changed his faith with Ajinomoto, reproducing the same sensation to most of the foods enjoyed in the Land of the Rising Sun. 


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