[Note: Before you get confused, today's post is by Sharyn. You can always see who wrote what at the end of each post.]
In my junior year of college I went to school in Osaka, Japan to learn the language. Recently, while giving my hubby a crash course in useful Japanese, I started to feel nostalgic. So today's Sweets are a little cake walk down memory lane:
Here are a few cakes that give a snapshot of what I saw every day.
Hello Kitty was everywhere.
Since my host family had a black cat named Mimi, of course I had to start with Chococat. At first I was horrible with chopsticks, so Mimiko always sat under my chair and pigged out.
My host mother taught me a lot, including some simple origami.
Once you get the knack of it, paper origami cranes are pretty easy. I have a feeling gumpaste ones are a lot harder.
There was a big bamboo patch on the way to school.
This bamboo is hand-rolled fondant, slotted together and hand-painted, while the curly bamboo is gumpaste. She got the squiggly parts just right.
The food in Japan was fantastic. Most restaurants had perfect, plastic replicas of their food on display, so they didn't need menus.
I think they should have made them out of cake, though.
The very first souvenir I bought was a wooden puzzle box for my Dad, and it had this iconic print on it:
By Alix's Cakes
It's called "The Great Wave Off Kanagawa" by Hokusai. Now I really want to nibble on that box...
Since I lived midway between Osaka and Kyoto, I spent a lot of time in Kyoto. It was spectacular, especially during cherry blossom season.
There were days when it just rained pink flowers.
Did you know it's impossible to maintain a bad mood when it's raining pink flowers? Seriously. Try it sometime.
Kyoto had a zillion gorgeous temples.
By Gateaux Inc.
I never saw one that was all white, although there was one covered in gold -- and no, they don't make that one in cake. (Really, I looked!) This reminds me of rice paper screen doors.
Most temples had gorgeous gardens, lots of water, and little footbridges.
By Cake Central Member semalo63
Of all the cakes I looked at, this one evoked the strongest memories.
(Ah yes, I remember that Thursday well...)
Oh, and I think this is royal icing...
(Note from Jen: Yep. Although the top collar is done with a run-in technique, which starts out liquid & then hardens to that perfectly smooth surface.)
Of course, every garden had a Koi pond:
These guys look better behaved than your average koi, who could get downright obnoxious if they thought you had a handful of koi chow. And I often did.
("Heeeere, fishy, fishy...")
Temples were a favorite place for weddings, and the wedding kimonos were stunning. This cake was inspired by a champagne silk kimono:
Wedding kimonos can cost thousands of dollars. If the kimono that inspired this was even half as gorgeous as the cake, then I'd say it was worth the money.
It was always the most fun when you'd see a happy girl out in a fabulous kimono, enjoying the perfectly-kept grounds.
Not one of them ever offered me cake, though.
Probably because it was (almost) too beautiful to cut.
(Look, if there's a cake, I will cut it.)
Of course, I can't show you everything I saw in Japan with a few cake pictures -- and who really wants to see "creepy subway guy" in cake, anyway? -- but I hope this helped give you all a Sweet little taste. さよなら (Sayonara.)
Do you have a Sweet to nominate? Then send it to us at Sunday Sweets [at] Cake Wrecks [dot] com!