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2012年4月24日 (火)

Project Roots/プロジェクトルーツ

Finally, the time to leave Tokyo has come. When I started this blog, the first artilce was “To begin with”, where I wrote a bit about why I’m starting this blog. The article on my last day in Tokyo, I write about how Project Roots was started and how it has been developed.

It was the year 2008. With an ambition to open a Japanese restaurant in Munich in my mind, I quit work to get enrolled full-time at a cookery school, worked at a Japanese restaurant at night, and visited Munich for market research during summer break. I aimed to introduce Japanese home-style cooking to foreign people who know only sushi, tempra and sukiyaki as Japanese foods. My mother’s cooking is my root in Japanese cuisine, and my dream was big enough to wish that my cooking becomes Muncheners’ roots to Japanese cuisine and food culture. Therefore, I knew already then that I’ll name my restaurant “Roots”. Though I was so resolute, I had to give up my business plan and came back to Tokyo and the business world in August, 2009.

My original plan was scrapped, but I didn’t want to give it up and thought that there should be other ways to introduce wonderful Japanese cooking to non-Japanese. While I was looking for a job, I was preparing for “another” business plan; teaching Japanese cooking to foreign residents in Tokyo. That’s how the concept of Project Roots was created, developed, and the project was launched in September, 2009. Most of my students were expats. Some have already left the country to go back their home, and some have been coming since the launch. Living in Japan, their experience of Japanese foods is rich, and they’re willing to try and learn unique (for us common, though) Japanese food materials, preparation, cooking methods, cooking utensils etc. “Basic Japanese Cooking” course was the most popular, and it was actually the course that I think the best. Most of my students, after completing “BJC”, took “Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter Table on Japanese Table”, which focused on seasonal materials. Contrary to my expectation, “Sushi Club” was not so popular. Just before my students were leaving for home, I often tailored special lessons upon their request. After about a year, Japanese students started to come for lessons. Some were for Japanese cooking, and some were for Italian/French/confectionery lessons. To add more to my cooking portfolio, I took Italian cooking lessons in the last two years. Also, some fun events with my students, such as, a tour to the Kappabashi cooking tools street and outdoor potluck party, were held. As it’s mother’s joy to see their husband/children’s smiling and hear them saying “Yummy”, it delighted as well as encouraged me when my students were eating what they’ve prepared, saying “Yummy!”

My life is to be based in the UK.  Part of me feels it’s pity that I have to leave this country, which is my roots, and to give up the project in Tokyo only after two years and half. But my hope is to continue the project in the UK. It could take some time though, because a plan that meets the market demand should be prepared and procurement of certain unique but essential Japanese food materials should be set up (or learning substitutes if any). As my original business plan to set up a Japanese restaurant “Roots” was transformed to the cooking lesson project “Project Roots”, still realizing its bottom-line, some different form to tak eover the concept of "Roots", that is, introducing Japanese cooking to the world, might be achieved. And, I’ll continue to write articles on this blog. As I wrote “Sign of life” on the next day after the 3.11 northeastern earthquake disaster, this is my sign of life.


とうとう、東京を離れる日が来ました。このブログを始めるきっかけは、「はじめに」で、ほんの少しだけ触れましたが、そもそもProject Rootsを始めるきっかけとこれまでのことを最後に書いておこうと思います。


レストラン経営ではなくても、外国人に日本の家庭の味を伝える手段はあるはずと、就職活動の傍ら準備をしていたのが、日本在住外国人向けの和食の料理教室です。そして、20099月から、Project Rootsが始まりました。生徒さんの多くは駐在員で、プロジェクト開始当時からずっと来て下さっている方もいれば、母国に帰られた方も多くいます。日本にいる方たちなので日本食の経験値も高く、日本独特の食材、下準備、作り方、調理器具など、高いアンテナをもってレッスンに臨んで下さいました。いちばん人気があったのが「基本の和食」コースで、手前味噌ですが、よく出来たプログラムになっているものでした。大抵の生徒さんは、「基本の和食」終了後は、四季の食材を使ったコースを取って下さいました。プロジェクト開始から一年ぐらいから、日本人の生徒さんも増え、レッスンは、和食だけではなく、イタリアン、フレンチ、製菓にも広がっていきました。私自身も、見識を深めるため、昨年、一昨年続けて、フィレンツェでトスカーナの家庭料理を習う機会も設けました。また、生徒さんをお誘いし、かっぱ橋道具街ツアーや隅田川の川辺でポットラックパーティーも企画しました。作ったごはんを、旦那さんや子どもたちが「美味しい」と言って食べてくれると、お母さんたちは嬉しいのと同じで、生徒さんが作った料理を試食するとき、「んー、おいしぃー」と言う姿は本当に嬉しく、やりがいを感じるものでした。

これからは、私の生活の拠点はイギリスになります。私のルーツであるこの国を離れること、Project Rootsを終えなくてはいけないのは残念ですが、イギリスでもProject Rootsは継続したいと思っています。マーケットの需要を知るのと、独特かつ入手困難な食材の調達、または、代替を自分が経験していく必要があるので、時間はかかるかもしれません。ただ、、当初の計画(レストラン)が料理教室になったように、ボトムラインである日本の家庭料理を伝える他のカタチが生まれるかもしれません。そして、このブログも継続していくつもりです。東日本大震災のとき、「無事です」の記事でも書いたように、これが私の生きている証です。


This is where I've lived and the lessons were held for Project Roots. Hoping to come back someday.

ここが私が住み、Project Rootsのレッスンを行った場所です。いつの日か、戻ってこられますように。

2012年4月23日 (月)

Il Bacca/イルバッカ

Meanwhile the time to leave Tokyo and then Japan is coming and the days that meals are prepared with the leftover ingredients congtinue, I’ve been reaching foods, especially Japanese, that I’m going to miss. I hardly write articles on restaurants, but I had lunch at Il Bacca in Hacchobori, which I’ll definetly miss. My husband I accidentaly found the restaurant while taking a walk in our neighborhood, and it has become our favorite and we’ve been there many times. Why I like the restaurant is, not mentioning the quality food, because the menues are what you’ll find in Italy (so real Italian) and because I can learn more about Italian cuisine by seeing and tasting their dishes.

My choice today was “Asparagus and wasabi leave risotto with beef tagliare”, a very very spring menu. I chose this risotto, not only because I’ve never had risotto with wasabi leave but also because I wanted to know what their al dente is like. Italian dishes are quite simple and easily prepared at home, but we tend to cook on our way. So what I do time to time is to try basic menu at trusted restaurant, learn with my eyes and toungue, and remember what it’s supposed to be.

東京、日本を離れる日が近くなり、使い切りたい食品で食事を作る日が続くなか、日本食を中心に「食べ納め」もしています。レストランの記事を書くことは、ほとんどありませんが、今日のランチは、八丁堀にあるIl Bacca(イルバッカ)というイタリアンレストランで、その「食べ納め」をしました。主人と近所を散歩中に偶然見つけ、ふたりのお気に入りとなり、何度も足を運んだお店です。私がIl Baccaが好きな理由は、美味しいのは当然ですが、メニューが本場イタリアにあるようなものが多く、自分の目で見て、舌で味わうことで勉強にもなるからです。





I made an extra order for dessert, “Pinapple and basil granite”. As I wrote about “Panna cotta with watermelon and basil granite”, I often make basil granite in summer and keep in the freezer. I wanted to try their granite, following my principle, that is, to know and learn what theirs is like.

Semifred, which means half-frozen in Italian, is my favorite Italian dessert. I often make semifred with caramelized hazelnuts, and I had to try semifred with hazelnut at Il Bacca when I saw it on the menu. Their semifred was quite a shock with creamy texture, while mine is somewhat icy. Of course, I couldn’t leave the restaurant without asking how they can make it so creamy. They shared three points and also said such creamy semifred is rare.

 折角なので、パイナップルとバジルのグラニテをデザートに追加しました。「西瓜のパンナコッタ バジルのグラニテ添え」を紹介したことがありましたが、夏にはバジルを使ったグラニテをよく作り置きしておきます。このグラニテを追加注文したのは、リゾット同様、自分の作るグラニテとどう違うか、見て、味わって、勉強するためです。

 私の好きなイタリアンデザートに“半分凍った“という意味の「セミフレッド」があります。ヘーゼルナッツをキャラメリゼして、私もセミフレッドもよく作るのですが、どうしてもシャリシャリ感が残ってしまうのが課題でした。Il Baccaのデザートメニューにヘーゼルナッツのセミフレッドがあったときは、頼まずにはいられませんでした。ここのセミフレッドは、とてもクリーミーであまりに美味しかったので、お店の方にコツを尋ねたことがあります。お店の方も、こんなにクリーミーなセミフレッドはあまりないとおっしゃっていました。






2012年4月11日 (水)


Abekawa-mochi is a rice cake coated with kinako (soy bean powder) and sugar. It originates Abe River, which runs through Shizuoka-shi. The days that meals are prepared with what’s supposed to be used up before move continue, and what I saw before lunch was; kinako (soy bean powder), shiratama-ko (rice powder), and honey. So, today’s lunch was abekawa-mochi. I knew I had to ignore nutrient balance. Before eating, rum and amalet, which are also needed to be used up, caught my attention, therefore, I tried a few drops each. Rum, no. Amalet, yes and no. Developing one’s own recipes are something like this. Yes, experiment.



2012年4月10日 (火)


It seems the Japanese word “obento” (lunch box) is gaining recognition, and there’re foreign people, not in Japan but overseas, who use the word. Now cherry blossoms are fully open and you can see a lot of people go on a picnic with their own or bought obento. Cherry blossoms are so beautiful in my neighborhood, and I’ve prepared obento for lunch today. But my obento was so miserable. As I’m moving soon, I’ve been cleaning out fridge, therefore, my obento is all leftovers. The only treat was onigiri-konbu.





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