• 「地底パルテノン神殿」の正体

    [From July Issue 2010]

    In the underground of Kasukabe City, Saitama Prefecture, there is a vast space that looks like a gigantic shrine-like structure, where 59 pillars, each 2 meters wide and 18 meters high, occupy a space 78 meters wide by 177 meters deep. This is all located 22 meters below ground level, and resembles the Parthenon, but at the center of the earth. SUZUKI Momoko, one observation-tour participant said, “I was overwhelmed by the gigantic pillars. At that depth, the earth was quiet and mystic.”

    This “shrine” is actually part of a 6.3 kilometer drainage canal, built to help prevent floods in the Nakagawa River basin. Its construction started in 1993 and was completed in June, 2006. It started to partially operate in 2002.

    The free Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel observation-tours are open to the public just by making an application via the Internet, by phone, or directly at the information desk. Each tour takes about one and a half hours, three times a day, from Tuesday through Friday. Since the number of participants per tour is limited to only 25, they are usually fully booked soon after they are offered. Accompanied by a PR person, participants visit three places: Ryu-Q-kan, the roof of administrative building, and the pressure-controlled water tank (where water is held).

    Ryu-Q-kan is a museum that showcases the facility’s system, as well as offering various, other flood-prevention information. Using models and maps, their explanations are well-reputed to be easily understandable. From the roof of the administrative building, participants can observe the flow and the water level of the Edo River. The supporting Parthenon-like pillars of the pressure-controlled tank are especially popular with the people on the tour. When it floods, excess water fills the tank hiding the pillars from view.

    The five vertical, water-intake shafts resembling giant wells, like giant wells connect directly to the underground tunnel. Each shaft is 70 meters deep and 30 meters wide, enabling it to swallow the entirety of New York’s Statue of Liberty. Unfortunately, for safety reasons the tunnel and the vertical shafts are off limits during the tour.

    The low-lying characteristics of the land in the Nakagawa basin make it easy for water to accumulate, causing both flooding and inundation damage. As a result, this system of diverting water from the small, flood-prone river to a bigger river was conceived.

    The majority of people who join the observation-tour come from the Kanto Area, with the number of men slightly exceeding that of women. Participants say that, “It was interesting to see a place where we usually can not go” and that “we appreciate that we can live safely because of the facility.” ARAKI Shigeru, who is in charge of the facility, says: “I would like to have many people learn about the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel, and make them more aware of disaster prevention.”

    Edogawa River Office, Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel

    Text: MUKAI Natsuko









    江戸川河川事務所 首都圏外郭放水路


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  • 自分らしさを表現する絵文字、顔文字

    [From July Issue 2010]

    Many Japanese people use emoji (Japanese pictograms) when text messaging on their cell phones. Pictograms are emotional expressions and graphics that fit in one Japanese letter space. Smileys for happy feelings and crying faces for sad feelings can be inserted into any message. The frequency of pictogram use depends on each individual, but the general tendency is that women and younger people prefer to use pictograms more frequently than men and the elderly.

    “When a friend sends a message without any pictograms in the text, I worry that something is wrong, or that the sender may be in a bad mood,” says 20 year-old TANAKA Miho. “I often use pink hearts in texts that I send to my boyfriend, but I use green and blue hearts in messages for other male friends. I don’t use any emoji in my work mail,” she adds.

    “Many men of my generation do not like using pictograms,” says MURATA Shigeharu, a man in his 60s. “I like new things, so I use them more when I send to women rather than to men. When I see hearts in a text I receive from women, I think ‘they are really happy,’ but when I see a playing card heart, I think ‘they are just being polite.’”

    The amount of available pictograms and the ease of text messaging are essential deciding factors when choosing a new cell phone. That is why cell phone companies pay careful attention to both. Previously, pictograms in text sent between different cell phone carriers would turn into garbled characters. But today, there are many pictograms that can be used across many carriers.

    More people have started to create their own pictograms because they “don’t want to use the same pictograms as other people” and they “don’t want to use old pictograms created ages ago.” There are approximately 1,200 websites on the Internet dedicated to creating original pictograms. Some people use multiple sites to create pictograms for various uses, and some people upload pictograms created and received from friends, then alter them on these sites for their own use.

    In March 2008, Roid Corporation launched a pictogram creation website. Here, anyone can create and use their original pictograms while also offering them to the public. Currently, there are approximately 140, 000 registered users. Moreover, communication between the users is very active; for example, people who use the shared pictograms often send thank you notes to their creators.

    “There are many websites displaying new pictograms,” says OHTA Youhei, Roid Corporation’s media representative. “But using pictograms created by others is just another way of using the same pictogram as other people. So here at Roid, we developed a function where you can design your own pictogram. Registered users can now use pictograms that no one has owned before,” he explains.

    At FutureScope Corp., they provide a service where photos taken by cell phones can be automatically processed into pictograms. Once a picture of your face or a friend’s face, or items bought or food ordered, is sent to Future Scope’s server, your converted pictogram will then be returned within 3 to 5 seconds. If a sent photo includes up to 20 people, their server can simultaneously process each face into a pictogram.

    “The fundamentals of communication are to exchange feelings between known acquaintances, and to deepen trust,” says FutureScope’s Brand Strategy Division Manager, OGITA Yoshihiro. “It was a tough job to develop a function which automatically distinguishes facial parts, including hairstyles, from a photo and convert it into a cute icon. We have received positive feedback from people, especially those with children or pets. We also have business opportunities opening up outside of Japan, particularly in Asian countries like South Korea.”

    Pictograms originated from kao-moji (emoticons), which use symbols to make facial expressions. Even though there are many pictograms available today, emoticons are still widely used in emails and on the web since they rarely turn into garbled characters. Even the more intricate ASCII art style (text-based art developed from emoticons) has its own dedicated fans. The biggest characteristic that distinguishes Japanese ASCII art and emoticons from its international counterparts is its use of more diverse letters.

    Japanese input functions on computers and cell phones use kanji, katakana, and hiragana. Moreover, there is also zenkaku (full-width/two bytes) and hankaku (half-width/one byte) input styles. So, emoticons like (^^;)and (^^;) which use the same symbols but different byte-sizes have different looks for expressing detailed emotions; while (^^;)can mean “very embarrassed,” (^^;) can mean “a little embarrassed.”

    HONDA Kenichi, who runs a web-based collection of ASCII art, says: “Take a look at the Japanese ASCII art. The way the letters are used differs for each artist. Since we have so many characters, the choice of symbols the artist uses directly reflects their style. It becomes the distinguishing charm of their work. If we only used the one-byte alphabet and numbers, the art would not be as diverse in character.”

    “ASCII art is time consuming, so its creator must be very dedicated to it,” says Honda, who adds that “when you look closely at the forms of the symbols, you sometimes realize the uniqueness and the beauty within each character. For example, you hardly use kanji characters like “弋 (yoku)” and “卞 (ben)” in everyday life. But in ASCII art, it is a convenient and popular character often used to express roundness and dots.”

    Some ASCII art became so popular that it developed into its own character, becoming the protagonist of a story. The ASCII-art-based cat, as well as other characters often appearing on online message boards, have become so familiar that they have even been given names. And, there are people who continue to create comic strips based on these characters.

    In Japan there is a saying, “writing and nature often agree,” which means that, “one’s personality comes forth in one’s writing.” In this day and age when everyone types in their words, it may be that people are finding new ways to personalize their writing by using pictograms and emoticons.

    Roid Corporation
    FutureScope Corp

    Text: SAZAKI Ryo



    「友だちから絵文字をまったく使わないメールが来ると『どうしたんだろう? 機嫌が悪いのかな』と気になります」と20代の女性、田中美穂さんは言います。「恋人に送るメールには、ピンク色のハートをよく使いますが、男性の友だちへのメールだと緑や青のハートを使いますね。仕事のメールには使いません」。















    文:砂崎 良

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  • ハイテク駐輪場でスイスイ

    [From July Issue 2010]

    On their way to work or school, many people ride their bicycles to the train station. This usually results in a lack of bicycle parking spaces, making illegally parked bicycles left on the street or other places a social issue. They prevent pedestrians and other bicycles from passing through the congested area, and they also make the area look bad.

    Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward has built automated, bicycle parking systems. After cyclists puts an IC (integrated circuit) tag on their bicycles and place them on the bike stand, the automated machine then carries each one to its designated storage shelf. The bicycle entrance is very small, big enough for only one bicycle. However, below each entrance is a large cylindrical parking area that measures 6.9-meter wide by 14.45-meter deep, and that can hold 180 bicycles.

    In 2001, there were about 10 thousand illegally parked bicycles in the Edogawa Ward. Five hundred million yen was spent annually to cope with this problem. However, since land was difficult to secure, it was impossible to make a big bicycle parking lot. As a solution, 7 billion yen was spent in creating Japan’s biggest bicycle parking system, with a lot for 9,400 bicycles including 36 automated machines for 6,480 bicycles, underneath Kasai station.

    “The number of illegally parked bicycles around Kasai station decreased from 1,358 to 50,” says NAITO Yasuo, an employee of the Edogawa Ward office’s parking department. “There are no worries about having bicycles stolen and no trouble finding your own bicycle among so many. Since you can store or retrieve at least two bicycles per minute, there is no need to wait.”

    Users are happy and say that, “It’s like the parking system of the future because we can easily park and get our bicycles. It’s also less trouble when we are carrying many things,” adding that “The station area used to look messy with so many illegally parked bicycles, now it’s been completely cleaned up.”

    In Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward, an environmentally-friendly bicycle parking lot was completed just this March. It has a large, rooftop solar panel that generates 7,135 kilo watts of electricity annually. The generated electricity is used to charge the batteries of electric power-assisted bicycles and for the parking lot lighting system. Furthermore, there are also extra batteries to store electric power for rainy days and emergencies.

    Electric power-assisted bicycles help with pedaling when a rider starts out or heads uphill. They can be rented for 300 yen per ride but the cyclist must pay a security deposit of 3,500 yen, refundable when the contract ends.

    “Bicycles parked illegally around the station used to have a bad image,” says NISHI Tatsuya, an employee in the transportation safety section of Setagaya’s Ward Office. “However, with less people driving cars as a result of the rise in gasoline prices, and with more people concerned about the environment, the merits of bicycles have been reconsidered. Especially these electric power-assisted bicycles, which are highly-valued because they can be ridden without much effort, and which older people appreciate, knowing that, ‘they can ride this one.’ For people’s good health and for the environment, we hope that bicycles continue to be widely used.”

    Text: SAZAKI Ryo










    文:砂崎 良

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  • 「パンの缶詰」で飢えを救う

    [From July Issue 2010]

    Pan Akimoto Co., Ltd.

    Pan Akimoto Co., Ltd., established in 1947, is located in Nasu-Shiobara City in Tochigi Prefecture. AKIMOTO Kenji, the father of current company president AKIMOTO Yoshihiko, founded the company under the motto “to provide safe and tasty bread,” hoping to become the bakery loved by the locals. And today, the “canned bread” that Pan Akimoto developed is receiving great international reviews.

    “The Great Hanshin earthquake of 1995 was the motivator. We delivered 2,000 meals of bread but they didn’t last, so we had to throw a way a portion of it. Dried bread (a simple type of cracker or biscuit made from flour, water, and sometimes salt) lasts longer but we heard that it was difficult to continue eating them over a long period of time,” says Akimoto. This is when his challenge to create long-lasting, fluffy bread began.

    He tried various ways including vacuum packaging and freezing – but all without success. That was when he discovered the canning machine. He came up with a way to bake the dough inside the can, rather than trying to can already baked bread. Furthermore, the dough was also wrapped in special paper to keep the baked bread from sticking to the inside of the can.

    After more than a year in development, the “canned bread” was finally ready. When first opened, a savory scent wafts out, revealing the fluffy bread inside. It was not a big seller in the beginning, but “when the media took it up during the Mid Niigata Prefecture Earthquake in 2004, we received orders from various local governments, firms and the general public,” recalls Akimoto.

    Akimoto then established a mass-production factory in Okinawa. With hopes of exporting them in the future, he got patents for Japan, the USA, China, and Taiwan. Moreover, by changing the labels on the cans, companies and customers can personalize them into souvenirs. In Akihabara, PAN AKIMOTO sells their bread with anime characters printed on the label. And last year, their canned bread was accepted as official astronaut food.

    “It is better if you don’t have to eat it since it is an emergency supply,” says Akimoto. But on the other hand, he admits that, “as a baker, I want people to eat it.” Thus the “kyu-can-cho Project” was conceived. “Canned bread” lasts 3 years, so the two-year-old reserves that local governments stock are traded in for new cans, while the older ones are then shipped to countries suffering from famine.

    Akimoto pioneered new ways of baking by adapting to people’s age and societal changes. He started mobile bread vending in the 1980’s when it was not yet common. He says he inherited the spirit of challenge from his father who was an aircraft pilot-turned-baker. “Canned bread is a product that can be accepted anywhere in the world. But a firm does not grow unless the people working there grow. Our current issue is to strengthen the humanity of our employees.”

    Pan Akimoto Co., Ltd.











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  • 緑豊かな都市、仙台と日本三景の一つ、松島

    [From July Issue 2010]

    Sendai City is the capital of Miyagi Prefecture and the largest city in the Tohoku (northeastern) region, with a population of over one million. It is also famous as a place deeply associated with DATE Masamune, (a.k.a. “Dokuganryu” – the one-eyed dragon) a warlord of the Sengoku period. And while his home, Sendai Castle, known as Aoba Castle, no longer exists, many people still visit the castle ruins, which offer a panoramic view of the city below. Sendai’s climate is mild, being not too cold in winter and not too hot in the summer.

    Each summer, Sendai hosts a big event – The Sendai Tanabata Festival. It is one of the three great festivals of the Tohoku region, along with the Nebuta Festival of Aomori Prefecture and the Kanto Festival of Akita Prefecture. Held from August 6th to the 8th, it is a traditional festival that continues to be observed since the early Edo period, attracting over two million yearly visitors. A myriad of Tanabata (Star Festival) decorations are put up around Sendai Station, and throughout the shopping arcades. And, a fireworks display takes place the night before the festival officially begins.

    The Jozenji Street Jazz Festival is held yearly on the second Saturday and Sunday of September, with this year marking its 20th anniversary. About 700 bands gather from across the country and perform on a number of stages set up throughout the city. In addition to Jazz, visitors can enjoy various other genres of music.

    Sendai is also known as “The City of Trees,” as its avenues are lined with beautifully tended zelkova trees. In December, the Pageant of Starlight festival is held, in which these trees are illuminated by some 600,000 light bulbs. Many couples visit this place, especially around Christmas time.

    Sendai is also home to the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, their professional baseball team. Whenever there is a game, their home field at Kleenex Stadium Miyagai is packed with spectators all wearing caps in the team color of dark red. Their soccer team, Vegalta Sendai, is also well-supported by many of the locals.

    Sendai is also knows as a “study capital.” The city is home to a number of universities, technical colleges and educational institutions, where many people come to study, not only from within Miyagi Prefecture, but also from outside the prefecture and abroad. Tohoku University is especially famous for its high standard of research and for having produced a Nobel Laureate.

    Many tourists visit Sendai, fascinated by not only its various events and beautiful scenery, but also by its rich food culture as well. Throughout the city there are numerous restaurants specializing in gyutan (beef tongue), which is considered to be a luxury food item. Zunda, sweet paste made from crushed edamame (young soybeans), is commonly served with rice cakes, but has more recently been used in milkshakes and parfaits. There are many other Sendai specialties available, including Sasa-kamaboko (a bamboo-leaf-shaped fish cake made from whitefish, sake and salt).

    From Sendai, it’s easy to take the JR Senseki Line to Matsushima, known as one of Japan’s Three Great Views, along with Amanohashidate in Kyoto and Miyajima in Hiroshima. The sea stretches out right in front of the station, where small islands covered with pine trees seem to highlight the water’s blue color. Throughout the year, tourists from home and abroad visit to enjoy this beautiful view. And, there are even some haiku and tanka poems written about it.

    Matsushima is also famous for its fish and shellfish. Since oysters are especially plentiful here, there are special cruises available during the winter and spring months on which you can enjoy oyster pot dishes. Because the Shiogama fishing port is located near by, you can further enjoy fresh seafood in the number of sushi shops and other restaurants serving sashimi.

    One of Matsushima’s more popular tourist attractions is the Marinepia Matsushima Aquarium. Opened in 1927, it is Japan’s second oldest aquarium, displaying many kinds of sea creatures, including sea lions, sea otters and dolphins.

    Matsushima is also a great place for viewing the moon. Kanran-tei was a teahouse that was inherited by DATE Masamune from feudal lord TOYOTOMI Hideyoshi. Also known as Tsukimi-goten (the Moon-Watching-Palace), it had long been cherished by the Date family. There is even an anecdote about the beauty of the moon over Matsushima: it is believed that Albert EINSTEIN once said, “No great artisan could reproduce its beauty.” Many of the great figures in history have also been mesmerized by the beautiful moon over Matsushima.

    A number of important cultural assets remain in Matsushima. One example is the Buddhist temple Godaido, first built in 807 AD, then later rebuilt by Date Masamune in 1604. Zuiganji Temple, designated as a national treasure, was also built by Date Masamune, and is currently under renovation. That work is scheduled to continue until 2018. A beloved place of the Date family, Matsushima has many historic buildings associated with Date Masamune.

    Sendai also offers the Izumigatake Mountains where you can enjoy skiing, and the renowned Akiu hot springs. The famous Zao ski resort is also located nearby. Traveling from Sendai aboard the JR Tohoku Honsen, you can arrive at Shiroishi in about 50 minutes, which is quite popular with Japanese history buffs. The reason for this seems to be that the castle of KATAKURA Kojuurou, who served under Date Masamune, is in Shiroishi, and has recently been popularized through an historical video game. So, as you can see, the Sendai area offers a variety of fascinating places to discover.

    Miyagi Prefecture Tourism Division
    Sendai Sightseeing Information
    Sendai Tourism & Convention Bureaw
    Matsushima Tourist Association

    Text: INAIZUMI Shuko

















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  • 日本での賢い買い物

    [From July Issue 2010]

    It was once said that Tokyo is the most expensive city to live in, but that has drastically changed. Since Japan is now in the middle of a recession, inexpensive commodities are not only being sold in Tokyo, but across the nation. Depending on how you shop, it’s very easy to buy inexpensive merchandise. The best way is to visit discount stores and specialty shops.

    Many people buy electrical appliances at big discount stores including “Yamada Denki,” “Edion,” “Bic Camera,” “Yodobashi Camera” and “K’s Denki,” which are scattered across the nation. Some places, like Tokyo’s Akihabara and Shinjuku areas, have lots of big discount stores. Although most of their merchandise is inexpensive, it is always better to check the prices at several stores before you buy, as prices can vary from place to place.

    In the clothing market “Uniqlo” remains the most popular because of its durability, nice design and reasonable pricing. However, to compete with Uniqlo, famous overseas brands such as Sweden’s “H&M” and “Forever 21” from the USA, have started doing business in Japan and are becoming popular with young women.

    “Tokyu Hands” stores are very popular. They are one-stop shops where well-designed, do-it-yourself, home and lifestyle products are available. “Loft,” which sells mostly sundries, is also another popular, variety goods store. “Don Quijote” is the most famous of the discount shops. They are filled to the rafters with items, some even hanging from the ceiling, making the stores resemble a jungle.

    Furthermore, 100 Yen shops are also very popular. You can buy items ranging from stationary to the household goods and even watches for only 100 yen. For the price, the quality of the items is good, with almost no difference compared with regular-priced items. And because everything is so affordable, it makes purchasing easier, even for those who have no intention to shop to begin with.

    While most English product-words are now understood by store staff, some exceptions – refrigerator (reizouko), washing machine (sentakuki), vacuum cleaner (soujiki) and rice cooker (suihanki) – still exist. It is also recommended that you learn the word “hoshousho,” or guarantee, which usually comes with most items. Recently, as the number of foreign customers is increasing, many big discount shops now also employ English and Chinese speaking staff.

    Color is always an important element in clothing, and most Japanese understand the common English words for white (shiro), black (kuro), red (aka), blue (ao), yellow (kiiro), green (midori) and purple (murasaki). Traditional Japanese words such as “haiiro,” “daidai,” and “momoiro” are not used much anymore, having been replaced by “gurei,” “orengi,” and “pinku.” With sizes, you can say “ookii” for large, “motto ookii” for larger, “chiisai” for small and “motto chiisai” for smaller.




    衣料品では、「ユニクロ」が断然人気です。丈夫で、デザインもよく、しかも安いのが受けている理由です。最近は、ユニクロに対抗するように、スウェーデンの「H&M」やアメリカの「 Forever21 」など、海外ブランドショップも日本に進出し、若い女性に人気を得ています。



    製品名はほとんど英語で通じます。英語で通じにくい製品は「冷蔵庫」(refrigerator)、「洗濯機」(washing machine)、「掃除機」(vacuum cleaner)「炊飯器」(rice cooker)。また、製品についてくる「保証書」(guarantee)も覚えてください。最近は、外国人客が増えたため、英語や中国語を話すスタッフを用意している大型店も増えました。


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  • ざるそば、天ぷら

    [From July Issue 2010]

    Ingredients [Serves 2]

    < Soba >

    • 140g soba (buckwheat noodles-dry)


    • 5cm naganegi (Japanese leek/white part only)
    • Moderate amount of neri wasabi (kneaded Japanese horse radish)


    • 1 cup ready-made men-tsuyu (seasoned soy sauce)
    • 1 to 2 cup(s) water (depending on the brand of men-tsuyu)

    < Tempura >

    • 2 medium to large-sized prawns (beheaded/shelled)
    • 50g pumpkin
    • 2 shiitake mushrooms
    • 1 eggplant
    • moderate amount of deep frying oil

    Yakumi (grated)

    • 100g daikon (Japanese radish)
    • 1 small piece (5g) ginger
    • Batter
    • 1/2 egg + cold water to make 1/2 cup mixture
    • 1/2 cup (50g) white flour (soft)

    Yakumi: Yakumi’s are the spices and herbal vegetables that add flavor to the dish.
    Checking oil temperature: drop bits of batter into the oil. 150~160°C: the batter sinks to the bottom then slowly rises. 170~180°C: sinks midway then rises. Over 200°C: immediately rises and dissipates at the surface

    < Soba >

    1. Mix men-tsuyu and water to make soba-tsuyu (soba sauce). Dilute the sauce accordingly since thickness differs by manufacturer.

    2. Chop the yakumi leek by koguchi-giri (thinly sliced, starting from the root end). Submerge in water, then drain.

    3. Boil plenty of water and drop in the noodles while separating.

    4. Remove with strainer, rinse under cold water, then drain.

    5. Serve the soba noodles with soba-tsuyu and yakumi.

    < Tempura >

    1. Prawns: Peel shells leaving the last tail joint, and devein. Slice pumpkin into 7 to 8 mm thick slices. Cut the hull of the eggplant then cut into four vertical pieces then slice 3 to 4 incisions into each piece. Cut the stems off the shiitake mushrooms and slice incisions on the top of the mushroom.

    2. Make the batter. Mix beaten eggs with cold water in a measuring cup. Pour into bowl then add flour while sifting.

    3. Mix lightly with cooking chopsticks. Be sure not to make the mix sticky.

    4. Pour 3cm of oil in a frying pan and heat to medium temperature (170°C).

    5. Dip vegetables into batter one by one, then use chopsticks to smoothly slide them into the oil. Turn vegetable over when the batter slightly browns. Take out when the color turns light brown and the batter feels crisp.

    6. Lightly sprinkle 1/2 tbsp flour (not included in above ingredients) on the prawn. Leave tail part batter free and set prawn into oil.

    7. Place the tempura in a mound. Place ten-tsuyu and yakumi along side the tempura to serve.




    • そば(乾麺) 140g
    • 薬味 長ねぎ(白い部分) 5cm
    • 練りわさび 適量


    • 市販のめんつゆ カップ1
    • 水 カップ1~2(メーカーによる)


    • えび (無頭・殻つき)(中~大) 2尾
    • かぼちゃ 50g
    • しいたけ 2個
    • なす 1個
    • 揚げ油 適量


    • 大根 100g、しょうが 小1かけ(5g)
    • 衣  卵1/2個+冷水適量 合計カップ1/2
    • 小麦粉 カップ1/2 (50g)



    1. めんつゆと水をあわせ、そばつゆを作ります。メーカーによって濃さが違うので好みで調節します。

    2. 薬味のねぎは小口切りにします。水にさらしてから水気をしぼります。

    3. たっぷりのお湯をわかし、そばをほぐすようにして入れ、ゆでます。

    4. ざるにあけ、冷水で洗い、水気をきります。

    5. そばを盛り付け、そばつゆ、薬味を添えます。


    1. えびは尾の1節を残して殻をむき、背わたをとります。かぼちゃは7~8mmの厚さにします。なすはへたを落して縦に4つに切り、それぞれ3~4本切り込みを入れます。しいたけは軸をとり、かさに切り込みを入れます。

    2. 衣をつくります。計量カップにとき卵、冷水を加えて混ぜます。これをボールに入れ、小麦粉を振るいながら加えます。

    3. さい箸で、練らないようにざっと混ぜます。

    4. 揚げ鍋に油を約3cmの深さまで入れ、火にかけます。170℃で揚げます。

    5. 野菜は1つずつ衣をつけながら、箸で静かに押して泳がせます。衣が淡く色づいてきたら裏返して、薄い褐色になり、カリッとしたら取り出します。

    6. えびは、小麦粉大さじ1/2(材料外)を薄くまぶしてから、尾を残して衣をつけ、油にいれます。

    7. 盛り付け、天つゆと薬味を添えて出来上がりです。

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  • 名女優が追い続ける恋物語

    [From July Issue 2010]

    Chiyoko Millennial Actress (Directed by KON Satoshi)

    This is an anime film written and directed by KON Satoshi, who started his career as a manga artist. It won the Grand Prize in the animation category at the 2001 Japan Media Arts Festival held by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, tying with “Spirited Away,” directed by MIYAZAKI Hayao. Centering on the present, the plot advances in a unique manner, with a mixture of the past and the future, and of reality and fantasy.

    TACHIBANA Genya, the president of a film production company, is asked to make a documentary in commemoration of the demolition of Ginei, the movie studio where he once worked. So, he decides to interview FUJIWARA Chiyoko, the greatest actress the studio has ever produced, in order to record her life’s story. Though a big fan of Fujiwara himself, even 30 years after her retirement from show business, Tachibana has no idea where she lives, nor does anyone else.

    Having finally managed to arrange an interview with Chiyoko, Tachibana visits her home along with a young cameraman. Despite having refused interviews for 30 years, she agrees to the meeting after being told that Tachibana has something for her. As soon as they meet, Tachibana hands her a small box. With a surprised look, Fujiwara opens it to find an old key inside.

    Taking it in her hand, Chiyoko explains that it is “the key to open the most important thing there is.” Little by little, she begins to tell how as a high school student, she was discovered by Ginei, and about the real reason for her entering show business, in spite of her mother’s opposition – her burning love for a man whom she saved while she was in high school.

    Chiyoko recounts how she met the man long ago, when Japan was still very militaristic. He was an artist, and a criminal wanted for having anti-government views. As it happened, Chiyoko sheltered this fugitive, and the two talked and talked without ever learning each other’s names. Then, she caught sight of this key he had.

    The man told her that it was the key to open the most important thing. The following day, on her way home from school, she found it lying in the street. With a sense of foreboding, she rushed home only to find that he had already disappeared, just ahead of the police, who had discovered where he was hiding. From then on, Chiyoko searched for the man using what little information she had, so she could give him back his key.

    Reflecting on her life, she sees herself move from wartime Tokyo, where she was born and raised, through her past movies which depicted the Sengoku period and the last days of the Tokugawa Shognate. Tachibana and the cameraman also appear in those scenes, but only Chiyoko can see them. Her story travels through various eras, mixing real events with her fantasies.

    Just before the end of the interview, Chiyoko faints. When she awakens at the hospital, she realizes that her time is soon coming. Smiling at both Tachibana and the cameraman by her side, she tells them that she is not afraid of death. “After all, I’m going after that man again,” she says, before gently closing her eyes forever.


    千年女優(今 敏 監督)









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