月別: 3月 2016

Japanese Seasonal Inspiration-Autumn/三部曲-<三>

(* Chinese is below the English text)

 

Part 3

 

Lastly, let’s dive into the world of food! In Japan, as the season change into autumn,
you can find the slogan “Appetizing Autumn” in many supermarkets and restaurants.
This powerful slogan works wonders, and it’s no surprise coming from a country where
products sales are so competitive that shops have developed countless ways to hook the
interests of consumers. It is indeed rather persuasive. We know you like good food all
year round, but not it’s “Appetizing Autumn”, so why not indulge a little more?
Then the next thing you know, that extra box of persimmons and 1kg of ground beef which
you didn’t plan on buying became logical purchases. Since the ancient times, autumn
has always been the season of harvest and prosperity, and in an island country like Japan,
autumn is also the best season to enjoy a fine fatty meal of Pacific saury and oysters.
The word “seasonal” has a great impact on Japanese lifestyle. Everything has its’
seasons, and the people who follow the flow of seasons and reap the right fruits at the
right times are guaranteed to receive great results. So far in my opinion, this way of
life has indeed brought upon people all kinds of joy. Since this concept of seasonal
ingredients work so well, it is no wonder that from set menus in restaurants to the
snacks on promotion in convenience stores, one can always catch a glimpse of the realistic
forms of seasons everywhere in Japan. The persimmons in autumn are juicy, sweet and
delightful. Apart from the fresh persimmons, dried persimmons can also be seen selling
right next to its’ fresh buddies. Dried persimmons have a chewy texture that will surely
be an interesting snacking experience for those who have never tried it before. To me,
sweet dried persimmons also taste like childhood, it’s not really a fancy snack, and yet
it has the taste of nostalgia that just can’t be replaced. Meal-wise, crispy fried oysters
with a crunch and the grilled pacific saury with a taste of sea breeze are both basic
members in many restaurants. Speaking of the Pacific Saury, actually, apart from enjoying
it grilled, eating it sashimi-style is also quite the luxury. Grilled pacific saury
smells divine, with a hint of saltiness. The crispy fish skin and metallic glaze is
unique to the fish itself. The yummy combo of fatty fish oil and lean fish meat is
something I can never get enough of. On the other hand, the crunchy fried oyster that
just came out of the bubbling hot oil should be eaten right away. Some of the oysters
are too big to fit in your mouth in one bite, so you will just have to eat it patiently
(and reluctantly), bite by bite. That breadcrumb covered juiciness explodes in your
mouth with every crunch, and from that point onwards, your life has been completely changed.
Fried foods are just so straightforwardly awesome. Indulgence of autumn delicacies really
doesn’t get better than this.

 

In conclusion…It doesn’t matter if a person is now madly in love with autumn because
he/she just had a delicious meal, or if he/she is in agony because an excitable leaf
just flew into his/her mouth a couple of seconds ago, riding with the autumn breeze.
I think we can all agree that in a country like Japan, where autumn exudes such
diverse beauty, it would be a shame if one doesn’t stop and stare for a bit and
enjoy the cool night breeze once in a while. There are limited opportunities for us
to be enlightened and inspired by our natural surroundings, so seize the moment and
don’t let these great things in life pass you by. Ride with the seasons, you will
be just fine-

 

 

LL (Student Staff)

 

 

三部曲—<三>

 

最後來談談食物吧!在日本入秋時節在超市及餐廳可以看到這麼一段
文字「食慾之秋」。不愧是以行銷手法聞名的國家啊!聽起來真有說服力,
雖然人的食慾是天天有,但這句一出,人們在當下購買更多食物食材的動機
也一切都被合理化了。秋季自古以來便是豐收、收穫的季節,而在日本這樣的
島國秋天也是大啖秋刀魚及牡蠣的大好機會。「旬」一字在日式生活中有著
舉足輕重的地位,一切都有它的季節,而人們依循自然的道理在對的時間運用
最適合的材料必定能得到最美好的成果。目前為止這套生活準則在我眼裡也
的確無懈可擊。所以無論是定食餐廳所推出的期間限定定食還是便利商店裡的
促銷點心,「旬」的概念真的處處可見。秋日的柿子香甜多汁,除了新鮮的柿子
之外更有富有嚼勁的柿餅可以享用,那甜蜜蜜的滋味對我而言也有一種純樸感。
飯菜那方面,酥脆可口的炸牡蠣和鮮甜質樸的烤秋刀魚則幾乎成了平價餐廳的
秋季限定定番成員。說到那秋刀魚,其實除了火烤之外,以生魚片的方式食用
也是很不錯的選擇。稍微烤過的秋刀魚裹著一身香脆的魚皮,表面彷彿泛著金屬般
的光澤,吃進嘴裡時那有彈性的魚肉及肥美油脂的組合真是讓人欲罷不能。
而另一方面讓人吃得喀擦咖擦作響的牡蠣則是在剛炸好的時候端到你眼前,
趁熱大口咬下,還因牡蠣有些大塊而要分成兩次吃。真是有點小困擾(笑)。
被麵包粉封鎖住的鮮甜剎那間在口中大解放,於是你的世界從此不一樣了。
炸物就是過癮。秋食真是一件令人享受的事。

 

結論是...其實不管一個人今天是因吃了好料而瘋狂地迷戀秋天,
還是因為有熱情如火的葉子乘著風兒奔進了他嘴裡而心生哀怨,我想我們都同意,
在日本這個秋季如此帶感的國度,不停下腳步好好兒欣賞一下,感受一下那清涼的
自然風,那還真是浪費了這燦爛的季節啊!人生能被那麼啟發到的機會就那麼幾次,
大家也千萬別讓它擦身而過了才好唷~

 

<全文完>

 

LL (Student Staff)

Japanese Seasonal Inspiration-Autumn/三部曲-<二>

(* Chinese is below the English text)

 

Part 2

 

However, the wholesome experience of autumn is definitely not all roses and no thorns.
Life must go on knowing that not every single aspect of autumn is filled with natural
grandeur. For example, it is perfectly normal for you to be blinded by the over-dazzling
glisten of the golden leaves as the autumn sun shines brightly high up in the sky.
If you ever dreamed about eating cute little sandwiches while bathing under the warm
sunlight and feeling that awesome breeze on a slope, be warned that the autumn wind
is no joke. Sometimes the wind is so strong that it’s difficult just to get food
into your mouth without them trying to go with the wind in the process. Look around
you and you shall find gorgeous groups of people in well-designed and tailored coats
running all over the place, trying to catch the small pieces of garbage and plastic
bags which have been blown away by the wind. Upon witnessing this hilarious sight,
do not laugh, please proceed to finding something heavy and put that weight on top
of your own personal belongings and plastic bags, or else I can assure you that you
will be joining those people shortly. Last but not least is that classic romantic
novel scenario, when a piece of falling leaf gently landed on the main characters’
head while the innocent main character remains completely oblivious to his/her
surroundings, giving the supporting character a chance to sweep the main character
off his/her feet by making the gesture of taking the leaf of the head in the most
dreamy way possible. I only have one piece of advice for this case. If falling leaves
really landed on your head, please don’t force yourself to wait until “the one”
appears and pick them off your hair. Hurry up and brush them off yourself and check
if there were any wormy passengers who had just taken the Falling-Leaf Airline on a
trip to your head. That is way more realistic. One last thing, from my personal experience,
although I’ve only been living in Tokyo for a couple of months, so far I’ve been
hit in the face by blown up leaves more times than I am willing to admit.
As I marvel at the wonders of autumn, they are also causing trauma at the same time.
So be safe around nature, okay?

 

To be continued…

 

LL (Student Staff)

 

 

三部曲—<二>

 

不過這世上完美的事太少,不是秋天的所有點滴都代表著華麗與美好。
當太陽光反射在亮眼的黃葉上又不經意地被你毫無防備的雙眼给瞧上時,
自己的眼睛瞬間彷彿瞎了幾秒也是正常的。若是你做著沐浴在陽光下吹著
徐徐微風吃著小巧三明治的夢的話,請記得秋天的風可不是省油的燈,
有時趕時間想坐在外頭吃碗麵都有困難,因為弱不禁風的麵條會隨風飄舞,
且堅決不飄進你嘴裡。周圍的人們也是穿著美麗擋風的大衣滿地追趕著被風兒
吹跑的淘氣小垃圾和塑膠袋,甚是狼狽。而看進眼裡你也千萬別笑,要趕緊壓好
自己的隨身物品和垃圾,不然等一下就換你上場練彎腰小跑步了。當然還有那經典的
言情小說情節,當落葉輕巧地降落在主角的頭上,而天然遲鈍的主角自己渾然不覺
,要等演對手戲的另一方來溫柔拿下葉子拉近兩人距離的橋段。我只能說,
如果真有落葉飄到頭上,請不要硬撐等人幫你拿,快撥掉並確認沒有蟲蟲旅客
搭乘剛才那班落葉航空安全抵達頭部機場,這比較實際。還有還有,
我個人光是過去這幾個月就已經被強風吹起的葉子打到臉了好幾次,在自己
讚嘆自然之美的同時也快要產生內心陰影了,請大家務必多加留意。

 

LL (Student Staff)

Japanese Seasonal Inspiration-Autumn/三部曲-<一>

(* Chinese is below the English text)

 

Part 1

 

Japan is a country where each of the four seasons never fails to present its’
distinct colors. For each season, the residents of Japan have their own ways
of celebrating its’ beauty. From gazing at the fluffy pink cherry blossoms
to the magnificent falling colors of autumn, from the refreshing taste of
chilled watermelons to the heart-warming hotpot dishes of winter, Japanese
society and natural environment have created, in my opinion, an incredible,
time-realizing atmosphere all year round for the people to enjoy.

 

Since I was a child, due to my father’s occupation, I’ve moved around
the globe and lived under the influence of all kinds of cultural backgrounds.
However, none of them have given me the feeling of joyous holiday spirit
in such a strong manner the way Japan has. Having just moved to Tokyo in
September of 2015, I find myself ohing and wowing in amazement all the time,
for the lifestyle is just unbelievably active holiday-wise. In this particular
ICC blog post, I would like to share with you the kind of unique autumn beauty
in Japan which I’ve found to be especially mesmerizing.

 

Speaking of autumn, what comes to mind may very well be the falling and changing
colors of leaves. Compare to the somewhat lacking greenery urban scenes of Taipei,
the natural environment in the bustling city of Tokyo seemed much better preserved.
Relatively large in area, there are many places and parks in Japan where one can
visit in order to grasp the essence of autumn. However, if I were to just go over
the famous tourist spots for leaf-viewing that would be too commercialized.
The kind of beauty that I am interested in introducing is the type where you
imagine yourself strolling casually on the way back to the dorm when suddenly,
a couple of leaves gently brush by the top of your head as they subtly, softly
fell on the ground. To me, that sort of experience is much more emotional and
inspirational, making it worthwhile to talk about here. As a freshman who needs
to commute from dorm to campus on a regular basis, the path to school is basically
the same every single day. By the time the fall semester had started, around the
end of September and the beginning of October, the feeling of autumn is not that
strong yet, and the leaves on the sides of sidewalks still remain beaming with
life and different shades of green. Then, as the pace of sunset quickens,
roughly around the end of October, one can almost smell the crisp cool air
which signals the coming of autumn. Now by this point some of you may be
wondering by being able to smell the approaching of autumn, do I mean smelling
autumn delicacies like grilled fish? Of course, I also smell the fish,
but at this point I am still focusing on the leaves. To be more precise,
by the smell of autumn I mean the smell of cool air mixed with the piled up
leaves on the floor with a hint of earth. If you happen to be inside Waseda
Campus by this time, then you would probably be familiar with the…uh….
distinct smell of Ginko. So you abruptly look up, and realized that everything
has changed! That’s right, as you briskly walk by every day to catch the
next lecture, the leaves had gradually been dyed by the colors of season,
and now they are the vibrant, eye-catching colors of bright yellow,
fiery orange, and passionate red. Then you look to the side, and was surprised
to see that even the short bushes on the side, the ones that you had always
thought to be evergreens, even they had caught up with the trend and put on a
blazing red outfit.

 

To be continued…

 

LL (Student Staff)

 

 

三部曲—<一>

 

日本是一個基本上四季分明的國度。而每個季節日本的居民們則都有
自己的一套慶祝方式。不論是從觀賞生意盎然春天的粉嫩櫻花到微冷秋天的
華美落葉,還是品嘗酷夏時節沁涼的西瓜至寒冷冬季暖人身心的鍋物,日本的
社會及自然環境都為當地的居民們創造了在我眼裡,那一種最動人的、
能把一點一滴流逝中的時間給實體化的強大氛圍。

 

從小因為父親工作的關係時常在不同國家及城市之間來回游走,住過了
那麼多地方,但還真是從未如此強烈地感受過日本(東京)等級的佳節氣氛。
從2015年9月才剛開始了日本式生活的我,真的震撼了。截至目前為止也不過
才短短幾個月, 只受過了入秋及入冬的洗禮,但日本人對節日節氣的重視已在
我腦海中留下了深刻的印象。在本篇ICC的部落格,我想和大家分享一些我所
觀察到的、日本秋季所獨有的那種美。

 

到秋天,就一定會想到落葉。和在我眼裡台北那稍嫌稀少的綠葉環境不同,
東京雖然是世界有名的大城市,卻也因為佔地廣大(相較來說)且交通便利
而有不少賞楓的景點。但單單是介紹有名景點的楓葉就太商業化了,
我所重視並想描述的是那種稀鬆平常走在回宿舍的路上突然頭上被幾片
落葉給點過的那種浪漫。身為一位有通勤必要的大學新鮮人,從宿舍到校園
的那條路線基本上就是固定的,說不準就是蒙上眼睛用摸的可能也到得了的
那種熟悉。開學時的9月底10月初那時節還不太有秋天的感覺,街道兩旁的
綠葉也依舊青翠。但隨著太陽下山步伐的快轉,漸漸地在10月底左右,空氣中
便嗅得出那麼點秋天的味道。可能話說至此大部分的人會想說是不是在講烤魚,
烤魚那我當然也聞到了,但更明確一點是指微冷的空氣混和著地上那逐漸堆積腐朽
的落葉的那種氣味。在早大校園則是那銀杏白果的...呃...獨特的香味。
於是你猛一抬頭,竟發現變了!沒錯,樹葉在你趕著課那倉促的腳步聲後一點一點
地染上了搶眼招搖的黃色、橘色、紅色。再低頭一看,赫然驚覺怎麼連那感覺是
萬年長青的小矮叢也跟著潮流換上了火紅的衣裳。再愣個幾秒,突然一陣風吹過,
你下意識地打了個哆嗦,覺得自己的短袖上衣和夏威夷短褲好想不夠保暖了。
於是在心中,你被大自然點醒了...秋天到了。

 

LL (Student Staff)

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