Art of the Five Senses

Thursday, December 19, 2013    

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When your Thursday Life team filed into the JAMPRO business auditorium on Friday, December 6 on the invitation of the Embassy of Japan and the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), to celebrate the 50th anniversary of favourable diplomatic relations between Japan and Jamaica, we knew we were about to witness an instructive display of Japanese elegance and heritage. The event, dubbed "The Way of Japanese Tea & Sweets-Making Demonstration," saw tea masters Yoshino Higurashi, a Mexico-based professor of the Urasenke Tea School, and her Japanese-Mexican son Yosuke Maruoka walk the gathering through the process of making four types of wagashi, traditional Japanese sweets, which are more cakes than they are candy, and share insight into what a typical Japanese tea ceremony may look like.

As the dessert course of a traditional Japanese feast or kaiseki, wagashi is usually served by the host to guests right before performing the tea ceremony. Since strongly flavoured green tea remains the focus of this centuries-old ceremony, these delicate confections, served prior, enhance the taste of the somewhat bitter tea with their lingering aftertaste. In instances where the kaiseki is abbreviated to only a tea service or ceremony, then the only food accompaniment would be wagashi.

We now focus our Thursday Life lens on two of the wagashi demonstrated -- Kinton and Konashi.



Kinton is made of a sweet bean paste, separated into two components -- a ball and a roasted layer. The sweet is typically used to represent or symbolise, through the use of colourful food dyes, different seasons. Master Yosuke Maruoka moulds this very tactile green and yellow version for us, to represent the perpetual summer of The Rock.



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