Japanese Sweets Creation

Disclaimer: I hate cooking and I’m really bad at cooking. Perhaps I was emotionally scarred as a child against cooking or maybe I’m lazy or maybe I’m incompetent. I don’t know. Cooking is one of the most stressful things in my life. It makes me extremely anxious and grumpy whenever I cook.

Given my disclaimer, it’s amazing that I actually enjoyed our afternoon workshop on making Japanese sweets, or wagashi. This was yet another cultural experience workshop put on by the Hokkaido Japanese Language School, or JaLS. A whole gaggle of us students walked over to the Susukino area and to the Chuo Ward Office all the way at one end of Tanukikoji.

giant inflatable tanuki floating high above along Tanukikoji

We arrived at the Chuo Ward Office and went up to the second floor. The ward offices in Japan are not only administrative offices, but also double as community centres that offer programs for the locals. We arrived at this large room set up with tables in a horseshoe arrangement. Each seat had a placemat with the tools and materials we would using for Japanese sweets creation.

The setup as we arrive for our Japanese sweets creation workshop

Inside the large clear plastic box were colourful balls of what looked like Play-Doh. However, these were actually the edible sweets themselves. However, it was our job to use the tools to create beautiful edible sweets.

The wooden tools to help us create the lines in the sweets

The materials for the second sweet

Materials for the 3rd and last sweet

The sensei, or master, went around and would say jouzu to everyone. It roughly translates as skilled or good job. Obviously he wanted to encourage all us foreigners at our handiwork in a Japanese craft. We had a variety in looks for our final creations. I must say that I was pretty happy with mine.

The most difficult of the 3 sweets we made

The final product to take home

We were all giddy school kids after we were done with our sweets. Some people had them right away. I took mine back to the shared house and had them at home. If you love red bean sweets, then these kind of sweets would suit your palate. I really enjoyed eating them. Too bad there’s no way to have kept them permanently without them rotting.

Classmate Kacy also made a video of our afternoon Wagashi Making session. It also features Bailey freaking out at trying her first wagashi.

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