Japan Day 2013 – Language Tent and General Information

Welcome and thanks for your interest in Japan Day! Japan Day is a unique event in NYC that draws about 50,000 people to come and learn more about the Japanese culture and language. There are multiple activity tents, and food tents have also been added to the Japan Day 2013 line up.

Hills Learning was fortunate enough to be selected to teach Japanese at Japan Day in 2013! Here’s more information about the language tent, activities in general, location, and timeframe for Japan Day 2013.


The Language Tent and Description of the Activity

hillslearning karuta

Karuta being played at Hills Learning

The language tent at Japan Day will be manned by Hills Learning, a language school in New York City that teaches Japanese to all ages and offers group as well as private classes. The activity for the day will be Karuta, a fun interactive card game that will teach the Japan Day 2013 vocabulary. The activity actually encompasses all levels, beginners learn the basic vocabulary where as intermediates and advanced students can form sentences with the vocabulary or also be challenged by flashcards and other resources the teachers have brought for the event.

 

language location at Japan Day - with arrowThe language tent is located towards the entrance of Japan Day on 72nd street. The tent is located where the red arrow is pointing. It will be in the same tent as the Hello Kitty activity being held at Japan Day 2013. The Hello Kitty Activity is also quite a popular tent, so please don’t forget to visit that along with the language tent.

 

 


The Location and Time for Japan Day

Address – http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl – Here is a link to where Japan Day is according to Google Maps. Please note, to get to Japan Day you can enter either from the West or East side of Central Park and keep walking along 72nd Street. The bandshell area is where the main stage is located.

The Japan Day website also lists 69th street and 5th avenue as the main entrance. So you can enter from that location and go north, or just follow our suggestion of coming in on 72nd street and then head south.

Time – 10:30am to 4:30pm is the official timeframe for Japan Day. This is when the activity tents and the stage performers will be working. However, many activity tents will be there and setting up from 9am or so. Please note, the food tents are only from 11:30am to 2:00pm and are available on a first come, first serve basis.


Other Stalls and Activities

This year is the first year Japan Day is planning on offering food and beverages along with their usual line up of fun activities and stage performers. Here’s a basic description of what will be offered at Japan Day 2013:

FOOD –

gyoza

Gyoza

Gyoza – Gyoza are Japanese dumplings, either fried or boiled, usually filled with pork and / or vegetables. They’re boiled on one side and crispy on the other side, definitely a recommendation!

Miso Soup – The classic Japanese soup, Miso is a great protein and a delicious middle of the day snack. Usual ingredients in the soup are seaweed and tofu.

 

okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki

 

Okonomiyaki – (Make your own pancake) – Although they’re Japanese style pancakes, they’re not the typical western breakfast food. In fact, they’re eaten for lunch or dinner, and contain cabbage, meats and other vegetables. Highly recommended for someone that hasn’t tried one previously.

Ramen – Ramen is a classic offering of Japanese food and please keep in mind this isn’t the typical grocery store style “ramen” noodles. Rather, it’s a full bowl of ramen with vegetables and meat included. Highly recommended!

ACTIVITIES –

Calligraphy – An opportunity to learn about brush strokes and how to write characters, the calligraphy tent is a traditional arts tent and a very popular attraction.

Hello Kitty + Language (Sharing a tent) – Learn Japanese at Japan Day! Hills Learning teaches Japanese through a fun and interactive karuta game. Hello Kitty is in the second half of the tent, which is a very famous Japanese children’s icon.

Kabuki Face Painting – This is the only activity tent in the bandshell area with the performers. Very popular tent with the kids!

Origami – Another classic Japanese art, people enjoy learning how to do various origami shapes and they also get a take home prize.

Yo yo Fishing – Quite a popular activity, this is run by the JET Organization and the Japan Society. Get ready for fun with balloons!

Yukata Try On – A Yukata is traditional Japanese dress, basically a version of the “kimono” but can also be worn easily in summertime. The yukatas are also in general less elaborate and less expensive than the Kimono.

 

For any further information on Japan Day please visit their website at http://www.japandaynyc.org/

 

A Few of my Favorites

In America people look at cartoons simply as shows for children. Anime, to me, is more than that. They can be hilarious, heart-felt, suspenseful, and unforgettable. In no particular order here is a list of ten anime that have moved me:

Kids On The Slope:

It’s funny when you watch an anime expecting nothing special and then suddenly you finished the whole anime in one sitting. Kids on the Slope was one of them. I read its summary, “jazz,” “friendship,” and decided to watch the first episode. Then I kept clicking next because I couldn’t stop. The anime follows Kaoru Nishimi, a high school freshman who moves to a new town. He is an honor-roll student and use to having no friends until he meets Sentaro Kawabuchi; who is the total opposite of Kaoru, yet they attract each other through their musical interest. They grow together and become best friends while playing jazz together in their friend’s basement. That is the basic thread of the story but much more is tangled in. There’s romance, betrayal, tragedy, heart-break as it comes down to the conclusion that friendship is a powerful thing. The story is amazing due its characters, emotions, and situations that make it realistic and charming. It’s incredible and I enjoyed every episode so please add this on to your “must watch” list.

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day:

I’m not a person who cries that easily because of something that I read or saw. If it does it is usually a drop of tear that runs down my face. However, Anohana made me bawl. Imagine one day you wake up to the ghost of your best friend that died ten years ago – this is how the anime first begins. Meiko “Menma” Honma dies in an accident leaving five of her childhood friends. Once inseparable, the friends then drift apart after her death. Now they are high school students living their lives past the incident or so it seems. The main character, Jinta Yodomi is followed by Menma who claims she has a wish he must grant in order for her to move on to the afterlife. The problem is she doesn’t know what that wish is. Struggling to figure it out he regroups with his old friends but they don’t believe he can see Menma. Instead they humor him but as the anime continues remembering Menma and discovering her wish, each character reveals the emotions and trauma they repressed throughout the years after Menma’s death. This was one of the most touching anime I have ever seen. Throughout the show you empathize with each character as they struggle to make things right between themselves and each other. The ending will have you in tears (there are reaction videos on youtube). Anohana is simply a beautiful story that also proves how friendship is a powerful bond.

Fooly Cooly:

You may have heard of Fooly Cooly because it played on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. Fooly Cooly is honestly one of the greatest anime out there. I say this because it’s an alien girl who comes to Earth holding a guitar and riding a vespa. Then, she hits the main character, Naota Nandaba, with her instrument causing an injury on his forehead which becomes a portal for these weird robots to come out. It’s a really funny and strange anime with unforgettable characters. It’s one one of those anime that shows how outrageous and strange it can be but you will never complain. Fooly Cooly is a must.

Full Metal Alchemist/ Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood:

If you like an anime with an actual plot but none of that fluffy stuff, Full Metal Alchemist will deliver just that. This show is popular all around the world and if you haven’t heard of the Elric Brothers then you are living under a rock. The story is about Edward Elric and Alphonse. Eric who committed the ultimate taboo in their world, human transmutation. After their mother’s death, Edward and Al studied alchemy, the science of using raw materials and reconstructing it in order to create something. However, one of the most basic principles of alchemy and the show is “equivalent exchange,” in order to obtain something you must give up something of equal value. In the attempt to bring their mother back to life through human transmutation Elric loses his leg and Al loses his entire body. After realizing what a mistake it was Elric sacrifices his right arm to seal Al into a suit of armor since his brother is the only thing he has. After that, Elric vows to get Al’s body back by becoming a state alchemist or basically a soldier to the country’s military. He uses this to research the Philosopher’s stone, which appears to be the only hope for the brothers to get back what they lost. However, uncovering the Philosopher’s stone leads to a bigger conspiracy challenging what they believe is true. This anime is popular for a reason. The story is amazing and unforgettable. It has a lot of elements to it that makes it watchable even to people who are not anime fans.

***Note: Full Metal Alchemist is different from the Brotherhood version. Brotherhood is heavily based on the manga while the original FMA has its own story. Both are great and have different endings so you can watch both and not feel like you’re watching it twice.

Eden Of The East:

Eden of the East is a really interesting anime. The show starts off with a girl Saki Morimi meeting the mysterious man, Akira Takizawa. At first he has no memory but soon finds out he is part of a secret group of 11 other Selecaos or selected people. Each member is given a phone containing 10 billion yen in the effort to “save” Japan. If they do not accomplish this they will be eliminated. What really grabbed me about this anime was the phone. With it, the Selecao can call Juiz, a woman who can fufill any request using the money on the phone. With those kinds of resources how would you save your country? Not only does this anime have a grip on you through its plot but also through its characters. The relationship between Saki and Akira is entertaining and when they meet other Selaceos and uncover the truth about this “game” does it get really interesting to watch. Eden of the East is definitely one of those anime that you won’t mind re-watching.

 

The Holidays in New York City

There are family traditions, holiday traditions, and religious traditions and then there are New York City traditions.  The holiday season in the city is truly unique because of that.  Being such a diverse place, the people see countless decorations and celebrations bringing light to cultures and traditions.  I lived in New York City all my life and there are some things I look forward to seeing once the holiday season begins.  Here are certain things that occur in the city only when this time of year comes around…

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Christmas has always been a big deal here in the city.  Every year they bring it to life with people walking around in Santa Claus’ suit, covering everything with yellow lights, and department stores playing holiday songs on repeat.  One of the most beautiful things to witness is the Christmas tree located in Rockefeller Center.  Every year I try to pass by it at least once to gasp at its height, over 65 feet, and amazing decorations and lighting.  It is truly one of those traditions for New Yorkers that tells them Christmas is coming.  Rockefeller Center holds a special ceremony for the lighting of the Christmas tree where they have live artists and ice performances.  It stands until January 7th, so bring a loved one or your whole family to see the famous Christmas tradition.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Yes, Santa Claus and the Rockettes are coming to town.  Another popular New York City tradition, starting in 1933, is going to see the beautiful female dancers and singers, known as the Rockettes in Radio City Music Hall.  The show is only available during the holiday season, November 9th–December 30th, and is a really well made production.  I went to the 75th anniversary of the show and it was a really fun experience.  It made me believe in Santa Clause again because of the stage design, the holiday spirit, the sparkly costumes and amazing dance precision performed by the Rockettes.  If you have family, especially with small children, I do recommend taking them to see this show because it will make everyone excited for Christmas and really appreciate the spirit and purpose of the holiday season which is being together.

Ice Skating

Come cold weather comes outdoor ice rinks in the city.  My friends always want to go because now it is the best time for it.  The ice rinks are filled with little kids, young couples, and friends enjoying themselves in this cold weather.  The best ice skating rinks in the city are Citi Pond in Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center Ice-Skating Rink, and Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink in Central Park.  You will have to pay for admission for all the rinks except Citi Pond because it is free if you have your own skates.  Personally, I think the winter season is one of the best times in the city because so many events are happening to celebrate the holidays.  Why not take advantage and enjoy it.

The Holiday Markets

A popular holiday bazaar located in Union Square, Bryant Park, and Columbus Circle.  It’s a bunch of little stores packed together that sells numerous things from crepes, to jewelry, puppets, handmade scarves and ornaments.  These stores bring out the best things New York City has to offer because local artisans sell their products in these markets.  If you are stuck finding a gift for your loved one, friend, neighbor, whoever the person may be stop by one of these holiday markets.  The things you will find are completely unique, original, and well-made which makes the perfect gift for anyone or even yourself.

Happy Holidays~

NYC Japanese Restaurants

To start off, if you are ever hungry and craving for some Japanese cuisine go to St.Marks.  The ramen/sushi restaurants are delicious, cheap, friendly, and completely authentic.   They are satisfying to the taste buds of any person wanting Japan’s well-known dishes.  With St.Marks already being popular for their clothing stores and tattoo/piercing parlors; Japanese food is another reason for that.

 Japadog

30 St Marks PL (between Cooper Sq & Astor Pl) New York, NY 10003

646.476.2324     http://www.japadog.com/newyork_En.html

The Japanese restaurants are more or less the same in St.Marks but Japadog is worth highlighting because it is not your typical Japanese food in New York City.  Instead of ramen, udon, or sushi they serve hot dogs. Yes, hot dogs.  What makes it so special and oh so mouth watering is that they top it off with yakisoba, teriyaki sauce, kimchi, or have edamame inside the hot dog.  They have various combinations on their menu that will make you want to try each one.  Along with it you can order fries as well but then, once again, you will have to make a difficult decision of what flavor you want.  Butter & shoyu flavored fries are amazing but they also have more “daring” flavors like shichimi and garlic, curry, or wasabi.  And if you are in the mood for something sweet after the meal you can order the “Ice Age” which is a deep fried bun filled with ice cream with many different flavors.   Your stomach should be growling by now so go and head to Japadog.

Otafuku

236 E 9th St (between 2nd Ave & Stuyvesant St) New York, NY 10003

212.353.8503     http://otafukunyc.com/

It looks like a typical Japanese storefront.  Everyone has to eat outside because of it’s small size.  They are most popular for their takoyaki.  It’s freshly made all day long and is an absolute treat when I stop by.  They are perfectly chewy and savory and for all I know Otafuku makes the best takoyaki in the city.  Not to mention that the food is cheap so you can buy a lot of takoyaki and drink some Ramune as well.

Sushi Park

121 E 2nd Ave (between 7th St & St Marks Pl) New York, NY 10003

212. 533.8448

50% off sushi.  Yes, this restaurant is a favorite for me and my friends because we don’t have to pay a lot but we still get quality sushi.  Their sushi selection is huge, so do expect discovering new flavors that will make you come back for more.  I always tend to order Godzilla sushi roll because it’s fried and have a bunch of things rolled in to it.  Everything is delicious and I recommend it if you ever stop by.  Plus during lunch time they have $1 appetizers which I always take advantage.  For example, I get edamame or dumplings.  Right next to the restaurant, there is also a good spot for 50% ramen.  It just depends what you’re in the mood for.  Both restaurants will not disappoint any Japanese cuisine lover.

NYC Anime Stores

Anime Castle

35-32 Union Street Flushing, NY 11354‎

347.438.1296    http://www.animecastle.com/

A Korean area in Queens is home to a little hole in the wall called Anime Castle.  However, looks are deceiving.  The moment you step inside you will see the store’s huge collection of anime, manga, figurines, and anything else otaku.  Any anime fanatic will go crazy for the store’s variety of products. You can spend hours looking and finding things you can’t find anywhere else in New York City. So it is definitely worth the trip to Flushing.

 

Forbidden Planet

832 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

212.473.1576     http://www.fpnyc.com/

All types of geeks know Forbidden Planet located near Union Square.  You will mostly find graphic novels and merchandise of DC Comics and Marvel.  Even though their store is mostly for people in the comic book fandom, they have a nice supply of Japanese/anime products.  In the store you will find a table cluttered with different figurines.   Every time I visit there are new ones to check out.  The store keeps up to date with the latest manga and it’s one of my favorite places considering the quality, the people, and the history.

 

Image Anime

242 West 30th Street New York, NY 10001

212.631.0966      http://www.imageanime.com/

This is another huge store dedicated to the otaku of New York.  They have the body pillows, wall scrolls, jewelry, and key chains from popular anime so we can represent our love.  They have a lot of different blind box figures which I go for because they are inexpensive, detailed, and small.  The store has unexpected replicas too.  For example, they have an authentic alchemist pocket watch from the anime Full Metal Alchemist.  In the back there are a lot of model kits and even begun to sell Necomimi, the cat ears that move and react according to brain waves.  This store is definitely another hot spot for anime lovers living in New York City.

 

Elizabeth Center

15 Elizabeth St (between Bayard St & Canal St) New York, NY 10013

212.431.5150

If you’re looking for random key chains, plushies, model kits, etc. for a very low price then Elizabeth Center is the place to go.  It’s in Chinatown so you can get bubble tea and then go inside to the lower level of the “mall” where all the anime, arts, crafts, and fashion accessories and apparel are.   You can get various things from here since there are a bunch of small stores packed together.  One store sells mainly anime DVDs while another will sell bread and ramen key chains and phone charms.  You can find a lot of “kawaii” items and it is a favorite spot for presents because they have so many soft plushies and jewelry to get engravings on.

 

Toy Tokyo

91 Second Avenue (between E. 5th & E. 6th St) New York, NY 10003

212.673.5424     https://www.toytokyo.com/

Toy Tokyo is one of those stores you can just enjoy going inside with a friend or by yourself because it’s fun to look at their unique merchandise like their designer toys, different versions of Godzilla, and blind boxes from Kidrobot and Japan.   In the back of the store they have a display case with a mix of different characters from Disney, Studio Ghibli, and iconic television shows and anime.  The store just has a very interesting mix of toys and definitely a place to check out especially when it’s close to Saint Marks where all the good ramen shops are.

Japan Day – A great opportunity to learn Japanese in New York

Thanks for coming to our website and your interest in learning Japanese! This past weekend was Japan Day, an event that celebrates Japanese language and culture in New York. We’d like to talk more about this, and think it’s one of the best opportunities to experience Japanese culture and language in New York City. The event numbers around 50,000 people. Please mark “Japan Day” on your calendar for next year!

Japan Day used to be just about Japanese culture and Japanese performances, such as cultural icons of Calligraphy and Hello-Kitty. Only recently though  Japan Day decided to offer a Japanese language tent along with their cultural exhibitions and demonstrations.

Each year, the Japan Day staff, along with Hills Learning and other involved language schools, come up with a list of key vocabulary phrases for Japan Day. This year was no different, our theme was Ganbare Japan, or “Japan, You can do it!” We taught language through a traditional Japanese card game called “Karuta.”

Many of the participants not only loved learning the language for a bit, but also really liked the cultural exposure. You can stop in and get tattoos, pictures with Hello Kitty, calligraphy cranes, and of course watch the performers. The performers range from cultural icons such as Karate clubs, to famous Jazz Singers and musical groups.

For reference, here is the Japan Day vocabulary we learned this year:

がんばれ – ganbare – You can do it!

ありがとう – arigato – Thank you!

おはよう – ohayo – good morning

こんにちは – konnichiwa – hello

大丈夫 – daijyobu – It’s okay

せんばづる – senbazuru – 1,000 origami cranes

友達 – tomodachi – friend

愛 – ai – love

希望 – kibo – hope

おうえん – o-en – support

すごい – sugoi – wonderful, great

元気 – genki – healthy, how are you?

Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you next year learning Japanese at Japan Day!

Japan Town in New York? Why, it’s St. Marks Place

A lot of our readers and students of the Japanese language have all been to “Japan Town” in New York City. However, if you look on a map or read a guidebook, there’s no official listing of Japan Town in New York. There’s definitely a Chinatown and Koreatown (Koreatown is actually written on 32nd street) so where’s the Japan Town? And why has it been called that?

The “where” is easy to explain. St. Marks Place is actually another term for East 8th Street. The “Japan Town” location is centered between 2nd ave and 3rd ave, if you’re going to take the subway, take the 6 to Astor Place or the R or W to 8th Ave NYU. Then walk east along East 8th Street or St. Marks Place and you’ll come across a street loaded with Japanese goodness.

Although not nearly as conspicuous as Chinatown or Koreatown, Japan Town does have it’s own charm and feel. Every sign might not be in Japanese, but there are plenty of good yakitori, izakaya, sushi, ramen, and other Japanese restaurants to lure in the passerby.  Before you get to 2nd avenue on the north side of the street don’t forget to stop and take a look inside the JAS Mart, a small little convenience store that sells foods and other articles that are uniquely Japanese.

The ambiance of  St. Marks Place though is not really reflective of Japan. Although Japanese are lured to the area due to Izakaya’s, Yakitori Places, and of course the ever famous and popular Setagaya Ramen, the area’s main demographics seem to have more of an NYU feel. Lots of young close to graduation college students mix with asians of all backgrounds to make you feel like you’re more in Roppongi than Shinjuku, Tokyo.

Despite the contradictions, anyone interested in Japanese language or culture in New York should visit Japan Town at least once. The food might not be Tokyo quality, and the karaoke (the popular Sing-Sing) might not be the best price around, but it does feel like a New York version of Japan. And who knows, 日本語で話しかけたら誰か答えてもらうかもしれない!

WIT Life #93: サンフランシスコの日本町

WITLife is a periodic series written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03). She starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some of the interesting tidbits and trends together with her own observations.

My interpreting travels bring me to San Francisco this time, and I couldn’t leave without paying a visit to Japantown.  I hadn’t been there in a couple of years, but I clearly remembered  the array of restaurants, souvenir shops and an onsen-like spa I once had a soak in.  I went with a friend who was craving something sweet and wanted a recommendation, so I suggested we get 白玉汁粉 (shiratama shiruko), one of my favorite Japanese desserts following ぜんざい (zenzai).  We went to Kissako Tea where we were served by Hiro and Koji, pretending to be a charming couple. .

Kissako also had a nice selection of mochi  (pictured left), including strawberry, orange and lima bean, but I wasn’t blown away so didn’t sample any.  I had heard of Benkyodo, a mochi specialty shop where it is handmade and there is more variety, but they are not open on Sundays.  Something to be tried on another trip…

After we satisfied our sweet tooth with the shiratama shiruko washed down by green tea, we took a walk around the mall which is a mix of places with yukatas and other Japanese clothing, a fairly large Kinokuniya, purikura booths, and stores selling Sanrio products.

Speaking of Sanrio, there was an interesting article in the NYT the other day called “In Search of Adorable,” regarding the company’s strategy in finding a character to replace the legendary Hello Kitty who has dwindled in popularity at age 36.  The article cites that “Hello Kitty lost her long-held spot as Japan’s top-grossing character in 2002 and has never recovered,” something surprising considering how you see her plastered everywhere both here and at home (she is beaten out by Anpanman!).  However, the article discusses that part of her problem might have been this very overexposure.

Somehow replacement candidates such as the pink dalmation Spottie Dottie and the baby panda Pandapple have not been able to capture the same kind of merchandising magic as Hello Kitty, so it is back to the drawing board for Sanrio.  Who will be their next character to take the world by storm?

WIT Life #87: Tokyo Vice – Cultural Icon

WITLife is a periodic series written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03). She starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some of the interesting tidbits and trends together with her own observations.

The other night I had the pleasure of meeting the author Jake Adelstein (pictured here on the Daily Show) who wrote the sensational book Tokyo Vice, the story of his time as a crime reporter in Japan.  This absorbing memoir traces his path from Sophia University student to full-time reporter at the newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, a notable feat for a foreigner.  He spent 12 years covering the underbelly of Japan, and as expected the bulk of his talk concentrated on the yakuza.

He discussed how this Japanese mafia is known as a second police force, or a necessary evil (必要な悪 or hitsuyou na aku). As tracked by the police they number 86,000 and have 986 front companies in Tokyo.  In Japan, there were no organized crime laws until 1992, and even now there is limited wiretapping and no witness protection/relocation, quite different from the States in this respect.  Adelstein also highlighted other interesting cultural differences such as the fact that there are even yakuza fan magazines, which have articles profiling members as well as photo essay series with them as subjects!  As a crime reporter an important aspect of his job was reading these publications to keep up-to-date on the yakuza world.

Several questions from the audience focused on the collusion between Japanese corporations and the yakuza, and Adelstein said that it was highly possible that many companies cooperate with one yakuza group to protect them from others.  Also, ex-yakuza are often hired as corporate consultants.   This is a timely topic considering the speculation that Fujitsu’s former President  was ousted because of alleged gangster ties.  According to an article in today’s Wall Street Journal, it has been confirmed that this has been taken to court and is currently being battled over.

The Vocabulary of Japanese Food – Sweet Potatoes

(For more information on where these recipes came from and more Japanese cooking vocabulary, check out my previous posts for Yellowtail Teriyaki, Cashew Chicken, Roast Chinjao, and Tonkatsu!)

Did you read about Fall foods in Japan yet? If you have, you’ll notice that the first food listed is sweet potatoes. Have you ever wondered how to make them into a dessert, Japanese style? Read on and learn how!

スイートポテト – Sweet Potatoes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

English Japanese
400 g sweet potatoes (0.88 lb or 14.1 oz) さつまいも 400g
32 g butter (about 2.5 Tbsp) バター 32g
60 g granulated sugar (about 1/3 cup) グラニュー糖 60g
4 Tbsp whole milk 牛乳 大さじ4
Dash of salt 塩 少々
2 egg yolks (divided) 卵黄 1個分+1個分
1 Tbsp dark rum ラム酒 大さじ1
A little bit of water 水 少々

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 180°C (356°F). Peel the sweet potatoes, then cut into rounds 3 cm in width. Place the sliced potatoes into a bowl of water as you cut them, then drain when ready to proceed to the next step.

Fill a saucepan with plenty of water, then put in the potatoes and heat until the water is boiling. When they can be easily pierced with a chopstick or fork, remove from heat and drain the hot water.

While the potatoes are still hot in the drained saucepan, quickly crush them until they are broken up into small pieces. Add the 32 g of butter and mix well. Then add the 4 Tbsp of milk, 60 g granulated sugar, and salt, then heat on low heat. While stirring constantly, let the moisture evaporate, and mash until the potatoes become smooth.

Quickly cool the potatoes by placing the hot saucepan into a bowl of ice water. When they have cooled a bit, add one of the egg yolks and 1 Tbsp rum, then mix well.

Lay down some parchment paper on a flat surface like a counter or table. Divide the sweet potato dough into four equal sections and place on the paper. Form each into a football-like shape by wrapping them in the parchment, then using a dish towel on the outside of the wrapper to manipulate the hot dough.

In a small bowl, put in the other egg yolk and add a little water, then mix. Place the football-shaped sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then lightly brush the tops with the egg mixture.

Put the baking sheet on the top rack in the oven, which should be between 180-200°C (356-392°F). For two potato shapes, bake for 15-20 minutes. For 4, bake for 20-25 minutes. When the tops dry out after baking, take the potatoes out of the oven and brush with the egg mixture once more. Then put them back in the oven for 2-3 minutes. When the tops have browned, they are ready to be taken out of the oven and served.

(Note: Japanese dessert sweet potatoes are often served with a bit of honey on top.)

Vocabulary:

Japanese Romaji Meaning
はかり hakari Scale (ie. Cooking scale)
ピーラー piiraa Vegetable peeler
オーブン oobun Oven
オーブンシート oobun shiito Parchment paper
ふきん fukin Dish towel; dish rag
ハケ hake Brush (here, refers to a cooking or pastry brush)
バター bataa Butter
牛乳 gyuunyuu Milk
卵黄 ranou Egg yolk(s)
たっぷり tappuri Fully; amply; generously
細かい komakai Small; fine
つぶす tsubusu To crush; smash; mash
氷水 koori mizu Ice water
敷く shiku To spread; lay out
生地 kiji Dough
溶きほぐす toki-hogusu To scramble (an egg)
表面 hyoumen The surface; face; ouside; exterior
上段 joudan The upper row, tier, step, or rack