Autumn has officially arrived!
Cool breezes and a comfy climate make Autumn the best time to get things done, and look after yourself.
In Japan we have a saying that Autumn is a time for reading, a time for sports, and a time to build up a good appetite. It’s an all-around easy to live with time of year, and the fine weather makes it easy to concentrate on whatever is in front of you, whether it be reading, study, or work.
It’s also a good time to to work up a sweat, which is part of the reason why this time of year is the traditional period for sports days in kindergartens and schools. But, all that work means you end up with a big appetite as well, and eating properly and well helps keep you in good shape.
The good news is – no matter what you eat this time of year, it tastes great!
In particular, fish tend to build up fat for the coming of winter, a state known as「脂がのってる」in Japanese, roughly meaning ‘carrying a lot of fat’ in English. It’s a popular time for eating fish, as the meat tastes especially good this time of year. In particular, the sanma, or saury, is a favourite, and very cheap too as they can be caught in large numbers at this time of year.
Autumn is also a time for the favourite of Tokushima, Naruto Sweet Potatoes.
Tokushima’s close proximity to the sea, and the salty breezes brought in as the potatoes grow help to make them extra sweet. In fact, their taste is such that it has secured their place as a nationally recognised brand. Long ago, a popular tradition was to collect fallen leaves from the ground and burn them, then cook the potatoes in the resulting fire. These days we have microwaves, so you can easily heat them with that, or alternatively, you can wrap them in foil and put them on top of some gas heaters, and heat them up that way as well.
A recent trend is to eat sweet potatoes mixed with rice. If you put in finely-diced potatoes with your rice as you cook it in a rice cooker (some people also like to put meat and vegetables in as well) then away you go! Sweet potatoes are good to mix in with miso soup as well, and are a great choice for a healthy desert!
Autumn is a wonderful time to enjoy some of the good food in Tokushima, so if you get the chance, go out and have a try!