Quality Dining at 7-11

A few weeks ago, I went to a local 7-11 to pick up tickets for a concert. (Oddly enough, in Japan it’s common to purchase tickets online and pick up the hard copies at a 7-11 – I don’t know why.)

After collecting my tickets, I decided to buy tea before heading home. But on my way to pick up a drink, my eyes happened to wander to the food section, as they always do…

Convenience stores always have ready-made meals available all day long, like rice balls wrapped in seaweed and bento boxes with meat and vegetables. When I first arrived in Japan, I was obsessed with the idea of convenience store food. I tried all the rice bowls, the fried fish and veggies – I practically lived off of convenience store food for two weeks! But after being in Japan for seven months now, I don’t find it very exciting – or appetizing – anymore.

But at this particular 7-11, the food on display was different: the options, the types of meals, the quality – I’d never seen anything like it before! I rarely give the food section at convenience stores a second glance, but I was so impressed by this display that I thought it was worthy of a photo shoot.

IMG_E8385IMG_E8391The shelves were stocked with just about every kind of hearty Japanese comfort food you could imagine –  soba, udon, curry, pork katsu, grilled marinated meats with a heaping side of rice… And all were a reasonable 400-500 yen, or $4-5.


Yakisoba with a hearty sesame-flavored glaze.

There were plenty of “Western” inspired options too, like bowls of Neapolitan spaghetti with sliced ham, sausage, tomato sauce, and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

IMG_E8389My favorite thing about this display, though, was the abundance of meals catering to the health-conscious customer. While there were quite a few carb-heavy dishes, there were also just as many light and healthy dishes available too – like bowls of broth-based soups filled to the brim with steamed vegetables. IMG_E8388

IMG_E8386This Korean-inspired bowl with pork, tofu, kimchi proudly states that it has “1/2 serving of your daily recommended vegetables” – definitely not something you’d expect to find at a convenience store. IMG_E8392

And, of course, there were salads too – the healthiest of the bunch. But really, why buy a salad when you can buy a plate of spaghetti the size of your face?

Anyway, I think I’d still prefer my lunch to be made at home than from a convenience store refrigerator, but if I were in the mood for convenience store curry, I’d head to this 7-11 without a second thought.

20 Minutes at Tom’s Mr. Hedgie

It turns out that cats aren’t the only animal to have earned their own line of themed cafes in Japan. There are cafes for puppies, for owls, for lizards, for birds, for snakes, and more. I even heard about a pug cafe in Kyoto!

Though I can’t say that I’ve ever been particularly interested in spending my afternoon with lizards, there was one animal – my favorite animal, actually – that I’ve been hoping to visit ever since my cat cafe excursion… Hedgehogs!


On a day trip through Kyoto, my friend and I decided to stop by a hedgehog cafe called Tom’s Mr. Hedgie where you can hold, feed, and play with a hedgehog for up to an hour.

Apparently, most people make reservations in advance, but we arrived without a reservation and were seated within a few minutes. The staff member who’d led us to our table handed us rules and instructions for properly handling our hedgehog. (I asked for the English version.)

The cafe itself was immaculately clean, brightly lit, and smelled like flowers. And it was well-decorated with an impressive spread of hedgehog-themed goods: ornaments, photos, stuffed animals, and lots of miniature sized trinkets and accessories.


By far my favorite thing about it were all the warm, smiling faces! Everyone seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the quality time with their hedgehog playmates.


After choosing a time limit (we opted for 20, the cheapest option), a staff member brought us a yellow bucket, a paper towel, and a hedgehog of our own. His name was “Paido.” He was a baby and new to the cafe, so he scared easily and didn’t enjoy being held. I only got to hold him for a total of about 30 seconds by the time he’d made it clear that he wanted to be put down. My friend had a similar experience, so we let Paido be and watched him wander around the yellow bucket for the remaining time.


After 20 (short) minutes, Paido was escorted from our table back to his glass-walled home – which, in all honesty, he was probably relieved about.

I can’t say that 700 yen for 20 minutes is a price I’d be willing to pay again, but I’m happy to have had the chance to hold my favorite animal for the first time! (Even if it was short-lived.)


My daily commute on the 92

The bus comes at 7:43 on weekdays. I leave my house at 7:30 and arrive at the stop by 7:40 at the latest, depending on how long it take me to jaywalk across the main road.

There’s a convenience store next to the bus stop, a Family Mart. Sometimes I’ll wait inside because it’s much warmer in there than it is outside and I can check to see if the bus is coming from the window by the seating area. I see the same staff at the Family Mart every morning and I’m sure they recognize me by now – probably as that foreign girl who buys green tea and lingers in the seating area, who runs from the store at exactly 7:43. 

There’s an elderly man who rides the 7:43 bus everyday too and boards at the same stop as me. He’s short and balding and limps on his left foot. He has a tired, weary look in his eyes and his breathing is heavy, like the air is weighing on his lungs. When he waits for the bus to come he stands a few feet off to the side, looking down at the sidewalk, as if he’s intrigued by something on the ground. I still don’t know what it is he’s looking at. He might not be looking at anything at all.

The bus is always full by the time it arrives at my stop – or, our stop (mine and the elderly man’s). Some days are worse than others; some days I need to shove my way on board just to squeeze myself in far enough for the door to close behind me. It’s like this on Mondays, which makes sense I suppose, since its the start of the work week. The bus is less packed as the week goes on. On a few Fridays, there have even been empty seats available. But that doesn’t happen often. I’m usually lucky to get a seat at all during the 20 minute bus ride.

For the most part, there are always the same kind of passengers on the bus – people on their way to work, students going to school. The students either sleep, sitting up, their heads lolling from side to side, or they study. I’ve seen some studying English before. I’m always tempted to comment on their homework, tell them the answers. But I never do – no one talks on the bus.

I don’t usually recognize the faces on the bus. But there are a few regulars – passengers I see everyday.

There’s this one girl, probably about my age. She gets on earlier than me and always stands at the very front beside the driver. When I get on we catch each other’s gaze and smile. Sometimes, she’ll wave at me too. I think of her and I wonder if you can call someone who you’ve never met a friend.

There’s a student who reminds me of my little brother. He has a baby face and glasses with frames that don’t balance well on his nose. His backpack is nearly half the size of his body and it looks heavy, too heavy for anyone his size to carry. I want to ask him if it’s heavy. And I want to ask him if he’s tired, if he’s overwhelmed, if he’s happy. In my head I ask him these questions everyday but everyday he says nothing and gets off with the rest of the students.

And there’s the middle-aged man who boards two stops later than mine, with the satin pants and shiny black shoes. He plays games on his phone to pass the time. Sometimes he plays Pocket Camp, a game where you take on the role of “campsite manager” and decorate your own campsite with the help of visiting animals. I play it too. I think it was designed for a young, female audience, so it makes me happy to see him play. From a few feet away, I watch him tap his phone, chatting with his animal friends. I try to imagine what his campsite looks like.

I don’t know anything about them beyond that. I’ll probably never even know their names. And they will never know mine. But they are familiar, constant, and they make the ride a little easier somehow.



The Guardians of Katsuoji

I’ve been to quite a few temples in Japan over the past several years, but no matter how many I visit, they will never fail to amaze me. The architecture, the composition, the structure, the minute details – everything about a temple’s design exemplifies the years of careful thought, consideration, and purpose that were interweaved into its development.

My first visit to Minoh’s Katsuoji Temple was no different than previous temple visits – in fact, Katsuoji may be one of the most beautiful I’ve been to yet, especially since I went while the maple leaves were still in color.




IMG_9154Though Katsuoji’s elaborate gardens, freshwater streams, and its mist-shrouded lake made for an unforgettable experience, my first time visiting Minoh’s hidden gem was more memorable than past temple visits for a different reason…IMG_9105IMG_9113

The dolls…

IMG_9106I first spotted these dolls upon walking onto the main bridge, where a group of 5 were gathered along the barrier, casually surveying people as they passed by. And the dolls weren’t only beside the bridge; these little figurines were scattered all over the temple – literally, everywhere!IMG_9119There were dolls along the ground, on pillars, barriers, even in the trees. As I wandered Katsuoji’s grounds, I grew fascinated by the sheer abundance of these pint-sized, toy-like creatures.IMG_9133And so, upon arriving home, I did some research: thanks to the ever-loyal Google search engine, I not only discovered the name of these fascinating little figures, but quite a bit of interesting information on them too. Known in Japan as “Daruma dolls,” they’re traditionally modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen tradition of Buddhism. Though they are typically red in color and depict a bearded man (Dharma), each doll varies in color and design depending on the region and artist.

In fact, because each Daruma is hand painted, no two Daruma have the exact same design.


Not only do Daruma dolls make for an adorable display, they are seen as a symbol of perseverance and good luck as well! Because of their bottom-heavy design, they return to an upright position when tilted over, a characteristic that has come to symbolize the ability to overcome adversity. The doll embodies the popular Japanese proverb: Nanakorobi yaoki, or “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”

Because the dolls symbolize success, they are often purchased to act as encouragement for people to continue pursuing specific goals. Upon purchasing, the doll’s eyes are both blank white; the purchaser will then select a goal and paint in one of the figure’s two eyes. Then, once the desired goal is achieved, the second eye is filled in. People often bring their dolls back to the temple where they were originally purchased and place them anywhere and everywhere – hence the hundreds of scattered Daruma dolls throughout Katsuoji. IMG_9128At the end of the year, all the Daruma are brought back to the temple they were purchased from for a traditional burning ceremony. This ceremony, called the daruma kuyō (だるま供養), is held once a year, usually right after New Year’s Day. Afterwards, people purchase new Daruma dolls to bring home for a lucky start to the year.

Sadly, I didn’t have the chance to attend a burning ceremony this year. But to be honest, I don’t think I would have enjoyed watching these little bearded dolls burst into flames anyway – they’re way too cute to be destroyed, in my opinion. IMG_9140

Now that I know the history behind the Darumas, I’m still looking forward to greeting them at my next temple visit. Hopefully, the next temple I go to will have as many Darumas as Kastuoji.


For directions to Katsuoji temple, click here.

Jazz and ginger tea at Cafe Bazz Light

One of the (many) things I appreciate about Minoh is its abundance of well-decorated cafes. After finally crossing Salunpowaku off my bucket list, I made it a goal to visit every cafe in the area around my apartment – which doesn’t sound difficult, but you’d be surprised at just how many cafe’s can fit into one neighborhood in a tiny Japanese town.

My next stop was at Cafe Bazz Light, less than a five minute walk from Minoh station. The cafe is located on the bottom level of a tiny plaza behind a bike parking lot and is tricky to spot if you aren’t looking. My friend and I were actually planning on visiting the owl cafe (a cafe with live owls on display), which is located on the second floor of the same plaza. But, sadly, the owl cafe was about to close just as we arrived.

Spotting Cafe Bazz Light’s brightly lit windows on the bottom level, we decided to stop there instead for our daily dose of tea and coffee.

Stepping inside, we were welcomed by the owner, who sat at the front counter during our stay. We sat ourselves and took our time perusing the menu, which included meal sets and a long list of drinks.

My friend ordered a regular black coffee and I ordered ginger tea; our drinks arrived on a tray (which I’ve come to learn is typical of cafe’s in Japan) and came in lovely ceramic mugs stained army green.

The cafe was warm and cozy. And it smelled good – kind of woody and smoke-y, like a fireplace. With the heater on high, clippings from American newspapers pinned on the walls, and jazz music playing faintly in the background, I felt right at home. Out of all the cafe’s I’ve been to so far, I’ve felt most comfortable at Cafe Bazz Light. Though I have a long list of cafe’s left to visit, I’ll definitely go back to Cafe Bazz for the ambiance alone.

A day trip through Edo

Japan’s Edo period is, in my opinion, the most fascinating period in Japanese history. It was a time of artistic and cultural development, a time of peace, prosperity, and social progress. It also happens to epitomize most people’s idea of “traditional Japan:” think tea ceremonies on tatami mats, samurai warriors on horseback with swords in hand, travelers clad in brightly colored kimonos, etc.

The Edo period took place from about 1600 to 1868 (ending with the start of the Meiji restoration and western imperialism). But for one and a half train rides, a quick bus detour, and 1500 Yen, I got to travel back 200 years and experience a snippet of the Edo period in all its glory – ninja and samurai included – at Toei Studios Park in Uzumara, Kyoto.


Featuring a collection of various traditional buildings, which are occasionally used as a backdrop for filming historical movies and television dramas (known as jidaigeki films), the park is designed to resemble a quintessential small town from the Edo Period.

Unlike your typical theme park, there aren’t any rides, but Toei Studios Park offers a ton of different activities and attractions for guests to participate in during the day. There are ninja shows in the grand theater, sword-fighting lessons on the main street, even costume shops at the entrance where you can rent a kimono and wander the streets of ancient Japan as a geisha or samurai.

My friend and I watched a show called Class of the Ninjas: Ninja Show, Sasuke, which had the perfect amount of live action fight scenes, excessive shouting, and tacky special effects. We also watched behind-the-scenes footage of a scene in a period film from the director’s perspective and got to learn a few tips and tricks of the trade.

IMG_8209For the hungry traveler in search of refreshment, restaurants selling classic Japanese fare, like udon noodles and spiced curry, are interspersed throughout the tiny town. My friend and I stopped by a cafeteria with a simple, family-friendly menu selling both Japanese and western-style dishes. My friend ordered a hearty plate of spaghetti and tomato sauce – a staple of traditional Japan.

There were several food stalls along the main streets as well, offering snacks like mitarashi dango, grilled corn, and hot dogs, or “American wieners” as they were called. Though the food doesn’t necessarily stay true to the park’s theme, there’s something for everyone – young or old, tourist or local – to enjoy.


“Milk Hall:” a retro coffee shop on the main street that sells everything milk-related, including fruit parfaits, soft-serve ice cream, and a popular strawberry milk concoction.


The park itself is very small; it only took my friend and I about two hours to walk the entire vicinity. But regardless of its size, the experience of traversing ancient Japan on foot was well worth the trip – one that I doubt I’ll be able to have again. Unless I return for a second visit of course, which I’d say is very possible; I wouldn’t mind re-watching the Ninja Show Sasuke again.


Here’s a link to the park’s website if you want to learn more about the park, its attractions, and how to get there! If you’re in the Kansai area, I definitely recommend stopping by for an afternoon.

Nara Park: the land of bold and brazen deer

Nara, Japan: once upon a time the nation’s capital, now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Though Nara is well-known for its centuries-old temples, and its impressive array of history, arts, and culture museums, the city’s main and most beloved attraction is, without a doubt, the deer.

I’ve been desperate to visit the deer in Nara ever since arriving in Japan; I mean, it’s not everyday you get the chance to see a deer up close, let alone pet one on the head! Since Nara is only about a two hour commute from Minoh, many of my fellow Minoh JET’s had already been to Nara before. As I listened to stories about my friends’ deer-petting experiences over the last six months, I grew more and more eager for my own.

Finally, after months of attempting – and failing – to fit an excursion to Nara into my schedule, I had the chance to take the long overdue trip during the long winter break. Two days after Christmas, my friend (who’d been staying with me from the States) and I decided to brave the brutal winter winds and visit Nara Park.

Upon exiting Kinetsu-Nara station, we began making our way toward the park. I knew we were headed in the right direction when I started to see deer painted on street posts. IMG_9190And sure enough, after about a 10 minute walk, we spotted our first deer! IMG_9201IMG_9196And then our second, third, and many more after that. The deer were everywhere – I’d say I saw at least 30 in the area we walked through alone. Some were drinking from the stream, nibbling on the grass, others lounging beneath the shade. But, unsurprisingly, the majority of the deer in the area were gathered near a cart selling 鹿せんべい.IMG_9225鹿せんべい (pronounced shika senbei) are thin, round crackers made of flour, water, and bran that can be fed to the deer.  This cart, one of the many set up along the outskirts of the park, sold the crackers in a set of 10 for 150 yen each.

My friend and I purchased a set of shika senbei and split it between the two of us. Since I only had 5, I wanted to be careful about which deer I fed. I read online somewhere that the deer will sometimes bow to you for a cracker, which I thought sounded like fun to see, so I planned on handing out each of my five crackers to the deer that was the most polite, hoping to entice a head nod or two.

But the instant the nearby deer sniffed the crackers in my hand, none of them bowed. Instead, they charged toward me, like an ambush, advancing in my direction from all sides. At first, I was excited to attract the attention of so many deer, but my initial excitement quickly turned to alarm when the first deer to reach me began hitting me with his head! I tried to hide the crackers inside my jacket to make him stop, but the deer would not be fooled by my amateur tricks and continued bumping against my side. And then another deer came up and started butting my backpack. And another bit my jacket!IMG_9234I was so overwhelmed by the audacious, aggressive pack of deer that I ended up handing over all five of my crackers to the one closest to me, which devoured them all in seconds. Once the other deer realized that I had no more food left, they immediately dispersed. Cracker-less, and slightly traumatized, I watched the deer saunter away in search of yet another shika senbei-holding-human to attack.

No more deer came up to me after that, but I didn’t mind much – it was easier to take pictures of them at a distance anyway.IMG_9224IMG_9228My first experience with the Nara deer ended up being a bit different from what I expected it to be, but it was an experience that I know I’ll remember for a long time; after all, it’s not every day I get the chance to be ambushed by a pack of hungry deer. I’d even say that Nara Park has made it to the top of my list of favorite places in Japan, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone planning on visiting the area. But for those who do happen to make the trip to the Park, keep in mind that although the deer may look gentle, they definitely won’t be bowing to you for a cracker. IMG_9250 copy

Cream, coffee, and cats – my first cat cafe in Japan

For two weeks, a friend from the States came to stay in Japan with me for the holidays. She’d left most of the travel planning up to me, but there was one thing that she said she absolutely had to do while in Japan: go to a cat cafe.

Cat cafes are, well, just that – cafe’s with cats. For a small service fee, guests can watch and play with the cats for as long as they want. These themed cafes are super popular in Japan, and have inspired the creation of a number of other small animal themed cafes, like hedgehogs, and even owls! Apparently, cat cafes have become so popular that several have begun popping up in the States, though I’ve never been to them myself. In fact, I hadn’t been to one in Japan yet either despite their popularity, so this was my first experience. I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially since I’ve never owned a pet cat before – and never planned to – but I was curious to see what all of the fuss was about.

Luckily, I found out that there happens to be a popular cat cafe in Minoh, just outside of the train station. So the first weekend that my friend arrived in Japan, we packed our bags, ensured our phones were fully charged to prepare for the many pictures we were bound to take, and headed to Cara Cat Cafe.

We arrived the minute that the cafe opened – the owner had just come downstairs. She unlocked the front door for us with a wide smile and invited us to seat ourselves. As we moved toward the back of the cafe to sit at a table, a lovely white and tan striped cat walked between our legs. The other cats were still in their beds, some just waking up for the day.

After taking a seat, the owner handed us a list of pictures of the cats and general information about them to help us get to know the cats a little better. For example, underneath the picture of Daru (see below) are facts about him, including: “He likes snacks. He does not like being touched. He likes playing with the ゴム紙 (one of the many toys available to play with.) There were 5 cats in the cafe on the day we went, two male and three female, and theirs ages ranged from a few months to a few years old.

IMG_7988We were also given a list of rules, in English, for how to behave while in the cafe to ensure the cats’ – and guests’ – safety as a precautionary measure, like, “When being moody, treated in an unpreferable way, and/or over-excited, cats might scratch or bite you…”IMG_7989After reading the rules, my friend and I ordered our drinks – a latte for her and an iced coffee for me. The owner prepared our drinks in the kitchen and brought out our drinks on a tray within a few minutes.IMG_8002 Alongside our drinks was a little sticky note which indicated the starting time of our visit, since the total service fee is calculated by the amount of time spent in the cafe.


Once our drinks arrived, we were free to roam about the cafe and play with the cats at our leisure. Luckily for us, the cafe was completely empty during the length of our stay, so we had the whole room – and all 5 of the cats – to ourselves.

Every one of the cats was friendly, affectionate, well-behaved, and very calm. One of the cats, named Beemo (who, by the way, was the softest cat I’ve ever petted in my life), did nothing but sit in one place and yawn occasionally throughout our entire stay.

The younger ones, named Daru and Tsururu, were a bit jumpier and not too fond of being petted or touched, but they were more active than the older cats and were more easily distracted by the toys, which made it easier to play with them. Because they were livelier though, luring them to our table at the back of a cafe was nothing short of a challenge. If we wanted to be close enough to the cats to pet them, we usually had to stand up and roam around the cafe ourselves, following in their footsteps, since they rarely came to us.

IMG_8007IMG_8044Behind our table were a few shelves nailed to the wall that the cats could jump onto. Occasionally, the younger cats would climb onto these shelves, giving us a chance to tease them with the toys the owner gave us to use. Though, they usually lost interest within about 30 seconds and set off to meander around the cafe again, forcing my friend and I to follow after them with handfuls of cat food – which we didn’t mind, since it kept us entertained too!IMG_8036After an hour of petting, teasing, and feeding the cats, and sipping our freshly brewed coffee, my friend and I decided it was time to say goodbye – mostly because we weren’t interested in paying more than the initial 500 yen service fee.

I’ve never been especially fond of cats, but after an hour in the cafe, I loved them! I even found myself tempted to take Beemo home with me. But I’m pretty sure the owner would do a much better job at taking care of Beemo than I ever could, so I suppose I’ll just have to plan a return visit to the cafe to see him again… which doesn’t sound all that bad to me. IMG_8042

For directions to Cara Cat Cafe, click here.

A tribute to the Momiji

Winter has made itself at home in Minoh. The trees – once painted all kinds of yellows and reds and oranges – are brown now, bare and grim. As I make my way around the city, biking to the grocery store or lugging my dirty clothes to the laundromat, I can’t help but feel a bit somber at the sight of all the brown, leaf-less maple trees. So once in a while, I’ll look back at pictures that I took during a hike up the path towards Minoh’s waterfall in mid-November, just as the maple leaves were turning red. I’ve walked that path several times, but it was especially beautiful that day. I thought I’d dedicate a post to the photos from that hike, in honor of the momiji、or maple leaves.


Little stalls and shops selling souvenirs and Momiji tempura line the street.
A humble foot bath for weary travelers.



For access to the Minoh waterfall, here’s the link to the website.

My fascination with wrinkly persimmons

It’s 柿 season in Japan!


柿, pronounced “kaki” is the Japanese word for persimmons. If you’ve never seen one before, they’re perfectly round, the color of pumpkins, and have cute clover-shaped stems. Persimmons aren’t very common where I’m from in the States. I rarely saw persimmons in my local supermarket, and if I did, they were either expensive or of mediocre quality, or both. But in Japan, persimmons are everywhere – literally! Not only is there a section in every grocery store dedicated to persimmons, there are also persimmon trees in nearly every backyard and all along the streets, which means that there are persimmons on the ground sometimes too.

At first, I was shocked by the sudden explosion in persimmons. As I’d make my way through the produce section during my weekly trip to the grocery store and come face to face with yet another persimmon display, I found myself questioning the appeal. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the taste of persimmons, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase a pack of six.

But everything changed when I tried my first 干し柿、or hoshigaki – dried Hachiya persimmons:



I know what you’re thinking – ew, right? I know, I know. That’s what I thought too the first time I saw one. In comparison to their fresh counterparts, hoshigaki are shriveled and wrinkly and much less appealing in appearance. But what they lack in presentation, they make up for 10 fold in taste.

As dramatic as it sounds, when I say that my first bite of a hoshigaki was life-changing, I’m not exaggerating! It was unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. The insides were nothing like a fruit at all – they were more the texture of softened jelly. The chewiness of the outer skin, in addition to the jelly-like insides, provided a unique and wholly satisfying bite. The hoshigaki itself was also incredibly sweet, like sucking on a spoonful of pure honey.

Unfortunately, hoshigaki are twice the price of regular persimmons – about $8 or $9 for four. Desperate for another succulent dried persimmon, but unwilling to cough up nearly 1000 yen, I wondered if I’d be able to make my own instead. I mean, leaving something out to dry can’t be too difficult, right?

Well, it turned out to be much harder and a lot more intensive than I thought – making hoshigaki requires care, effort, attention, and quite a bit of time. In fact, the process is so detailed and so intricate that I’d go as far to say that the act of making hoshigaki is an art.

Other articles online do a much better job at explaining the process than I can; I highly recommend reading this one if you’re interested in learning more. But in short, hoshigaki are made by hanging peeled Hachiya persimmons for about two weeks until they’ve shriveled and formed a white coating on the surface from natural sugars.

HoshigakioutsideMost hoshigaki are made on farms, where they can be mass produced by the hundreds, but occasionally, I’ll find some hanging outside of someone’s home. Here’s a picture of a balcony I pass on the way to work every morning:


Once I realized how difficult it is to make hoshigaki from scratch, I gave up on trying to attempt it myself. Splurging every so often on a pack at the store is much simpler than hanging them by a string on a bamboo rod from my balcony.

I have a strong feeling that hoshigaki won’t be available in stores when I return to the States, so I very well may end up needing to try drying persimmons from scratch in the future! For now, though, I’ll let the experienced farmers do the hard work for me.