Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Japan outside of Japan

I was watching a TV show the other night. It's a weekly show in which an actor/actress or somebody in the show/entertinment business in Japan goes abroad for a week and experiences homestay as well as helping the job of the family member. The desitination could be anywhere outside of Japan from major cities to tribal villages and for almost every time the experience ends up as a moving Drama.

Anyway, the destination for the last show was Barcelona, Spain, and a young Japanese actress was experiencing candy-making for the first time in her life. What I found interesting about it was that it wasn't traditional Spanish candy-making that she was challenging but traditional Japanese candy-making! We call it "kintarou-ame" (Kintaro is a character in a Japanese folk tale and "ame" means hard candy) and I don't know what it's called in English, but it's a candy-craft that has designs inside so when you cut the candy you always see the same design on the sections.

At first I thought, "oh, I thought it's something Japanese but maybe I was wrong and it's originally from Spain" but then the show said that when the owner of the store came to study in Japan he fell in love with this candy and studied and brought the skills back home. He and his staffs make really pretty and artistic candies and it was amusing even just looking at how they make them and the finished candies on the TV screen... I could easily see why the shop is so popular there because I wish I could try some of those... and guess what! I just found out that there's a branch in Tokyo!

Going back to the point (not that there's really a point, but): Japan in Spain and Spain in Japan - I know that in a world so globalized like today it's not so rare to see Japan-related restaurants & shops outside of Japan and vice versa, but seeing a culture originating in Japan developing in its own way abroad blending into the culture makes me kind of happy.

Link: the shop's name is papabubble and those who live in Barcelona, Amsterdam or Tokyo have higher chances to appreciate their sweet delicacy ;-)

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