Time for tea

FullSizeRenderIt’s been another busy week. Time to put up my feet with a lovely cup of tea and a flapjack, a tasty, but healthy snack. 今週もバタバタしていました。紅茶を飲んで、美味しいお菓子を食べて、少し休憩をしましょう。This week’s treat is a traditional Scottish snack made from oatmeal and comes with a caramel sweetness! Flapjacks are also one of my dad’s favourites. In Japan, it can be hard to get hold of the golden syrup traditionally used in the recipe, but I managed to find some on Amazon. If not, you could try making it with honey or maple syrup or a Japanese equivalent (mizu ame).
スコットランドの家庭のお菓子です。キャラメルのような香ばしい甘さが、なんともおいしいです。シリアルを使っているので、栄養の面でもうれしいお菓子で す。ちなみに、父の大好物でもあります。ゴールデンシロップが手に入らない場合は(アマゾンで販売している時があります)、麦芽の水あめが近い味のような 気がします。はちみつやメープルシロップでもおいしいと思います。
Check out the recipe here…

Instant coffee and a dollop of love..

Sorry to keep you waiting folks! 皆様、お待たせしました!It’s cake time.ケーキの時間です。This week, I’d like to introduce a simple but delicious Cappuccino cake. A very easy recipe that uses instant coffee, an easy-to-make icing and a dollop of love. 今週皆様に紹介したいのは簡単でとても美味しいカプチーノケーキです。インスタントコーヒー、コーヒー味のチョコレート、そして愛情があれば誰でも作れま す!Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face on a cold winter’s afternoon. Check out the recipe here. IMG_1889

It’s never too early to start preparing for Valentine’s Day


IMG_1877I love trying out new recipes and learning about their origins. This week’s recipe is a good example of that. 私は色々なレシピに挑戦すること、そしてそのレシピの起原を調べるのが大好きです。I myself first heard of Red Velvet cake when I started to watch American movies and TV dramas. 私自身はアメリカの映画やテレビドラマを通して、このケーキを初めて知りました。It is widely regarded as a Southern recipe and saw a rise in popularity after it was featured in the 1989 movie ‘Steel Magnolias’. アメリカ南部の州に由来するといわれる, 1989の映画’Steel Magnolias’の中に紹介された後,人気の復活を見ました。The recipe uses buttermilk and cider vinegar. These ingredients help to reveal the red anthocyanin in cocoa and keep the cake moist, light and fluffy. このレシピはバターミルクとリンゴ酢を利用します。これらの成分は、より良いココアの赤いアントシアニンを明らかにするそうです。With a sweet buttercream icing, these red velvet cupcakes make an ideal treat for next week’s Valentine’s Day. Why don’t you try them out? 甘いバタークリームアイシングの仕上げで、来週のヴァレンタインディーにはいかがでしょうか?レシピはこちらへ。。。

Halloween is here (part 3)


この間のレッスンでは ‘What do you want to be for Halloween?’ ‘I want to be a witch.’ と言う簡単な会話を練習していた。つまり、ハロウィーンのため、何になりたいですか?そうですね、ハロウィーンと言えば、仮装ですようね。 Costume parties and costume parades. しかし、どうして仮装するの?確かに楽しいですけど。。。実は、この伝統も古代民族のケルト人のサウィン祭に遡ります。この世に舞い戻ってきた悪い霊達 を、仮装する事で恐がらせて、逃げ出させる為に仮装をすると言われています。精霊や魔女から自分達の身を守る為に仮面を付けたり、そして、この世に来た死 者達を遠ざける為に、子供達に死者や魔女の仮装をさせて町中を歩かせたりしていました。 現代のハロウィーンでは、魔女やお化けに加えて、ヒーローやディズニーキャラクターもよく見かけます。

The other day, in one of my lessons, we were practising how to ask each other what we intended to wear for Halloween. ‘What do you want to be for Halloween?’ Let’s face it, when we think of Halloween, we imagine costume parties and costume parades. But, have you ever thought about why we do dress up on Halloween. I mean, I know it’s fun but…12043011_533761280126186_6980656955915477094_n
In actual fact, the custom of dressing up on Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celt festival of Samhain. People believed that during this time, spirits could roam the earth, and wore costumes to scare them away. To protect themselves from witches or fairies, people would wear masks; and to protect themselves from bad spirits, people used to dress children up as ghosts or witches and have them walk around the town. These days, for Halloween, people dress up not only as witches and ghosts, but as super heroes or even Disney characters.


In our house, one of our family members wants to be a super hero this year. I probably shouldn’t say, but it’s not one of the kids!

Halloween is here (part 2)

IMG_1326Have you ever wondered why the Halloween colours are usually orange and black?
It is common knowledge that there is a strong link between present-day Halloween and the ancient Celts. Do you suppose that the colour-scheme can also be traced back that far? Although there are in fact many contrasting theories, the most likely explanation is that, according to Celt tradition, orange does in fact represent the harvest. Black, on the other hand, represents the dark nights of winter and death. Orange can also mean strength and courage, whereas black usually refers to mystery or evil.


Well, now we know..


Halloween is here (part 1)

10401948_714920031896836_6259618325914008542_nIt seems to me that every year, Halloween in Japan just gets more and more popular. There are pumpkins everywhere! But have you ever thought about why this particular holiday is called ‘Halloween’? There is in fact a very interesting explanation.
From some time in the 8th Century, the Catholic church designated November 1st as a day to celebrate its saints. The holiday was known as All Saints day or All Hallows day, with the word Hallow meaning ‘holy’. In the 16th century , it was decided that the night before should be named All Hallows’ Eve (or in old English, ‘All Hallows’ even’.) Over the years, the name became shortened to the present-day version of ‘Halloween’.
日本では、ハロウィーンは年々人気になっています。どこへ見ても、カボチャだらけですね。しかし、この Halloweenと言う言葉の意味を考えた事がありますか?実は、8世紀頃からカトリック教では、毎年11月1日は諸聖人の日として祝われていました。それは All Hallows’ day もしくは All Saints’ day と言われています(hallow =神聖)。16世紀になるとクリスマスイブと同じように、その前夜を All Hallows’ even, と呼ばれる様になりました。その内、その言葉が短縮され、現在のHalloween になりました。下手な説明ですみません。けど、このハロウィーンのネーミングについて少しでも分かって頂けたら嬉しいです。

One of the staples of Halloween is the pumpkin lantern, otherwise known as a  jack o’ lantern. But, did you know that IMG_1245originally, these lanterns were not made from pumpkin, but from a yellow turnip? There are many different stories about how these jack o’ lanterns came about, but the true origin is still rather unclear. However, we do know that from the 19th century onwards, in Scotland and Ireland lanterns made from carved-out turnips were made and displayed on October 31st with the purpose of scaring off evil spirits. When the Irish immigrated to the USA, they took the custom with them. With abundant crops of pumpkins available, they started using this vegetable as an alternative to turnips and this version soon became the popular one.

ハロウィーンの定番と言えば、カボチャ提灯です。英語で、‘ジャック・オ・ランターンと呼ばれています。しかし、知っていましたか?元々カボチャではなく、yellow turnip (カブ)から作られていた物でした。この提灯ジャックについていろいろな伝説がありますが、本当のルーツは今にも知られていないようです。だが、おそらく 19世紀からスコットランドやアイルランドでは、悪霊達を遠ざける効果があると思われ、ハロウィーンの10月31日によく作られるようになりました。アメ リカへ移民したアイルランド人がこの伝統を守り、その内アメリカでは生産の多かったカボチャの提灯に変化しました。

Next time, I’ll be talking about the colours of Halloween and why we wear costumes. Until then…..


It’s festival time!

I just love Japan in the Autumn. After the stifling heat of the summer, the season brings dry, sunny days that are perfect for a garden barbecue. As the leaves turn red, yellow and golden brown, the shops displaFullSizeRendery an abundance of newly harvested chestnuts and sweet potatoes. And from September onwards, the sound of the drummers preparing for the festival carries through the cool night air. IMG_1251Kishiwada hosts two Danjiri festivals, the first of which, held in September, is the more famous. In October, however, the towns towards the mountainside hold their own festivals, with men, teenage boys and girls, and even young children pulling the carved wooden danjiri cart around the neighbourhood. It’s hard not to feel a thrill as the parade of carts passes by my house, leaving behind the echoes of the drums, pipes and yells of the team as they encourage each other to pull harder as they speed around the corner.


Shaun in the City

10354756_10153031215170064_1339464041759003220_n今年日本では羊年ですね。Here in Japan it’s the year of the sheep. 実は私も羊年生まれです。関係しているかどうか分かりませんが、小さい頃から羊が大好き!動物として可愛いし、ラム肉も美味しくてたまらな い!Actually, I was born in the year of the sheep. I’m not sure if it is in anyway connected, but I have always loved sheep. As animals, I love their seeming absurdity and as for their meat, I’ve always found it irresistibly delicious! But I digress….12046841_10153031215030064_6237187999076860228_n
今日は皆さんにお届けしたい話題は私が日本で高校生を教えていた頃に初めて出会った羊のショーンの最新ニュースです。Today I want to bring to you the latest news of Shaun the Sheep, a character I first met back when I was teaching at High School here in Japan.『ウォレスとグルミット』シリーズの中編映画『ウォレスとグルミット、危機一髪』 Wallace & Gromit in A Close Shave (1995年)に登場する羊のショーンを主人公としていました。 Shaun the Sheep first appeared in 1995 as a central character in ‘Wallace & Gromit in A Close Shave’. 2007年より英国放送協会 (BBC) で羊のショーンのスピンオフシリーズとして放送されています。From 2007 onwards, he has appeared in his own spin-off series broadcast by the BBC. そして今年ついに映画となりました。And finally, this year, he has made it into his own movie。
12063605_10153031215970064_8220559924403918682_n今年の春から夏末にかけて、首都ロンドンとこのアニメーションが生まれた街ブリストルで、120体のカラフルなショーンたちが街中に展示されました。This year, an exhibition of special Shaun the Sheep sculptures (Sean in the city) appeared from the Spring to the end of Summer, in both the Capital city London and Bristol, the home of Shaun’s creators. 10月8日に
このショーンのオブジェは競売に出される予定です。このShaun in the City はイギリス国内の病気で苦しむ子供たちへの募金活動を目的とした、イギリスらしいチャリティイベントです。On October 8th, these sculptures will be 12038390_10153031214930064_2358270022469490932_nauctioned off.  ‘Shaun in the city’ is a typically British, charity event aimed at raising money for children in hospitals all over the UK. 素晴らしいですね。How wonderful. 競売される前、9月24日から27日までの間、最後にロンドンのコベントガーデンで皆さんの前に再び現れました。Before they are auctioned off, they made one last appearance at London’s Covent Garden from 12065931_10153031213995064_884818332221371341_nSeptember 24th to 27th. White Rose CCCのオンサイト取材者、Mr Sean Cawleyはたくさんの写真を撮ってくれたました。White Rose CCC’S on site reporter, Mr Sean Cawley, managed to take lots of photographs for us. 本当に可愛いですね、二人共のショーン君! Absolutely adorable: both Shaun and Sean!



Anyone for tea?

Here in Japan、 this week we have a five-day weekend, rather glamorously named as Silver Week. It consists of the Saturday/Sunday weekend for those who work week days only, Respect for the Aged day, National day and Autumnal Equinox day. For those lucky enough, the long weekend started on the 19th and lasts until the 23rd.


Unfortunately for me, the long weekend falls just before payday..ahem.. so I’ve been spending my time pottering around at home , catching up with chores.


Contrary to popular opinion, we Brits do not sit down for Afternoon Tea every day, but we do drink endless cups of tea. In IMG_1184fact, did you know that in the UK, a total of 165 million cups of tea are consumed every day!


If, like me, you’re enjoying just relaxing at home during the holidays, why not try one of my favourite teas?


You can find Williamson teas at Kaldi or on Amazon Japan.

このWilliamson の紅茶はKaldiAmazon Japan で販売されています。

Happy holidays everybody!