Though I am living the Bonsai life, I’m not necessarily always doing Bonsai. Many of you may have already known that but perhaps others didn’t. Since I’m living with the family here at Aichien, I have other duties to the family other then Bonsai as well. In this post I’m going to share with you all one of the most basic duties I have but yet, one of the most important. Polishing Rice! Most people think of rice as something you buy at the store and is cooked at home. For the most part, that’s true, but here in Japan, there is one extra step that many people outside of the country don’t know about. Rice is very important in Japan is regarded as the main source of food in Japan. It’s much like potatoes to many European countries. I thought it would be fun to share this small bit of Japanese culture with everybody, so let’s go for a ride.
One of the first things I noticed when driving in Central Japan is the random rice fields. I’ll be going down a street with tall buildings and all of a sudden, there’s a rice field and then more buildings right after. Since land is so precious here in Japan, it seems like the people will grow food where ever they can. Since there are rice fields around us, we mainly buy the rice from a local farmer. Every now and then we would get into the car and drive down to pick up about three bags of rice. Each bag weighs about 30kgs (66lbs). Guess who got to pick those things up? We took them home and I carried them into the house. Rice taken cared of right? …ummm…..how about no…
One day Mr. Tanaka called me and said, “we need to polish the rice.” I wasn’t sure what that was all about but he pointed to one of the bags and told me to take it to the car. We drove a couple of blocks and we parked right next to this booth in the corner of the street. Here’s is what rice polishing is all about.
The first thing I did was open up the rice bag and pour all 30kgs of it into this feed. Notice how the rice is brownish in color. The husk of the rice has already been removed but the rice itself is still a light brown coating.
Here’s Juan(BonsaiTico.com) getting in on the action!
After the process, I asked Mr. Tanaka what it was so important to polish the rice. He pretty much said that when the brown coating is removed, the rice doesn’t taste as grainy and has a cleaner taste and a chewier texture. That works for me!
Thanks for coming along for the ride. Next time you can carry the rice!
Thanks for reading.