Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




Dietary fiber also benefits brain health


Beauty and health

It is a well-known fact that dietary fiber is important. However, I don't think that its all effects are really understood. As a matter of fact, dietary fiber not only helps normalize your intestine flora but also blocks cholesterol absorption, so it can decrease neutral fat and bad cholesterol.


And, surprisingly, dietary fiber seems to be playing a significant role for anti-aging brain health. A new study finds that taking dietary fiber can reduce brain inflammation, so it reduces the risk of development of Alzheimer, dementia and Parkinson's disease. It means that you can keep your brain healthy and young by eating a high-fiber diet. I never imagined that dietary fiber is also linked to brain.


Foods containing good dietary fiber are beans, potatoes, seaweeds, walnuts, almonds, mushrooms, apples, prunes, figs, raspberries, broccoli, and avocados etc.. To take dietary fiber every day, I put powdered Japan agar when I cook rice. I put 20 grams of agar per about 150 grams of rice. The taste is the same, and I can take dietary fiber with rice that I eat every day, so it is very easy. In Suwa region in Nagano Prefecture, where is well known as the production area of Japan agar, to make rice taste good, cooking rice with agar is a longtime common custom. Now I feel it is missing something if agar is not put in rice. Speaking of Nagano Prefecture, it is also known as the longevity of its people. It may be thanks to dietary fiber. I would like to eat a high-fiber diet in the future as well. (H.S)


Reference and photo: Erica Angyal Facebook page

Spectacular scenery of the stone garden on Rokuroshi-Kogen plateau in Ono City, Fukui Prefecture


Places to visit

Every time I go to the Rokuroshi-Kogen plateau in Ono City, I think it's very interesting to see the big rocks scattered in the landscape.


The plateau was created by an eruption of Mt.Kyogatake tens of thousands of years ago. So the lava blown off and flown out at that time is still exposed here and there.


The lava is called "Buku-ishi" in Japanese, and it also became a place-name.


The landscape is just like a large natural stone garden.


When viewed from above, it really looks like a stone garden.


There is lava in the vineyards as well. And, the building in the foreground is "Hakusan Winery", the only wine maker in Fukui Prefecture. You can see Mt.Kyogatate at the back.


Lava in the backyard of "Star Land Sakadani", a facility in Ono City.


Visiting Echizen Ono Castle in a cheerful mood after enjoying sake


Places to visit

As I mentioned in my last blog, I had some sake at the sake brewery. And after that, I visited the Echizen Ono Castle. It was an enjoyable visiting because the day was sunny, and I could walk in a happy mood thanks to sake.


It took an about 10-minute walk from Shichiken Street to the entrance of the path to the castle and about 15-minute walk to get the castle. On the way, there are not only steps but also slopes, so you can choose depending on your physical strength.


The Echizen Ono Castle is a low mountain castle that built on the 249 meters high Mt. Kameyama in Ono Basin. That's why visiting the castle is called "climb Mt. Kameyama" by the local people. Nagachika Kanamori took five years to build the castle and completed in 1575. The current castle was reconstructed in 1968.


Recently, the castle has been called "The castle in the sky". To view the castle in the sea of clouds, you need to climb Mt. Inuyama (324 meters high), where is located one kilometer to the west from the castle. But the sea of clouds emerges only under certain conditions. I would like to see "The castle in the sky" with my own eyes someday. That must be mystical. (H.S)


On the body of the train for Ono, the Echizen Ono Castle is painted.


There is a natural spring near the Echizen Ono Yui Station. It was very warm and I was thirsty, so I immediately drank it, which was cold and mild.


There are a few entrances to the Echizen Ono Castle. I climbed from the south one that has the castle gate.


The Echizen Ono Castle appeared in front of me. I looked a castle closely for the first time in a few years.


Ono City viewed from the castle


The back of the admission ticket is certificate for entrance the castle.

Western-style cooked mackerel in a stylish can





I liked the canned mackerel that was on the dining table of my home the other day.
Apparently, my wife bought it for me who doesn't like fish .


It is a product of Iwate Prefecture, which is sold by a company named "Produced in Iwate Prefecture".
According to their website, the first product of the series was released six years ago.


The groundbreaking product was produced in hope of revival of the the marine products industry in Tohoku region which was devastated by the earthquake of 2011.
Knowing that, I come to think that the product name using French "Ca va?" ( How are you?) is also excellent. In fact, mackerel (saba) in Japanese sounds similar to the "ca va".


I immediately ordered the assortment of the entire series of the canned "Ca va?".


Special open-day at "Hanagaki" sake brewery in Ono City



Last weekend, I visited the ”Hanagaki" sake brewery because it was the special open-day. On the Shichiken Street, where the sake brewery is located, "Mountain vegetable market" was also opened and many local foods of spring were sold.


On the special open-day, you can see inside of the brewery and attend the guided tour of the brewery, also they hold sake tasting workshops. I actually participated in the workshop for the first time. In the workshop, a woman who is a great fan of Hanagaki came all the way from Tokyo.


At the workshop, the participants taste five kinds of sake. I tasted them and realized that taste and flavor change depending on temperature and drinking vessel. At any rate, how hard it is to express such a subtle flavor in words. I was impressed that a participant expressed the aroma of a sake, "like moist moss". According to the chief sake brewer who lectured at the workshop, the only way to become able to express itself well is practicing. I would like to practice and try it again.


And, next to their shop, the special "Brewery BAR" was opened only at the weekend. In the bar, you can taste many kinds of Hanagaki's sake while talking with sake brewers of Hanagaki. Their talk was literally an eye-opener for me, such as defining difference between wind and sake, why wine has vintage years but sake does not, and about rice and soil etc.. I learned the true greatness of sake brewers, and the depth of sake amazed me. (H.S)


In front of the shop, special sake that you can buy only during the event and bottled directly from the barrel were sold.


I bought the special sake "Chanokiya", which is a non-filtered raw unprocessed sake. You can drink it chilled, warmed or even mixed with water.


On the right of the shop door, the entrance of the old tea room remains. Also, I heard that in the shop, there is a colored glass plate that you can see their inner garden. There is a cherry blossom tree in the garden, so I would like visit at the time of bloom again.


The special "Brewery BAR" was popular, too.


The menu of the BAR


The daiginjo-shu is not for sale, which was made with everything in power of the brewery for a sake exhibition. The sake was named "Ultimate Hanagaki".


Three men who Hanagaki is proud of. (From left, the general manager and brewer, the next president, the master brewer)