‘Writer baton’ is a project whereby photo-writers from each of the 7 prefectures that surround the Seto Inland Sea send each other their particular prefecture’s specialties.
This time yours truly, photo-writer Fujimoto received a parcel from Ms. Tomoko Kawai in Kagawa.
Two packages came jumping out of the parcel: ”Ototosenbei” and “Tabicha” tea. Although very refined choices, the naming and the wrappings are truly intriguing! I rush to open the seal and…
These rice crackers (senbei) each have a some kind of of fish (also known as ‘toto’, which is a Japanese children’s word for fish) attached. From octopus to flounder to sea bream and right eye flounder… these are some luxurious rice crackers!!
I’m sure that the other package, “Tabicha” (‘Tabi’ = one way to say ‘trip’ or ‘travel’ in Japanese, ‘cha’ = tea) is also out of the ordinary, and as I go to open it…
I notice the package is accompanied by a message written on the back: ”Enjoy a fun tea time, feeling like you are swimming in the Seto Inland Sea.” The bubbles rising from the full stop at the end are inviting me to the sea!
This tea has traveled to Yamaguchi all the way from Kagawa prefecture. I thought I should show it some hospitality, so I make a cup of tea in Hagi ware. I put two spoonfuls of the tea in a small tea pot. After first pouring hot water into the teacup, I pour it into the small teapot, put on the lid and wait for around a minute.
The tea is a refreshing yellow-green color.
I have a taste!
After just the right amount of bitterness, the sweetness of the tea spreads softly over my palate, and while the travel mood remains in my mouth, I take a bite of the rice cracker.
It’s made with a whole octopus!
My wife, who has been intrigued since I opened the package, takes a bite. I choose the well-known wrasse fish rice cracker. (In Yamaguchi they’re called “gizami”. We catch them quite regularly, but apparently it’s actually a high class fish).
I soak up the scent of Setouchi, and relax with the tea, which is grown in the gentle climate of the Sanuki area. It feels so nostalgic, and makes me relax fully.
To finish off, here’s a commemorative shot with all the Ototosenbei rice crackers. I should have taken it right at the start, so many of them are already swimming in our stomachs!
“Even though we live far apart, we are connected by the Seto Inland Sea,” I ponder calmly. Thank you Ms. Kawai, for the nostalgic package from Kagawa!
Next, I’ll be sending “that one thing” from Yamaguchi to Ms. Tobita in Tokushima prefecture! Please look forward to next time!
Kisayamotozo: Ototosenbei (Rice crackers)
Location: 5-8 Tamachi, Takamatsu city, Kagawa prefecture
Closed: Mondays, New Year’s Holidays
Takase Chagyo Kumiai: Tabicha tea
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Masafumi Fujimoto
Masafumi Fujimoto Hi there! My name is Masafumi Fujimoto. Until the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, I was engaged in editing production at an advertising company in Tokyo. However, the earthquake was a turning point in my life and I headed home to Yamaguchi. When I arrived, I was extremely energized and motivated to help revitalize the region, but I had a hard time adjusting to the motivation level of the local people. Around that time I met an elderly lady who said: "It doesn't matter if all the people move away from the island; that's just the nature of things. Someday people will come back again." Lessening the tension I’d been feeling, those few words relieved me hugely, and I was able to finally adjust. Since then, I've been involved in writing and editing magazines, and working in advertisement production, as well as doing a little bit of farming. I also spend time walking around Setouchi searching for the many, many voices out there.
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