07 March 2014

Girls Day 2014 (ひな祭り)

It was Girls Day, or Hina Matsuri, in Japan last Monday. It is celebrated each year on the 3rd of March. Around this time you will usually see big Japanese doll sets on display everywhere and also a lot of pink snacks for sale at the supermarkets. We don't have a huge apartment, so our doll display is a small one, but it at least we have space to put it somewhere! On top of the printer lol. Some displays are HUGE and so grand-looking! Mind you, they are quite pricey!

Above you can see, the Emperor and Empress are on the highest level, 3 court ladies holding sake equipment are in the middle, and on the lowest level are 5 musicians. Other doll sets have more levels that also display hishi-mochi. Other traditional foods are hina-arare and chirashi-zushi. 

This year was Aila's first Hina Matsuri and so I wanted to make it special for her somehow. On youtube, I watched a vid by Ochikeron on how to make a sushi cake! It looked sooo cool and so easy that I had to give it a go. I loved how it took the hishi-mochi AND the chirashi-zushi and turned it into something awesome. 

I went to the shops to buy the toppings and they had the coolest little bunch of flowers especially for Hina Matsuri. I just had to have them! They also came with the snow peas, so at 179 yen, why not! I also picked up some raw fish and other things and got started.

The process is pretty easy. Cook rice, add sushi vinegar, divide into 3 portions, mix seaweed powder into one, crab meat into another, and leave the third one plain. Layer in a loaf pan, flip upside down, and all that is left is the decorating! In the video, she uses smoked salmon to make roses which are adorable, but I didn't have that so I ended up just using what I had and arranged it a bit differently. 

I was actually rushing because Aila was crying to be put to bed. I knew that at any minute she would nod off on her own and I really wanted to get a pic of her with the food and dolls so she could have her first Hina Matsuri pics under her belt! Anyways, I finally finished the "sushi cake" and this was it!

My friend said it looks like a haku lei of sushi lol
You can kind of see the 3 layers here. The top layer should be redder, but the crab meat I had was mostly white and didn't show through much. I added dried baby shrimp to try make it look redder but it ended up just looking like that. But the top looks so cool! The toppings are fried egg strips, shrimp, tuna, salmon, salmon roe, fresh flowers, and snow peas. I must say that the fish eggs really made all the difference! They are so shiny and look cool dolloped around everywhere. The flowers give awesome colour and the snow peas give that nice green that you kinda need to make you feel like your getting your veges in lol. *I would advice to watch that your rice doesn't become too wet/sticky when mixing in the vinegar and things as it makes spreading it into the loaf pan a bit of a pain and also kind of dense to eat!* 

Reia thought it was so cool and kept on saying "Wow! Sugoi Mama! Matsuri~!" Well if that doesn't make you feel chuffed, I don't know what does ^_^

A very hungry Reia and a very sleep Aila. Oh, and our little doll set ^_^
We also had karaage (Japanese fried chicken) and miso soup to go with. And to finish it off we had an Anpanman strawberry shortcake! As you can imagine, we were pretty full after that!

And that was Girl's Day for us :)

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