Let’s Learn Japanese – Evening Adult Program

Spring Semester Registration

Spring Semester – January 23, 2023 – May22, 2023

 We will open a Beginner level 1 class at 6:00pm.  Choose “Spring 2023” when you register.

If you know some Japanese, you can join an on -going class anytime.  Please see textbook section to figure out your class level.   

 Click Here to Register Online

You must pay your tuition to secure your place.

1. After registering online, mail your tuition check payable to “Sakura Gakuen”.  Please write “Adult Class” on memo line.  Write your name on the check, if it is not on the check. (For example, your parent is paying for you.)   Do not send cash.   We are not responsible for slow delivery, or a lost mail.

   One semester class is $220.  BCS member’s tuition is $150 per semester class. (Tuition does not include textbook, and you must have one.)   Priced will change after 12/31/2022.

2. Mail (United State Postal Service) tuition check to following address.  We do not accept payment at Buddhist church.

Sakura Gakuen  Adult Class
C/o North American Food Dist. Co. Inc.
3969 Industrial Blvd.
West Sacramento, Ca. 95691
We will notify you when we receive your tuition, and the student guidelines will be sent to you.
We will send you Zoom class information after we receive your agreement signature.
View more information on our Adult Class Program. 

If you have any questions or request for a class, please contact Mrs. Thomas by email

Adult Tuition (2022-2023 School Year)

Tuition per Semester class (Add late fee after 12/31/22)


Tuition for members of Buddhist Church of Sacramento

Tuition does not include textbook. See textbook chart.  Tuition check must be received by mail on Monday two weeks before the first day of class in order to have your check processed, and to get Zoom information before the first class starts.   We recommend you send a bank check for late registration.

Returned check fee
Late payment fee after 12/31/22.
Class observation fee – Contact Adult Class Dean first.  We recommend you send a Bank check, so you can observe the class right after we receive your payment.   Class observation is available for classes that have openings.  If the class is full, students may observe for future registration for the next term. If you decide to take the class, it will be applied toward your tuition for the current semester, or the one immediately following. Please hold on to the original receipt, or email notice. $20.00

* Tuition is due in-full at registration. Tuition does not include the cost of a textbook. There is no refund for No-Show.  There may be an additional charge for Kanji classes.


*Tomodachi discount deal: Recommend our school to your family and friends and get $10 back!  When your friend/family member registers and pays as a new student to Sakura Gakuen Adult or Youth program, you will get $10 back.   If you introduce us to two new students, you will get $20, and so on.

Monday Adult Classes – Spring 2023

Begin/Continue Learning Japanese Online

Now is the good time to start.  You can attend our class from anywhere, virtually/  Here are the requirements:

  • You must have a computer/digital device with internet connection. 
  • You must access to class by both video and audio to have interaction with the teacher and classmates face to face virtually. 

Registration for Spring semester is now open via our convenient Online Form and mail tuition.  Please check Adult Class section for mailing direction for tuition payment.

Learn more about our Monday classes


UPDATE: Classes and events for the remainder of the Spring Semester through June 2020 have been cancelled due to COVID-19.
The Buddhist Church of Sacramento’s Obon (July 2020) and Bazaar (August 2020) are also cancelled. The church will be closed until further notice. 

Message from Nari Igawa, Board President:

Classes for the remainder of March are cancelled / suspended.
Please note: classes and events at Sakura Gakuen / Buddhist Church of Sacramento for the remainder of the month of March have been suspended / cancelled.  Youth classes on Saturday and Adult classes on Monday are both affected.  This includes any other events that were scheduled to be held at the Buddhist Church of Sacramento including, but not limited to: Sakura Matsuri Food and Vendor Bazaar (03/15/20) as well as the Youth Speech Contest (03/28/20.)  Classes are currently scheduled to resume on: Youth Classes (04/04/20 – SAT) and Adult Classes (04/06/20 – MON) and we are exploring what steps may be taking to ensure students have access to quality Japanese education to make up during this absence.
What should I do?
Please feel free to stay home and in addition to practicing good hygiene and safety guidelines, study Japanese.  Teachers should be reaching out with assignments that may be covered at home during the break.  The Sakura Gakuen School Board and PTC will work with the Deans of our programs to explore different options to make up classes, i.e. conference calls, make up classes, etc.  This is a new situation for us, so we likely will be trying new avenues to ensure our students can continue studying with our support.
Why was this decision made?
In response to the recent increase of COVID-19 exposure in the Western United States, as well as general advisory statements made by our government officials, the Buddhist Church of Sacramento Executive Council has made the decision that to best serve the members of the Temple and its affiliated and sponsored organizations, the extraordinary step of closing down the Temple in March would be best.  The announcement letter from the BCS (Buddhist Church of Sacramento) President Stuart Ito is attached for your review.
How do I keep up to date on what’s going on at Sakura Gakuen?
In addition to email contact, we will be updating our two respective Facebook pages — Sakura Gakuen Japanese Language School and Sakura Gakuen Adult Classes — as well as our webpage as information becomes available.
Additionally, Youth Class families can join the Sakura Gakuen Families page to help share study ideas.
We will continue to try to make sure everyone is up-to-date.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to either email (neigawa.sakuragakuen@gmail.com) or call (916-749-8131) the current school president Nari Igawa.
Thanks for your understanding with this.  Encourage your students to keep studying, keep washing their hands, and staying healthy — we’ll see you back in class soon.
Best wishes.
— Nari Igawa

New Year Culture Day – January 13

Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu!
Happy New Year!

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season
School resumes Saturday, January 6th

January 13 will be our New Year Culture Day at Sakura Gakuen. This is a fun and exciting event for the students to learn about and enjoy some of the Oshōgatsu, Japanese New Year, traditions and activities this is held during normal school hours (9:00am – 12:30pm)
We will meet in rooms #1-4 in the main church building. Please do not have your students go to their regular class room. The students can leave their text books at home, as our wonderful Sensei have planned a day full of Japanese New Years activities and fun!

Some of the activities include:

Mochitsuki, traditional rice pounding to make mochi (rice cakes).

Kakizome, Japanese calligraphy with shodo sets – please have your child wear DARK CLOTHING (or clothing they don’t mind staining) as the black ink will stain.

Fukuwarai “Lucky Laugh” – similar to pin the tail on the donkey, but will face parts on a blank face.

And eating…
Ozoni – Traditional new year’s soup

We’ll have other activities and crafts but we’ll keep them as a surprise. 🙂

If you have any Japanese New Year decorations or items that we could display for the students to see, please bring them! Examples – Kasane/Kagami mochi, kadomatsu/matsu-kazari, kumade, hagoitas, etc.

Parents are encouraged to join us for a cultural experience that makes this school unique.

Please emphasize to your child that though this is a fun-filled event, they will be expected to respect their Sensei, volunteers, peers, and church members and affiliates.

If you have any questions, please contact your child’s Sensei, myself, or any PTC member.

We are looking forward to a great 2015 Culture Day!

Fukubukuro – another fun New Year custom
A Canadian's perspective on the custom

Kohaku Namasu (red & white salad)


Clean refreshing salad often a part of New Year’s fare, but delicious anytime of the year.

Servings: 4 to 6

• ~ 1 lbs. daikon radish
• ~ 1/4 lbs carrot
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup rice vinegar
• 1/3 cup dashi stock (or water)
• 3 tbsp sugar

1. Cut radish and carrots into sengiri, or thin julienne strips. YouTube video of sengiri applied to cabbage:See the xxx recipe for instructions on this cutting method.

2. Kneed salt into cut vegetables. Set them aside for 20 to 30 minutes to allow water to be pulled from the vegetables. Drain and squeeze water from vegetables. The better wrung out the vegetables the crisper the end result.

3. Mix vegetables with dressing ingredients. Adjust to suit your taste. Water instead of dashi stock is a common substitute. Some add mirin and reduce the granulated sugar. well the shirodashi broth with the grated yam

4. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. This can keep sealed in refrigerator for a couple days. Optional garnishes include thinly sliced kombu (kelp) and sesame seed, The color contrast of black sesame on the orange and white pickled julienned vegetables is striking.

For a great description of Japanese culinary cutting methods visit Taste of Japan’s page on vegetable cutting.

Why Learn Japanese

Enjoy this new presentation on the many benefits of learning Japanese, courtesy of the Japan Foundation of Los Angeles. See links to other learning resources.

side street

Learn more about our Monday Adult classes for busy people

Learn more about our Saturday Youth classes

Kuromame 黒豆 (Sweet Black Soy Beans)

Shiny silky black sweetness-a part of traditional osechi ryori (Japanese New Year’s food) that promises health in the New Year

Like most of these traditional foods, there are family and regional variations. Try an easy modern method using a crock pot. kuromame
Servings: ~12-16
• 2 cups kuromame (dried black soy beans)
• ~ 3 cups sugar
• 1 to 2 tablespoons of shoyu (soy sauce)
• 2 to 3 rusty nails (optional – imparts a nice black color) or cook in clean cast iron pot

1. Wash beans thoroughly in cool water several times and remove broken beans
2. Bring beans and water to a boil on high heat. Then remove, cool slightly and skim off any frothy residue
3. Soak beans in 10 cups of water overnight (at least 12 hours)
4. Add sugar and soy sauce and cook on low for about 4 to 6 hours until beans are very tender. Cover during this stage with a pot lid or an otoshibuta (floating lid) to keep beans submerged
5. Keep adding cool water to just keep the beans covered during this long slow cooking process. Make sure the beans do not dry out during this step
6. Strain the beanst and boil down the remaining syrup until it is very thick and dark.
7. Add beans back to thickened sauce and refrigerate 6 or more hours
8. Serve chilled with osechi ryori, rice, or just plain as a snack. Store in refrigerator. Can also be used in kuromame daifuku mochi and other sweets.


Traditional soup served on New Year’s Day

Servings: about 4 to 5

• 4-6 cups of dashi stock, or water and appropriate amount of dried dashi to taste
• 1- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (to taste)
• 1/3 cup cooked chicken meat cut into small pieces
• 4- 6 ounces mizuna, spinach, bok choi or other green leafy vegetable – lightly chopped if large leaves
• ~ 4 mochi – 1 per serving (two if very small)
• about 6 ounce or half a block kamaboko (1/8 to 1/4 inch thick slices) – pink kamaboko adds a nice color to the soup

1. Heat soup base (dashi stock or water + instant dashi) to simmer then add leafy greens. ozoni
2. Cook at low heat for only a few minutes until the vegetables are wilted.
3. Cook the mochi (either toasted over open flame, under a broiler, or in microwave) until just slightly puffy. Again this is quick unless the mochi is frozen. Some cooks simmer the mochi in the soup for a few minutes but not long enough to let it turn into a gooey blob.
4. Put one mochi into each bowl, add kamaboko then fill bowls with the hot vegetable soup. Garnish as you wish (carrots, sprouts, etc) or just appreciate the warm simplicity.

Some families add leftovers of family favorites (shrimp and shitake, nabbed from the jubako, is common at our house). Some families add udon noodles, some add a dash of sake and some do not include chicken. There are many regional and family versions of this basic soup. Find your favorite by experimentation.

Warning – several people die each year in Japan by choking on mochi. Enjoy it at your own risk. Tokyo Fire Dept FYI mochi choking first aid and statistics (Japanese)

Shodo Tools

Inkstick (墨 sumi) –
Mulberry paper (和紙 washi) –
Inkstone (硯 suzuri) – to grind the inkstick against, mixed with water and inkwell
Paper weight (文鎮 bunchin) – to hold the paper in place
Cloth (下敷き shitajiki) – to place under the paper to prevent ink from bleeding through
Brush (筆 fudé) –

During preparation, water is poured into the inkstone and the inkstick is ground against it, mixing the water with the dried ink to liquefy it. As this is a time-consuming process, modern-day calligraphy provides liquid ink in a bottle called Bokuju (墨汁 bokujū).

The fudé (brushes) come in various shapes and sizes, and are usually have animal hair (e.g., goat, sheep, horse) for the bristles. The handle may be made from wood, bamboo, plastic or other materials.
more about brushes

The thin hanshi (paper) is smooth on one side and slightly textured on the upper surface. The texture and absorbancy of the paper influences the color and crispness of the finished product.
types of rice paper

more pending

35th annual Day of Remembrance

February 15 35th annual Day of Remembrance, San Jose, San Jose Buddhist Church, 640 N. Fifth Street, Sunday February 15, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Free

 Nihonmachi Outreach Committee presents its 33rd annual Day of Remembrance

The Day of Remembrance commemorates the anniversary of Executive Order 9066 which led to the forced incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese descent, two-thirds of whom were American citizens. Each year, we gather to remember that great civil liberties tragedy from over seventy years ago and each one of us reflects on what that event means to us today. The Day of Remembrance is an event that aims to bring different communities together in order to build trust, respect and understanding among all people and to renew our pledge to fight for equality, justice and peace. This year the program will include speakers from the community, Congressman Mike Honda, the traditional candlelight procession through Japantown, capped with an exciting performance by San Jose Taiko Group. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call (408) 505-1186 or email info@sjnoc.org. A flyer to download is pending.

Stand Up for What Is Right

January 30 Stand Up for What Is Right, San Francisco, Nourse Auditorium, 275 Hayes Street, Friday January 30, 7:30 pm, $

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Celebrate what is right at the Fred Korematsu Day Celebration with keynote by George Takei. He starred as Mr. Sulu on the Star Trek TV series, is more notably an author, social justice activist, social media mega-power, subject of the documentary “To Be Takei,” and star of Broadway-bound musical “Allegiance”. A VIP Preferred Seat, including a pre-event VIP reception at 6:30 in Nourse Courtyard with George Takei is available for $100. Tickets available at City Box Office (415) 392-4400) or Online at http://cityboxoffice.com Learn more about Fred Korematsu the national civil rights hero.

PTC Officers needed

To maintain the quality of the school program, help teachers and new families learn to love this school, a small cadre of dedicated parents steps up annually to contribute time and energy to directing the PTC. Many tasks are documented and simple. Many can be delegated and/or shared to make them easier. This year a treasurer and president(s) are needed. We may also need a secretary and volunteer coordinator if the current officers would like to step aside to give others the experience. This is an opportunity to learn from the outgoing officers, the growing archive of event documentation and expand your roll in the education of our children. There are plenty of parents willing to help you, but not take on the mantle of leadership or a title for themselves. These people are indispensable
to the success of the school. They just need you for a nudge or nod from you. Yes you can be a leader, just commit and follow through for the entire year.

PTC Treasurer
The most important position is the PTC Treasurer. This job requires
unquestionable integrity, attention to detail, ability to work well with others, communicate clearly, and have excellent Excel skills. The candidate for this position must work with the outgoing treasurer and receive the approval of the school board officers as well as be voted for by the parents. This person is one that all must trust and feel comfortable with handling the PTC accounts.

PTC Volunteer Coordinator
Tact and great communication abilities, as well as the skill to motivate parents is needed for this position. Technical skills required include a comfortable Excel and WordPress familiarity. Many tasks can be automated with some technical skill. This position is very important as family deposits are effectively in the hands of this person – tracking fulfillment of volunteer duties and providing fair and equitable alternatives for those unable to fulfill the tasks for legitimately excusable reasons. Integrity is also a part of this job.

PTC Secretary
Attend all PTC meetings during the school year and take clear and complete notes. These are then polished and provided to the PTC officers for amendments before being posted on teh webpage and provided to the Saturday Dean and School Board by email.
Other tasks include PTC correspondence at the request of the PTC President or School Board. Good writing skills are helpful.

PTC President(s)
This job can be broken amongst a few parents, but one must be over the others as that person is the one required to attend monthly t bi-monthly meetings of the School Board in the evenings. Board meetings also occur during the summer months. This job requires a significant commitment of time and energy. This seating of the primary position candidate is subject to the approval of the School Board in addition to the parents. If this person can not work with the School Board, the communication needed for the school to function can not be maintained. The abilities needed for this job are to be outlined shortly in an update to this post.

The prime directive of the PTC officers is to not overshadow the needs of the school with drama or personal issues. They are here to keep the school functioning smoothly. They are here to support the teachers, Dean and School Board’s actions. The PTC Officers are people you trust and that have the school’s best interest, not an agenda as their motivation. Are you ready to step forward and keep the Sakura Gakuen legacy thriving for another century? The school needs you.

Bonryaku Temae – simple tea ceremony

November 1 and December 6 Demonstration and Experience of Sado: The Way of Tea , Hanford, Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture, 15770 Tenth Avenue, Saturday November 1 & December 6, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., $

 Demonstration and Experience of Sado: The Way of Tea

Participate in Bonryaku Temae, a simple way of preparing Japanese green tea on a tray, and enjoy tea and sweets at the studio in our Bonsai Garden. Dr. Tomoko Kozasa, tea master of the Urasenke School and Japanese Minor Coordinator at CSU Fresno, will explain a simplified method of aesthetic practice and demonstrate how to enjoy matcha (powdered green tea) as a calm perspective in your daily life. Free with paid admission to the museum ($5 for adult). Limited to 10 persons/ session. No reservation necessary. Directions to Clark Center

Bonsai Visions of the West

October 30 – November 2 Bonsai Visions of the West – American Bonsai Society Convention, Sacramento, Double Tree Hotel, 2001 Point West Way, Thursday October 30, 8 am – 9 pm; Friday October 31 & Saturday November 1, 8 am – 10 pm; Sunday November 2, 8 am – 2 pm, $$

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Golden State Bonsai Federation and American Bonsai Society presents 2014 Convention XXXVII “Bonsai Visions of the West”. Headliners include Peter Tea, Kathy Shaner and David De Groot, ABS Learning Seminars with Ted Matson and Jack Sustic, Joshua Roth New Talent Bonsai Competition, and Special Tribute to John Naka – 100 years (b. August 16, 1914). Demonstrations, seminars, critiques, workshops, excursions, benefit drawings, vendors, and much more.

Gedatsu Bazaar

June 28-29 Gedatsu Bazaar , Sacramento, 4016 Happy Lane, Saturday June 28, 11 am – 5 pm; Sunday June 29, 11 am – 4 pm, FREE

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Teriyaki chicken, tempura, sushi, udon, snowcones with adzuki beans, raffle, kid game booths, bake sale, karate, taiko, sword demonstrations, ukuleles, tour of Gedatsu grounds, and more. A relaxed atmosphere and fun time for the whole family.

August Bazaar – Volunteer FYI

The Japanese Food and Culture Bazaar is this weekend August 9 and 10. If you have never been to the bazaar, check out this SacBee article. The bazaar is the principle fundraiser for the Buddhist Church of Sacramento. The funds support the Church’s activities, community projects and affiliated organizations. Our efforts at the Ginza booth support our generous host. They also provide us an opportunity to promote the school to the over 40,000 bazaar visitors. All families are expected to contribute to this event.

Patrick mailed shift assignments last week. The latest shift assignments can be found here. All families are expected to contribute to this event. If you must change your shift, please contact John early this week.

New to the bazaar? Don’t worry it is easy and fun. Outlines of what to expect for each shift and for the event in general can be found near the bottom of this page. Experienced volunteers are invited to review these too and provide feedback.

The PTC needs to borrow a large, effective and quiet fan to help keep the booth comfortable. If you can bring a fan Friday evening (6 p.m. – 8 p.m.) or early Saturday (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.), please let John know ASAP. Thank you in advance.

Parking can be difficult. You may need to park below Broadway or north of the freeway. Please try to allocate some time to find parking so you will be on time for the start of your shift. Parents are asked to stay until the replacement shift arrives.

The PTC will provide cool refreshments for the booth workers. Please dress comfortably for the weather. It can get quite hot in the enclosed booth. You may be standing for much of the shift, so comfortable footwear is helpful.

Come have fun and share your enthusiasm for the school

Courtyard transformed

Courtyard transformed
Under the Bazaar tent

Under the big tent
Bazaar stage

Taiko on stage

10th Annual Premium Sake Fest

October 9 10th Annual Premium Sake Fest, Sacramento, Sheraton Grand, 1230 J Street, Thursday October 9, 6 pm – 9 pm, $$

10th Annual Premium Sake Fest

Taste over 100 hand selected sake, shochu and Japanese beers. Food from some of the best local restaurants and dozens of vendors. Blind sake tasting, silent auction, local artist crafts, special event pricing on sake, and more. Entertainment will include Sacramento Taiko Dan and Awa Odori dancing and dance lessons. Sushi demo and contests (freshest fish from Tsukiji Market in Japan) and tasting the best maguro sashimi and sushi. Join us for the 10th Anniversary of the North American Food’s annual sake fest benefiting the UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Cardiology Unit. Eat, drink, have fun all for a for a fantastic cause. Order your tickets now

48th Annual Otsukimi – Moon Viewing

October 5 48th Annual Otsukimi (お月見) Moon Viewing Party, Oakland, Lakeside Park Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Avenue, Sunday, October 5, 2014, Time TBD, $

SJUMC’s Annual Food & Culture Bazaar

October 4 Sacramento Japanese United Methodist Church’s Annual Food & Culture Bazaar, Sacramento, 6929 Franklin Blvd., Saturday, October 4, time TBD, FREE More details pending

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Music, games, plenty of oishi foods Event details will be updated when available

13th Annual Bay Area Peace Lantern Ceremony

August 9 13th Annual Bay Area Peace Lantern Ceremony , Berkeley, north end of Aquatic Park, west end of Addison St., 2 blocks west of Sixth St., 1 block south of University Ave., 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm, August 9, 2014, FREE

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August 6th and 9th are the 69th anniversaries of the US atomic bombings. In Japan and around the world, people will gather in early August to float lanterns in remembrance of the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, all victims of war, and all who have gone before us. This moving and beautiful tradition provides a chance to reaffirm our commitment to building a better future. 6:30 begin decorating lanterns (great for all ages). Short remarks and messages from the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 8-9p.m. is the floating of the lanterns. Share the moving evening and learn about some world peace movements. See video from 2012 event.

Zaru Soba (cold noodles with dipping sauce)

Chilled summer delight
Servings: 4

For the sauce (soba tsuyu):
• 1/2 cup of kaeshi
• 1 1/2 to 3 cups of dashi stock or vegetarian dashi stock
Combine the two in a pan and bring up to a simmer. The less dashi added the more intense the sauce will be, so add the dashi a little at a time, and start tasting after you’ve added about 1 1/2 cups: keep adding if it’s too strong. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, then let cool. You can do this a day ahead of time, and refrigerate the tsuyu.
Quick and easy version: Buy a bottle of concentrated tsuyu or mentsuyu, and thin out with water.
For the noodles:
• 400g (about 14 oz) soba noodles, or about 100g (4 oz) per person Most soba comes in 100 or 200 gram packets.18 shrimp sliced in half horizontally (optional)
Condiments, or yakumi:
• Finely chopped green onions (commonly used condiment)
• Grated wasabi (optional)
• Seven-flavor pepper (nanami tohgarashi) (optional)
• Toasted sesame seeds (optional)
• Finely shredded green shiso leaves (optional)
• Finely cut nori seaweed (cut with a pair of kitchen scissors) (optional)
• Grated fresh ginger (optional)


1. Bring a large pot of water up to a boil. Unlike Italian pasta, you do not need to salt the water. Once it’s boiling, hold the noodles over the water and sprinkle them in strand by strand. Once all the noodles are in, stir gently so that they are all immersed in the water.

2. Bring the water back up to a gentle boil, then lower the heat so that the water is just simmering. (This differs from the ‘rolling boil’ that’s recommended for pasta.) If the water threatens to boil over, add about 1/2 cup of cold water (but if you lower the heat to the gentle simmer, and have a big enough pot, this shouldn’t be necessary). Cook for about 7 to 8 minutes, or following the package directions (for thinner noodles 5 to 6 minutes may be enough. Test by eating a strand – it should be cooked through, not al dente, but not mushy either).At this point, you may want to reserve some of the cooking water. This is called sobayu (そば湯), literally ‘hot soba water’, and many people like to add it to the remaining soba dipping sauce at the end of the meal to drink like soup!

3. Drain the noodles into a colander. Immediately return them to the pot and fill the pot with cold water. When you’re draining the hot water you may notice that it smells quite ‘floury’. This is what you want to totally remove. If the noodles threaten to flood out over the pot, put the colander on the pot to hold the noodles down. Leave the water running for a while over the noodles.

4. Once the water and the noodle are cool, start to ‘wash’ the noodles. Take handfuls and gently swish and rub them in the water. Your goal is to wash off any trace of starchiness or gumminess on the noodles. When you’re done the water should run clear.

5. Make ready a flat sieve – a bamboo one is ideal and looks pretty. (You can use a nice looking colander instead, but flat sieves like this aren’t expensive – look in Asian markets.) Take a few strands of the noodles at a time. Loop the strands onto the sieve to make a nice little bundle. This is one portion. Allow for about 10-12 portions or so per person, if you’re using individual sieves. Arrange each bundle separately, to allow for easy pickup with chopsticks.
zaru soba- cold noodles

6. To serve the noodles: place a plate under the sieve or sieves to catch any drips. Put out small bowls filled with the condiments of your choice, from which each diner can pick. The dipping containers can be anything that can hold about a cup or so of liquid. A rice bowl or a small soup bowl, or even a tumbler, can be used. Fill each dipping bowl halfway with the cooled dipping sauce or soba tsuyu.

7. To eat, each person puts in the condiments of their choice, take a portion of the soba, and dips it in the sauce briefly – then, immediately eats the soba. Don’t let the noodle soak in the sauce or overload it with condiments, otherwise the delicate flavor of the soba will be overwhelmed.

8. At the end of the meal, you can add some of the reserve sobayu to the rest of your sauce (see above) to finish your meal.

Matcha Mochi Cupcakes

Delicious and pretty adaption from Otoki

Servings: about 24 cupcakes

• 1 (1 lb.) box mochiko
• 1 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 tsp. baking powder
• 1 1/2 tsp. matcha (powder green tea)
• 3 eggs
• 1 1/2 cup milk
• 3/4 cup oil
• Optional: red bean paste (anko) center*

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Whisk all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside
3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, and oil
4. Add dry ingredients and stir until incorporated
5. Spoon batter in a muffin pan lined with baking cups and bake for 30 to 40 minutes

*Optional: Add red bean paste (anko) to center – spoon batter into each muffin cup about 1/3 full. Then spoon in about 1 to 1/2 tsp anko. Then, top with the remainder of the batter. Bake as directed.

Apricot Mochi (or any flavor combination you like)

Fast and easy fruity favorite

Servings: about 1 dozen

• 1 box mochiko (l lb.)
• 1 box Apricot Jello (6 oz.)
• 2 ½ cups sugar
• 1 can (12 oz.) Apricot Nectar
• 1 ½ cups water
Note: Strawberry jello with guava nectar is another great flavor combination

1. Mix mochiko, jello and sugar in a bowl
2. Spray “Pam” on sides and bottom of a 9 x12 inch glass baking dish or pan
3. Pour mixture into dish
4. Cover with foil and bake 55 minutes in 350 degree oven
5. Remove from oven and leave foil on for 15 minutes
6. Remove foil and leave overnight uncovered
Note: It works great to turn oven off and leave covered overnight. Experiment with your pan and oven to see what is best.
7. When cool, sprinkle and smooth on the top mochiko (or katakuriko-Japanese potato starch or shinko-rice flour)
8. Remove from pan onto mochiko covered board
9. Cut into desired shapes making sure to dust knife or cutter with mochiko
10. Dust cut edges of mochi with mochiko too to prevent sticking

Tri-colored Mochi (Baked)

Colorful fun to eat holiday treat

Servings: one 9 × 13 pan

• 1 pound Mochiko (16 oz box)
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 can coconut milk (12 oz)
• 2 cups water
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• Food color, red and green

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine mochiko, sugar and baking powder.
2. Blend water, coconut milk and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients
3. Gradually, mixing thoroughly with whisk or spoon.
4. Remove 2 cups of mixture. Add about 3 drops of green coloring. Stir.
5. Pour into greased 9” x 13” pan.
6. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes at 350° F.
7. Pour 2 cups white mixture over first layer. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes.
8. Add red coloring to remaining mixture and pour over second layer. Cover and bake 30 minutes.
9. Cool uncovered, preferably overnight. Cover with clean dish cloth.
10. Cut with plastic knife when mochi is totally cooled. Cut into squares and wrap in plastic wrap.

Mochi Cake

More than a cake

Servings: one 9 × 13 pan

• 1 box (16 oz) mochiko (sweet rice flour)
• 1 cup margarine/butter
• 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
• 5 eggs
• 5 tsp. baking powder
• 2 ½ cups milk
• Powdered sugar

1. Cream together margarine/butter and granulated sugar.
2. Add 5 eggs, one at a time.
3. In a separate bowl mix baking powder, mochiko and milk.
4. Combine both mixtures and pour into ungreased 9 x 13 pan.
5. Bake at 350°F for 45 to 50 minutes.
6. Cool, cut and (optional) sprinkle with powdered sugar.
7. Wrap each piece in saran/plastic wrap.

Custard Mochi

Deliciously soft sweet

Servings: one 9 × 13 pan

• ½ cup butter/margarine
• 1 ¾ cups sugar
• 4 eggs
• 4 cups milk
• 2 tsp. vanilla
• 2 cups mochiko (sweet rice flour)
• 2 tsp. baking powder
• 1 box (16 oz) mochiko (sweet rice flour)

1. Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in eggs one at a time.
2. Add remaining ingredients.
3. Pour into greased 9” x 13” baking dish.
4. Bake at 350°F for one hour fifteen minutes or until top is light golden brown.
5. Cool then chill overnight in refrigerator until firm.
6. Cut and wrap in plastic wrap.

Microwave Mochi

Easy and quick sweet
Servings: about 1 dozen

• 1 ½ cups mochiko (sweet rice flour)
• ½ cup sugar
• 1 ½ cups water
• 1-2 drops food coloring
• Katakuriko or corn starch

1. Mix mochiko, sugar, coloring and water together thoroughly
2. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on High for 3 minutes
3. Remove and stir
4. Cover and microwave on High for 2 minutes
5. Pour onto katkuriko covered surface to cut and shape
6. If cutting into small squares, let cool in a square or rectangular container
7. When cool into squares and wrap each piece in plastic wrap

Okayu (Plain Rice Porridge)


A simple easy to digest porridge

This is often a food for those without an appetite or feeling well. The key to okayu is the water to rice ratio which determines its consistency. The ratio can be anything from 20 to 4 times water as there is rice. Depending on your preference, adjust the amount of water and the cooking time. Using rice that is already cooked can result in a thick paste and is not recommended. This porridge is commonly flavored with umeboshi (pickled plum), but other options include adding egg or sweet potatoes while cooking. Some add flavor to this plan dish by wsing dashi, chicken stock or miso.

Servings: 1

• 1/2 cups rice
• about 3 cups water
• 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Place washed and drained rice and water into a pot and cook at medium heat.

2. Add salt and stir to keep rice from sticking.

3. When boiling starts, cover pot with a lid but leave it a bit uncovered to allow some steam to escape.

4. Cook on low heat for another 30-40 minutes

Adjust water to rice ratio and cooking time to obtain the desired consistency.
Add egg, sweet potato or other flavorings near the end of the low heat cooking step, but allow enough time for the egg to cook.
お大事 (odaijini)

Adzuki in Mochi Bars

Manju in an easy fun bar
Servings: one 9 × 13 pan

• 1 lb. box Mochiko (sweet rice flour)
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 3 eggs
• 2 cups whole milk (low fat and soymilk are reasonable substitutes)
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 (18 oz) can or package of smooth, sweetened red bean paste
         (koshian, or smooth-textured anko)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F, and generously grease a 9×13 baking pan.
2. Mix the first six ingredients together in a large bowl. Beat with whisk attachment on high for about 5 minutes, or until completely smooth.
3. Pour into greased pan.
4. Using a small spoon, drop sweetened red bean paste by small spoonfuls throughout the batter, distributing evenly (I go over the entire batter a few times with the spoonfuls of paste.) Some will sink, which is fine.
5. Bake for 1 hour, uncovered. Top will look golden brown and somewhat puffed up.
6. Allow to cool completely at room temp (don’t put in fridge.) Once it’s cool, use a sharp serrated knife to cut into squares.