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Miso and Japanese people

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Soy beans and Japanese cuisine

Japanese cuisine has many condiments and seasoning. Many of these are made from Soy Beans including Miso paste and Soy Sauce. They are staples of Japanese dishes and there are many many types and flavors depending on the area of Japan and the families.

In this blog by Japanese teacher, Oosawa Miki sensei, talks about one of these standard Japanese condiments.

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Miso and Japanese people










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Miso and Japanese people

Today I'm going to introduce one seasoning that one cannot do without in Japanese cuisine, and that is Miso. Miso made from soy beans. And it is fermented food so it is good for the body.

In Japan people have been making Miso paste in their homes since olden times. My grandmother also makes it herself every year. It is easy to make. You grind down some boiled soy beans and mix it with some salt and rice malt. And then, taking care not to let air get inside it, you place it inside a large barrel. Finally, you put a piece of burdock root into it. This is known as adding a spirit to the Miso. And this also gives the Miso some flavor.

This year, she made about 15 kilograms of Miso. This is about a year's worth. Making it for each family can be quite hard, so she makes it with her neighbors. Everybody talks to each other, when they get tired they stop for a cup of tea and in this way they spend the whole day doing it. But nowadays, if you go to the shops, you can buy Miso anywhere, so the number of people who make Miso at home is decreasing.

Making Miso is a tough job, but the more effort you put into it, the more delicious the Miso paste becomes. Please try some Miso that is made by circle of people and by the old wisdom of Japan.

大豆 (だいず) soy bean

発酵食品 (はっこうしょくひん) fermented food

自宅 (じたく) one’s home

麹 (こうじ) rice malt

樽 (たる) barrel

ごぼう burdock root

魂 (たましい) spirit

風味 (ふうみ) flavor

一年分 (いちねんぶん) one year’s worth of

お互(たが)いに each other

一日(いちにち)かけて doing all day

手間 (てま) time and effort

知恵 (ちえ) wisdom

輪 (わ) circle of people


While all of you may have a different goal, there is one common purpose that you all share, which is to use the Japanese language in order to achieve something. I would be really glad if by learning Japanese here at JOI with me, and with your peers we can help to influence your life – even a little.

When I was a child, I used to perform a musical instrument, and played various kinds of music including pop and jazz. I also love to look at old buildings like temples and shrines and so I often travel. In my class, I would like to introduce some of Japanese culture and the traditions, through learning Japanese, and also introduce some of the characteristics of Japanese people. Lets face our goals together and go for it !

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Guest Saturday, 25 September 2021