Week 13 - Stories of the Japanese Prefectures (Absolute Beginner Book Club)

都道府県のおはなし 低学年 - Stories of the Japanese Prefectures :jp:

Week 13 - Pages 54-57

Week 12: Link
Week 14: Link

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Picture of ちまき (page 55). Easier to understand the text if you know what they look like…




Alright, let’s give this a shot. :cold_sweat:

Nagasaki prefecture

The secret of castella

Do you like castella [sponge cake]? It is said that a cake like castella was introduced to Nagasaki from Portugal long ago. At first, the castella introduced by Portugal was made from simple ingredients – nothing but egg, wheat flour, and sugar. From there, it became even more delicious as it was baked with additional ingredients (?). Today’s castella is fluffy and moist, with the addition of ingredients like sugar syrup.


Thanks for sharing your translation! Here’s what I had for this sentence:


Then, in order to make it more delicious, various ideas were introduced (lit. various schemes were piled on top of each other), such as new ingredients and preparation methods.

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(Very) short video of the 宮崎県のマンゴー (page 57) showing the 収穫ネット掛け:


Time-lapse video of a mango dropping into its net – underwhelming for sure, but shows the idea mentioned in the article:
宮崎完熟マンゴーが完熟する瞬間 | The Moment Miyazaki Fully-Ripened Mangoes become Fully Ripe (ENG Sub) - YouTube

Apparently the best mangos harvested during the season are given the coveted title of “太陽のタマゴ” (Egg of the Sun). Those mangos have to weigh more than 350g, be >2L in size, and consist of >15% sugar (which is only ~10% of the harvest). A pair of Miyazaki 太陽のタマゴ mangos sold for 500,000円(!) this year at auction.

It’s amazing to me to see the care that the mango farmers in Miyazaki take – some even adding individual reflective plates (反射板) cut from milk cartons to increase the sun exposure on the bottom of the fruits. They really look delicious!

Here’s another video (in English) that talks more about the Miyazaki mangos (including a discussion with the farmer, Takuya Hidaka, who grew those 500,000円 mangos):

Nagasaki translation

Nagasaki Prefecture

The secret of castella

Everyone, do you like castella?
It is said that castella was a cake introduced to Nagasaki from Portugal a long time ago.

The first castella introduced to Nagasaki from Portugal was a simple thing made of only egg, wheat flour, and sugar.
Thereupon, in order to make it more delicious, various ideas accumulated such as different kinds of ingredients and cooking methods.

Today’s castella is not only spongy, but also moist.
This is because ingredients like corn syrup are added.

Today’s castella is not only spongy, but also moist.
This is because ingredients like corn syrup are added.

Kumamoto translation

Kumamoto Prefecture

What is igusa?

Igusa (soft rush) is a grass used to make tatami.
It grows as thin stems gathered together in moist soil and the middle of shallow water.

In Kumamoto prefecture igusa cultivation has prospered since long ago.

In reality, this igusa is also used for things other than making tatami.
It is also used as string which ties around a treat wrapped in bamboo leaves called chimaki, which is eaten at events like Boy’s Day in May.
And it is also used as candle wicks.


Thanks for sharing the video. I’d imagined the net being under the fruit to catch it but couldn’t quite see how that fitted with the word かぶせる. The video makes it all make sense!

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Nagasaki-prefecture translation

The secret of the castella

Do you like castella? Castella is said to be a desert that spread over from Portugal to Nagasaki a long time ago.
The first castella that came over from Portugal was very simple, made from only eggs, flour and sugar. Later on, to make it more delicious, among others, the ingredients and the cooking methods were repeatedly changed (best translation I can get out of this).
Today, castellas are not only light, but also soft. This is because of the added sugar syrup.

❶ What is said to be the place where castellas spread over from to Nagasaki?
❷ What three other ingredients, besides flour, is added to today’s castella? Write in the three words.

Kumamoto-prefecture translation

What is a “soft rush”?

Soft rush is a grass used for making tatami. They grow on damp ground or in shallow water as a collection of thin stems.
In the Kumamoto-prefecture, the cultivation of soft rush has been flourishing for a long time.
In reality, these soft rushes are used also used to make things other than tatami. It’s also used for the strings wrapped around Chimaki rolls, a desert eaten on the Boys’ Day celebration in may, wrapped in bamboo grass. They are also used as the wick of candles.

:black_circle: What is soft rush used for besides making tatami? Fill in the blanks!

Ooita-prefecture translation

Full of onsen!

An onsen is warm water that gushes forth from the ground. In the Ooita-prefecture there are a lot of onsen.
Among these is the Beppu Onsen, wherenaturally made, red, blue and white colored hot water can be enjoyed.
There’s also the Yufuin Onsen in in Fumoto on Mount Yufu, where you can submerge yourself in transparent* hot water, while gazing at the good scenery.
Relaxing, while submerged in an onsen feels really good, huh?

*Usually the water is transparent, but there’s also blue water.

❶ What kind of things are onsen? Fill in the blanks!
❷ Which onsen is it, where you can enjoy blue, red, white and other colored hot water? Circle the correct answer!
ア Beppu Onsen
イ Yufuin Onsen

Miyagaki-prefecture translation

The mango of the southern provinces

The mango grown in the Miyagaki-prefecture is known for its deliciousness. But why can it be so delicious? (lit.: why is such a delicious mango possible)
This is because they wait until the mangoes ripen completely and naturally and fall off. Also, to avoid damages from falling onto the ground, they are covered one by one in net, so that they fall into that.
Harvesting without using scissors is the secret of the mango’s deliciousness.

❶ When the mangoes fall from the tree, what are they like? Circle the correct answer!
ア When they completely stop growing
イ When they are completely ripe
❷ So that the mangoes don’t fall onto the ground, what are they covered in one by one?


Final week’s thread is up. I’ll put some polls in the home thread later as part of wrapping things up.

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I think ふもと just means “foot of the mountain” rather than being an actual place.

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ohh, that’s way less contrived

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