Yesterday my neighbor invited me over for strawberry birthday cake. Her father celebrated his 95 birthday and they had leftover cake.
While there, the husband in the family decided he wanted to make udon noodles... Last year he took a class in noodle making and then got inspired to buy all the necessary implements and has started making his own homemade noodles. Udon actually takes two days to make so I only was able to watch the preliminary mixing and kneading process.
Isn't this a great bowl?! It is a wooden lacquer bowl and costs a pretty penny but it is indispensable for Japanese noodle making.
A couple bags of flour...
Some salt water...
While my neighbor and I chatted, her husband spent nearly 30 minutes mixing in (completely by hand) the salt water and then kneaded his dough for another 15 minutes. He did this on the floor of his kitchen (no counter space in Japanese kitchens.)
When I left the dough was being wrapped and would be kept in a cool place overnight. Sometime today he will roll it all out and cut it by hand. Unfortunately I'm not going to be around today to watch that part of the process... Maybe he'll bring over some noodles tonight? (I can hope!)
A couple of days ago, Choco and I walked past these little stone statues by the rice fields. They looked a little naked... Where are their hats?
Yesterday Choco and I made another jaunt around the the rice fields and the statues were all decked out in new bright red bibs. Someone (probably a farmer's wife) spends a bit of sewing time each December and makes sure the statues have a bright new set of bibs for the new year. I'm not sure if the hats were remade or just given a good wash.
Red is a good celebration color!