The only good thing about chilly weather in Japan, in my opinion, is the kotatsu. It’s an iconic piece of Japanese furniture, consisting of a low table with a heater in the top. A blanket is draped over to keep the heat trapped inside, and it is immensely warm and cozy.
Y had yearned for a kotatsu when we lived in Canada, and in Australia, too, as we lacked a heater and winter nights were chilly. So, on moving to Japan, one of his first items of business was to acquire a kotatsu. This month we also got a new blanket, and so now he is almost permanently installed in the kotatsu when he’s home. (Yes, he dozes there, too, a tendency he’s had his whole life.)
One of the best things about autumn in Japan: MUSHROOMS. Here’s what they look like in their glory, displayed in the grocery store.
They all have different qualities. Enoki are thin, like eating noodles, good for a hotpot (nabe) or soup. Shiitake are versatile, but gorgeous when they’re just grilled and eaten with a bit of soy sauce. Maitake are my favourite currently, also good for a hotpot, thin but still firm. Shimeji are excellent in a stir fry, as are eringi. So many options…
Kabu, or Japanese turnips, are a lovely cold weather food. The greens are very tasty (spinach like), and the white turnip bulbs are soft and juicy when cooked. I often put them in miso soup or saute them with sesame oil (shown here with fried tofu sheets added as well).