Interesting journal #6


A Japan focused entry.

Dogs are Man’s best friend. The best proof of this is the story of a Japanese dog named Hachikō. After a long day of work Hachikō used to meet his human companion every day at Shibuya Station. Eventually, the human died. Hachikō continued to show up and wait for his friend. He did that every day for at least nine years.

The Ishikawa diagram was invented by the Japanese management expert Kaoru Ishikawa. The diagram visually depicts a root cause analysis of a problem. It is also called the fishbone diagram for its resemblance to a fish. The idea is to list the possible categories and causes that led to an issue.

Example of a root cause analysis

Tōgarashi is Japanese for chilli pepper. Shichi-mi tōgarashi is a hot blend of spices and red chilli pepper. This delicious condiment creates a perfect balance of flavours. I use it on noodle soups, corn and tofu. Like wine, tōgarashi will reflect the terroir.

The ingredients can be, for example:

  • ground red chilli pepper
  • ground sanshō pepper
  • black sesame seed
  • white sesame seed
  • hemp seed
  • ground ginger
  • seaweed
  • orange peel

The star ingredient is Sanshō pepper. This peppercorn brings a citrus taste and a tingling sensation on the tongue. It is related to the Szechuan pepper.

Shichimiya Honpo in Kyoto is the oldest shichimi trader in Japan. Their shop is near the Kiyomizu-dera temple. Their blend is less hot, and the citrus flavour is dominant.

From Nagano, Yawataya Isogoro makes a blend that is hotter and bolder. I love it on corn on the cob. Their shop is near the Zenkō-ji.

Yagenbori in Tokyo produces a blend that I haven’t tried yet! Their shop is in the grounds of Sensō-ji temple.

Shichi-mi tōgarashi is so remarkable that it needs its own special container. These little chubby containers have the shape of a gourd. I think they are called *hyotan* in Japanese and were made from a calabash. Mine is lacquered wood. The calabash has an extensive history in many civilisations. This [website]( is a great resource to read more about it.

Togarashi container