cooking workshop participants

Day25: NAGICHA in Finland

Today’s theme of the “Shirartama de Art” workshop is “nature.” What first comes up to your mind when you hear “nature”?

This is “nature” that I felt during my one-month stay in Finland.

a white plate and a bowl


Inside the bowl expresses a human body. The white plate means the outer world. Water (expressed by using agar-agar) exists inside and outside the human body. You can also taste various tastes (sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, sourness and others) and colours in this artwork.

On the white plate, there are a sprout, flower, fruit, seedhead and leaf. In Japanese, the sound of sprout is the same as the sound of eye (me). Likewise, flower is nose (hana), fruit is ear (mimi), seedhead is cheek (hoho) and leaf is teeth (ha). Japanese ancestors didn’t distinguish human from nature. The outer world is actually humans ourselves. Humans are always communicating with the earth by breathing. We are oneness, we are nature.

kids are making shiratama mochi

Shiratama making!

Everyone is interested in what "shiratama" is and how it will change after boiling.

Everyone is interested in what “shiratama” is and how it will change after boiling.

shiratama is being boiled in a pod

Boiling “nature”

participants are decorating their shiratama

Decoration time

Each artist explains their artwork.

Each artist explains their artwork.

I could hold a “Shiratama de Art” workshop at a lovely cafe Maitolaituri Kahvila&Puoti in Enonkoski thanks to Enonkoski municipality and Maitolaituri’s staff. More than ten people including a city mayor and kids joined the workshop. Every one of them seemed very interested in shiratama and its texture. I also served matche green tea.

matcha serving

Matcha green tea serving

After the workshop, a lady who is visually impaired talked about this experience. Although she couldn’t see the colours of shiratama very clearly, she very much enjoyed touching.

shiratama artwork on a white plate

Artwork by a participant who has seeing difficulties.

Yes, we have more than fifty natural senses. However, people nowadays depend too much on sight, language and reason. Particularly, it is said that humans gain 80% of information through sight.

So her comment made me believe that “Shiratama de Art” arouses the variety of sensations. This may be a hint for future workshops.

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