At Zojirushi, we are overjoyed to celebrate the beginning of spring. To us, spring means new beginnings, great weather, cherry blossoms, and most importantly, the beginning of fresh fruits and vegetables. The weather is finally getting warmer, and as we peruse our local markets, we begin to see an abundance of new produce that is scarce in winter months. We love incorporating seasonal produce into our recipes whenever possible and always suggest that you do the same. Each month brings its own colors, flavors, and magic. It’s been a winter full of warmth, happiness, tea and rice! However, as we move into spring and soon summer, we look forward to all that it will bring.
April is a very special month in Japan because it is the time when the cherry blossom trees bloom. A beautiful canopy of pink and white is set above our streets, and the wind blows petals all around us like snow. The cherry blossom season is beautiful and fleeting, so it is important to enjoy them while they last. A common pastime in Japan is to get together with friends and family, and share a meal beneath the shade of a tree. At Zojirushi, we always encourage you to share special moments with friends and family, and hope that our products can help to enrich those moments.
Product of The Month: Tuff Mug (SM-JA36/48)
The product of the month for April is our Tuff Mug (SM-JA36/48) because the soft pink color of the mug reminds us of the cherry blossoms. Fill it up with your favorite drink, and the mug will keep it hot or cold for hours; perfect for a picnic under the blue sky, isn’t it?
March 3rd is a very special day in Japan. It is the day of Hina Matsuri, also known as Doll’s Festival, or Girl’s Festival. On this day, parents wish their daughters good luck and success in life by eating and drinking, and by displaying a collection of dolls.
In the old days, it was believed that the dolls would take on bad luck in place of the daughters. Parents would place dolls in rivers and watch them float away. Today, dolls are displayed to protect daughters from bad luck.
On Hina Matsuri it is also customary to drink sweet sake and eat Chirashi Sushi. Chirashi Sushi is a tossed sushi, often with cooked seasonal vegetables, or “scattered” with various sashimi, hence the name “chirashi” which means to scatter. There is no set recipe or formula for Chirashi Sushi. It is often eaten all over Japan, even on days besides Hina Matsuri, as it is easy, inexpensive and filling.
March 14 is also a unique event day in Japan. Traditionally in Japan, women give men chocolates on Valentine’s Day (February 14th). Chocolates are not only given to the men they love, but also to friends, bosses and co-workers (see our blog post from last month for details). Men return the favor one month later on White Day (March 14th) by gifting women with different types of goodies, and each item has a different meaning. For instance, if a man returns in marshmallows, it means “I don’t like you”. Candies mean “I like you” and cookies mean “let’s stay as friends”. White Day is just as popular as Valentine’s Day, and could get quite expensive for some “popular” men.
Product of The Month: Gourmet d’Expert® Electric Skillet (EP-RAC50)
This month, we chose the Gourmet d’Expert® Electric Skillet as the product of the month, because it makes a mean Irish Potato Pancake, just in time for St. Patty’s Day. Now, off to search for that pot o’ gold!
February is an important month in Japan, where there are three major special events celebrated: Setsubun, Kenkoku-Kinenbi and Valentine’s Day. Each has its own set of traditions and rituals associated with the holiday.
Setsubun, or the Bean-Throwing Festival, is celebrated on February 3rd. It is traditional for people to throw dried soybeans and chant in order to drive away demons of misfortune and thus allow prosperity to enter one’s life and family. It is the equivalent of “Spring Cleaning” in Western cultures. Men often wear masks representing these bad-luck demons or cherubs of bad fortune, as family members throw beans at them to ward them off. Another custom at Setsubun is to eat the number of soybeans corresponding to your own age for good luck.
Kenkoku-Kinenbi is a national Japanese holiday that commemorates the founding of the nation. This holiday is one of the major holidays in Japan. People show their patriotism by raising the Japanese flag at their gates. Kenkoku-Kinenbi is celebrated on February 11.
Valentine’s Day is a popular event in Japan. The traditions in Japan have one main difference from that in the West: in Japan, women give chocolate to men instead of the other way around. Women also often give out giri-choco or “obligation chocolate” to coworkers, bosses or male friends. They stress the word “giri” to emphasize that there is no romantic feeling associated with the gift. There’s been some new Valentine’s Day customs popping up in recent years. One is called gyaku-choco, or ”reverse chocolate”, meaning chocolates are given to women by men. Also, tomo-choco “friendship chocolate” is becoming popular amongst Japanese girls, where chocolates are given to female friends.
Product of The Month: Ms. Bento® Stainless Lunch Jar (SL-NCE09).
The Ms. Bento® Stainless Lunch Jar contains a washable outer container, three microwaveable inner bowls (including a soup bowl), forked spoon, and convenient carrying bag. Its vacuum insulation keeps foods hot or cold for hours. It offers a durable stainless steel construction with excellent heat retention.
Zojirushi would like to say hello to the social media world! Our company has been making excellent products that enhance our customers’ lives. Whether you enjoy one of our products in the kitchen like one of our rice cookers, or on the go with a vacuum bottle, or our commercial line of products at a restaurant, you have experienced the high quality and thoughtfulness that goes into every product. Zojirushi is extending the ability to have better contact with our fans and customers. We have created a new social media footprint in North America.
Our Facebook page is designed to be a location for customers to get educated about our Zojirushi product line. We also hope to engage with many of our fans and start many dialogs about how our products have impacted your cooking and enjoyment of food! Facebook is a great place for us to share photos, stories, recipes and many stories with our extended Zojirushi family – be sure to Like us on Facebook and join the conversation!
Twitter is an exciting venue for Zojirushi. With so many people talking about so many things, Twitter is a destination for us to engage in quick notifications and great for us to connect with our customers and fans of our brand. Be sure to join our Twitter Following when you have a chance.
Product of The Month
Is our IH Rice Cooker NP-HBC which comes in a 5.5 cup and 10 cup version. It offers superior induction heating (IH) technology, an easy to clean clear coated stainless steel exterior. It will look great in your stainless steel kitchen!