Welcome to

A Taste of the Tohoku

where you can expand your repertoire of regional dishes. Posts to this page will feature material not included in my e-original book, KIBŌ

Lift, dip, and slurp!

Hand-stretching  sōmen noodles

noodles are associated with Tanabata and this edition of A Taste of the Tohoku provides you with stories about the noodles and the festival. Download the information-recipe sheets below to make your own noodle fest-feast.
Dōzo, meshi agaré (Eat up!)
Ready to try slurping sōmen? Packages of slender wheat noodles can be purchased at most Asian groceries outside Japan. Here is information to get you started: 
  • Buying, Storing & Cooking Sōmen: basic information that includes a recipe for preparing the noodles and a fuller
  • Serving Sōmen: includes information on how to tie up bundles of dried noodles before cooking them so that they flow.


Star Festival

The city of Sendai, founded by daimyō Daté Masamuné (1567-1636) has celebrated Tanabata in one form or another for centuries. The current format -- celebrating the festival August 6-8 (rather than July 7th as is common practice elsewhere in Japan), decorating the city’s main streets with huge windsock-like streamers and hosting a parade – is a fairly recent phenomenon (1928).

Read more about it...

Thousands of people attended the Sendai Tanabata Festival Sendai on Aug. 6. (Photo by Masaru Komiyaji appeared in the Asahi Shimbun on August 8, 2011 accompanying an article by staff writer Shoko Rikimaru)

To find out more about the legend of Tanabata, click here...

Noodle Fun and Making Wishes 

Eating nagashi sōmen ("flowing noodles") brings folks together in the hot-weather for noodle fun. Families, friends, co-workers, school and hobby groups, and merchant associations often host noodle-catching gatherings like the one below. In post-Disaster Tohoku communities these provide important opportunities to create new, and strengthen existing, interpersonal bonds: KIZUNA

Writing wishes on tanzaku (paper strips), below.

Tanzaku are hung on bamboo poles.