Amezaiku Candies

By Katie Nguyen

Amezaiku is a Japanese candy craft artistry made from a sugar that is made from rice or potato starch. It is heated to about 90 degrees Celsius or 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The artist must then put their hands in the mixture, the mixture must not be too soft or too hard, and the artist must bear the heat it gives off. The artist then shapes the mixture onto a stick and can use tools such as traditional Japanese scissors, called “Wa-Basami” or “Nigiri-Basami,” paint brushes, and food coloring to shape and paint the candy into a figure. Amezaiku candies are usually formed into an animal so that they can appeal to children.

Here are some people making Amezaiku:

https://youtu.be/g6FosltlFoo

https://youtu.be/SfyBMG0XSk0

https://youtu.be/wkLKb2Ebvdw

Amezaiku was first introduced during the Heian period as an offering for temples in Kyoto; in the Edo period, it became widely available. However, although it has been passed down for many generations, it has started to be in decline. One of the artists, Shinri Tezuka, at 27 years old, is one of the youngest people still practicing making amezaiku. He was self-taught and makes lots of animal amezaikus, like gold fishes, frogs, octopuses, and many more, hoping to inspire the next generation of candy crafter to keep the tradition alive. This makes me feel really disappointed that such a beautiful piece of artwork is in decline, because not a lot of people want to make amezaiku, although they are so fascinated about it. If you are ever in Japan and want some amezaiku, please go to his store in Tokyo, Japan. You can also do workshops that teach you how to make amezaiku.

If you want some more information about this go to the website http://www.ame-shin.com/en/.

Hiragana

By Jazmin Angel-Guzman

It’s the time of year where we switched alphabet gears and moved on to Hiragana. Hiragana is the Japanese writing system for non-foreign words. As a class, we have mastered Katakana, the Japanese writing system for foreign loan words. Since we learned Katakana first, which is written with straight lines and is more angular, learning Hiragana now is a little bit more difficult for me. The reason being is that the Hiragana alphabet is more curvy, not really straight, and some of the characters look like Katakana characters which sometimes can be tricky to differentiate. For example, the Katakana character for “se” is セ but the Hiragana character for it is せ.

The ways that help me learn Hiragana is through quizlet, because it allows me to review the characters and it helps me get familiar with them. Another thing that helps me learn Hiragana is the amazing packet my Japanese teacher, Eshita Sensei, provides for us. Not only does it have a whole table of all of the Hiragana characters, but also it has sentences and exceptions within the Hiragana alphabet system that should be taken into consideration. I need to use more of my Katakana and Hiragana pink book as a resource, because I’m not exploiting its use. The book is called Japanese Hiragana & Katakana for Beginners by Timothy G. Stout. Hopefully, I’m really looking forward to mastering Hiragana as well, if I study more and practice writing them. But again, it is all about the process of learning it!

Learning Hiragana


By Kenny Nguyen

After mastering Katakana, one of the three writing systems Japan uses along with Hiragana and Kanji, we jumped straight into learning Hiragana. At first I was struggling with memorizing the characters, because I was still used to the Katakana characters, and Hiragana seems to have a lot of characters that resembles each other. For example A (あ) O (お) Wa (わ) are just examples of some of the characters that resembles each other. But thankfully, Sally and Eshita-sensei provided us with a Hiragana and Katakana book that provided us with extra practice writing Hiragana and Katakana at home. Along with a quizlet that my fellow classmate, Lucca Bey, created, so that we can have an extra way of studying.

Once we master Hiragana and Katakana, there is going to be a karuta competition on March 3rd which hopefully I will be able to attend once I have memorized the new Hiragana characters. Another advantage of mastering Hiragana is that we will finally be able to write and read anything in Japanese, since Katakana are used to represent loanwords and Hiragana for everything else. So I am very excited to master both Katakana and Hiragana, even though it is very challenging. If you ever decide to learn these writing systems, I would recommend writing the characters over and over so that you can get the feel of doing the strokes and your hand will get used to it. But also after mastering hiragana, we will move into Kanji, which I am very excited for. But in the meantime, I will continue to practice my Katakana and Hiragana.