北の生活文化(Hokkaido specialties and ~)

 

 

北の生活文化(Hokkaido specialties and local cuisine)


 

 
Hokkaido specialties and local cuisine
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62. Sanpei jiru or a fish soup of salmon or
   cod with vegetables
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63. Ramen, a noodle soup with miso or bean
   paste flavor
64. The Commissioner General' Breweries
 The local specialties are characterized by two major traditions, one being Japanese cuisine represented by fish-based soups, marinated herring and fermented fish fillets, and the other being Western food featuring such things as butter, cheese, ham and sausages. Japanese cuisine developed in Matsumae and herring fishing areas based on the culinary traditions of the Tohoku and Hokuriku regions. Western cooking was first introduced by the Hokkaido Development Commission in the early 20th century. Western cuisine which included bread and meat was believed to be more suitable for a cold region where rice production was then considered extremely difficult.

 Beginning around 1955, Japan experienced another one of the dramatic changes in lifestyle which were brought about by greater affluence due to industrial development and increased export. Precooked Chinese noodle soup and curry were particularly notable in the diet of Japanese people. As for Hokkaido, "Ramen Yokocho" or "Ramen noodle street" emerged in 1965 in Sapporo successfully promoting Sapporo ramen throughout Japan. Along with ramen, Mongolian barbecue, named after Jinghis Khan, began to be widely appreciated to such an extent that lamb was imported from New Zealand and Australia to meet increasing demand. Hokkaido's specialties are best represented today by Sapporo Beer, Japan's first German style brewery founded by the Hokkaido Development Commission and by corn on the cob. The latter is called "tokibi" locally and attracts tourists who visit Sapporo's Odori Park in the summertime. Horsehair crab, snow crab and king crab are harvested in winter and shipped to the main island of Honshu besides being consumed locally.
 
Ainu dwellings
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65. Reconstruction of a house thatched with cogongrasses 66. Figured mat spread out on the wall
 In the Ainu language, "cise" means house. In selecting a site for a house, various cousiderations were given including the site's convenience for daily activities of the Ainu people, its low risk of being flooded, the wind direction and suitability for a cold climate. Quite important was a consultation with "kamuy" or gods to ensure the prospective site was not chosen against the will of the "kamuy". A religious ceremony dedicated to the gods was held soon after the site was officially chosen.

 Building the "cise" began with the assemblig of a roof truss construction along with the placement of posts. When the frame was made, the roof and external walls were thatched with dwarf bamboo leaves, the bark of trees, reeds and cogon grass. The Ainu always lit a fire inside the house and this fumigation made the house more durable, making it last up to 20 years, while some units lasted much longer.

 A "cise" was basically composed of one main unit with a small building outside the doorway for an entrance and for storage. "Nusa" or altar, a storage area and toilet were located outside the house. The location of the hearth was most carefully determined since the hearth was the residence of the god of fire. The hearth, therefore, had to be located in a place that was not tainted or influenced by any evil spirit. The gods were believed to enter and leave through a sacred window which was located at the back of a room oriented in a sacred direction toward tall mountains where the most highly revered gods resided. To the left at the back of a room was an area for lacquerware and other treasures of the house besides being a sacred place for the guardian deity of the house. Ainu dwellings have undergone drastic changes over the past 100 years and no one today lives in a house like the one described above.
 
Japanese housing in fishing villages
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67. Banya of the Hanada family, a national cultural asset,
   in Onishika, Obira
68. House of the Sasanami family, a national cultural
   asset, in Kaminokuni
 Remarkable cultural developments regarding Hokkaido housing emerged in the fishing villages during the period from Matsumae era till early 20th century. Herring fishing, a major industry in Hokkaido from the time of Matsumae governance, reached its peak in the Meiji era. Huge catches which were netted annually during a short fishing season continued until the herring stocks became depleted around 1955. Buildings called "Banya" were coustructed to house a huge labor force which was referred to as "Wakaishu." The "Banya's" masculine appearance with its high functionality integrated some modern elements of Western construction creating an unprecedented style of architecture. Building styles such as these might have originated on the Shakotan peninsula at the end of the Edo period or at the beginning of the Meiji era when large-scale set-net fishing was established.

 The word "Banya" originally designated a small house where a limited number of fishermen stayed to manage a fishing area during winter after most fishermen had left the area. The term was later used referring to a house of "Oyakata", the fishermen's overseer or foreman with a quarter to accommodate fishermen.

 The "Banya" of the Hanada family located in Onishika, Obira is registered as one of the important cultural properties of Japan. The building, which was built around 1905, is a typical example of "Banya" construction and is well known for its scale, being the largest of its kind in Hokkaido. One hundred twenty to one hundred thirty "Wakaishu" or fishermen lived in the house during the fishing period from the beginning of March until May.
 
Changes in housing after the development period
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69. Russian style living quarter for soldier farmers 70. Living room of a housing unit for a cold climate in
   Hokkaido
 Among the houses in farming villages were housing units which were provided by the government as residential quarters for the farmer soldiers during the development period. The units with one hearth were nowhere near adequate for the soldiers during their first winter. The units underwent a series of improvements including the installation of additional hearths, chimneys and windows in response to requests made by the farmer soldiers.

 The Taisho and Showa eras saw the emergence of modern Western style housing owned by agriculture scientists and engineers who graduated from Sapporo Agricultural College and those who studied agriculture and farming in Europe and the United States. The lifestyles of those residents also reflected what they had learned from Western society.

 Muroran and Tomakomai, cities centered on the iron and paper industries respectively, were home to gigantic companies which built large-scale housing complexes for their employees. This housing constituted the origin of the apartment complexes that stand today. The community developed by the Tomakomai plant of the Oji Paper and Pulp Company at the end of the Meiji era had restaurants, a hospital and places for entertainment. The housing complexes were geographically distinct and designated either for management or laborers.

 From the year 1945 when post-war restoration began, the prototype for modern housing in Hokkaido was established through such new approaches as double windows, thick insulation, and elimination of open corridors. Other features included intensive, more highly efficient heating achieved by heating large living rooms which were surrounded by small rooms and by constructing fewer corridors inside the houses.
 
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