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27 Nov 2005: Global Frequency

A picture

Believe In The Bean

I lived in Japan for several years and, since then, there are several things that I find it difficult to live without.

One of them is bloody service, but acutely aware that I am sounding like a broken record, I won't harp on about it. No, today children, we are here to talk about the delightful wonders of the red bean, anko.

Whereas in the UK, I would find jam buried beneath the beguiling doughnut facade, this was not so in Japan. I remember my first Japanese doughnut experience being less than pleasureable. I realised that what I was eating was no British doughnut as a payload of sweet red bean paste was smuggled into my mouth uninvited. While always trying to pretend to be a local, and unsurprised by things Japanese, I was unable to mask my terror as the red invader took over my taste buds.

As with many things Japanese, they are acquired tastes to the Westerner, but are often worth the effort to get to know. I am now thoroughly converted from non-believer to religious acolyte and find the days are a little... emptier... without the red bean in my life.

Thus it was with rapturous joy that I greeted the gifts from Aki's mother when she came to stay. Not just andounatsu, the anko-filled doughnut, but daifuku mochi as well.

She can stay as long as she wants, I thought.