Archive for October 16th, 2006

Imonikai 2006

Monday, October 16th, 2006


Yesterday we had a yearly event held in the fall, typical of the Tohoku district, i.e. Japan’s North-Eastern area. For this event called “Imonikai”, people usually gather outside, preferably in natural surroundings, and make a kind of soup/stew as the main dish. “Imo” literally means potato, and “ni” comes from the Japanese verb “to boil”. The suffix “kai” is usually used for gatherings, hence “Imo-ni-kai”. Obviously, the main ingredients include sweet potatoes and other vegetables, but there are also local variations within the Tohoku area. For example, here in Miyagi prefecture the soup is miso based, and the meat is pork, which is called “tonjiru”(literally: pork soup). However, in Yamagata prefecture, the soup is shouyu based and they use beef instead of pork.

We were invited to Tome city, by the family of some of my private students. The weather was fantastic, and this was the first imonikai we were able to spend without wearing jackets. We had it “Yamagata style” (see above), and it was really great. If you ever come to North-Eastern Japan, this is definitely a must!


Yamagata style soup


Rice mixed with soy sauce, topped with salmon and ikura


Sweet potatoes in foil, sausages and oysters


That beef was excellent, too