We received a couple of seasonal care packages recently. Yuki's Mom sent us some udon (稲庭うどん) and soumen. (小豆島そうめん) They're usually eaten cold in the summer; you boil and wash the noodles then eat them by dipping them in a soy-based sauce.
Speaking of summer foods, our friend Aya sent us edamame and a watermelon.
Take a look:
This kind of edamame, which is from Niigata, is called chamame (茶豆).
If you read Chinese characters, you'll notice the first character means tea.
That character also stands for the color brown.
Chamame gets its name from the brownish tint of the skin of the edamame bean.
This beauty was born and raised in Uonuma, Niigata,
which is famous for super-expensive rice
(Uonuma rice is a brand name in Japan, the Louis Vuitton of rice)
and the noted actor Ken Watanabe,
perhaps the only rice farmer ever to get an Academy Award nomination. ; )
An even more beautiful view.