By Yuki Fujiwara
Wagashi, traditional Japanese sweets, come in a variety of shapes and levels of technicality, the simpler ones handcrafted by parents and grandparents, the more elaborate ones by patissiers. Made with natural ingredients like bean paste, rice flours, agar jelly, and food dyes derived from plants and flowers, wagashi are enchanting, evocative morsels that express ideas from poetry, literature, textiles, and most often, nature.
Kyoto-based wagashi artist Yuki Fujiwara says her fascination with these mystical, storytelling gem-like forms started with a childhood of collecting stones and minerals.
“Both of my parents worked in the field of geology. I still have a treasured tiny piece of quartz from my father,” Yuki says.
As an adult, she distills the wonders of the universe into dreamy edible creations.
“If there is a difference between an ordinary person and me, it may be an experience value for “how to show things”. As a designer, my job is to show what is in front of me better than it really is. I think that what I design will change depending on what I want to express, but I also what was the image that most resonates with my heart.”
Moss is one of the most important components in a Japanese garden. It symbolizes the smallness of a human being in contrast to the greatness of nature and the flow of time, as it takes a long time for moss to cover an entire rock or ground. Grown moss teaches us the brevity of a human life. The sensual, soft surface, like a green fluffy carpet, also attracts many of us. This Japanese confectionery called kinton (chestnut and white bean puree) represents the Japanese moss garden with morning dew in a wooden box.
Perhaps no other language can be compared to Japanese when it comes to a sensitivity to the nuances of nature, especially rain. It is natural to develop different words and onomatopoeia for rain in a rainy country. Potsu-Potsu; Zaa-Zaa, Shito-Shito, Para-para… This confectionery visualizes the different types of rain.
Potsu-Potsu: Light rain, usually at the very beginning of rainfall
Zaa-Zaa: Lots of heavy rain pouring down
Shito-Shito: Slowly falling rain
Scent of Spring
The harsh cold loosens its grip and a hint of spring is in the air.
Flower buds gradually begin to swell and let us know that spring is just around the corner.
This confectionery captures the moment that a flower is about to bloom.