Thursday, May 10, 2007

Castella カステラ & the kyoto-sensei

I had three classes today, 1 in the morning and two in the afternoon. I would have had four classes but one got cancelled. It was a pretty good day with a lot of my antics coming out, perhaps I'll discuss those crazy antics in a later post, but today was a decent day made even better by a little gift from kyoto-sensei (vice-principal).

As I mentioned in my previous post about kyoto-sensei coming by, he came by again today this. Only today he was bearing gifts. I was sort of taken aback because he usually doesn't bring gifts.
In his hand be brought a package, a small package with this emperor looking guy on it. So I was sort of curious about it. He sat down at the desk near mine. He started explaining who the guy was.

It turns out he was one of the first Emperors of Japan, Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康). More about this intriguing figure of Japanese history below:

Tokugawa Ieyasu (previously spelled Iyeyasu) (徳川 家康? January 31, 1543June 1, 1616) was the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan which ruled from the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Ieyasu seized power in 1600, received appointment as shogun in 1603, abdicated from office in 1605, but remained in power until his death in 1616.

Anyway, he goes on to tell about Portuguese traders who were allowed in Japan at the time, when practically the rest of the world were blocked from entering Japan until Perry came in and got rid of that practice.

Before he could finish explaining the story, the kyoto-sensei got a call and then he became very busy so he couldn't finish. He told me to enjoy the box of castella, and have a good rest of the day. So, I took the castella home and will eat it after dinner.

In case you are wondering what exactly castella is:

Castella or Kasutera (Japanese: カステラ) is a sponge cake made of sugar, flour, eggs, and starch syrup. It is popular at festivals and as a street food in Japan. Now a specialty of Nagasaki, the cake is thought to be originally from Spain, brought by way of Portuguese merchants in the 16th century. The name is derived from Portuguese pão de Castella, meaning "bread from Castile". Castella cake is usually sold in long boxes, with the cake inside being approximately 27cm long. It is somewhat similar to English madeira cake, also associated with Portugal. Note that there are similar types of sponge cakes named after the same fashion, in French: Pain d'Espagne, in Italian: Pan di Spagna, in Greek: Pantespani (Castile is a former kingdom of Spain comprising its central provinces, thus "Pain d'Espagne' is quasi synonymous to "bread from Castile").

View more about Castella on Wikipedia: English | Japanese

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