Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Cookie (Senbei) Bakery

Having decided to walk back to the railway station, I turned to a small road by one of the canals. There was a small shop selling Senbei (a type of biscuits; some vendors label them as 'Senbei Cookies'). I decided to have a look, as it was time to buy something for my friends back in Tokyo.

As common for many small souvenir shops in Japan, there was nobody to be seen in the shop. I inquired if anybody is inside, and an old lady came in from the back door. "Please come in, have a look!", she said in Japanese. I responded, and she was happy that I could talk in Japanese (according to her, Yanagawa does not get so many foriegn tourists). After she found out that I am a student, I was treated more like a kid.

"Today is a hot day. Please have some tea!", she said, passing me some cold tea. Then she explained to me the types of senbei they make, and insisted that I try at least one of each type. "You are a student, you dont have to buy. Just eat some!".

Suddenly, she remembered something. "You should try an oven-fresh one too. Please come in!"she said, and I entered the small bakery behind the shop.

After having a couple of senbei, I took a few photos showing how they are made.

Pouring the mixture into a mould. There are moulds with different shapes, so several types of senbei can be made at the same time.






After rotating one round, the cookies are ready for branding (which is done manually).








This type of senbei are pressed to give them a curved shape.








One of the finished cookies. This bears the symbol of Yanagawa, a boat cruising along a canal lined by willows.




We had a nice chat, which they combined with a short break, before coming out. They said they close shop and go on a short tour in some other country, every year. I sure did buy some senbei (which were much cheaper than in the shops near the station), but still received some for free. "These are for you, we know that you are buying those for the friends!"

The senbei were good. The experience, better. :o)















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