Radiating Rosemary


Placing a few sprigs of rosemary on a warm radiator in the winter months can make a dwelling smell heavenly.  Despite the arrival of April, Brooklyn still hasn’t managed to
fully jump into spring.


霜ばしら/Frost Pillars


Frost Pillar_Final

My husband and I received these delicate, delicious candies as a gift this past weekend.

Made from starch syrup, sugar, glutinous rice, and starch, Shimobashira (霜ばしら) are a traditional Japanese candy which are only sold between October and April in Miyagi Prefecture’s Sendai City.

Shimobashira means “frost pillar” and the candies are meant to resemble the  small pillars of frost that form near the foot of Mount Zao during the winter season. In English, frost pillars are often called Needle Ice.  They are formed when soil temperature is above freezing (0°C/32°F) and air’s surface temperature is below freezing.

The fragile candies are packed in rakugan flour—a mixture of sugar and rice flour—in order to keep them moist and to prevent breakage.  The flour can be lightly heated (the rakugan should not be melted), added to a few pinches of salt, and then used as a topping for the candy, however, Shimobashira can also be enjoyed without the rakugan flour.

Here is an example of real “needle ice”.  I found this image at the following website.




주홍날개꽃매미/Lycorma delicatula


I think that these cicadas are beautiful but they are destructive to plants.  Farm and orchard owners in Korea detest them for the damage that they inflict on crops. They are also appearing in cities in increasing numbers and city dwellers don’t like them either.
The picture was taken in our apartment when one suddenly appeared in the living room.