Tuesday, January 17, 2012

47th Annual "Ekiben Festival" in Tokyo


Packages of two Ekibens, "Northern Festival" (left) and "Maezawa Roast Beef Sushi" (right)

As I introduced in my June 29th, 2011 blog, "Ekiben" is a unique railway culture in Japan. It's a meal for railway passengers, sold at stations. Generally, it's packed in a box to be easily carried around.

Since last Thursday, the "Ekiben Festival" is being held at Keio Department Store in Shinjuku, Tokyo. It's a famous annual event among Tokyoites, because 250 kinds of local Ekibens are gathered from railway stations throughout Japan. This 47th time around, plenty of Ekibens have been collected specifically from the Tohoku District, where a giant earthquake and tsunami hit last year. Needless to say, it's a strong support to this disaster area.

I bought two Ekibens from the Tohoku District. One of them is "Northern Festival", which comes from Miyako Station, the JR East Yamada Line. Miyako is one of the tsunami-devastated cities and is in the process of recovering from the disaster. "Northern Festival" is packed with seafood and rice. Salmon eggs, crab meat, sea urchin, seaweed, chicken egg, vegetables and rice are cooked in the local-style. I enjoyed the harvest from the sea.

The other one is "Maezawa Roast Beef Sushi", which comes from Ichinoseki Station, the JR East Tohoku Line. There are no reports of casualties in Ichinoseki City; however, more than 5000 houses were damaged by the destructive shaking. "Maezawa Roast Beef Sushi" is packed with roast beef and vinegared rice cooked in a sushi-style. The material of roast beef is local Maezawa beef. I enjoyed the taste of the premier beef.

Pray for Tohoku.

Setouts of two Ekibens, "Northern Festival" (left) and "Maezawa Roast Beef Sushi" (right)