Nagashi-Somen, Delicious Noodles in Japan
Summer Activities to Enjoy Special Japanese Noodles in Japan
One of the best things I like about Japan is that the 4-season weather system is clearly reflected in the culture. In fall, you enjoy the changing colors and the sanma. Winter is for oranges in a warm kotatsu at home. Spring, is of course SAKURA. Summer has multiple cultural highlights too. Watermelons, pools, frozen beer, the list goes on. One of my favourites is NAGASHI-SOMEN. Its one of those things that Japanese people only do in the summer. This makes it special and exciting.
Somen is one of the major types of Japanese noodles. The other two major types, I'd say, are soba and udon. Somen has udon's color and texture but isn't as thick. In fact, somen is usually very thin and can be cooked in about a minute. It's so simple, and yet extremely tasty with the right tsuyu, or soup/sauce.
Now I'm sure you're wondering, what does "nagashi" mean? Nagashi means to to flow or to drain. Drain noodles!?!? Well... kind of. Nagashi-somen is not eaten in the comfort of your home. Just as it is a tasty meal, it is also a fun activity with your family and friends. Nagashi-somen used to be done using bamboo sticks on a slope. What you do is you build a little somen water slide using the bamboo. You then slide some somen noodles down with some water and everyone gets to grab some, straight off the somen slide. This is a very Japanese summer activity and is still very popular, especially with families.
During you stay in Japan, I recommend you do a quick search for some nagashi-somen spots and experience this traditional summer activity. Will definitely be a hit, especially with kids!