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    Newly Harvested Rice – Shinmai

    By thomas | October 2, 2007

    A bag of shinmai.  New rice!It’s now October and the temperature has started to drop on the islands. Fall is finally here! One of the great things about Fall, other than the cool weather and falling leaves, is that it is rice harvest season. If you live in a rural area you might have seen this harvesting firsthand [edit: or even harvested it yourself!]. Harvest time is a really exciting time. After a year of waiting, we can finally eat shinmai again!

    Shinmai (新米 [しんまい]) quite literally means “new rice”. The Japanese harvest their rice in September and October, and a portion of that rice is sent to market right away. There’s something really special about shinmai. It’s soft, smells wonderful and has a hint of sweetness (after you cook it that is). It really is a step above “regular” rice. In the countryside it is quite common to receive new rice as a gift from your neighbors. If you live in an urban area I recommend you go to your local store right away and buy a bag. Look for a sticker that says 新米. Stores may also put the shinmai sticker on boxed lunches (弁当 [べんとう]) that were made with new rice.

    Shinmai label.  New rice!
    Look, it’s yesterday’s date! It doesn’t get much fresher than this.
    Shinmai polish date - new rice!

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    Topics: Fall | 9 Comments »Trackback

    9 Responses to “Newly Harvested Rice – Shinmai”

    1. Jonneh Says:
      October 2nd, 2007 at 7:52 pm

      Mmm, sounds good from your description! I want some now!

    2. Caito Says:
      October 3rd, 2007 at 6:41 am

      Ha, I may have SEEN people harvesting rice? Ha! I helped out! And was given some fresh rice as a gift (along with some delicious plum wine).

      It tasted fantastic. I thought though that I was only imagining that it tasted sweeter, good to know it’s not just me.

    3. thomas Says:
      October 3rd, 2007 at 12:00 pm

      Jonneh: Go get some, post-haste!

      Caito: That’s really cool! Was it back-breaking work? Or did you just ride a tractor? I’ll edit the article.

    4. Jonneh Says:
      October 3rd, 2007 at 7:34 pm

      I don’t know where to get it, I’m not living in Japan yet! :P It’ll be a few years, haha.

    5. Caito Says:
      October 5th, 2007 at 2:36 am

      Actually I helped harvest the corners of the field by hand, because apparently that makes it easier to maneuver the tractor through. If you don’t do the corners first, you risk running over some plants and thus losing some of the rice. That’s what my understanding of it is, at least. It makes sense to my former 4-Her brain.

      It wasn’t back-breaking, really (easier than picking strawberries for hours on end, and a lot less buggy too!) though my left arm was sore enough afterwards that I went to the doctor to get it checked. That’s how I found out I have a tumor :X Other than that, though, it was a really positive experience!

    6. thomas Says:
      October 6th, 2007 at 6:56 pm

      Jonneh: Good things come to those who wait.

      Caito: So you did it by hand! Or rather, by sickle. The reason I asked if it was back-breaking is because I always see those old people walking around who are permanently bent over at an angle. I always assumed it was from a lifetime of harvesting rice by hand.

    7. Caito Says:
      October 6th, 2007 at 9:49 pm

      If you did it for ages and ages, I’m sure your back would eventually wind up bent, but seeing as I only did it for a morning, I can still stand straight and relatively tall.

    8. October Hacks From The Past Roundup | Says:
      October 31st, 2008 at 12:30 pm

      […] Shinmai – rice fresh from the harvest. It looks, smells and tastes better. Read how to find it in the store. […]

    9. zoe tay’s nutritious good things « this is premium writing, no? Says:
      November 21st, 2008 at 5:29 am

      […] the kids is $23-a-pack Japanese rice. My husband doesn’t know. thanks to whoelse, I tasted 新米 (new rice harvested in September and October) in Japan this time. it is like most good things in […]