Emi & Katsu’s Hatsume Top Five

For those of you in the mood for a countdown, Hatsume is just two weeks away! We’re excited to share this uniquely spring celebration with you all, and our Hatsume mascots, Emi and Katsu, can’t wait to tell you about what we’ve got in store. We’ll hand over the reins to lovely Emi now as she presents:

Emi & Katsu’s Hatsume Top 5!

#5: Spring Morikami Style

Katsu and I love to stroll through Roji-en on a festival day! The gardens are buzzing with excitement, especially when Roji-en is in full spring bloom. Enjoy an open-air tea ceremony or picnic under hand-crafted cherry blossoms. Oh, and make sure to pick up a Morikami picnic blanket!

#4: Treats & Eats

Katsu and I disagree on what’s the absolute best thing to eat at Hatsume (he likes the Japanese snacks at the Museum Store’s Sweet Shop, while I like the Cornell Café’s special Chirashizushi), but we can agree that there are LOTS of great things to try. From the Sweet Shop in the Museum Store, to Japanese and American favorites throughout the grounds, there’s plenty of good eats to be had. You can get an idea of what to try by checking out the menu ahead of time (Pro tip: it’s also a good idea to see how many tickets you’ll need for festival food or the Cornell Café while you mull over the menu.)

Once you’ve purchased your piping hot Spring Rolls, you’ll want a nice chilled beverage to go with them. Visit the Kirin Beer Garden or the ever-popular Sake Station – staffed by Stacole Fine Wines, and a very special guest directly from Japan: Richard Priest of the Kikusui Brewery! Richard will pour some delicious selections from his brewery AND squeeze in some Sake 101 talks.

#3: Shop & Play

Once we’ve had our fill of delicious food and drinks, Katsu and I like to meander through the avenues of craft, plant and tea vendors. There are so many wonderful vendors to see that we need both days to scout out what we want to purchase (That’s why we’re so excited about the new weekend pass!) Whether you like handmade jewelry, bonsai trees, authentic Japanese teas, or locally designed apparel, there’s something for everyone in the Hatsume Marketplace.

After we’ve closed the deal on some fantastic finds, Katsu can’t wait to head to the kids’ activities. This year he’s especially excited about making onigiri, or Japanese rice balls, with the education staff. Katsu is also looking forward to playing with ribbon kites and making his own origami planter with matching origami butterfly!

#2: Anime @ Hatsume

Anime has been one of mine and Katsu’s favorite parts of Hatsume since it was added in 2009. We can’t wait to see all the exciting things Tate’s and the other anime vendors will bring! Katsu loves to watch the Fine Print Shoppe live screen print t-shirts, and this year yours truly are featured on the shirts (designed by local artist TeslaCake)! You can get your Emi or Katsu shirt printed for FREE when you bring your own shirt, or buy one for $10.

As if the anime vendors weren’t enough to keep you busy all day, this year – for the first time ever- there will be a Hatsume Arcade featuring classic Japanese video games like Pacman, Dance Dance Revolution, and Galanga. When you’ve danced your heart out in the theater, head over to the Morikami Caricature station in the lobby, and take home your very own hand-drawn caricature to commemorate your day at Hatsume.

Last but certainly not least, bee-line to the Pikachu stage on Saturday for the Costume Contest, and on Sunday for the 2nd Annual Fashion Show (just one more reason we think you should try out a weekend pass). The colorful and creative outfits are sure to wow in the last few hours of the festival, and the competition is fierce!

#1: Action-Packed Entertainment

That brings us to the number one thing we love about Hatsume Fair – the entertainment!

We’ll hear Richard Priest of Kikusui Brewery give us the sake lowdown on the Pikachu Stage, before it transforms into a runway for the hottest costume and fashion contests this side of Palm Beach. Come strut your stuff or play paparazzi!

Over at the Osaka Stage you’ll witness the stamina and dedication of the very best of local martial artists. Hatsume is the only time of year you can see all these athletes in one place, so don’t miss out!

And, finally, on the Tokyo Stage: take in the rumbling of the taiko drums! You might have guessed that this is Katsu’s favorite part of the day, and he can’t wait to take part in the interactive kids’ taiko show at noon on both days. The Tokyo stage plays host to Ronin Taiko & the Wadaiko Academy on Saturday, and Fushu Daiko on Sunday. So, if you want to pick your favorite, you’ll have to get that weekend pass!

Thanks to Emi & Katsu for helping us pick out the best parts of Hatsume, and please feel free to add to the list in the comments below – we love hearing from you! See you all in a couple of weeks!

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Delicious Eats & a Taste of the Rice Pounding Ceremony – Part 2 of Our New Year’s Series

UPDATE 1/10/14: Due to extreme flooding Oshogatsu has been postponed until Sunday, January 19, 2014. If you have already purchased tickets you will receive an email with details about your purchase. Otherwise, you may still purchase tickets online until Friday, January 17th at noon. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope to see you all there next Sunday!

 

With Part 2 of our New Year’s Blog series we want to talk about one of our favorite parts of any celebration – you guessed it – the food. Food plays an important part in celebrating the Japanese New Year; from Mochitsuki, rice-pounding to make mochi cakes, to special New Year’s eats, there’s a lot to taste and try when you visit us during Oshogatsu.

NEW YEAR’S FOODS

There are a few foods that are important symbols of good luck and happiness for the New Year. These special New Year’s foods are called osechi-ryori, and are traditionally packed in layered lacquer boxes called jubako, which are similar to bento boxes. The dish depends on the area, but some common dishes include kuromame (simmered black soy beans), kurikinton (mashed sweet potato with sweet chestnuts), tazukuri (candied dried sardines), renkon (lotus roots) and shrimp.

Each dish and ingredient holds meaning. Some dishes are said to bring good health, others a good harvest, happiness, prosperity, longevity, etc. Traditionally, yellow dishes and ingredients such as kazunoko (herring roe) symbolize prosperity, while mame (beans) are for good health. Usually, people make osechi dishes by New Year’s Eve to last through the first few days of the year so that they won’t have to cook during the celebration days.

At Morikami we’ll serve our own take on a few of these New Year’s flavors, as well as traditional mochi cakes straight from our the rice pounding ceremony. (We’ll also serve a few familiar American festival favorites.) No matter what, there will be plenty to taste!

NEW YEAR’S EATS AT OSHOGATSU

This year, as a special treat, the Cornell Café will serve a dish called chirashizushi. Traditionally, this is a festive dish served on special occasions, and loosely translates to “scattered sushi.” Ours includes tuna and salmon sashimi with shrimp, snow peas, carrots and a symbol of longevity in the new year – an origami crane. On festival grounds we’ll offer some other New Year’s eats like soba noodles and coconut shrimp!

Soba is a traditional noodle dish, made from buckwheat noodles in a hot soup, and symbolizes wishes for good luck in the year ahead. Shrimp is also an important symbolic food for New Year’s and is believed to promote longevity. Some say this is because shrimp have curved backs like the very elderly. Check out our food page as the event gets closer for more on what we’ll be serving up as well as full menus.

THE RICE POUNDING CEREMONY

Mochitsuki—the rice pounding ceremony – is essential to Oshogatsu, and is one of our favorite parts of the festivities. Traditionally, mochitsuki begins the day before by soaking the mochigome (sweet rice paste). The next day, the mochigome is ready to be steamed in the seiro (a wooden steaming frame) and then put into the usu, a large mortar made from wood, stone or concrete. The hot rice paste is then pounded with a kine ,a big wooden hammer, until smooth and shiny.

One of the most exciting parts of mochisutki is watching the cooperation between the person pounding and the person assisting (who quickly darts his or her hand into the usu and turns the rice before the next rhythmic pound of the hammer). It takes some coordination to get it right, but once the mochi is smooth and consistent in texture it’s placed onto a mochiko (sweet rice flour) covered surface, and small portions are pinched off, formed into balls, flattened and then set aside to cool until ready to eat.

At Morikami we perform the rice-pounding ceremony a few times throughout the day in order for everyone to get a chance to see and participate in the spectacle.

Tune in next week for a special New Year’s edition of Vlogs With Veljko where he’ll tell us about a very special Japanese New Year’s tradition- Nengajo!

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Share the Good News!

We’re thrilled to announce that Delray Subaru has officially signed on as the Presenting Sponsor for Lantern Festival 2013! We’re asking our fans to spread the word by sharing our Saturday announcement on Facebook and in return, one lucky someone will snag some serious Morikami and Delray Subaru prizes. Here’s what’s up for grabs from yours truly:

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  • A pair of tickets to Lantern Festival, our sure-to-sell-out fall celebration coming up Saturday, October 19
  • Two signature Morikami fans, water bottles, mugs, and tote bags
  • $10 worth of festival food and beverage tickets and $10 to spend at the Cornell Café

And Delray Subaru didn’t skimp on their end either; they’ve offered up a FREE car spa package that includes the following, whether or not you drive a Subaru:

  • Detail service
  • Oil and filter change
  • Wash and wax

Gotten this far? It’ll take you a lot less time to enter to win! Visit our Facebook page this weekend to share our Delray Subaru sponsorship announcement and cross your fingers and toes till Monday. And if it’s not your lucky day, don’t despair: Lantern Fest giveaways will pop up till the big day right here on our blog, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (as if you needed another reason to stay in touch!)

Got your tickets yet? Lantern Fest tickets WILL sell out and prices go up in just a few short weeks. Snag yours here to play it safe, and give the ones you win to your two favorite people. However you get there, we can’t wait to celebrate with you in October!

Get More Morikami – Join the Membership Family!

Though summer’s considered “slow season” at Morikami, with the kids out of school and vacations on the horizon, we know this is one of the best times for our guests to visit. So, why not join the Morikami family and get more out of each visit? Not only do members enjoy free admission every day, each membership level offers exclusive benefits that allow you to curate your own Morikami experience. And, as we barrel toward our season kick-off, there are even more reasons to join! Visit our membership page for full details, or read on for some of our favorite membership perks.

Annual memberships range from $40 for students all the way up to $1500 for our most exclusive Wisdom Ring level. No matter your level of membership, enjoy special invitations to members-only events, discounts in the Cornell Café, Museum Store and at nearby Way Beyond Bagels, as well as free daily admission and free and fast track entrance to festivals (including Lantern Festival 2013 as well as Oshogatsu and Hatsume 2014) and Sushi & Stroll Summer Walks. Beginning at our Dual membership level, you can double your Morikami fun with matching benefits for a second adult in addition to children or grandchildren.  All members also receive discounts on our educational programs like lectures, classes and workshops.

If you’re looking for the most Morikami has to offer, we suggest exploring our Samurai and Wisdom Ring levels. Here’s an overview of their exclusive benefits:

Samurai ($550)

At our second highest level of membership, Samurai members enjoy free daily admission for four guests, as well as 10% off museum facility rentals and exclusive access to the Morikami Book Club that meets monthly at the museum to discuss Japanese themed or Japanese authored works.

Wisdom Ring ($1500)

The Wisdom Ring is our highest level membership, and offers the unique opportunity to be intimately involved in the museum’s art acquisition. A third of each member’s annual subscription dollars directly support purchases for Morikami’s permanent collection, and once a year, Wisdom Ring members are invited to vote on which pieces they’d like to see the museum acquire. Morikami curators reveal these newly purchased pieces at the annual Wisdom Ring Recognition dinner.

Above and beyond any other membership level, Wisdom Ring members enjoy free daily admission for up to 10 guests, invitations to Wisdom Ring members-only events, lectures and previews. Past events include dinners at South Florida’s best Japanese restaurants, a “Girls’ Night Out” cooking class, and special Shabu Shabu dinner with Miami-based celebrity chef Makoto Okuwa. Along with the Samurai level membership, Wisdom Ring members are also invited to participate in the Morikami Book Club.

There’s a membership level for everyone; whether you’re a student, an educator or invested community member, we invite you to find your place in the Morikami family.

Explore, Wish, Taste, Create: Celebrating Tanabata at Morikami

Friday evening’s Sushi & Stroll is especially festive as we gear up for Tanabata, Japan’s Star Festival. We’re excited to offer you a couple of ways to get in on this whimsical celebration.

Explore
The galleries will be open all evening to give you a glimpse at our current exhibit Tanabata: Japan’s Star Festival – Views of Tanabata In São Paulo, Brazil by Jade Matarazzo. The exhibit features a selection of photographs by Jade Matarazzo, who captured the Tanabata festival as it’s celebrated in São Paulo, Brazil, home to the largest Japanese community outside of Japan. Take it  in with the backdrop of live Brazilian guitar music.

Wish
Beginning on Friday and continuing through July 11, we invite you to make a wish on our Tanabata tree. We’ll have colorful tanzaku slips available for you to write your wish and hang it on the bamboo tree, in keeping with Japanese custom. Need a little inspiration? Check out the wishes already on display in the galleries!

Taste
Back by popular demand, our resident Sake Specialist, Carrie Becker, will sell a range of specially selected sakes that will pair perfectly with whatever you choose from the Cornell Café, sweet or savory. Be sure to check out the café’s Sushi & Stroll menu to whet your appetite for Friday, too!

Create
Whether you’re celebrating the Star Festival or the Stars and Stripes, you can color and fold your very own origami star. Learn how with this simple tutorial, and feel free to share your creations with us here, on facebook, instagram, twitter or pinterest. Here’s ours:

origami stars tanabata

As always, the garden will be open to stroll, and we’ll feature two taiko performances by the ever-popular Fushu Daiko. Tickets for taiko are $2, and often sell out, so be sure to get your tickets early in the evening!

With so many ways to celebrate, we hope you’ll join us for this evening full of delicious flavors, colorful sights, and captivating sounds. See you Friday!

From I Do to Congratulations, Morikami Offers Beautiful Celebrations

We all know the four basic seasons (even if we don’t get to enjoy them to the fullest here in South Florida) but here at Morikami, and venues across the nation, a fifth season is in full swing – Wedding Season! From photo sessions to dress alterations, cake tastings to music selections, we know all about the joys (and stresses) weddings can bring. If you’re looking for a little peace and tranquility in the midst of all that planning, why not give Morikami a look?

With romantic sites in the peaceful gardens, and options for both indoor and outdoor celebrations, Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens has become one of South Florida’s premier rental facilities for weddings and special events. We offer a variety of packages and can accommodate parties large and small. Not only are the gardens and terraces a perfect backdrop to any event, we also offer on-site, personalized catering from the Cornell Café.

For the bride or groom that would prefer the slightly cooler weather, we’re offering a special on any event in October 2013! When you book a wedding, ceremony, party or other event for October 2013 you’ll receive 45% off your facility rental fee! Visit our facility rental page for details.

Need a few more reasons to host your special day with us? Check out our Wedding Inspiration board on Pinterest , visit the wedding gallery on our website, or scroll down for a few images of the lovely celebrations we’ve hosted. They’re worth a thousand words and then some.

Happy Wedding Season!

wedding party lake

table on terrace terrace and favorswedding lake three shots couple in garden couple on bridge

Rain or Shine, Sake is Always a Good Time!

Picture this: you’re strolling through Roji-en, taking in the sights and sounds of bamboo rustling in the wind, wildlife scampering over the path and Morikami Lake gently lapping at the shore of Yamato Island. You’ve just filled your belly with delightful sushi and Pan-Asian cuisine from the Cornell Café that paired perfectly with a crisp and cool sip of sparkling sake. As you round the lake and your stroll comes to a close you make your way to the theater for the rousing beats of Fushu Daiko’s taiko drumming.

Now, make that refreshing dream a reality by visiting us for Sushi & Stroll tomorrow, which is aptly themed Sip & Stroll – An All about Sake Evening. We’ll welcome Sake Specialist, Carrie Becker of Stacole Fine Wines as well as special guest Hisashi Kobayashi, owner of the Musashino Brewery in Japan. Carrie and Hisashi-san will give you the low down on Japan’s signature spirit at their Sake 101 presentation at 7pm, and offer a variety of sake from Musashino Brewery, among others. Here’s what Carrie suggests you pair with your delicious bite – savory or sweet – from the Cornell Café:

  • Cold sesame noodles, teriyaki salmon or crispy pork – Ten to Chi Junmai Daiginjo (ultra premium) – $6
  • Curry chicken or  BBQ chicken – Daku Junmai Nigori (unfiltered) – $6
  • Baked mussels, California or vegetable roll, or any dessert item – Hou Hou Shu Sparkling Sake – $9
  • Seaweed salad, egg rolls, tempura shrimp roll, crispy pork or pork dumplings – Hiko’s ‘Ka No Izumi (premium) – $5

If this is your first go-round with sake, our Sip & Stroll themed evening is the perfect introduction. Both Carrie and Hisashi-san are available all evening to answer questions from beginners and connoisseurs alike. Still need a little sake primer? Check out this article from Japan Times about sake pairing and tasting.

Also, please note that Sushi & Stroll is a rain or shine event. The gardens and Yamato-kan will be open unless there is inclement weather. If this is the case we will close the Yamato-kan and open our main galleries. All other activities including taiko, sake sales and Sake 101 will be indoors.

Don’t forget to stop by our Facebook page for opportunities to win Sushi & Stroll tickets, exclusive event tees and more, and as always: visit us on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Vine for the latest updates on all things Morikami!

Make It The Best Mother’s Day Yet!

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and we know you are looking for the perfect way to shower your mom with the appreciation she deserves. That’s why we’ve put together a very special Mother’s Day outing that will transport your mom from Delray to Japan with neither airfare nor passport required. In addition you could win FREE mimosas at the Cornell Cafe by following the instructions below. Scroll down for contest rules, or continue reading to see what you can expect this weekend!

Cornell Café:  A delicious Pan-Asian brunch overlooking the beautiful Morikami gardens. Enjoy a prix-fixe menu, as well as a passion fruit mimosa drink special (an additional $3.95). Reservations are being accepted between 10:30am – 11:45am only. Otherwise, seating is first come, first served.

Morikami Museum Store: Say thanks with a special item from the Museum Store, and enjoy a free gift with a purchase of $30 or more – this beautiful floating heart candle!

Roji-En: A serene walk through Roji-en encompassing six distinct gardens, a koi feeding area, Japan Through the Eyes of a Child (an interactive children’s exhibit) and our world-class bonsai display will be the perfect way to surround your mom with the beauty of nature.

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Kids’ Craft: Handmade gifts are always mom-approved, and the perfect gift for kids to make!  Visit our craft table in the lobby where our education department will be on hand to help kids make a special origami bookmark for mom on her special day. Write mom a special message in a one-of-a-kind creation.

Give the Gift of Membership: Join our Morikami family and give your mom the gift of membership! On Mother’s Day only, moms get 10% off new memberships or renewals and a free gift.

Don’t miss out on all that Morikami has to offer! Find more details on Mother’s Day happenings here.

Mother’s Day Contest

Raise a glass for mom! Leave us a comment below (you’ll need to leave us your name and email in the comment form) by Friday (5/10/13) at noon, and tell us why your mom is the best. The lucky winner will get a coupon for FREE mimosas at the Cornell Cafe on Mother’s Day! What a great way to toast your mom and show her how much you appreciate her.

Mimosa

No Snow in SoFla! It’s Time for Morikami’s Outside Dining

December doesn’t seem like the time for iced green tea and hot miso soup. No, it’s the season of pumpkin pie and mulled cider.

Unless, of course, you live in South Florida – home of record temperatures. We sit in front of our TVs, watching blizzards and icy roads wreak havoc on our northern neighbors with the A/C running. It’s hot outside down here!

But not too hot to take in the outside dining pleasures of the Cornell Café. I was there a few days ago, sitting on the patio overlooking blue skies and the greenery of Roji-En. Me and about 25 others had figured out that the humidity had lessened and the rain had abated long enough for us to really enjoy an al fresco menu of Asian cuisine.

One iced green tea, bowl of miso soup, shrimp tempura roll and eggplant entrée later, I was perfect – just like the weather.

Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know it’s time for eggnog and carols on yuletide something or another. But if you live near me, it’s also time to eat outside at the Cornell Café before the bugs, dark clouds and oppressive stickiness of summer days return.

A table has your name on it.

A bento box features a sampling of the Cornell Cafe menu.

Outside dining in December at the Morikami? No sweat -- literally!