Kansai and Kanto
As you know, Japan is a long and narrow country.
Therefore, the climate is totally different depending on the region.
The south belongs to the subtropical zone, the middle to the temperate zone and the north to the subarctic zone.
As a result, culture is also different in each region.
In order to compare and find the difference, we divide them into two: Kansai (関西) and Kanto (関東).
Kansai is in the west(西) and Kanto is in the east (東) .
Soup (Kansai and Kanto)
The water of the Kansai is sweet and goes well with broth (dashi) of seaweed (Kombu).
Then, they add light soy sauce (usu-kuchi Shōyu), tender in color.
It is for this reason that the soup of the Kansai is soft and refined.
On the other hand, the water of the Kanto is hard and goes well with bonito broth (dashi).
Then, they add strong soy sauce (koi-kuchi Shōyu), dark in color.
As a result, the sauce of the Kanto is full-bodied, both sweet and salty.
In the Kansai, eel is cut from the belly side.
There is an expression in Japanese; “open our stomachs” which means to verbalize frankly our opinions or feeling.
In general, people in the Kansai (especially Osakaïst) tend to communicate more directly than people in the Kanto. They love to chat and laugh a lot.
On the other hand, eel is cut by the back side in the Kanto.
Because the action of cutting the belly side reminded warriors (samurai) of the hara-kiri.
“Hara” means abdomen and “kiri” means cutting.
The “hara-kiri” is a ritual suicide by disembowelment that samurais were sometimes obliged to execute when they had committed an unpardonable fault.
That is to say, many warriors (samurai) lived in Edo, today’s Tokyo.
The third difference is the beans used to cook Sekihan.
In the Kansai, people use Azuki (red beans), when they cook Sekihan.
This is the orthodox way to cook Sekihan.
Because the red color of Azuki is vivid and looks beautiful in Sekihan.
But unfortunately, the skin of Azuki is thin and it is too soft to keep its form completely in the process of cooking.
If you are interested in Azuki (red beans), visit here
On the other hand, in the Kanto, they use another type of bean called Sasagé (black‐eyed pea).
Although both Azuki and Sasagé belong to the same genus called vigna, they are totally different beans.
The first difference is its color. Each bean of Sasagé looks darker and duller than Azuki.
The second difference is the thickness of its skin. The skin of Sasagé is thicker than that of Azuki and as a result, Sasagé keeps its form even after being cooked.
As well as the eel mentioned above, the appearance of broken Azuki beans was a reminiscent of Hara-kiri for Samurais.
That is why Sasagé (black‐eyed pea) has been widely used in the Kanto.
On the escalator, people place themselves to the right in the Kansai.
Many merchants lived in the west and merchants preferred to stay on the right.
It was to protect their belongings by holding them firmly in the right hand.
* This story also points to another fact: the vast majority of Japanese people are right-handed.
In Japan, parents tend to give corrections to their children who are found to be a southpaw.
On the contrary, in the Kanto, people place themselves to the left on the escalator.
As I mentioned above, many Samurai lived in the Kanto (especially Edo) and they preferred to stay on the left.
It was to draw his sword quickly at the right moment.
I’ve prepared videos introducing sightseeing spots in prefectures in both Kanto and Kansai.
Let’s enjoy our virtual voyages.