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food

en ja es pt

OHAYO Bom dia

Chapter 8: The Taste of Manju

Round, and filled with that oh-so-sweet red bean paste. That’s the Japanese treat, manju . Brazilians know it as “doce de feijon ”.

Fukashi Manju

Here’s a story I heard from my mom. It was over 80 years ago. She was living in Shiteio at the time.

One day, a customer from out of town visited. It was another Japanese-Brazilian, bearing an unusual gift: manju .

The kids hung up the broom upside down behind the door. It was an old spell for making visitors leave quickly.

And at last, the visitor left – and the kids headed straight for the manju !

Each manju was divided up into 4 pieces. My mom was one of 10 kids, so the children weren’t able to enjoy a whole manju on their own. That manju was the only snack for that day.
 
I was a single child, and able to eat a whole manju …or two…or as many as I wanted.  However, after hearing that story, manju tasted a little different to me.

Even now when I see a whole manju , I recall that story I heard from my mother. They may have been poor, but what an alive and vibrant family my mom had. It really moves me, and even brings a tear to my eye at times.

No matter how many decades pass, I never forget the taste of manju . It’s a “flavor” I’ll always have a soft spot for.

© 2011 Laura Honda-Hasegawa

Brazil food manju

About this series

My grandfather immigrated to Brazil from Japan about 100 years ago, and I was born in Brazil. That is why I strive to become a ‘bridge’ between Brazil and Japan. I treasure the ‘Japan’ rooted deep in my heart, and I want to keep that part of me protected in my homeland of Brazil. This series was composed with those feelings in mind. (“Bom Dia” is “Good morning” in Portuguese)