Episode 23 - Homerun Bar Winning Stick, Snow, and...
Hey everyone! I am back with the penultimate entry in the Dagashi Kashi Season 2 Snack Buying Guide! I missed last week, so I am catching up with a two-episode double-feature! I am dropping the first entry now, and then the second one a little bit later tonight. Thank you for understanding and being patient. I had a lot on my plate these last few weeks, much like Coconuts himself. I have been preparing for an event, which I am excited to reveal to you. First, however, we have some episodes to get into! This was a really good episode that focused on Coconuts' dream of becoming a professional manga artist, and gave us an amazing scene at the end in the cold waiting room at the train station. The end of the episode was what we've all been waiting for, so it was definitely an awesome payoff! Let's get into the episode and break down what went down!
Episode 23 starts with Coconuts and his friends working hard on his manga, trying to get it finished in time for the manga review that is coming to town. Coconuts is working on the main art while Hajime is handling background art and any other small tasks she can do. Saya helps by making some coffee to keep Coconuts awake while he works. To can’t really do anything, so he helps by playing video games and telling Coconuts about what’s happening in the game. It doesn’t really seem to help very much. Lol Coconuts’ manga is looking good, and he is almost ready to show off his new manga! It appears to be about a group of friends, who happen to look just like Coconuts and his friends, and the main girl based on Hotaru appears to be a dancer. The manga is called Spin!
They all work really hard, well, except for maybe To, who only works hard at video games. By the end of the night, they’ve managed to finish the manga. However, as the rest of his friends celebrate, Coconuts passes out from exhaustion, remaining in a sitting position. Saya pats Coconuts on the back and he just falls over. They see him snoring, and Saya admits that at least he’s not dead.
I have to say, watching this episode, I actually could relate to Coconuts quite well! These last few weeks I have been staying up all night, getting very little sleep, working on my comic that I write. The artist I work with and I have a deadline next week, as we have a book event at Half Price Books. So, I totally see where Coconuts is coming from when it comes to staying up late working hard on a comic. Chapter 1 debuted at San Francisco Comic Con last year, and I am really excited to release chapter 2 next week. I am going to make a separate post about that later, so please keep an eye out for my post. I really think you guys will like the comic a lot! Enough about me though, back to Coconuts!
After the opening credits, Hajime reminds Coconuts that he shouldn’t be late for the manga review. On his way out, Coconuts remembers the winning Home Rum Bar ice cream stick that Hotaru gave to him on the night of the festival. He opens the drawer and stares at the stick. Coconuts still remembers the promise that Hotaru made to him that day, that she would one day return to Shikada Dagashi. Coconuts still misses Hotaru dearly, and her absence has left him distracted and unable to fully commit to anything. As a result, his manga has suffered and he can't run Shikada Dagashi like he should. Coconuts needs to make a decision about the direction his life is going to take, but it isn't easy for Coconuts without Hotaru by his side.
We then cut to Coconuts riding the train to where the manga review is going to be held. Coconuts arrives at a mall and heads to a bookstore, where a professional mangaka is waiting to review manga. There are several people waiting to show their work to the mangaka, and a few talk among themselves. One guy comments that even though he has submitted work to through this group before, it never gets any easier.
Meanwhile, Hajime arrives at the Endo Café and is greeted by Saya and To. Hajime is there to thank Saya and To for their help “yesterday slash today.” They keep repeating this phrase, which I found quite amusing. Saya points out, just as I did, that To really didn’t do anything at all to help “yesterday slash today.”
Saya says that she is wondering how the manga review is going for Coconuts, and that is makes her nervous even thinking about Coconuts putting himself out there like that with the manga review. To teases his sister by saying that she has been going on like that all day, but Saya blushes, protesting that Coconuts might become a professional manga artist, so she thinks it’s exciting.
Saya suggests that they should throw a party to celebrate Coconuts’ manga review, however, Hajime suggests that it would be best to wait and see first. Hajime thinks that Coconuts might not have a reason to celebrate after all. Uh oh, that can’t be good…
We see a wonderful series of scenes that shows the manga review going spectacularly. The professional manga artist is amazed and even suggests that Coconuts manga might win the award for best new manga. Coconuts’ imagination runs wild and he pictures himself winning the award and his manga becoming very popular. However, the manga reviewer snaps Coconuts out of his day dream and pulls him back into reality.
The manga reviewer asks him how long it took, and Coconuts says that he finished it in a couple of weeks. The manga reviewer, all of a sudden, turns into a jerk and starts talking about how he doesn’t have time to go over every page because there are a lot of people submitting work. He sums it up by saying that Coconuts hasn’t managed his time well. Beyond that, the man doesn’t have much to say. His review is a total waste of time, in my opinion, and doesn’t even touch on the art. The dude was just being an ass, noting really offering anything that can help Coconuts improve. Screw you manga reviewer, Coconuts doesn’t need you!
Although, I suppose trying to finish your manga in the last two days before your event isn't the best idea. cough cough oops... lol
The manga reviewer claims that Coconuts is avoiding his weaknesses, but doesn’t say what those weaknesses are, nor does he offer any solutions other than, “you have years to improve.” Are you serious? How about some advice on how to improve? Or some in depth look at his strengths and weaknesses? Nah, this guy is lame. Lol
Needless to say, Coconuts is devastated.
Walking along the side of the road as the sun sets, Coconuts is feeling down about the review. It took him three hours to get there and the review was over in five minutes. Coconuts realizes that he needs to spend more time on his manga, and he questions why he is the manager of Shikada Dagashi. Pulling the Homerun Bar ice cream stick out of his pocket, Coconuts thinks about Hotaru and if she’ll ever return.
Meanwhile, Saya and Hajime are parting ways, and Hajime comments that she is sorry for bringing the mood down by saying Coconuts didn’t have a reason to celebrate. Saya says it is okay, as snow begins to fall in sheets.
Back where Coconuts is walking to the train station to get home, an announcer at the station informs Coconuts that the trains have been cancelled due to the “inclement weather.” Coconuts just stands on the platform in utter shock.
Coconuts is forced to hang out in the train station’s waiting room, which is a simple wooden shack with a heating stove a tea pot in the center of the room. Groups of people stuck because of the weather sit on benches that line the room’s walls. As time passes, people come and go, but Coconuts remains, his misery increasing with every passing hour.
While there wasn't any dagashi in this weeks episode (it was all about the feels this week), there is a unique opportunity given in this week's episode to explore some of Japan's finer beverages. That's right, not a dagashi candy, but rather, a drink. In episode 23, at the end of the episode, we see Coconuts sitting in the waiting room for the train station. It is a small room with a few benches and a small stove, atop which sat a tea kettle. It was snowing heavily outside, and I am sure it was very cold. Having a stove like that not only keeps that little waiting room nice and toasty warm, but it also allows the occupants to have some yummy warm tea. One must imagine that having a warm cup of tea in that comforting room would be a welcome respite from the weary traveler's journeys.
Tea is a vital part of Japanese life, and is drunk both recreationally and spiritually. Take for example, the sacred Japanese Tea Ceremony. According to japanese-tea-ceremony.net, "The Japanese tea ceremony is called Chanoyu, Sado or simply Ocha in Japanese. It is a choreographic ritual of preparing and serving Japanese green tea, called Matcha, together with traditional Japanese sweets to balance with the bitter taste of the tea. Preparing tea in this ceremony means pouring all one's attention into the predefined movements. The whole process is not about drinking tea, but is about aesthetics, preparing a bowl of tea from one's heart. The host of the ceremony always considers the guests with every movement and gesture. Even the placement of the tea utensils is considered from the guests view point (angle), especially the main guests called the Shokyaku."
Check out this page of videos for some examples of the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
"The Japanese tea ceremony history goes back more eisai history of teathan 1000 years. The first tea leaves were brought back from China by Japanese priests and consumed only at temples for religious purposes."
Matcha is a type of powdered green tea, and it is specifically mixed in a special way during the tea ceremony. Besides from pomp and ceremony, matcha tea is also drunk on a regular basis as a very popular drink. Go anywhere in Japan and you are likely to find yourself a tea shop that sells matcha green tea. Hibiki-an.com states that, "The taste of high grade matcha is smooth and mellow, and not at all bitter. Unique rich foamy texture. High grade matcha is a bright color of green." Traditional Japanese sweets go well with green tea, such as mochi dumplings, senbei crackers, miso meringue, matcha cookies, sweet bean jelly, confectioneries and more.
Wikipedia also has this to say about Matcha green tea:
Other names 抹茶, 'fine powder tea'
Quick description Stone-ground Japanese-style green tea
Matcha (抹茶) is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves. It is special in two aspects of farming and processing: the green tea plants for matcha are shade-grown for about three weeks before harvest and the stems and veins are removed in processing. During shaded growth, the plant Camellia sinensis produces more theanine and caffeine. The powdered form of matcha is consumed differently from tea leaves or tea bags, and is dissolved in a liquid, typically water or milk."
"The traditional Japanese tea ceremony centers on the preparation, serving, and drinking of matcha as hot tea and embodies a meditative spiritual style. In modern times, matcha also has come to be used to flavor and dye foods such as mochi and soba noodles, green tea ice cream, matcha lattes, and a variety of Japanese wagashi confectionery. Often the former is referred to as ceremonial-grade matcha, meaning that the matcha powder is good enough for tea ceremony. The latter is referred to as culinary-grade matcha, but there is no standard industry definition or requirements for either."
"Blends of matcha are given poetic names known as chamei ("tea names") either by the producing plantation, shop, or creator of the blend, or, by the grand master of a particular tea tradition. When a blend is named by the grand master of a tea ceremony lineage, it becomes known as the master's konomi, or a Butcher block of Leaf."
Not only is Matcha green tea tasty, but it also has wonderful health benefits. According to Matcha Source.com, "One serving of matcha tea is the nutritional equivalent of 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea. When you drink matcha you ingest the entire leaf and receive 100% of the nutrients of the leaf. Matcha powdered green tea has 137 times more antioxidants than regularly brewed green tea. One cup of matcha = 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea in terms of nutritional content. Matcha teas offer unparalleled nutrition."
"Amongst its many health benefits, matcha…
- Is packed with antioxidants including the powerful EGCg
- Boosts metabolism and burns calories
- Detoxifies effectively and naturally
- Calms the mind and relaxes the body
- Is rich in fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins
- Enhances mood and aids in concentration
- vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium
- Prevents disease
- Lowers cholesterol and blood sugar
- Matcha tea is an easy and simple way to add powerful health benefits to your everyday diet."
"THE DIFFERENT GRADES OF MATCHA TEA:
Matcha tea comes in different grades. What you pay for is flavor profile, not nutrients. Young leaves, plucked early in the
harvest, produce delicate and vegetal flavors. Mature leaves contain more coarse matter from stems and veins and taste more
astringent. The following illustration denotes how grades are determined."
Japanese Matcha green tea is a delicious and healthy drink that is warming and comforting. You can buy your own authentic Matcha green tea from any of these fine retailers:
If you get some of the powdered matcha green tea from any of the sources above, or perhaps from one of your local tea shops, you use the instructions above, or check out these various recipes for ways on making your own Japanese matcha green tea:
- Japan Centre (traditional matcha green tea)
- Japan Centre (matcha latte)
- Matcha Source (lattes, smoothies, breakfast bowls, and more)
- Just One Cookbook
Out of all the recipe sites, Matcha Source is the best! They have lattes, smoothies, breakfast bowls, and much more! These matchas treats look delicious! Check out some of my favorites below!
Matcha Chia Breakfast Bowl
After a while, Coconuts is the only one left in the waiting room. He is feeling like a failure, like he let all his friends down. Just as Coconuts is feeling at his lowest, a pair of black boots make their way through the thick snow towards the waiting room. A familiar figure emerges from the snow blasted chill. Could it be?
Coconuts wonders if he should just give it all up, his dreams of becoming a mangaka, and tears well up in his eyes.
At that moment, in walks in none other than Hotaru, wearing an all-black dress, with white and grey detail. This is a new outfit we have never seen before. Could it be a uniform? Or just her new look?
I just noticed that Hotaru is wheeling a suitcase behind her, and she is at a train station Is she heading somewhere? Or has she just arrived back in town?
Hotaru smiles at Coconuts, and asks, “What brings you out here, Kokonotsu?”
“Uh, hello there, Hotaru.”
“It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?”
Wow! What an episode! I really enjoyed seeing more of Coconuts' manga. Despite what the manga reviewer said, I know that Coconuts has what it takes. He just needs a little more practice is all. Failure is a part of success, as it teaches one how to move forward. All success stories start with failure, so Coconuts shouldn't give up hope yet! If he keeps working at it and never gives up on his dream, he will eventually make it as a mangaka. Every over-night success was ten years in the making. Coconuts just needs to keep making manga and doing what he loves. The only problem is that he cannot focus when he has to run Shikada Dagashi shop. Not to mention Hotaru's absence has taken a toll on Coconuts. However, now that she has returned, what will happen? Will he leave to become a mangaka, or will he stay to take over his father's candy store? Will Hotaru finally explain why she left that day? And can Coconuts forgive her for hurting him the way she did? Let's find out now! Come join me on the next post! See you there!
Alright, now I'm off to finish part two of this double-feature! On to the Season 2 finale!