by BAM

When I’d moved to Nagoya, had a sweet tooth. Wanted something, which defined the culture of Nihon in each bite. Found three skewered sticky rice balls, each a different color. My taste bud’s desires were fulfilled. Problem, I couldn’t read Japanese, so no dice on the name.

Showed my photo around.

“Name that food.”

Some called the dessert “Mochi.”

Turned out to be a generic title.

After describing the candy to a co-worker, she said I’d eaten, “Daifuku mochi.” Wrong.

A local friend couldn’t think of the name. He claimed the pink one was made with Sakura: cherry blossoms. The green ball had been mixed in matcha. “The white one’s just a sweet rice ball,” he said.

“From the Wagashi category.”

Didn’t taste any of that. Researched to find he was correct about the class of sweet. Knowing this I felt so close I could taste the answer to: What was the most satisfying dessert in Japan called?

Last night, bought some to share with my roommate—an artist. We enjoyed the dessert together—the best way to eat the food.

“What’s this called?”

“Sanshoku dango. Three colors dango,” she said while drawing me a picture.

Mystery solved.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My roommate and artist friend Yumi Dolce drew the words. She also inspired me to write the piece after we ate the sweet.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BAM graduated with a degree in English with honors, helps other writers, and has publications in many places (works have been awarded and featured) and teaches English in Japan—check out www.bamwrites.com for more information.

PHOTO: “The most satisfying dessert in Japan.” Minato-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi, Japan (August 13, 2015).