Tag Archives: okinoerabu

My Simple Shibui-juru (winter melon soup) Recipe

I didn’t know “shibui-jiru” before I got married with my husband from Okinoerabu, a southern island in Japan.”Shibui” means winter melon in the dialect of his island, and “jiru” means soup. Soup using winter melon is quite popular in Amami and Okinawa islands.

Since I met this soup, I came to make it every summer. Indeed, winter melon is effective to cool down the body heat.

Ingredients: 1/2 winter melon, 300g chiken thigh, 5 dried shiitake mushrooms, sake, mirin, soy sauce, salt


  1. Soak dried shiitake mushrooms until soft and slice them. Do not throw away the water used to soften the mushrooms, which will be added in the pot later.
  2. Peel and cut winter melon.
  3. Cut chicken thigh.
  4. Put all ingredients in the pot. Add water and boil until they become soft.
  5. Flavor with sake, mirin, soy sauce and salt.


Music of Okinoerabu Island, one of the Amami Islands in Japan

Globally speaking, most people will think of “tsugaru-jamisen” when they hear the word shamisen. However, tsugaru-jamisen is one of the styles born in the Tsugaru District in Aomori prefecture. There are many shamisen styles and schools in Japan.

Okinawan sanshin is also shamisen, it’s actually the ancestor of the shamisen of Mainland Japan. Although both Okinawan sanshin and Mainland shamisen have the same structure, they are very different in materials, playing methods, sound and tunes. The original sanshin was brought from the south part of China during the Ryukyu dynasty.

Sanshin is spread not only in Okinawa but also in Amami islands. Each community on each island has a different style of playing. My husband from Okinoerabu Island plays sanshin – acually it’s called “sanshiru” there – and just opened his website “Sanshiruko“. If you’re interested in it, please check it out!

Below, click and enjoy some of the sanshiru music! 😉



To learn more, visit https://sanshiruko.wordpress.com/