Kobiru lunch


Rural lunch (kobiru)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Topic
***** Category: Humanity


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Kobiru, cobiru, kobilu (こびる) 小昼 
a small lunch, is food taken out to the fields by the farmers, when they had to work all day. At lunch, they would gather at the field side, unpack the little delicacies, warm them at a small fire and enjoy lunch outside.

This word comes from the dialect of Miazaki prefecture in Kyushu 宮崎.
The village of Takachiho is especially eager to promote this.


In former times, simple things were taken out, like round cakes of rice flour and corn flour or millet flour.
Even inarizushi tofu pouches filled with rice were grilled on the fire.
Onigiri of all kinds were grilled too.
According to the season, ingredients differed.
nishibe pickled daikon was eaten with the cakes.
kaki persimmons were cut in slices, dried or grilled.
mushipan, steamed bread with flavor of yomogi, kabocha or azuki beans.

kagura manjuu 神楽まんじゅう manju dumplings for the Kagura dance performance
were filled with chicken meat and goboo.
. . . CLICK here for Photos ! for Kagura manju from other areas

kappocha かっぽ茶 Tea was prepared in bamboo poles cut by the field side, split half open, some branches with tea laeves were put over the coals for a moment, then stuffed into the bamboo pole and heated over the fire.

In the village, people have come together, old and young, and exchanged new ideas to teach the children about this kind of lunch.

New ideas have come up, like a kobiru baaga, a hamburger baked with rice flour and a piece of pickled daikon instead of meat, all grilled on a skewer just before eating.

original ... nipponsyokuiku.net/syokumodel/2007/hokoku_17.html

The villagers have opened a small restaurant where you can sample these dishes at lunchtime.

ponpon chokobaa ポンポンチョコバー
chocolate bar with ponpon puffed rice grains
a desert with nostalgic taste.

This type of carry-on lunch for farmers exixts in other parts of Japan too, under various names.

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

神楽饅頭 Kagura manjuu
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Kagura Manju from Bitchu

kusa maku ya sakana yaku ka mo ko-biru sugi

sowing herbs--
the smell of fish cooking
a little past noon

Tr. David Lanoue

kiji to usu tera no kobiru wa sugi ni keri

crying pheasant, pounding mill
morning till noon
at the temple

Kobayashi Issa

There are two types of usu or mill:
(1) shiki usu (grinding hand-mill) and
(2) a large wooden tub used for rice or herb cake making. Whichever type Issa meant, I think he is referring to its grinding or pounding sound, just as I assume that he is referring to the cries of a pheasant.
Literally, the "forenoon" (kobiru) of the Buddhist temple has passed with "pheasant and mill" (kiji to usu). I assume that Issa is hearing the sounds of both, on and on and on...
Tr. David Lanoue

- - - - -

kiji to usu tera no kobiru wa sugi ni keri

a pheasant, a hand mill --
snack time in the temple
now over

Tr. Chris Drake

This hokku is from the 3rd month (April) of 1812, when Issa was traveling around near Edo. It is also in the Kabuban anthology, which contains the hokku on the six realms of karmic existence by Issa and his friend, the priest Kakuro. The hokku evokes a moment in the daily life at a country temple.

In Issa's time, different temples had different customs, but most served a snack or light meal (kobiru) either in mid-morning or mid-afternoon. In the True Pure Land school to which Issa belonged, there are few restrictions concerning meal decorum, so probably the monks and visitors to the temple such as Issa have been talking as they ate their light meal, concentrating on the food and conversation. But as soon as they finish the temple returns to its usual silence, broken by the high, piercing cries of a pheasant looking for food on the temple grounds and by the rough scraping sounds made by a stone hand mill (hiki-usu) as the top stone moves around and around, grinding rice, buckwheat, barley, or perhaps even tea leaves. The loud sounds made by the pheasant and hand mill are obvious, so Issa simply implies them. Since the temple probably doesn't grow and harvest its own rice and the season doesn't call for pounding a lot of glutinous rice to make rice cakes, it seems likely someone in the temple is grinding with a small hand mill.

- - Chris Drake

hand-mill for grinding nuts and acorns

. WKD : cha-usu 茶臼 hand-mill for ginding tea leaves .


oi futari aze no kobiru ya kashiwamochi 

two old people
have lunch by the field side -
sweet rice cakes

Maruyama 丸山蝉音

kashiwamochi are special rice cakes are for the Boy's festival on May 5.


tooryoo no konomi ya shinjaga kobiru to su

the master carpenter
loves the new potatoes best -
let's take a quick lunch

Yoshioka Yutaka 吉岡ゆたか , 2007

Related words

***** WASHOKU : Regional Japanese Dishes

Miyazaki 宮崎


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