Nov 14

Hokkaido milk bread and Wolf Children

By Jack McDonough, 2021 prospective JET

Our milk bread

Have you ever had Hokkaido milk bread? If you’ve ever watched the Youtuber Emmy Cho, who runs the channel emmymadeinjapan, you might be aware of this Japanese bread. My sister is a fan of Cho, and so we decided to try our hand at baking the bread. Not being a baker myself, I was skeptical about our ability to create anything resembling food, but our bread actually turned out to look and taste delicious. The bread was light, fluffy, and had a sweet taste; it was great in the morning with coffee for a nice breakfast. The baking of the bread proved to be surprisingly easy, as most of the process was spent waiting for the dough to prove and bake. 

Yuki, Hana, and Ame

While we baked the bread, we decided to watch the movie Wolf Children by Mamoru Hosoda. My younger sister Grace considers Wolf Children to be one of the best movies ever made; with a recommendation like that, I knew I had to give it a try. The film is about a young, single mother named Hana, who must raise her two children alone after the death of their father.  The children have inherited from their father the ability to transform into wolves. The boy Ame and the girl Yuki must decide whether they want to live life as humans or wolves. For Hana, she not only has to raise the children without their father, but she must also keep their ability secret so that Ame and Yuki can grow up safely. Most of the film is carried by the incredible animation: a style that is cute but realistic enough to give weight to the characters’ decisions. One scene in the film stands out: Ame and Yuki play in freshly fallen snow, where they transform between their human and lupine forms while enjoying themselves. While the animation is spectacular, I can’t say that I loved the film: the ending of the film stumbles a bit and fails to really give the story of Hana, Ame, and Yuki the send-off it deserves. I still recommend watching Wolf Children, especially to someone who enjoys great animation and heartfelt stories.

Mixing Wolf Children and baking Hokkaido milk bread made for a fun evening. I never expected to bake something delicious while watching a movie about children who can turn into wolves, but I would highly recommend combining baking and anime; you never know what you might get. 

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