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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tip Tuesday: Miyuki

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

This week, we're heading to the Japan pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase to feature a very special and unique lady -- Miyuki the Candy Artist.

While this might not seem like such a big deal for those who have not seen Miyuki's shows before, I assure she is not one to miss.

Miyuki is trained in the Japanese tradition of candy art. This is a process by which the artist takes near molten candy (with rice dough as the base) and shapes it into whatever figure the guests request. As the sculpture takes form, the artist uses a special type of edible paint to add color to the design. The guest USED to receive the candy sculpture as a souvenir. (UPDATE: I've learned that Disney no longer allows her to hand out the scuptures. There is plenty of speculation as to why, ranging from health concerns to complaints from guests who weren't picked).

What makes her show so incredible is the fact that she's doing this with her BARE HANDS. The candy she is working with is very, very hot -- nearly 200 degrees! What makes Miyuki's show even more incredible is the fact that she is the only female Japanese candy artist in the world! That's right - the only female! From what I understand, there are only a handful of people still performing Japanese candy art at all.

Myuki's kiosk is located just outside the main entrance of the Mitsukoshi store, just off the World Showcase Promenade. She has several shows a day, so be sure to check a daily times guide for specific appearance times. A typical show begins with Myuki introducing herself and briefly talking about what candy art is. She then selects a guest (often children), and then asks what they would like her to make (usually an animal of some sort - either real or imaginary). Miyuki begins with a while ball of pre-prepared rice dough candy. Her cart has some heaters to help keep the dough hot while she works it into the shape she needs. As she progresses, she uses simple hand tools to manipulate the candy into whatever she's trying to make.

For instance, in the photo above, Miyuki is making the wings for a pink flamingo. She uses a small pair of clippers and simply works along the wing area adding "feathers" as she goes.

To watch Miyuki practice her trade is an amazing sight. What I found most impressive was her creativity. She didn't skip a beat whenever a guest named an animal, she got started right away and within a few minutes, she had created an amazing candy sculpture. Here's the finished creation:

Now here's a little tip for you if you (or your children) are interested in being picked to request a candy sculpture: arrive at Miyuki's kiosk about 20 minutes ahead of time (30 minutes if the parks are crowded). Try to stand in the front of the kiosk. If you don't happen to be chosen, you may have to catch the next show. Miyuki's pretty good about remembering if a guest was at the previous show and wasn't chosen.

The best part about Miyuki's show is that it's completely free, it's part of your park admission..

The next time you're at Epcot, be sure to check out Miyuki the Candy Artist. She's another reason why World Showcase is filled with adventure and hidden treasures.

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