Thursday, January 28, 2010


What do you usually eat when you crave a light snack?
Is it a sandwich? Crackers? Or sweets?

I have mentioned that I crave for sweets in my last blog.
Now I'd like to talk about miso, fermented soy bean paste.
Many of you have tried miso soup at local Japanese restaurants or even Yoshinoya if you happen to live in southern California.

When I get a little hungry, but don't crave for sweets, I make miso onigiri, rice ball.
To make it, you simply place some steamed rice on your wet hands and cup them to make it into triangle or ball shape and put some miso paste all around it.
It has less calorie than eating chocolate or cookies and tastes just great.
(Be careful putting too much paste)

I love foods so much! I guess I cannot stop talking about food...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sweet Craving

I love sweets. I love any type of sweets.
Sometimes I crave for certain sweets.
Chocolate, tiramisu, cheesecake, caramel, ice cream...etc. etc.
Sometimes I crave for anko, sweetened red beans.
You probably have tried red bean ice cream at a Japanese restaurant or from Trader Joe's.
What I crave for is a type of mochi called Akafuku, rice cake covered with anko from Ise City in Japan.
They have a little cafe in Ise by Ise Jingu, Ise Grand Shrine, in Mie prefecture.
Not only does this taste amazing, this traditional Japanese architecture offers a great experience.

You can watch ladies making this with their hands over the glass.
They sit on their knees the whole time while they are making it.
Of course, freshly made mochi tastes just amazing!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Rainy Days

It's been raining and hailing everyday in Southern California this week.
This thunder storm reminds me of typhoons in Japan.
I used to walk in heels with an umbrella in Tokyo and get soaking wet.
Umbrellas get blown upside down and ripped by the wind.
Basically you just hold on to a skinny pole as if it covers you from water.
Now I am here struggling with driving on a windy freeway.
Even people have a hard time in a huge metal vehicles with this storm.
I wonder how people used to deal with typhoons in Japan a long time ago.
They only had umbrella made with paper and bamboo with natural oils...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I love this fruit called yuzu. As you see it in the photo, it is a kind of citrus you can get in winter.
The aroma of it is really soothing and just a tiny peel makes the food different.
My mother makes hot udon with a few yuzu peels sprinkled over when we get sick.
It is just so cozy to get sick at home with your mom cooking.
I don't like to be sick, but I like to get this special treatment.
Actually even you are really sick and don't feel like eating, this yuzu aroma udon makes your body warm and you feel much better right away.
Well, you do not need to be sick to enjoy this fruit.
You can sprinkle tiny peels over salad or even steak if you like the citrusy flavor.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Coming of Age Day

January 15 used to be Seijin no Hi, Coming of Age Day, in Japan. It is a Japanese Holiday now held annually on the second Monday of January to congratulate and encourage all those who have reached the age of majority (20 years old) over the past year. Yes, it is a huge event there and you get to see your old friends from elementary, intermediate, and high schools. People dress up especially girls in a kimono, it is amazing!
I always wanted to wear this special kimono, furisode, for this event. Of course I was in the US back then and did not go back there for this event. Well, I thought I was becoming a majority at the age of 21 since I lived here. Yes, I completely forgot about this event until it was over then...
When my family went back there on vacation one time, my aunt put me in her daughter's frisode. I felt happy and awkward at the same time. It was not Seijin no Hi, I was older, and nobody in my family could tie the obi, belt, for this kimono right... I had to walk very slowly so that the obi dose not fall. We took some photos outside of the house and went back inside the house.
I am going to take some photos in the kimono when I go there next time, maybe in Kyoto!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Japanese Notes

Japanese paintings look really sad to me and I realized that most of the Japanese music sound really sad to me too.
Anything from the lullaby to traditional Noh songs, everything sounds minor.
Yet, I did not know why they all sound sad or minor.
Finally all these years wonder is answered by my husband!
In Japan, we had a different scale called Pentatonic Scale which has 5 notes.
Apparently the normal scale we now listen to has 7 notes, C, D, E, F, G, A, and B.
My husband showed me how it sounds like by playing the piano, D, E, G, A, B.
OH MY GOSH! Yes, it does sound like the Japanese songs.
We just did not have certain notes in the score!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Japanese Colors

When I used to live in Japan as a child, I was not very into Japanese art at all.
I was attracted to more of Western paintings like Georges Seurat or Alphonse Mucha.
They seemed more cheerful to me.
On the contrary, the Japanese colors made me sad and down.
Apparently, it just looked exactly like where I lived.
Nothing about the paintings were exciting to me at the time.
Now I live in this sunny warm Southern California and finally see the beauty of the colors.
I am thankful that I now appreciate every type of art!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Addiction of Raw Fish

Sushi is now a world wide well known cuisine.
When I first met my husband, he had never had sushi.
Well, he chose not to eat them because he was afraid of getting sick from eating something raw.
I kept telling him he was missing out a lot and I don't know anyone who got sick from it.
So he finally gave up and had a bite of raw salmon.
That was it.
Ever since then, he cannot wait to go eat out at sushi restaurants.
You live once, and might as well, try it for once.
Now I cannot wait to take him to Japan and eat sushi there :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Just wondering how many ways there are to cook food.
In Japanese cooking, we eat food raw, grilled, broiled, baked, fried, steamed, boiled, cooked in soup, dried, smoked, and fermented...
I think we cover pretty much every way of preparing food.
People used to be so experimental!

"Japanese Cooking" available at Casanooah


Its called o-toso, I was a little child but I do not remember exactly when I first had it.
In Japan, it is just a traditional thing to have o-toso, a cup or sip of sake on New Year Day.
I did not know what it meant or anything, but I was looking forward to it every year even though I did not like the taste of it.
Well, I still do not know what o-toso is, but luckily we can look it up in Wikipedia. Hehehe.
Here it goes.

Toso is drunk to flush away the previous year's maladies and to aspire to lead a long life. For generations it has been said that "if one person drinks this his family will not fall ill; if the whole family does no-one in the village will fall ill", and has been a staple part of New Year's osechi cuisine in Japan.

Oh, nice!
Now we probably had good enough amount for a whole world this year to avoid swine flue!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu. (Happy New Year!)

It has been a while since I have updated the blog last time.
Sure enough, it is already 2010!
Every year, how come it seems busier at the end of year?
I got married last October and yes it was fun but it was hectic.
Thanksgiving and Christmas followed right after and we had many family events.
Now it is already the New Year!
My husband and I went to my parents' for Gantan, New Year Day, to celebrate Oshogatsu, New Year Holiday.
My mother still cooks great traditional Japanese Osechi, Oshogatsu cooking, even though we have been here in America for almost 20 years.

I hope you had a great holiday and will continue to have a wonderful year in 2010!
Please come visit me here and this year, I will update more often!

Happy New Year!