Posted March 27th, 2015 in Ume's Thought | No Comments »
It was about 2 weeks after my son started going to kindy that I found out there is a backpack filled with books and toys to borrow from local library (part of Better Beginnings service) to encourage kids to participate in reading books. I went to local library and borrowed this Discovery Backpack, and found some books & toys inside. The theme was “insects”, and one of the books was The Very Hungry Caterpillar and a toy was a caterpillar which can be turned into a butterfly. I thought it’s a very good service for kids. My son Hiro started talking about these small creatures a lot and clearly he became a bug lover, thanks to these books.
Then, I was stunned… I was reading one of the books “Ask A Bug”, and spotted a page saying “In Japan, sushi is topped with insects”!!!!
OMG, this is not true….!!!!
My reaction was bit too eccentric, it’s just because I hate insects….
Sushi we eat in Japan is mostly seafood. Some are meat, egg and vegetables, but never insect. Besides, I do not want to imagine sushi with insect on top. It’s disgusting…!! I’m not against people in the world who eat insects, just that we do not eat insect sushi in Japan!
Anyway, I was shocked and talked to my friends who are also Japanese. They were surprised, laughed, and some were furious. These books should be educational, especially it was part of Better Beginnings program. I don’t want children to think Japanese people eat insect sushi and my son to get buried. So I contacted the publisher of the book to let them know my concern.
As soon as I emailed them the story, they replied to me with apologies and told me that they’d investigate where the sources came from. The publisher was very nice and responded promptly, and it seemed that my story spread to their head office in UK very quickly.
I received an email from an editor in UK last night. It also began with an apology, and said they’ve been consulting with the senior editor on the book. They were informed that actually there has been a relatively recent (since 2000) revival of the insect-eating traditions that actually stem from mountainous areas of Japan, and some restaurants in Tokyo serve insect-based dishes as a special offering…. OMG, and there were some links that show articles and photos of sushi with insects! So Japanese people do eat insects!!!
(Here is the link if you want to see these images of insect sushi… but I warn you they looks gross!!!)
I was shocked, to be honest. I’ve never seen such sushi (gross…) in Japan and can’t imagine eating them. Well, I guess some people get appetite when they see insects.. I now know my own country better, haha.
I still think the wording on the book Ask A Bug was inappropriate. The editor also said that it should have been something like
“In Japan, insect eating once happened in mountainous areas.”
I’m still going to talk to the library to eliminate this book from the library though, till reprints are issued with different wording.
Posted March 13th, 2015 in Perth WA | 4 Comments »
If you’ve been to Japan in matsuri (festive) season (most likely in summer), you know those stall food that add more excitement and energy to the atmosphere. Yakisoba, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, kakigori, crape, grilled corn, just to name a few. Here in Perth, I get to see some stalls that sell Japanese food at festivals (I saw Fumi’s Okonomiyaki & Yakisoba stall at Chinese NY festival in Northbridge last month) but not so many kinds.
City of Melville is organising a Japanese festival, which is a charity based event, in October this year. The details are yet to be confirmed, but there will be some stalls selling food and also Japanese goods for children. I hear taiko performance will be played at the beginning of the festival, and they will show a Japanese movie “paper plane”.
It sounds exciting as I love matsuri! I know it’s a charity based event and I can’t expect too much, but I hope to see some stalls selling Japanese stall food there.
Here is a question: What do you want to see at this kind of Japanese festival? Food? Activity? I want to hear your thoughts so I can probably pass this to people who are organising this festival in Melville.
Posted March 9th, 2015 in Perth WA | No Comments »
It was another hot day in Perth. Perth Japan Festival was held last saturday in the city, and I’d say it was a huge success..!
The festival opened its door with taiko (drum) performance just before 1pm. Our stall wasn’t really ready to sell items yet around 1pm as we were still waiting for some food to be delivered. I was surprised to see so many people passing by, and asking if we were open. There was a huge queue on our dango (mitarashi & sanshoku) section which was amazing.
I was in a bread section with Melon-pan, Anpan and soybean pan. Although I thought the pricing was bit too high, customer kept coming and we sold all our items out around 2pm! I think the atmosphere of the festival helped selling these bread. We wish we could prepared more food but it was our maximum… There’re total of around 400 bread. I didn’t think it’d sell out in 1 hour.
I wonder how much did these people at Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki and other food stalls prepare the ingredients to keep up till 8pm. It must have been a massive amount..
I found that there’re more Australians and other Asian customers compared to Japanese customers. I think the locati on of this event is bit too small – you can’t really walk around especially with strollers. And, I thought there should be more stalls selling variety of food… including sweets.
Anyway, after that crazy 1 hour, I was free and joined my sons to enjoy kakigori, wataame and takoyaki.
I love matsuri. There will be another Japanese festival in Melville in October. I’m looking forward to it.
Posted February 24th, 2015 in Food | No Comments »
I had a cabbage. A cabbage sitting in the fridge. And I was thinking again “what to cook tonight…”
Since I had another baby, cooking time for dinner has been a stressful time for me. Especially a 8-month-old doesn’t stay still and I literally can’t take my eyes off him. He eats sandals, picks a thin tiny hair from the floor and put in his mouth, and tries to stand up but ends up unsuccessful and bump on his head… A nearly-4-year-old, on the other hand, keeps telling me “I’m hungry~ I’m hungry~.” I tell him “I’m cooking dinner, wait for a bit” but he insists to have some snack while waiting. Snack would spoil his appetite, but most of the time I just give him something so I can prepare dinner. It seems that I don’t have proper time to cook decent food these days. I can’t stay in the kitchen for too long while 2 boys are in the house.
I’m trying to figure out what would be the best solution for this. What other mums do? I hear some only cook once a week, and heat up the dinner each day. Would that be a great idea? I’m finding hard to find a time to do grocery shopping as well. I think I need to think about the routine and schedule ahead the menu of the week .
Anyway, one day I had a cabbage in the fridge and I thought I should cook this before it goes bad. It’s taking a big space out of fridge too. I decided to make something, maybe okonomiyaki – all these events in the city are making me feel like munching on some Japanese street food. But on that day I even thought making okonomiyaki dough with flour would be too much trouble. I was very lazy. So I did skip that part and made this …. cabbage-yaki!
Messy photo – sorry I had already started eating this.
Looks like okonomiyaki. It tastes like one too! But I basically used just cabbage, prawn, red ginger (which is a key ingredient to resemble okonomiyaki) and egg. I skipped the flour. Adding the sauce and Japanese mayonnaise gave it the similar taste to okonomiyaki, and it was super quick to make. It’s basically an omelet with sauce!
Cabbage-yaki (makes 1)
- cabbage, shredded or chopped .. 1 cup
- prawn, peeled and tailed .. 2~3
- grated/minced ginger .. 1/2 teaspoon
- red ginger .. 1 teaspoon
- egg .. 1
- tomato sauce .. 2 tablespoons
- oyster sauce .. 2 tablespoons
- Japanese mayonnaise to dress
- Heat a frying pan and spray oil on to the pan. Cook prawn and ginger until the prawn turns pink. Add cabbage, and sauté until it becomes soft.
- Add ginger, stir. Beat an egg in a bowl, and pour over the pan evenly. Once the bottom is set, flip over and cook another side.
- Serve on a plate. Mix tomato sauce & oyster sauce, and cover the omelet. Dress with Japanese mayonnaise. Serve immediately.
A super quick snack/supper is served.
Posted February 22nd, 2015 in Perth WA | No Comments »
Happy Chinese NY~~
This year, my birthday happened to be in Chinese NY week, and it’s been eventful days watching dragon & lion dances, many red dresses around, and munching on yummy food.
Today I went to Northbridge just to get my birthday chocolate treat at San Churro, and ended up staying for the Chinese NY festival on James street from noon till 8pm! (had a break at home for 4hours in between though)
There’r many stalls, including Takoyaki stall and Okonomiyaki/Yakisoba stalls as well!
I wonder Japanese festival on 7th will be a huge success too… hopefully it does!