Honey Oyster Pork Ribs

Posted November 30th, 2009 in Food | 1 Comment »

Although I have just few friends here in Perth, they’ve been a great motivation and support for me to stay here being away from my family. Most of my friends are older than me, (5 ~ 20 years older) but we’re close and are good friends. Because they have more life experience than I do, their words and advices are such valuable and I really appreciate that.

Some of them have their own business here, and some of them have bought their own home and settled themselves in this state. They all work so hard and I want to be same as them! And, I have a few friends who are mothers and they also give me a good advice on cooking too 🙂

I’ve got this recipe from one of my friends who has moved from Cairns to Perth 2 years ago and is a mother of 1 year old boy. I love this recipe and so does my family here 🙂

<Honey Oyster Pork Ribs>

  • 500 g pork ribs – boned
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
<some vegetables to accompany pork ribs>
I used cabbage and bean shoots. You can use whatever vegetables you have in your fridge.
  • cabbage – roughly chopped
  • bean shoots
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  1. Cut ribs into 2~3 cm thick.
  2. Heat frying pan without oil, and grill ribs over medium heat until it’s golden on both sides. The idea of doing this is to take away unwanted fat from pork as much as possible.
  3. Remove ribs from pan, and set aside. Throw out the fat from pork.
  4. Wipe the pan with kitchen paper roughly, and heat sesame oil. Stir-fry cabbage and bean shoots until they’re soft. Drizzle soy sauce and turn off the heat.
  5. In another pan, place oyster sauce, soy sauce and honey. Turn on the heat, stir consistently until it starts to boil. Add ribs and stir, until ribs are caramelized and sticky.
  6. Arrange ribs on a bed of stir-fried vegetables.

I had it as dinner with chirashi-zushi (scattered sushi rice with pickled vegetables) and o-suimono (Japanese clear broth). It was delicious!

Massage at Home

Posted November 29th, 2009 in Perth WA, Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

Who doesn’t like getting massage? … well, actually I know someone. – My husband. He loves getting massage by me, but none else. :p So he doesn’t go to spa or massage places even though we have a voucher! What’s a shame..

Well, anyway… I love getting massage like other girls! My body and muscle get tired easily and are always stiff. I don’t mind getting massage every day, but of course it costs a lot here. I’ve only been to spas/massage places just 3 times since I came to Perth, I think.

Just to save little money, I normally get massage at home when I disparately need massage. There’re a few Japanese people who do mobile massage service, but I usually ask this lady (S-san) to come over to my house.

Personally I don’t like getting massage by men, nor strangers. I don’t feel comfortable… I know S-san for awhile, and she has a good skill and nice personality. She also don’t take any job from strangers either. It’s just for a security reason.

Having a skill is good, I think. You can work anywhere. One of my friend who is into beauty therapy stuff wants to start home business as well. She has already prepared massage bed, face steamer (from Japan) and other goods. I got free trial by her few times, and it was good! My face was totally different after the treatment. I hope she can officially start her own business soon. 🙂

Skewered and Grilled Chicken Mince (Tsukune)

Posted November 28th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

Tsukune is a Japanese chicken meat balls most often cooked yakitori style (skewered).  Sometimes tsukune can be fried, and served without skewers.  You can also add it to steam board as well.

This can be eaten with rice or noodle, or just to accompany beer.  Add chili powder if you like it spicy!

<Chicken Tsukune> 4 skewers

  • 200 g chicken mince
  • 1 cup chopped spring onion
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs sake
  • 1.5 tbs sugar
  • 1.5 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs mirin
  • 1 tsp garlic -minced
  1. Mix chopped spring onion and chicken mince in a bowl. Lightly season with a sprinkle of salt.
  2. Cover bamboo skewers with meat mixture.
  3. In another small sauce pan, bring all the ingredients from (a) and turn off the heat.
  4. Heat up sesame oil in another grilling pan. Sear skewered chicken both side.
  5. Brush the sauce from (3) on skewered chicken. Grill over low heat until it has glossy looking.

A Touching heartwarming Japanese Song

Posted November 27th, 2009 in Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

I was in a souvenir shop in Yufuin the first time I heard this song.  I straight away fell in love with the depth of emotion in her voice, Angela Aki.  After I came back to Perth I noticed that my husband had downloaded the song to his iMac and listens to it when he works.  

  The title of this song is “手紙 ~拝啓 十五の君へ~” (A letter to me at 15 years old).  The song (lyrics) brings out the pain of a 15-year-old student struggling with life who writes a letter to his/her future self to ask for guidance.  In this lyrics there’s a letter written from a 15-year-old, and  letter written back from the future him/herself.  And, at the end of the song wishes everyone happiness.

  She wrote a letter to herself in twenty years when she was 15 years old, so this song is based on her true story.  Angela spent her teen years with an inferiority complex for being a mix of Japanese and Italian-American.  This song (and her character) captures hearts of teenagers in Japan, and gives courage and dream to the kids.

  This song heals my stress away.


 “手紙 ~拝啓 十五の君へ~”  (A letter to me at 15 years old).  

Dear you,

I wonder where you are and what you do at the time you read this letter.  As I’m just a 15-year-old I am anxious about lots of things in my life and future, but I can’t talk about it with anyone.  I’m writing this letter to myself in future because that’s the only person I could tell everything and can trust.  I feel like crying, I feel like I’m a looser, I don’t know who I should believe and trust to move on with my life.  My heart is broken and hurt, but I’m still living.

Dear you,

Thank you for your letter.  I have something that I want to tell you, a 15-year-old.   You will start to see what you are and where you should be going if you continue asking to yourself.  The seas of youth may be rough, but keep rowing your boat of dream towards the shores of tomorrow.  Don’t cry, don’t lose yourself, even when you are seemingly about to disappear. Just believe in your own voice.  Even as an adult I get hurt sometimes and have sleepless nights, but I’m still living this sweet/bitter life.

Everything you do and see, there is a meaning.  That creates your life.  So, please don’t be afraid, don’t cry, and grow your dream.  Keep on believing.

Everyone experiences sadness in their life, and you can’t avoid that.  So, keep smiling and keep going.  

Dear you,

Whoever reading this letter, I wish you are happy.

Wondering Around Northbridge

Posted November 26th, 2009 in Perth WA | 5 Comments »

The other day I was wondering around Northbridge after visiting one of my friend from TAFE. It was a fine day, and I thought “hmm maybe I feel like Vietnamese”. I go to Tra Vinh often, but the restaurant was full of people waiting outside, so I just went to Vinh Hong which in on William St. I come here sometimes too, love eating fresh bean shoots with some kind of sweet miso-like paste.

I had rice noodle with braised beef, and my husband had pork chop rice (as usual :p) The rice noodle was delicious. It came with sour chili sauce, and I didn’t know how to eat … so I dipped the noodle in the sauce to eat. It was fine, but in the end I just poured over the sauce on noodle and enjoyed it all :p

After lunch we started walking around the area. I had nothing I wanted to buy, but all the fruits market (?.. small shop), Asian butcher and grocery shops were fun to look around.

On Brisbane St, I found a cute cake shop and a stylish zakka shop.

The cake shop sells pretty small cakes and bakes sweets with its own brand. There is a wide table and chairs inside too, I’m guessing customers can also enjoy cakes in store. When I was browsing around, some customers were talking with staff about cakes or something. Maybe the shop can make custom-made cake? They have an up-coming website, so better check it out.

http://rochelleadonis.com/ …. 193 Brisbane St, Northbridge

Next door is a zakka shop which sells unique/antique tick homeware and stationary. I love the atmosphere !

“Life Edition” is a brand from WA, and note books and albums are so pretty and stylish. You may find a perfect gift here for Christmas! 🙂

Your Dream House?

Posted November 25th, 2009 in Perth WA, Ume's Interests | No Comments »

Have you ever dreamed of your future house?  I was little surprised by the fact that many people in Perth buy their own houses.  In Japan we (especially people at my age) don’t usually buy a house.  We rent an apartment room and it’s normal.    

When I was little I liked changing the interior of my room, and started to buy my own furniture at age 16.  Although I didn’t dream of a house, I dreamed of a room or some spaces for my own and wanted it to be perfect.

Now, my sister-in-law is building a house with her husband and it’s nearly finished.  I think they are going to move in there next month.  They’ve bought lots of furniture for the house, and they look so happy!  Plus they just bought a new car and also a puppy, which is going to arrive their house on Christmas day.  They have already prepared a doggy bed, water bowl and also nail foils.  I can’t also wait to play with the puppy 🙂

Seeing them been so excited makes me also want to have a house here.  I wish I had more money! (>0<)  I want to decorate my own space and pick furniture I like, but I can’t do that with this house I’m living.  I’m not sure if I can buy a house next year, but if I could, it’s like one of my dream coming true.  … I think I will start planning how I want my house to look like.  I like planning, and also it’s fun to dream about things. 🙂

Chicken & Tomato Curry

Posted November 24th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

Is it only Japanese culture to eat hot food in summer?  In hot days we cook steaming udon noodle soup, hot and spicy curry, and grill yakitoki (skewered chicken dish) etc.  We, of course, eat cold food too such as cold soba noodle, so-men noodle, and cold pasta dishes, but you get to see tv ad of curry a lot during summer in Japan, and it’s one of the thing that tells you “hey, summer is just around the corner”.

Therefore I like eating curry in summer.  I add lots of summer vegetables and make it as “summer curry”.  In winter, I would add some winter vegetables such as lotus roots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin. 

Try this refreshing tomato curry at home!  It’s not that heavy thanks to this red summer fruit.

<Chicken & Tomato Curry>

  • 400g chicken mince
  • 1 medium onion
  • 400g tomato tin – chopped
  • 100g Japanese curry roux
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 bunch spinach
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Wash spinach well, and drain. Chop roughly. Slice onion thinly.
  2. Season chicken mince with curry powder. Heat olive oil in a sauce pan and stir-fry mince.
  3. Add sliced onion. Cook over medium heat until onion is transparent.
  4. Pour chopped tomato into the pan. Fill up 1/2 the tin with water, and add to the pan. Add bay leaf. Turn up the heat to high to bring to boil.
  5. Once it starts to boil, turn down the heat to low and add curry roux. Stir through until the roux melts.
  6. Simmer for 5~10 minutes. Stir in spinach and turn off the heat.
  7. Serve with steamed rice.

St James Hair Studio

Posted November 23rd, 2009 in Perth WA, Ume's Interests | 12 Comments »

I was very excited to try this hair salon in Northbridge.  One reason is that I was dying to get hair cut, and another is that I wanted to meet this stylist “Kazu”.  I made a booking with Kazu and had a chance to chat with him on Sunday.

Kazu has been working at this St James Hair Studio for 10 years now. He was also a hair stylist in Japan, worked in Tokyo for 9 years, then moved to Perth.  Along with his job at this salon, he goes back to Japan annually to update his skill and knowledge by attending on seminars and catching up with his friends who are also hair stylists.

At the salon, I showed Kazu a sample photo of a hair style and told him how I want my hair to look like, then moved to another chair to get shampoo.  He put a steamed towel on my neck and massaged my head, it was so good.  He told me my muscle is tense – I didn’t know that there’s muscle on the head!  And, he could tell right after touching my head that my body is tired.  He is a pro!

He gave me lots of tips as well.  I asked him how I should dry my hair, naturally or by drier?  How to use hair iron and curler?  He gave me an advice on all the questions I asked, by demonstrating!  He showed me how to dry my hair: wear heat-proof conditioner on the hair first then blow dry completely with strong hair drier.  Then straighten up my fringe with iron, and curl the bottom of my hair with curler.  Wow my hair looks so different…

If you are seeking some tips or answers regards to hair, he is the one 🙂  He has many patrons here, including Japanese, Malaysian, Singapore, Australian etc.  I recommend you to book him at least 1 week in advance…  oh and he is going on holiday from 04/Jan till 24/Jan next year.

St James Hair Studio

Shop 2/218 James St, Northbridge WA 6003

Tel: 08 9228 3339

Grilled Beef with Japanese BBQ Sauce (Yakiniku)

Posted November 21st, 2009 in Food | 4 Comments »
I had a craving for beef the other day, so I run to an Asian supermarket near my house and bought a pack of thinly sliced beef. This recipe is very easy and quick to make, and so delicious!
Thinly sliced meat are available at Asian supermarkets or Asian butchers, and it’s often used in Asian cuisine, including Japanese. (eg: sukiyaki, shabu shabu, yakiniku, beef bowl, etc) Usually the thinly sliced meat is either pork or beef.
At the Asian supermarket I saw some thinly sliced beef tongue too! I love beef tongue… it might sound gross, but it really tastes great if you lightly grill (yakiniku) with seasoning (salt&pepper) and eat with lemon juice. I will buy it next time 🙂
<Beef Yakiniku Donburi>
  • 200g thinly sliced beef
  • steamed rice
  • 1 clove garlic – minced
  • 2.5 tbs soy sauce
  • 1.5 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs sake (cooking wine)
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  1. Mix all the ingredients from <a>.
  2. Marinade beef in <1> for 10 mins.
  3. Remove the beef from the marinade and sear in a lightly oiled hot pan for a few minutes on each side or until done to your likeness.
  4. Arrange beef and steamed rice in a bowl, and enjoy !

My Hospital Experiences

Posted November 20th, 2009 in Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

After busy schedule and traveling around between 3 countries, my body finally gave up… I’ve been sick since I came back from Jakarta :p Not only me, my husband too. Coughing, running nose, fever, etc. I had to go to GP and then hospital few times, and took blood test. It seems that many people around me are also sick. My friends and co-workers.

You realize how important the health is when you get sick. I always think “meh, it’s fine” even though I have symptom of sickness, and don’t really do much about it. I don’t like taking medicine, so I try to recover by eating lots of fruits and nutritious food, and take a good sleep. Sometimes it’s ok, but sometimes the things go worse and I end up going to hospital..

When I was just about to graduate cookery course in TAFE, 2005, I was so looking forward to going back to my home and stay in Japan for awhile. The course was pretty hard and I had to work night time along with the classes, plus teachers were really strict there. When I finished my last exam I was so happy thinking “I’m finally free!”. I had booked my tickets to Osaka already and was counting the day to come. … Just few days before the flight, I started to feel strange – my body felt tired all the time, headache… I thought I just had caught cold or something. At that time my oversea travel insurance had been expired already ( I didn’t renew because I was going back to Japan in few weeks and I didn’t use insurance for the whole 2 years before then) so I was going to see doctor in Japan.

Just 5 days from the flight, my face started to have something – puffy things. Plus fever, huge headache and body ache. I couldn’t even walk, and because the puffy things on my face (only on the right side of my face) was kind of covering up my right eye, I couldn’t see things properly either. I should had gone to see doctor earlier! Now things had gone worse. My husband (boyfriend that time) took me to Medical Centre and doctor immediately sent me to Royal Perth Hospital. In the end I was having “shingles” and had to stay in hospital for 4 nights.

I had to change my flight date, but the worst thing was that my visa had expired while I was in the hospital! I couldn’t get out from the hospital so my boyfriend (my husband) had to go to immigration centre for me to extend my visa. Of course it was hard and he came back to hospital few times to get some documents from the nurses. Hospital staff kindly helped us calling immigration centre to explain what happened to me as well. But still, immigration didn’t give us any good news. In the end, right after I got out the hospital I had to go to immigration centre by myself to show this terrible face with a trace of shingles. We had a chat with an officer in a private room, and he gave me a temporary visa straight away after seeing my face.

Oh, another bad news was a bill from the hospital. Because I didn’t have any insurance (no travel insurance, no Medicare – because I was just a student-) I had to pay full amount. It was a BIG number… Been covered by insurance is really important!

This time I have Medicare and also private insurance, so things went smooth. I’m feeling getting better, but I really should have gone to see doctor when I first felt something wrong with my body. Sooner is better. By the way I had to go 3 times to get blood test, and on the third time nurse couldn’t find my vein (because it was too tiny and flat) she stung me 6 times on my both arms. She still couldn’t get any flow so she moved the needle around inside of my vein… it was painful 🙁 Well, the pain is nothing compared with getting a huge bill, and also getting sick.