It’s Winter… Two More Seasons to Go

Posted May 31st, 2011 in Ume and Baby | 2 Comments »

Hmmm … Hiro doesn’t drink much milk at night these days, and sometimes keeps waking up.  During the day is ok, he drinks around 150ml – 180ml per feed.  At night, just 60ml per feed.  He doesn’t take long nap during the day, and we do play-time at least once a day, so he should be tired, sleepy, and hungry at night.  And, he is happy during and after bath time, but once I finish dressing him he starts crying – every night.  Is there any reason?  Too tired? Or he know he’s going to be put to sleep?

I go out with Hiro very often now.  Just two of us.  Bit boring to stay at home all day… and I keep eating something if I’m at home. 🙁  But, I ‘m still not 100% comfortable about going shopping with Hiro.  How people go shopping with babies??  I mean, I can’t push a stroller and a shopping trolly at a same time.  Just carry a baby on shoulder?  Using a baby sling or a carrier?  Or just put him/her on the shopping trolly?  Every time I go shopping I can’t buy big stuff, as I push Hiro in a stroller.

It’s been raining since yesterday, as forecast predicted.  Outside is still dark around 6:30 am.  I feel that there is no “autumn” in Perth.  It’s hot in summer, then suddenly the air becomes very cold.  In Japan, autumn is very distinguished.  The sky is high, the air is cool down, less humidity, dragon flies everywhere, rice fields turns brown colour, and mountains start to change their colours to yellow, orange and red.

In Perth it’s winter now (It should be.  It’s almost June), and it’s the middle of rainy season in Japan.  Very humid season….

Two more seasons, then we are all in Japan 😀

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Ozoni – mochi soup –

Posted May 29th, 2011 in Food | 2 Comments »

Ozoni, or mochi soup, is a Japanese holiday meal traditionally prepared on New Year’s Day.  The type of ozoni is different in different area in Japan – some area use round mochi while other use square mochi, some people bake mochi before adding to the soup while other people simply soften the mochi in hot water, and the soup is just seasoned with soy sauce and salt in some area while some people in different area add miso to the soup.

In my house, we normally add miso to the soup.  The mochi is sometimes baked before adding to the soup, but not always.  I’m not sure adding miso to the ozoni is Shiga thing, but I remember eating ozoni in miso soup at my brother’s karate party when we were kids. The party was at Biwa Lake bank in winter, after kangeiko (mid-winter training).  All kids in karate uniform went inside the lake and do some work-out in the freezing water.  Watching it made me wonder how they could survive in the water in such a cold day.  Karate uniform is not water proof!  After a hour of training, we all ate ozoni near the fire.  It was so delicious!

I  used mochi I bought from an Asian grocery shop.  This mochi is cut into portions and individually wrapped.

You can add any ingredients to the soup – more you add it develops more flavour.  This time I only used simple ingredients : burdock roots, carrots and spring onions.  I didn’t bother baking mochi, but it will give delicious nutty flavour if you do.

<ozoni> serves 4

  • 4 mochi cakes
  • 1 cup frozen burdock roots, shredded
  • 1/2 carrot, jullienne
  • 2 tbs chopped spring onions
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp dashi stock powder
  • 2.5 ~ 3 tbs miso paste
  • 1 tbs mirin
  • 1 tsp roasted white sesame seeds

a

  1. Place water into a pot, and bring to the boil.  Add dashi stock to dissolve.
  2. Add burdock roots and carrot to the pot.  Simmer for 3 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat, and add miso paste.  Mix well.  Add spring onions.
  4. Turn on the heat to low, and gently simmer for another few minutes.  Add mirin, and then turn off the heat.
  5. Add  mochi to the soup to warm up, or bake in an oven toaster.
  6. Place one mochi in a serving bowl, and pour the soup.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

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Mos Burger – Fruity Miso Chicken

Posted May 28th, 2011 in Japan | 6 Comments »

Mos Burger’s new Spicy Fruity Miso Chicken Burger seems to be a  big hit since its released day May 26  🙂

With the concepts of “burger with flavour of Japan”, “burger which catches Japanese people’s hearts”, and “burger: nothing like others”, this new chicken burger is only available for limited time only!

It consists of flame-grilled teriyaki chicken, fruity spicy miso sauce, onion slices, tomato, lettuce, and spicy mayonnaise.

The chicken thigh is marinated with wafu (Japanese flavour) based stock, then flame grilled.  The signature miso sauce is made with 3 kinds of miso : Sakura miso, Kome (rice) miso, and Haccho miso.  It also contains grape juice, raisin, blueberry, roasted soy sauce, red ginger, chilli powder, sweet sake, etc etc….  total 45 ingredients!  The balance of sweetness, spiciness, and sourness is just right – according to the people who tried this burger.

Sounds and looks so delicious!!  Ummmm I wish I was there 🙁


Shopping Day at IKEA

Posted May 27th, 2011 in Perth WA | No Comments »

D, I and Hiro headed to Hillary  yesterday to pick-up a bottle warmer which we bought on eBay.  We were just thinking to buy one as we warm up BM (expressed breast milk) very often everyday, then we found this at very cheap price.

On the way back we dropped by at IKEA. They are doing a campaign that they take the cost of your food and drinks off your store purchase when you dine at IKEA restaurant – so, the food and drinks are basically free if you have something to buy.  (This offer is until 27 May (today!))

When we arrived we headed to IKEA restaurant straight away – needed some sweets!  After the tea time, we went though the store.

We bought two clock, some kitchen stuff and a canopy to put on Hiro’s cot.

After the shopping, we decided to take more advantage of this campaign and headed to the restaurant again….

And had early dinner…

Total we spent at IKEA today was less than $10.00!

We were so tired afterwards (spent for 2 hours there) …  Hero slept very good at night 🙂

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Friends and Kids

Posted May 25th, 2011 in Perth WA | 3 Comments »

Hmmm..  my friends, who are not married or don’t have kids, stopped contacting me since I gave birth to Hiro!  I know they think I might be busy taking care of baby and won’t have time to go out or even answer the phone, but I actually do.  I do go out because I get bored if I stay home all day.  I do have my own time as D works at home and loves taking care of Hiro.  We sometimes even fight who feeds him with expressed milk.

I emailed/sms/called them saying “let’s meet up”, but then I realised I’m the person who always asks for a meet up – even before I had Hiro.   Doesn’t anyone want to see me?  … ok, I know it sounds bit crazy – clearly I was having a negative thought.  I even emailed mum asking “do you still remember me?”.   :p

Just to take the stress off, I visited my friend who recently moved into a new house.  She has two girls – 12 years old and 7 years old – and is working as a teacher assistant in Perth.  She also has studied baking here and we used to work at a bakery in Claremont together : that’s how I met her.

Homemade cake and freshly brewed flat white. 🙂

As she used to work as a kindergarden teacher in Shinjuku, Tokyo for 10 years before migrating to Perth, she knows a lot about babies/kids.  And, I knew I could get some advice on parenting (as I still don’t have much idea of it).

She gave me some Japanese books about baby’s food and health to read at home, and talking to her gave me a clearer idea of having and raising kids in Perth.  I didn’t know that kindergarden here is only for 1 year!  And, there is pre-elementary school?

In Japan, kindergarden is for kids between 3 and 5 years old.  Then, 6 years of elementary school followed by 3 years of junior high and 3 years of high school.  Here, 1 year of kindergarden (not compulsory), 1 year of pre-elementaly school, then 7 years of elementary school.  I see, I see…  I’m really glad I could talk to her about these stuff.   I can’t imagine Hiro going to school yet (how he is going to look like??), but it’s never too early for me to plan and prepare for what’s going on in future. 🙂


Taiyaki

Posted May 24th, 2011 in Food | 12 Comments »

Taiyaki, fish-shaped baked Japanese sweet, is one of my favourite snack.  This is a kind of stall-food you buy at festivals or shrine on New Year’s Day, but now you can also buy from the food courts in shopping centres or some convenience stores across Japan.  The original filling is azuki an – red bean paste, but there are more varieties such as custard cream and chocolate.

At the shop they use this type of big grill to make taiyaki, but there’s a small version of this to use at home.

The weather like today makes me miss taiyaki. It should be eaten warm, and is kind of a winter sweet.  I don’t have a taiyaki maker at home, so I bought a pack of frozen taiyaki from an Asian grocery shop.

I warmed it up in the microwave, then toasted in a toaster oven to make it crunchy outside.  Eating it with vanilla ice cream gives you the contrast of hot and cold, and the texture of crunchiness of the skin and melty ice cream.

Yuuummmm!

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Creamy Curry Pilaf

Posted May 23rd, 2011 in Food | 2 Comments »

I made this creamy curry risotto to accompany the spicy roasted chicken which I picked up from a poultry shop.  It’s very easy to make, and delicious ♪  I think you should try this!

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<Creamy Curry Pilaf> serves 2

  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 4 green beans, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 10cm spring onion stalks, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 50ml cream

a

  1. Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a large frying pan.  Saute onion, garlic, and curry powder until fragrant.
  2. Add green beans, tomato, and rice.  Stir, and pour chicken stock.  Bring to gentle boil, and turn down the heat to simmer for few minutes, until the liquid is almost gone.
  3. Stir in cream, and season well.  Remove from the heat, and serve on a plate.

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Nao Hair Salon

Posted May 21st, 2011 in Perth WA | 6 Comments »

I had hair cut!  Yey♪( ´▽`).

I’d been wanting to have hair cut and color for the past couple of months, and I finally made a booking at Nao’s salon in Canning Vale.  This is a home-based salon.


She recently moved into this house and renovated one room to make into a salon.  The room is fitted with a large mirror and reclining shampoo-chair which she bought from a hair salon in Perth.

As the tip of my hair was really damaged and Hiro started to grab my hair, I wanted to cut my hair short.  Short enough to not being able to be reached by Hiro’s hands, but long enough so that I can play around with wax and mousse.  I also wanted to color my hair to light brown for a change.

It took around 2 hours, and my head is much much lighter now!  My hair on the floor looked like a head of human. I was wearing that amount of hair…

Here is a brief price list :

– Cut (trim) $20

– Cut (without shampoo) $30

– Cut (with shampoo & blow dry) $35

– Colour (includes shampoo & blow dry)

  • Short Hair $55
  • Medium $60
  • Long $70

– Perm(includes shampoo & blow dry)

  • Short Hair $80
  • Medium $100
  • Long $120

– Bridal Set $60

etc…

When Nao was styling my hair at the end I thought the silhouette of my head looked little too round in the mirror, but it felt fine when I touched it. I can probably play with my hair a lot – with hair pins, wax/mousse, and hair accessories. 🙂

Nao had worked in Japan as a hair stylist for years before migrating to Perth, and at her salon she’s only uses Japanese products which she directly imports from Japan.  She contacts her friends regularly who are also hair stylists in Japan to update the news and knowledge, she said.

She told me the customer before me was Umeboss reader :). Glad to know someone read my blog and actually tries the place!

Oh, I loved the reaction of D when he saw my new hair style.  “Is this for real?!”

Nao’s Hair Salon in Canning Vale

→ Read my newer post about Nao’s Hair Salon

* The price list shown above is old, and it may be now different.


Pregnancy Talk…

Posted May 20th, 2011 in Ume's Thought | No Comments »

Oh it’s been raining very hard since early morning today…  The sky is white, outside is noisy, and the air is cold 😀  I just had hot breakfast made by D.

My friend in Shiga is pregnant with her first baby boy, and we’ve been emailing each other every day for the last few months to talk about pregnancy and delivery.  She is giving birth at one of the most famous/popular ladies clinic in Shiga, and I used to go there too for check-ups while I was in Japan.  Thy are so successful that the clinic has three buildings across Shiga now, and the current director/doctor is my mum’s classmate from her high school.  And, I was born at this clinic!  Father of current directer delivered me before he retired. 🙂

Except the original building, the two new buildings are pretty fancy…  The one where my friend is staying is located near the Biwa Lake shore, and she will be having a full course of French foods after delivery.  And, she can chose to have either facial treatment or reflexology therapy using the choice of aroma oil during the stay.  Sounds very nice!

My friend’s due date is May 30, and she is finally going back to her parents’ house to stay there until the baby is born.

Staying at parents house before and after delivery is very common in Japan, and husband usually stays at home alone.  I asked her if her husband is going to stay with her in the hospital when the labour starts. She said he really wants to, but it depends: if her labor starts around Wednesday night to Thursday, he will be able to see when the baby arrives this world.  But if not, husband will have to wait the news at his office.  It’s just because he doesn’t work on Thursday.

Sigh…  Japanese company is so strict and unreasonable. It may be once-in-a-lifetime experience, but his boss doesn’t let him leave the office even for a minute.  It’s Japan thing… Some people can’t even visit their sick parent in the hospital because of work. I think it’s just stupid… This is one of the reason I like Australia.


Teriyaki Squid

Posted May 19th, 2011 in Food | 1 Comment »

This grilled squid in sweet soy sauce-based sauce is great item to accompany beer or a bowl of steamed rice.  You can also chop it up and add to fried rice/noodles, or simply as a topping for salads.

It’s best to grill the squid in open flame to give delicious flavour, but cooking in a frying pan will just do the job.

<Teriyaki Squid>

  • 6 baby squid
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs mirin
  • 2 tbs sugar

a

  1. Turn on a pan over high heat, and lightly spray oil.  Grill squid until coloured.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan, and cook until the liquid is reduced and caramelized.