Posted December 30th, 2011 in Japan | No Comments »
Just like Christmas is the biggest event of a year in many countries, New Year’s Day is the biggest day of a year in Japan. There’re many sales and events around the end of the year, and people go last-minutes-shopping to prepare for the coming year. You can hear New Year’s song everywhere and feel that New Year is coming.
Before New Year’s Day, people usually spend busy by cleaning the house and finishing all the chores they have to do within the year. But once New Year’s Day comes, people stay at home relaxing, eating, and spending time with families.
This year, I could experience white Christmas and normal Japan’s New Year with families. Everything are not the same as before (e.g. Now I can’t stay awake until late because I’m very tired from looking after Hiro all day), but I enjoy this homecoming trip pretty much. I just remembered how funny Japanese tv shows are! Especially around this time of the year there’re many comedy shows on tv and they’re seriously funny. I’ve been laughing as if I’ve gone crazy!
2011 was not a happy year for Japan. Big earthquake, tsunami, and many people lost their families. But, because of the event, people could realize somethings – importance of ECO (saving the power), and warmth of people. We appreciate people who came and supported the victims from outside this country. We felt so close to each other. Families are important. Friends are important. Mates are important. And, “life” could be so short and fragile. Now the things are getting better and we are about to welcome a new year in few days. I appreciate all that, and hope 2012 will be a happier year.
Now, snowing has stopped and I can see blue sky during the day. There’s still big chunks of snow on the side of the roads, but it seems that it’s not going to snow for awhile here. I hope the New Year’s Day is going to be a sunny day. We will go to a shrine to celebrate and pray for the new year (hatsumode) as an annual event, and I think there’ll be many people. I slipped on the snow on the road and hit my head last time (2 years ago), so I hope it doesn’t happen this time!
I hear it’s around 40 degrees in Perth these days. Being here made me realise that I prefer cold climate to hot climate. I love winter in Japan. I love snow, I love the clean cold air, and I love taking hot bath in a cold night (and day). I can’t wait to go to Disney Land or Universal Studio Japan, onsen trip, and play with snow when Hiro is older.
As there is one more day to New Year’s Day, and I’ve pretty much done all the shopping. I think I will stay home tomorrow trying to clean the house so that we can welcome a new year with clean mind and clean house
Posted December 27th, 2011 in Food | No Comments »
Finally….. I’m eating Japanese sausage! I was having craving for Japanese sausages since I was pregnant. Japanese sausage is processed food (smoked), and has crispy skin.
Normall sausages outside Japan are usually raw meat. I was surprised to see them in Perth the first time, because the sausages I knew was like the photo above.
Because they are processed, you can eat Japanese sausages as they are. But people usually grill them to add flavour and texture. I, on the other had, love boiling them. It’s healthier, and makes the skin crispy.
When I broke the sausage, you can almost hear the sound of breaking the skin. Although I boiled them for 3 minutes or more, the meat inside was still juicy thanks to the skin.
Sometimes I just boil sausages and eat with seed mustard. Ummmm… yum yum. Goes with beer, chu-hi, and even hot Japanese tea! ♨
Posted December 26th, 2011 in Food | No Comments »
Few days ago my dad bought few kinds of pickles from a pickles shop. He knows I like pickles. I remember eating whole takuwan (yellow, pickled daikon radish) by myself when I was a teenager. The combination of takuwan and hot Japanese tea was addictive, and I couldn’t stop eating takuwan once I started. Pickles got lots of salt (sodium), and it’s not a good diet…. besides, one whole takuwan is about 30cm. I don’t know how my body survived….
People make pickles so that they can keep the food edible longer. The salty pickles goes with steamed rice, and Japanese people (in old era) used to eat just rice, pickles and miso soup. To think about it, Japanese food contains lots of salt. Miso is also salty, and so is soy sauce.
Back to the subject…. Here is pickled cucumber. You can also buy it in Perth.
Rakkyo – pickled onions. People eat it with Japanese curry rice.
Takuwan – pickled daikon. You see it often in a bento box from Japanese restaurants in Perth, too.
Nasu-no-asazuke (lightly pickled egg plant). Looks bit weird, but I love this. One of popular item at izakaya.
Gobo (burdock roots) and aka-kabu (red radish). I never seen pickled gobo before! It’s new….
It has vinegar-like taste, and not salty. I love the texture.
There’re many more kinds of pickles in Japan, including cabbage, Chinese cabbage, mushroom, etc etc …… Kyoto and Nara are famous for pickles. If you love Japanese pickles and enjoy soshoku, try some unique one there
Posted December 25th, 2011 in Japan | No Comments »
When I woke up this morning, outside was like this.
WHITE CHRISTMAS ☆☆☆☆☆
Hiro enjoyed his first Christmas in snow
Merry Christmas to everyone!!!
Posted December 24th, 2011 in Japan | No Comments »
Yesterday, D, Hiro and I went to Hikone city area. Hikone is one of famous old city in Shiga, and it’s just 10 minutes from my house by car. There is famous Hikone castle near Biwako lake, and many restaurants and shops around the castle.
It was suposed to be snowing yesterday, but it was actually a sunny day (still cold though). There’re many tourists around the castle.
First,we came to this cafe with D which I went with my friend the other day. This cafe is a bakery/cake shop with nice dining area. Because the shop opens at 11am and we arrived there 15 minutes early, we went driving inside the castle first. You can drive around the castle and moat. We could easily kill 15 minutes by enjoying the view
I love the interior of the cafe. No, I love the building itself. Looks like someone’s house with lots of tabels and chairs.
They serve lunch menu and nice drinks too.
We ordered sandwich lunch plate to share. It’s Campagne bread with prosciutto, cream cheese and salad. The plate came with soup (it was carrot soup yesterday), cold chicken salad, salad & hot chips, and a choice of drink. (¥1050) I LOVE the Campagne bread. Inside is moist, soft and chewy, but the crust was very hard and crusty. All the food on the plate was delicious.
Then we ordered strawberry tart, and Monburan (Mont Blanc). It took me 10 minute to chose the cake because all the cakes and bread looks so cute and delicious. I had cheese cake last time, so I chose different one to try. They’re both DELICIOUS. (>v<)
(cheese cake I had last time)
Hiro was happy too.
Then, we walked around “castle road”. It started snowing and so freezing cold…
All the buildings around “Castle Road” were refurbished to look old few years ago in order to attract tourists. Even a bank looks like this.
We strolled around the street, and bought few souvenirs. It was windy and the air was spiking our faces, so we decided to head home. It was a lovely day – we had early Christmas cake together, and had wonderful time