Oden with Ginger

Posted August 21st, 2012 in Food | 1 Comment »

Here is the real winter warmer – Oden with dipping sauce of ginger.

Oden, a Japanese dish of winter casserole, is usually eaten with karashi (Japanese mustard).  It is the very common and typical condiment for Oden.  Everywhere you go, an izakaya or a convenience store, Oden is served with a dash of karashi on the side.

But one of my friend from Himeji (a city in Hyogo prefecture) introduced me a new condiment – gingered soy sauce!

I’d never tried the combination before, but I immediately knew ginger would go great with oden.  Oden and ginger….  how clever!  It’s the best dish to warm up your body in cold days.

For for Oden, common ingredients are :  Egg, Konnyaku, Daikon, Gyu-suji (beef tendon), Nerimono (basically fishcakes, but many varieties : e.g. chikuwa, hanpen, gobo-maki etc), Atsuage (thick deep-fried tofu), and Potato.  Some people add other things too.

This time I used egg, daikon, konnyaku, tofu, and gobo-maki.  I can’t get good nerimono here in Perth.  Some Asian grocery shops sell “oden set” (mixed nerimono) in freezer section, but I find it quite expensive.


  • Water 6 cups
  • Sake (cooking wine) 1/4 cup
  • Soy Sauce 4 tbs
  • Mirin (sweet cooking wine) 2 tbs
  • Dashi Konbu seaweed 15cm
  • Ingredients (I used 4 Eggs, 4 Potatos, 1 Konnyaku sheet, 4 Gobo-maki, 500g Tofu, & 1 Daikon radish.)
  • Ginger 1 knob + Soy Sauce


  1. Place Dashi Konbu in 6 cups of water in a large pot, and leave for around 2 hours.
  2. Prepare ingredients : boil eggs, peel and cut daikon etc.  I don’t cut potato but you can if you prefer so.
  3. Place daikon & potato in the water with konbu, and turn on the heat.  Bring to gentle simmer – do not boil.  Remove konbu.
  4. Add sake, soy sauce, and mirin.  Add eggs, konnyaku, tofu & gobo-maki.  Simmer for 30minutes +.  ( I simmered few hours)


Once you turn off the heat, leave the oden for around 2 hours (or more), then warm up again before serving.  Ingredients in oden soak up the flavour when they cool down.  Let everything soak up all the flavor.

Serve with grated ginger + soy sauce.

Super Cold Climate Hits Japan!

Posted February 3rd, 2012 in Japan | No Comments »

Japan has been attacked by super cold climate, and it’s been snowing hard in the area around Japanese Ocean since few days ago. Here in Shiga also gets lots of snow, and yesterday the snow level went over 1 metre. Very cold. No, I don’t feel “cold”actually,  it’s rather “pain” that I feel. :p

Many people have been suffering in this snow as they have to dig out their car from the snow and pass-way from the house to the car-way. They wake up around 4am just to dig out the snow before going to work.
Yesterday, kindergarten, elementally school, and junior high school in my area were closed because of the snow.  Today the schools started 2 hours later than usual.

There are many accidents occurred due to the snow across Japan, and it’s been the top news on tv these day. Not only northern area of Japan but also Kagoshima (Kyushu island near Okinawa) was snowing yesterday too!!!   Many people must be fed up with these heavy snow already but actually I still like it. Although I’m stuck at home whole day and can’t go out anywhere, I still like watching it, digging it, and playing with it.  It must be because I was born in a snowing day. (my birthday is coming up, I just realized :p) I feel happy that I can enjoy the view of this beautiful white world before going back to Perth.

Change of subject, today is 3rd of February, and it’s Setsubun in Japan. As I wrote about Setsubun “here“, we eat a whole sushi roll while looking toward this year’s good-luck direction (this year is north-north-west).  The sushi roll shouldn’t be cut, so you have to hold it and bite it as if you are eating a burger.

We ordered a sushi platter from a sushi place near the house, and also few Eho-maki rolls from Seven Eleven convenience store. As well as normal Eho-maki (which contains lucky 7 ingredient inside) I ordered “Fruits-maki” (strawberry, kiwi & banana with whipped cream and sponge cake). It looks just like sushi roll but it a rolled cake covered with dusted cocoa powder which resembles to nori sheet. I thought it’s funny and also a great dessert on Setsubun 🙂

I also bought a pack of soy beans for the Setsubun ceremony – throwing the beams while saying “fuku-wa-uchi” “oni-wa-soto”. I don’t know if we’ll do that inside the house as my little monkey may pick up the beans from the ground and eat it.  Then we eat the soybeans according to our age.  If you are 15 years old you get to eat 15 beans.  Packed soy beans sold in stores are cooked and edible.

Japan has many interesting traditions and events through out a year. I want to continue doing these thing after going back to Australia 🙂

White Christmas in Japan

Posted December 25th, 2011 in Japan | No Comments »

When I woke up this morning, outside was like this.


Hiro enjoyed his first Christmas in snow 🙂

Merry Christmas to everyone!!!

Winter Warmer

Posted August 24th, 2011 in Food | No Comments »

When I wake up in early morning and can’t go back to sleep, I sometimes spend time in the kitchen – cooking.  It’s just because I can’t do cooking during daytime while Hiro is awake, and also I like the quiet environment.  I do some daydreaming while peeling carrots and stirring the stew.

The other day I made quite a large amount of oden.  The kitchen smelled like Japanese convenience stores in winter. :p  I cooked it for a long time – so all the flavour was in each food and it was very delicious.  I kept eating it day and night for few days.  Some people can’t stand the smell of oden, I heard, but the smell actually tempt me to eat them!

I simmered daikon radish and potatoes first, because they take longer to go tender and absorb the broth than soft food like tofu.  I like all the flavour from the broth to be absorbed in each food.  Next, konnyaku and boiled eggs are added, then nerimono (Japanese fishcakes).  It’s best to have gyu-suji (beef shank/ beef gristle / fibrous beef), but I couldn’t bother going to buy them.

Another night I made warm somen noodle soup with teriyaki squid. (recipe is here)  Warm somen noodle soup is easy to digest, and is one of my favourite midnight snack in winter.  Sweet and salty teriyaki squid matches with this.

Umm I think I eat quite a lot these days.  Especially at night.  It’s not good….  but I look for food when I’m awake, and try to eat something before Hiro wakes up.  I’m sometimes not hungry, but eat full portion of meal.  The weather is getting better, so I think I will do some exercise outside.  Walking with Hiro, probably.


Lemon Season!

Posted July 13th, 2011 in Food | 2 Comments »

My friend visited Hiro the other day, with lots and lots of lemons from her yard.  It’s such a nice gift…  I love lemons – they are great for cooking, and also look lovely by just leaving them on a plate in the kitchen.  Especially, in winter, lemons are great source of vitamins!

I’ve got lots of mint leaves in the garden too.

Hot lemon mint tea made with fresh lemons and mint leaves. 🙂  Perfect refreshing hot drink in winter, isn’t it?

Served with hot sweet potato dumplings.

This chewy dumpling is one of my favorite sweets.  I love chewy food 🙂

Mash cooked sweet potato, and mix with tapioca flour, then blanch in boiling water until it floats.  drizzled with palm sugar syrup.  It can be served with coconut cream too.

I love the food which I can enjoy the natural taste of its own 😀

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


  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.


White Chicken Soup 2

Posted May 16th, 2011 in Food | No Comments »

It sure has been great Autumn days Lately. Some people don’t like cold weather and have winter-blue, but I love the quiet atmosphere and cold air outside.

On days like this, a plate of hearty soup shows up on my dining table at least once a week. I made white chicken soup again, but this time I made the soup little thick. Adding rice flour to the soup is a quick and healthy way to thicken the soup, compared with making butter roux. Today I had 2 bowls for lunch, and my body is warm and nourished 🙂

  • 2 fillets chicken thigh
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 2 baby carrots
  • 2 spring onion stalks
  • 1 potato
  • 1/2 broccoli (florets)
  • 2 cups chicken stocks
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 tbs rice flour

  1. Cut vegetables and chicken thigh into cubes. For broccoli florets, cut into small pieces.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a deep sauce pan, and add cerely, carrots and onions. Sauté for a minutes, then add chicken. Sprinkle salt & pepper to the chicken, and cook for 3~4 minutes over low/medium heat.
  3. Add chicken stock, potatoes and broccoli. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Mix rice flour into milk, and blend well. Add to the soup, and cook until the soup is thickened. Season to taste.


Oden Sunday

Posted August 23rd, 2010 in Perth WA | No Comments »

On Sunday my friend came over for Oden and Chirashi-zushi party!  I started simmering the tofu, konnyaku, daikon radish and boiled eggs on Thursday night so that they would absorb the soup and flavor very good.  On Saturday I added some nerimono (all sorts of fish-cakes) to finish-up.  It looked so yummy!

I can’t believe I forgot to take pictures! I must had been so busy eating and chatting…   (>0<)  So here is the image photo from Google…

(Mine was not this beautiful!)

One of the friend couldn’t join the oden party as she has been suffering from unfortunate food poisoning since last week. 

I remember my first and last food poisoning was in Jakarta…  It was terrible!  I was on holiday, but couldn’t even get up from the bed.  The whole body was cold/sweating/shaking/fever/vomiting/etc.  I just wanted to lie down on the bed, I couldn’t even stand the gentle air wave from the air conditioner.

I hope she gets better!

Japanese Curry with Winter Vegetables

Posted August 4th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

Just to keep up this winter, I’ve been trying to focus on the balanced diet.  Eat fruits, vegetables, and drink lots of water.  Otherwise I will be eating same thing over and over again!  I would just sit down on the sofa after work and boil a pot of water to cook instant noodle or something.

I know that using a ready-made seasoning may not be a healthy option, but last night I felt like Japanese curry and made it with packet roux.  I added lots of vegetables including lotus roots and cauliflower.  I always add crushed tomato (tin) to Japanese curry to give a fruity taste, extra nutrition and to dilute the roux (animal fat).

Japanese curry can be made with any vegetables/meat/seafood, but I love pork meat (thinly sliced pork belly, or pork cushion) the best.

<Japanese Curry with Pork and Winter Vegetables>

  • 200g pork meat
  • 1 potato
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 5~6 slices lotus root
  • 2~3 bunch spinach
  • 50g cauliflower florets
  • 200g tomato in tin
  • 100g Japanese curry roux
  1. Cut vegetables into bite size.  Slice meat if you are using a chunk pork meat.
  2. Heat 1 tbs of oil in a deep sauce pan.  Saute onion over low heat until transparent.
  3. Add meat, and cook until the colour starts to change.  Add carrot, lotus root, cauliflower and about 500ml of water (just to cover all the vegetables).  Add tomato and bring to the boil.  Turn down the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring often.  Scam needed.
  4. Turn off the heat or down to very low.  Add curry roux, and mix until dissolve.  Turn up the heat and simmer, stirring often, for another 10 minutes.  Add spinach 3 minutes before turning off the heat.

Nikuman (Japanese Char Siu Pow)

Posted July 29th, 2010 in Food | 13 Comments »

Another winter food I miss is nikuman!

“Niku” means “meat”, and “man” is short word for “manju”.  It’s like a Japanese version of char siu pow, but it tastes different from those you see at yam char restaurants.

Nikuman is a popular winter fast food in Japan and you can buy them at many places during winter including convenience stores: Lawson, Seven Eleven, Family Mart, Cercle K, etc etc….  I love nikuman!  We just call nikuman, but there are several types in different flavors, including “pizza-man”, “an-man” and “curry-man”.  (sounds like character names in cartoon :p )  Different shops sell different flavors.

The good thing about buying nikuman from convenience stores is that you can buy it ANYTIME during winter, as convenience stores open 24 hours.  Whenever you feel like it, you can just grab the hot juicy nikuman and eat straight away.  And, the price is also the good part.  One nikuman costs around 100 yen ~ 150 yen.  Very cheap yet delicious snack. 😀

I just miss the juicy nikuman…. (><)  My favorite is the standard nikuman (different shop = different taste, and some shop use different pork meat such as black pork and try to stand out from others) …

Oh, when I went to China town in Yokohama, I had the most delicious nikuman from a stall.  It was huge, and the meat was very very tender.  “551 Horai” is also famous for its nikuman.  This shop is originally from Osaka.  (website)

Japanese steamboat (Nabe)

Posted July 18th, 2010 in Food | 2 Comments »

Another winter food in Japan is….  yes, Nabe!

Nabe, or Nabemono, is a term referring to all varieties of Japanese steamboat dishes.  The pots are traditionally made of clay or thick cast iron so that the food can be kept warm for a while after being taken off the fire.  In modern Japan, nabemono are kept hot at the dining table by portable stove. The dish is frequently cooked at the table, and the diners can pick the cooked ingredients they want from the pot. It is either eaten with the broth or with a dip. Further ingredients can also be successively added to the pot.  Eating together from a shared pot is considered as an important feature of nabemono.  (wiki)

Actually, nabe simply means “pot” in Japanese, but we call the steamboat that people eat together in winter “nabe” too.  To think about it, it sounds little funny..  “let’s eat nabe!” can mean “let’s eat the pot!”

Unfortunately I don’t have clay or cast iron pot here, so I made it with normal pot.  I added as many ingredients as possible…..  same as oden, more ingredients you add more flavorsome it becomes.

The typical ingredients for nabe in my house are Chinese cabbage, spring onion, tofu, carrot, chicken (or pork or fish) meat balls, chicken meat with bones, mushrooms, and kuzukiri – starch noodle.  Kuzukiri is one of my favorite food in nabe: it’s chewy.  You can add any ingredients you like, such as spinach, fish meat, fishcakes, udon etc etc.

It’s fun to gather friends and share a nabe on the table while watching tv.  This time, I made nabe with chicken soup.


<Nabe in chicken soup>

  1. Cut ingredients into desired size.  Place the ingredient all together in a pot.  If you are using Chinese cabbage, place them on top as if it covers the entire food.
  2. Add chicken stock (depends on the size of the pot, but I used 1 L for a very large pot)
  3. Bring to the boil, then simmer.  You can do this process on the portable stove on the table.
  4. Eat as it cooks.  Add ponzu directly into the pot, or use ponzu as a dipping sauce.
There are many different flavors of nabe, including kimuchi, miso, seafood, soy milk, and curry.


Posted July 15th, 2010 in Food | 6 Comments »

As you may know, Oden is a typical winter food in Japan. ( wiki )  It is a kind of light, soy-flavoured dashi broth stew, consisting of several ingredients such as daikon radish, konnyaku, boiled eggs, fish cakes etc.  It’s basically stew with a mixture of whatever you want to add.  

I loooove Oden, I can just survive with this every day during winter.  It’s also nice to be eaten with warm sake/sho-chu.  

It’s so funny to know that foreign people really hate Oden.  They say that it smells like washed socks….  I don’t think so!  But, I guess Oden is a type of alien food for them. :p

When you order oden at convenience stores or Izakaya, you normally order the item one by one according to what you want to eat.  You can just order “tamago (boiled egg)” or “daikon (radish)”.  But, when you make oden at home, you add as many kinds of ingredients as possible so that the flavor is full.  Each ingredient gives the flavor to oden 🙂

Eating oden in kotatsu while watching tv… I miss it!



Fine Winter Day

Posted June 30th, 2010 in Perth WA | No Comments »

JAPAN LOST !! (>0<)

It was a long game against Paraguay yesterday, and the first penalty shootout of the 2010 World Cup was carried out.  Japan lost in the end, but I think they did their best and I’m proud of them for coming this far as a only Asian team.


It was my favorite climate during the day yesterday!  Not too cold, but not hot, little windy and I could feel the air moving around me.  I like looking up the sky and watch the cloud moving.  At a glance it seems to be stopped, but if you watch it carefully the cloud moves pretty fast sometimes.  It’s my thing: I used to look up the sky and think “Australia could be under that cloud!” “I wonder what people are doing right now under that cloud over there…”  Then I felt that the world is such big and my little trouble seemed to be a tiny thing.

I was feeling little down over the last few weeks, as things happened around me and I wasn’t sure what I wanted.  But now, I realized something important after talking to friends and also reading some books.  Now I’m feeling pretty good 🙂

One thing that I still feel sad about is my cat.  She passed away just few days ago in my house in Japan.  Actually there’s a little weird story behind this cat, and I loved her so much.

Puu, a cat with mixed colors of black, grey and white, came to my house when I was around 17 ~ 18, I think.  I don’t remember how we started to have Puu, but she was already an adult cat (♀) by the time she joined my family.  She was a little strange cat!  Every night when I was taking bath, she called me “meow” behind the smoky glass in the bath room, and comes inside the bathroom and sit on top of the bathtub (I used to take bath while covering half the bathtub with plastic tub-cover to keep water hot, and she sat on the cover and slept!).  And, every night she called “meow” at the door of my room, then came inside the room and slept on my bed next to me, in my futon.  I had never seen cat that likes taking bath…

She was so smart too, and I felt some connection between her 🙂  But, one of her weird hobby – she liked jumping to the tray of kei-truck every time she sees any kei-truck – caused a trouble.  One day, she suddenly disappeared.  We think that she jumped on the tray of a kei-truck which was stopping around my house, and the truck started to move and Puu couldn’t get off the car.  I was so sad, and hoped she would come back soon.  But she didn’t.

After few months, mum told me an unbelievable story.  When my mum went to Lawson, a convenience store, one cat jumped inside her car and sat on the seat as if she was waiting my mum to drive home quickly.  My mum came home with the cat.  The thing we felt so weird was that the cat looked exact same as Puu!  Same color, similar pattern, and same gender.  We really thought it was Puu, but something was little different. (to me) And, the tip bone of this cat’s tale was little broken.  Besides, this cat didn’t like taking bath and sleeping on my bed.  It was a different cat.

I couldn’t believe what just happened.  This cat already started to feel at home and sleeping in front of tv.  The personality of the cat was obviously different from missing Puu, but we started to love this cat too.  We named her “Puu”, the same name as the previous one.

“Puu Ⅱ” was pregnant when she jumped in my mum’s car, and gave birth to 6 beautiful kittens.  She was really like a normal cat (very my-pace) but very adorable.

Since then she stayed with my family.  I really thought she had some kind of power, as she seemed to know everything!  For example, when I was walking towards my house from my friend’s house and started to see my house from the distance, “Puu Ⅱ” was already sitting in front of the house and looking at me.  And she looked at me with the look: like “hey you”.

“Puu Ⅱ” passed away because of the age.  I never knew how old she was, but she lived her long life like Mimi, my dog.  I hope she was very happy.


Hot Spa

Posted June 24th, 2010 in Ume's Interests | 6 Comments »

It is really cold … yesterday morning I noticed the grass on the ground was frozen!

I’ve been having a neck pain for the last couples of week… Not only neck, actually.  I have headache, backache and dizziness too! (>0<)  My neck and shoulder have been always pretty stiff since I was a kid, and I’m used to it already, but now I really feel there is something wrong ☆ I don’t have this much pain usually…  It could be because of the cold weather, my posture, playing with computer too much, thinking too many stuff, etc etc.  I gotta relax!!

Today during the day, what I thought was to take a hot bath tonight.  I couldn’t wait!  As soon as I finished baking a cake for tomorrow delivery, I filled the bath tub with hot water.  ….but, it didn’t turn out to be as nice as I expected.  The water wasn’t hot enough (it should be around 40° or over, always!!), and the bath tub was not made for keeping the water warm!  As soon as the hot water went into the tub, it started to cool down.  The whole bathroom was kinda cold too 🙁

In Japan, bath tubs are usually made with special material that keep the water warm.  And deeper!  I could swim in the tub when I was little.  The bath tub in my house is quite shallow, and I couldn’t warm up my shoulder ..  Oh well, it is Australia here, not Japan (><)

I miss Yufuin…  (my little honeymoon trip in Yufuin, in Japan → I wrote about it here, here, here, and here. ) Oh, and Yamashiro Onsen.

Oh, by the way, I heard that there is a ryokan (Japan style hotel) in Melbourne, called “Shizuka”.  Has anyone been there before? ( I found the website here : http://www.shizuka.com.au/)  It looks nice… but I bet it’s expensive :p

Autumn Food in Perth

Posted May 27th, 2010 in Perth WA | 2 Comments »

It’s really getting cold in Perth ~….  (do I say this too much? :p )

I really miss kotatsu: which is a wooden table with electric heater built in, and covered by a heavy blanket.  People in Japan spend most of the day around this kotatsu.  We don’t stay inside of the blanket, as it’ll get really hot, but we keep out legs and sometimes half the body inside the blanket and watch tv.  Most of the case we fell asleep after few hours…

I like winter, love the cold air and the snow.  It was snowing heavily when I was born, my mum says.  I was born in February, and the road was frozen when my mum had to rush into the hospital.  It was very early morning, around 2am, and the outside was pure white because of the snow.

One thing I don’t like about winter is the short daytime.  The sun shows up late, and sun goes down early.  It starts to get dark around 5pm these days.  So, if I want to take some pictures I need to do it before 3~4 pm and it is quite a rush to me.

In this cold weather, what I miss is the hearty Japanese winter food.  You can enjoy some of them, including sukiyaki and oden at some Japanese restaurants.  Or, you can simple make them by yourself!  Check out delicious Japanese beef curry recipe from here , or add tomato and arrange it into a soupy Japanese curry like this recipe here.  I also recommend white stew (in Japan we call it “cream stew”) in winter.  Check the recipe here.  Making them are very easy.  You can buy a packet of roux from grocery shops, and you’ll just need to add some vegetables and meat.  Leave it overnight for deeper, developed flavor.

If you want to make oden, the best place to go for shopping is Emma’s Seafood grocery store in Northbridge, I think.  They sell many Japanese products including oden seasoning, and also fish cakes for oden are available inside the store.  I sometimes buy 1 kg of them and do oden party here 😀  You’ll also need konnyaku, daikon radish, firm tofu and boiled eggs etc for oden.  The best thing to add is gyu-suji (bits of beef tendon) if you can find!  Great with warm sake.

Happy New Year~!

Posted January 1st, 2009 in Japan | No Comments »


New year 2009…

How did you spend the last minutes of 2008??  Were you out somewhere counting down to 00:00??  I was actually at home, playing Japanese card game (hana-fuda) with my dad, brother and partner over watching the music show “kohaku uta gassen”, a highly popular television program featuring many of Japan’s most famous singers in spectacular performances.  At 00:00 we ate toshikoshi-soba.  Eating soba noodle from the last minute of New Year’s Eve to New Years Day is Japanese tradition.  It’s based on our unique customary thoughts from the ancient times that we cannot finish up the old year without eating soba.  (toshikoshi = “year-passing”)

There are some reasons why we choose soba and not any other kind of food: 

1) Soba is a bringer of good luck, family fortunes, and longevity (because soba is physically long)

2) Since soba is easy to bite, it is also considered to forget and sever any carryover of hardship and disaster that may have happened during the year.

3) Soba is believed to collect fortunes; During the Edo period , a gold and silver craftsmen used balls made of kneaded buckwheat (=soba) to collect splattered gold and silver pieces in the working area, and burned the ball over hibachi (= Japanese heating appliance using charcoal as fuel) to catch residue gold and silver pieces. 

While soba maybe a Japanese style fast-food, it seems to have an additional value during the new year period.  (by miyabi.com)

We just had these instant soba noodles… 🙂  (… my brother had udon noodle instead as he doesn’t really like soba noodle :p Against the tradition!)

Wish you all a happy happy new year~!!

Fish Market near Japanese Ocean

Posted December 30th, 2008 in Food, Japan | No Comments »

Today I went to Tsuruga city in Fukui Pref.  The purpose was to buy some crabs from this famous fish market 🙂

(BTW Tsuruga city is located next to Obama city = was unofficially supporting Barack Obama during U.S. Presidental election because of the similarities in names.)

There were so many people inside… many seafood too :p I saw a huge octopus (approx 50m x 1.5m), lots of crabs, lots and lots of dried cuttlefishes…  One of the them looked like a face; is that the face of cuttlefish?? :p  (for more photoes, click here )

As there were hundreds of crabs to choose from and all of them looked nice & fresh, we just grabed 2 huge crabs which were arranged on the ice near us.  Costed 5000 yen each.

Then we decided to have lunch at a kaiten sushi restaurant inside of the market.  Everything was so delish and fresh, I ate so much :p  My favorite was tsubu-gai (shellfish) and aburi-salmon (seared salmon).  Yum!

Then we headed to home.  I love the view from the car…  Lots of mountains and lots of rice field…  (country side!)

At night, we cooked crab steam boat (kani nabe) 🙂  Steam boat is the king of Japanese winter food!  Lots of veggies… so healthy 🙂  The juice from the crabs and veggies were soooooo delicious and tasty, I didn’t need to season it much.  Just water and drops of ponzu. That’s it!

Ate a lot again…

It’s snowing!

Posted December 26th, 2008 in Japan | 4 Comments »

It’s been 10 days since my partner and I arrived at Osaka Kansai airport.  Everything is great here, some of the things are changed and some are not.

Food is amazing, I keep eating a lot everyday… but I can’t help it!  (>0<)  I don’t care if I put on weight… :p

Today it was snowing.  That was the first time to see snow since we got here.  No wonder it was so cold last night 🙂

I’m not a good driver in snow, but I did try driving this Kei- Truck car (used for our rice fields) to shopping mall.

I’ve been shopping a lot!  Hope I can bring all the stuff I bought here back to Perth…  or maybe I have to send some of them by mail :p