Okinawa Style Noodle

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Okinawa Soba
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Soki Soba
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Miyako Soba

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this cold weather, I really want to escape to the warm place, Okinawa and have Okinawa style noodle called Okinawa soba i  n Japanese.  Depends on the toppings, the name of each noodle is different.  Can you explain the difference…?  I guess most people are not clear about the definition, so I introduce some. 

First, the most famous is Okinawa soba.  Although the soup is different from restaurants, it is usually bonito base.  The noodle with ribs of pork is called Okinawa soba.

 

Second, there is Soki soba using pork spare ribs with cartilage still attached.

 

Third, In Miyako Island in Okinawa, there is Miyako Soba.  As the special feature of Miyako Soba, pork is under the noodle.  It is said that old people in Miyao were hiding pork not to be found out they were small extravagant.  Different from Okinawa soba or Soki Soba, Miyako Soba looks very simple.  To enjoy delicious Miyako Soba, I recommend Maruyoshi Syokudo.  Garlic taste make the soup really good.  

Why don’t you try them?

Japanese Mayonnaise

00000002491-1In 2010, Japanese Kewpie corporation mayonnaise recorded No.1 sales in Amazon.com in America.  Also Japan is the second consumption country, according to a Japanese TV.  Most of Japanese people love mayonnaise, and Japan has many dishes using mayonnaise like Okonomiyaki, rice balls or pizza. I have heard foreigners usually use it only for vegetable sticks or French fries. And they say it is surprising Japan use mayo a lot and Japanese mayonnaise is tasty.  So what is the special feature of Japanese mayonnaise?

First, the most popular company, Kewpie mayonnaise corp. use only yolks of eggs, even though using whole eggs is the mainstream in the world.  Yolks make the products more creamy and rich taste.

Second, according to Kewpie, the polyethylene bottle, differently from glass bottle, is the big point to keep contents fresh.  They pile polyethylene up in layers to protect from oxygen.

Third is the different of vinegar.  Japanese mayonnaise is using rice vinegar, while distilled vinegar is the main in America.  And In France, they use mainly wine vinegar.  The special feature of rice vinegar in Japan is soft and smooth taste, so it caused tasty mayonnaise which matches with any foods.

In this video, a man is surprising weird mayonnaise foods at Mayonnaise Kitchen in Japan.  I was surprised this kind of restaurant exist, but I want to visit once.

EBIKEN

131221ke1A Japanese dancer nicknamed EBIKEN won first place in America’s Got Talent last year.  Japanese victory is the first time since the TV show started in 2006.  His dance is like a robot, and he acts like Matrix moving his body and joint freely and incredibly.  Kenichi Ebina was born in Kanagawa in 1947.  He went to a University in Connecticut and started hip-hop dance as his hobby, then, studied many kinds of dance by himself.  His dance is incredibly wonderful, and I think he is like a superhuman.  If you see his dance, I am sure you will be totally attracted by him.  Please check it out!

goodbymarket

fujitAfter Mt. Fuji became national heritage, unique T-shirts or other goods with Mt. Fuji motif are well-known gradually.  The trick of the T-shirt is, if you turn over the hem, Mt. Fuji will appear.  Don’t you think it is very cute idea?  These goods are produced by “goodbymarket” from Shizuoka.  The owner was also from Shizuoka, and he has been liked Mt. Fuji since his childhood.  Before climbing the mountain, he unconsciously picked the T-shirt’s hem and turn out on a mirror at home.  And he found it shaped like a mountain.  He drew colorful Mt. Fuji on the rear side of the shirt, and took picture of him turning the shirt out on the top of Mt. Fuji.  People were surprised and it made communication with them, he says.  Because he was wising to build a design company which connects people for a long time, he started producing the T-shirts soon.  This creative designed T-shirts are becoming popular by word of mouth.

Why do Japanese talents go to Hawaii in New Year’s Holiday?

20110324124938ab9Japan has winter tradition which reporter is waiting for Japanese talents arriving to Honolulu airport.  Every year,  lots of Japanese talents spend their holidays in Hawaii, and the audience on TV is looking forward to the interview.  Then, why do Japanese talents love to go to Hawaii in this holiday?

According to Kozo Inoue, a Japanese famous reporter, he mentioned 3 points.

First is the warm and comfortable weather in Hawaii.  Include me, they will be eager to escape from the cold weather in Japan.  Second, there are many restaurants or other shops which are available for Japanese language.  The biggest reason is they are always treated like VIP by Hawaiian people.  Because Hawaiians really know Japanese talents, they prepare great table at a restaurant for a talent, or provide great service.  It is the different from other place like NY or LA.  Anyway, it is interesting that interviewing talents at Honolulu airport is one of Japanese winter event.

Karesansui

TofukujiRyoginanTouteiKaresansui is a style of Japanese garden which depicts landscapes like a river or the ocean using only stones and sand.  This style expresses nature by eliminating unnecessary parts as much as possible.  Karesansui style was started by Zen temple during the Muromachi period.  In this modern world, it is common for us that the flowers or moon is beautiful.  However, Karesansui teach us pleasant feeling to picture the beauty and healing of nature.

 

 

 

 

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Not only by stones or sand, Japanese creates beautiful dish using idea of Karesansui.  What do you see in this picture?  I see a boat made by bamboo leaf, and a stream on the plate.  Don’t you think it is beautiful?

To see a full-scale of Karesansui, I recommend visiting Ryoanji in Kyoto.  I am able to stay there for many hours when I visit.  Moreover, you can make your original miniature Karesansui, so let’s get this and feel Japan at home.

Nanakusagayu

f5ecb669d9fce5d7dea4a770635ecdb7 In Japan, people eat the seven spring herbs rice porridge “nanakusagayu” on the morning of January 7th.  These seven herbs are Seri(water dropwort), Nazuna(shepherd’s purse), Gokyou(cudweed), Hakobera(chickweed), Hotokenoza(henbit), Suzuna(turnip), and Suzushiro(daikon radish).

This custom came from the belief that by eating rice porridge with the young herbs, the vitality of spring dwells would purify from evil and protect from various illnesses.  It also eases a stomach from much alcohol and foods during New Year’s holiday.  These herbs have much nutrition so if you missed the rice porridge today’s morning, please try next year!

Ice Rink in Tokyo Midtown

midtown_icerink_01From January 8th to March 9th, “Ice Rink in Tokyo Midtown” opens in Roppongi, Tokyo.  This event started 5 years ago, and this year, “Love” is the theme targeting families and couples.  The size of the rink is 840㎡, and capacity is 210 people.  It opens by 11am to 10pm, and after 17pm the rink will be beautifully illuminated.  The fare is 1,500 yen for over high school students and 1,000 yen for children.  Why don’t you make a memory of winter in Japan?

Whether Japanese curry rice is Japanese food or not

308Last year, Japanese cuisine was registered by UNESCO as an intangible national heritage.  Then, I wonder simple and easy menus like curry rice, yakisoba or ramen which we often eat at home or Japanese casual restaurants can be called as Japanese food or not.  I think, curry rice should be regarded as Japanese food, because the spicy, but little bit sweet curry is ordinary home-made dish, and it is not served in any countries.  However, according to the research by Tsujicho Group, people who think curry rice is Japanese dish are surprisingly only 23%.

So what is the definition of Japanese cuisine?  According to the Ministry of Agriculture, The definition is being traditional food culture, using various and fresh ingredients, being well-balanced and healthy food habit, and being related to Japanese cultural events.  If following the definition, curry rice or yakisoba which were born in new generation cannot be Japanese food.  After knowing this fact, I little bit felt sadness.  Now, ramen, curry rice or yakisoba are loved by Japanese and foreigners as Japanese food.  It is kind of ridiculous to think this problem important, but I hope these Japanese foods to be really Japanese traditional food in the future.

Difference of Zenzai and Shiruko

DSC04260In winter, many of Japanese eat moch with soybean flour, soy source and grating raddish etc…  We have other way to eat mochi such as Zenzai and Shiruko.  These two are both Japanese sweets of red bean soup made with Azuki beans and mochi.  Then I wonder what the difference is.  I found the definition is different whether Kanto or Kansai.

In Kanto, Zenzai is not soup.  This is a sweet of mochi with red bean paste, while Shiruko is basically Zenzai added red bean soup.

On the other hand, In Kanto area, Zenzai is regarded as soup of mochi and red bean jam containing while beans.  Shiruko of Kanto area is mochi and strained red bean paste.

It is little bit complicating for people who are not use to the sweets,  but all I want to say is it is very delicious and I would foreigners to try it even though this looks honestly not good…