Vegetables and more vegetables

Posted on Aug 18, 2009 in Hiroko's Blog

Japan is now having a vegetable boom!  Restaurants, take-out food companies and vegetable mongers are pushing a “more vegetables to the table” campaign.  At Hibiki restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo, I had a wonderful vegetable dinner.  Here are some of what we, my sister and her husband and my husband and me, ordered and enjoyed during that splendid vegetable (nearly 100% ) meal.  Carrot, turnip and red daikon radish served with flavorful miso sauce, crisp baby...

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Dried bamboo husks, take no kawa

Posted on Aug 17, 2009 in Hiroko's Blog

Dried bamboo husks are known to have sterilization property, so in the past it was an indispensable material for packing food items which were to be carried around for a relatively long time.  I remember my mother often packed onigiri rice balls and pickled vegetables in the dried bamboo husks for my school excursions or for our picnics.  While I was travelling from Tokyo to Fukuoka city in Kyushu, the southern main island of Japan, I purchased an ekiben (a bento lunch box...

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Some tips for traveling Japan

Posted on Aug 12, 2009 in Hiroko's Blog

1. Purchase a Japan Rail Pass before leaving for Japan at a travel agency.  This saves you a lot.  You can travel on the JR railway which covers the entire nation and reaches to everye corner of the four major islands.  The price of the passes are: 7-day for 28,300 YEN ($290), 14-day for 45,100 YEN ($460) and 21-day for 57,700 YEN ($580).  I purchased 7-day pass and traveled the distance which would have cost $800 at regular ticket prices. 2. Bring a couple of handkerchief...

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Some disturbing news from Japan

Posted on Aug 12, 2009 in Hiroko's Blog

The suicide rate is going ever high in Japan.  The record shows that each year and average of 30,000 people commits suicide, and the large majority is from the male population.  The bad economy, loss of job, unable to marry – these are the major cause of suicide.The subway in Japan is introducing a barrier wall equipped with automatic doors on the platform to prevent people from throwing themselves onto the railroad track as the train enters the station.  Suicide is...

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Hiyashi chuka-soba (summer time chilled ramen noodle)

Posted on Aug 10, 2009 in Recipes

When the hot and sticky summer approaches, Chinese-style restaurants across Japan begin to carry on their menus a special summer ramen noodle dish called hiyashi chuka-soba.   The noodles are served cold with various toppings, and bathed in a refreshing sauce flavored with rice vinegar and sesame oil.  This is one of the dishes which I taught at Battenkill Cooking School in Salem, NY, last Saturday, and everyone LOVE IT! Topping can be all vegetables or vegetables with...

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