Thursday, 11 August 2011


Ok so I didnt do a dish on the weekend so I'll be taking a recipe out of my simple japanese cookbook to share.

Tamago (Japanese omelette)

Gently whisk together 6 organtic eggs, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon miring, 1 teaspoon sake and 1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce being careful not to add too much air to the mixture. Strain it into a jug to remove any threads of egg White.

1. Place a square tamago pan over a medium heat and use a brush to grease it lightly with sunflower oil.

2. Pour a quarter of the egg mixture evenly over the base of the pan and cook until the top has just set.

3. Using a spatuala, fold the omelette lengthways four times, trying to keep the roll as neat and tight as possible

4. Remove the cylinder of omelette from the pan and put it to one side on a plate. Lightly oil the pan and pour another quarter of mixture over the base.

5. When the second layer of omelette has set, place the rolled omelette back in the pan and wrap the second layer of omelette around it to create a larger roll. Use the spatula to make it as neat as possible, then remove the omelette from the pan. Repeat with the remaining egg mixture.

6. Place the omelette in a bamboo mat and leave to cool for at least 30 minutes. Use a very sharp knife to cut the omelette into 10 slices. The omelette can be made a day in advance and kept in the fridge overnight, which also makes it easier to cut.

Practice makes perfect so if you don't get it right at first don't worry!!

This recipe is from the book simple japanese with east|west flavours by Silla Bjerrum

Monday, 8 August 2011


During the 1920's and 30's there was an Akita dog known by the name Hachiko. Everyday Hachiko would sit near the exit of Shibuya's station, waiting for his owner to return from work at a university where he was a professor. The dog was was seen by so many people each day it became a familular sight. When Hatchiko's master died in 1925 the dog still returned to the station exit everyday for another 10 years until his death in 1935. Hachiko became famous for how loyal and obedient he was, both highly valued in Japan. There is now a bronze statue of Hachiko outside the station which is a popular meeting spot for friends.

Sunday, 7 August 2011


LAst week we learnt that katakana was used to write borrowed words, this week I wanted to use hiragana but to help learn actual Japanese I'll start off with something really basic!

It's a word which is thrown about a lot now and it means cute! Kawaii!! A 4 syllable word in Japanese, and as each syllable equals a character we can break it into 4 characters. KA WA I I

か わ い い
Ka Wa I I

Now how about we learn a sentence or 2?

It is cute
Kawaii desu
かわいい です

It is cute, isn't it?
Kawaii desu ne
かわいい です ね

As for the unicorn, it is cute or that unicorn is cute
Yunikon wa kawaii desu
ユニコーン は かわいい です

You may have noticed I said there is a wa after unicorn in the last sentence but the Japanese has は which can't be wa as we used wa in kawaii. It's because in the last sentence wa was a particle, a topic marker. It was marking the unicorn as the topic of that sentence so in this instance it is written as は (ha).

Thursday, 4 August 2011


The Tatami mats

This is seen in a lot of films and cartoons but not so much Japan, as western culture groans in Japan you will see less and less of traditional Japan. Anyone who wants to experience the more traditional Japanese room is better of staying at a small family run b&b or ryokan (traditional Japanese inn)

The tatami is a woven rectangular mat and is amazing to walk on, it's warm and more bouncy then you would expect, it's quite the feeling you wont forget. It's not quite like walking on a carpet but not like hardwood floor either. I had the chance to walk on one during a tea ceremony.

Although they are not seen much anymore they are still quite popular for smaller houses where sone people still sleep on futons which are folded and put away each day to save space. Again you are not likely to see this is most Japanese households as the western style bed is most popular. If you want to sleep on a futon, go to a ryokan.

Ryokans are usually small family run guest houses, there will be paper Walls and sliding doors wooden floors and tatami mats, low down tables and futons. Most food will be homecooked and traditional too. If you are really interested in this for a holiday I reccomend emerald tours (no I don't work for them but I'm pretty sure they can set you up in a ryokan and give you some amazing tours of Japan)

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Best and worstbits from my Japan trip

+ the fanta grape
+ the cans with screw tops
+ the amazing people
+ how clean it was
+ being part of a japanese prank
+ waking everyone up by singing opera in the morning

- hotel cleaner stole my underwear
- nearly setting the carpet on fire
- losing a false nail during cookery class
- some odd food
-falling asleep in public
- having to say good bye

Kyoto tour (14 Feb 2004 continued)

... Arriving in Kyoto was strange, we had gone from the snow covered land of Hokkaido and were now hot enough to be needing a trip to the seaside! We settled in a nice little youth hostel, I still have their leaflet; the girls had one room and the boys had another. They where quite dark inside, with dark wood furniture, bunk bends on both sides of the room and Im pretty sure they had gaudy yellow blankets.

There was a computer with Internet so we got a chance to check our emails. There was a public bath too, quite daunting really! One room to leave your town then you step into the bathroom, showers lined 2 Walls, little stools at each, facing a large mirror, in the corner a large wood bath. (in Japan a bath is not for washing only relaxing and you should never get in without having a good wash using the shower first)

We spent a couple of days in kyoto, we spent an entire day touring the shrines and gardens, i saw some of the most beautiful sites I've ever seen. Kinkaku-ji was deffinatly a breath-taker! A golden pavilion surrounded by deep blue water and lush greenery! We met a lot of people on our tour, our photo was taken so many times I felt like a celebrity!

We took part in traditions, ringing a bell, doing a certain amount of steps from one stone to another with our eyes closed, throwing 5 yen over our shoulder into a dish, I got it in, some young boys were very impressed and told me I'm lucky. We did have a lot of fun touring, even with all the history lessons, it was truly fascinating!

Despite all the fun we had one thing to do, a very hard thing, to visit the peace museum. I would rather not talk about it as it is highly upsetting, especially for anyone like myself who had a grandad who fought against the Japanese. I do think people should visit if they get a chance but it's a lot to take in and very upsetting.

All that aside we did get more fun! Karaoke bar was a must, we had a lot of fun, it's a great way to wind down after a long day shopping! Shopping in Kyoto is great! We all ran off in different directions, I've never seen a shopping place like it! It wasn't really a mall or anything I've ever seen before, more like lots of large alleys with stalls and shops either side! We all got gifts for people back home who we hadn't already got gifts for, it was our last chance to do so.

I think that was our last day, then we had to go home. I bought some last minute goodies at the airport, all hello kitty related. Before I knew it I was home and the most amazing experience of my life was over

Sunday, 31 July 2011


I want to include some Japanese lessons in this blog, I will try do a new word and phrase each week!



ユ 二 コー ン
Yu ni kō n


See if you can work out what the word is! The answer will be at the bottom of this post! This word is written in katakana. Katakana is used for loan words and borrowed words, in other words (no pun intended) when the Japanese use a word from the English language it will be written in katakana. Usually they are easier to translate, if you can read katakana; because they often sound the same or very similar to their English equivalent, the words are usually uttered to make it pronounceable for the Japanese Tongue and also so it can be spelt.

Today's word was unicorn! Did you get it!?