Latest Blog Posts

Latest Blog Posts

Follow the Parade of Cherry Blossom Festivals and Parties in Japan

Japan springs into party and festival mode with the appearance of cherry blossoms. From mid-March to April’s end, national TV news concludes with a cherry blossom forecast. The climb of the pale petaled wonders from Japan’s subtropical Okinawa to the tippy top island of Hokkaido is announced. (Okinawans start their festivals in late January. Hokkaido farmers typically celebrate in late April or early May.)  Hirosaki Castle in... Read Full Article

Celebrating Community, Childhood and Salt 'n Straw Organic Ice Cream

Celebrating Community, Childhood and Organic Ice Cream Salt & Straw 純粋な子供の頃を思い出すアイス・クリーム     Restaurant Data レストランの情報: Venice Beach ベニス・ビーチ: 1357 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Venice, CA  Tel. (310) 310-8429 Larchmont ラーチモント: 240 N. Larchmont Blvd. Los Angeles, CA (323) 466-0485 Studio City スタジオ・シティ: 12180 1/2 Ventura Blvd. Los Angeles, CA (818) 358-2890 Web Site ウエブ・サイト... Read Full Article

Traveling Vegan in Japan

The vegan lifestyle is new in Japan; vegetarianism is not. Shojin ryori (精進料理) - the vegetarian diet of the Buddhist monks - has been around for centuries in Japan. Japanese cuisine (and markets) are conducive to vegan cooking. (Lots of lovely veggies.) If you are used to fancy vegan fare and need a kitchen, consider renting an apartment. If a microwave will do the trick, you can probably rent one. Budget travelers staying at the... Read Full Article

Japanese Nikuman Meat Buns Made Easy

Trees naked of blossoms shivered under gray skies. The steaming hot Japanese nikuman meat buns were a great comfort. And wonderful hand warmers! Soft snow-white bread gave way to slightly spiced pork. Spring seemed an eternity away but the nikuman vanquished winter chills.  In Japan, you know it’s winter when nikuman meat buns appear. Steaming up glass cases are the plump Japanese buns. (There are also buns stuffed with sweet red... Read Full Article

St. Patrick’s Day Japanese Noodles

St. Patrick’s Day always brings back fond memories of Boston. One of the largest populations of Irish is in Boston, MA. The luck o’ the Irish has it that Boston is also home to one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parades. Fun fact: Every year my hometown of Tokyo’s St. Patrick’s parade grows larger and more popular, too. Summers with my mom in Massachusetts were so different from Tokyo where I spent the school... Read Full Article

Live the Ninja Dream

Nestled in the mountains of Mie Prefecture is Iga Ueno: Home to Japan’s famed ninja. Iga Ueno ninja alongside Shiga Prefecture’s Koga ninja (in Koka) were said to be the stealthiest. Mission impossible? Samurai summoned the Iga ninja and the Koga ninja.  Arriving at the isolated Ninja Park in Iga Ueno, I wondered if real ninja were hiding. The mountainous town is a trek from Tokyo. Transportation time depends on which trains... Read Full Article

How to Make the Gods Hear Your Prayers : Kyoto's Fushimi Inari Shrine

Defying the evening mist, Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine stands proud. A blaze of vermilion torii gates parade up a steep slope. Fox statues stare at you. The twisty trail takes you to a breathtaking mountaintop view. A fairyland of lights twinkle magic. Many an atheist may have become believers at Fushimi Inari Jinja.  (Shrine in Japanese is jinja.) Besides the majestic beauty, the magic is almost palpable. Maybe that’s due to... Read Full Article

Japanese Meatballs, #SundaySupper

Cooking Japanese food for a Jersey boy can be challenging. No azuki bean paste. Definitely no dried squid. Classic American chicken and rib roasts were standard fare in my husband, David’s childhood. Fish was the primary protein during my upbringing in Tokyo. Once in a while Japanese tsukune chicken meatballs were served. Familiar flavors of scallions, soy sauce, ginger and garlic accented the Japanese chicken meatballs.... Read Full Article

Pages