Latest Blog Posts

Latest Blog Posts

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

Japanese Plum Perfection #JapanTravel #ValentineCake

Spring air – woven moon and plum sweet ~Basho Follow the plum blossom trail in Japan. The five-petaled flower reveals a controversial history. Before the birth of the celebrated cherry blossom parties in Japan, plum blossom viewing soirees were in vogue. With the death of Emperor Uda, however, the revered Japanese plum blossom settled to second place. More Japanese songs and poetry star Japan’s cherry blossoms. But, the... Read Full Article

Edamame Waldorf Salad, #SundaySupper

The Maître d’hôtel of New York’s famed Waldorf-Astoria, Oscar Tschirky invented the Waldorf Salad. Oscar’s original 1896 salad had 3 ingredients; apples, mayonnaise and celery. Besides the salad, the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel has a history of celebrity spotting. Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, Winston Churchill, FDR are but a few of the names who signed the Waldorf-Astoria guest book. Today, everyone from celebrity chef... Read Full Article

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