January in Japan

Alliteration again! I can’t help it. Above pic is メロンパン: Melon flavored bread. It’s actually great for breakfast 3 times. After that, it tastes like it sounds.

January is usually my least favorite month of the year. I never could quite put my finger on why. If anyone has any ideas why Januaries usually suck, let me know. Anyone?

But living in Tokyo took a bit of the suckiness away because I had plenty of stuff to keep myself occupied, like eating rotten soybeans:

Or 納豆 (natto) as they are called in 日本語ese. Just looking at them makes my stomach turn. A pic will never do as much justice as a video of them sticking together in a sort of snot-like manner while you try to mix them around.

But if you add some soy sauce and mustard they magically become edible.

Why did I eat them? They’re healthy! (right) Because they’re cheap, you get like 3 boxes of these suckers for ¥100 ($1) and they fill you up quite a bit.

A rancid smell similar to rotten eggs remains in your sinuses for hours though.

Japanese peanut butter. I try to buy local goods when I’m abroad, simply because it’s cheaper.

This is for others learning Japanese. But I do have to mention Japanese peanut butter is unique in that: it’s whipped. Very easy to spread.

Okay, disregard my last comment about buying local products because of my addiction to Coke. In any case, this is an 800ml stubby bottle. It’s so cute, look at it!

No matter where you live in the world (even if you live in Europe and you have to pay for your grocery bags), you will end up with one of these bags holding all your other bags.

On the plus side, I haven’t bought any trash bags since I moved here.

During my Japanese Jazz cooking, I realized that the Nabe base stuff in these bottles actually serves like 4. So at ¥300, divided by 4, that’s actually a decent price, so I started buying and using them.

And this one, which tastes like 鉄板焼き Teppanyaki and kicks ass.

More Jazz cooking resulted in the following:

I overloaded the pot with too many ingredients resulting in nothing having enough room(?) to cook and so nothing cooked really well. It was terrible.

I just like this pic. It looks tasty.

Added some 牛肉 beef to the Kimchi base for this:

Which was pretty good, but lacking in other ingredients (Kimchi tends to overpower everything, so you should add a big variety of of vegetables and meat).

And this one, with the 肉鍋 (teppanyaki tasting base) was the bomb. This is the best Nabe I have ever made. It was simply chinese cabbage, enoki mushrooms(えのき茸), ramen, bean sprouts and:

Lots of 豚肉 pork 🙂

And here is a closeup so you can study 😉 国産豚肉? (こくさんぶたにく)National-product-pork-meat, easy for you AJATT learners 🙂

I never did show a pic of the mushrooms I was using, so there they are.

Of course, I didn’t make every meal. I got lazy a few times and picked up stuff from the combini like this:

Pork Cutlets on rice. And this:

唐揚げ弁当。Fried Chicken bento.

And I did happen to go to an Izakaya once to get my all-time favorite:

馬刺。Basashi.  Coupled with:

More 唐揚げ (yup, fried chicken ;)), where they also had some…

High ball action available. High balls are actually more popular in Japan than they are in the states, go figure.

I didn’t drink any sake 酒. But I did look at it. Still wondering what that second漢字 is. Any ideas?

An interesting thing about Japan. You never tip, and you rarely pay at your table. So even when you are in the middle of a restaurant ordering tons of food and drinks, you have a little card by your table which you have to take to the レジ (register) when you’re ready to leave and pay.

And then you stumble into an arcade to play Street Fighter 4 (or I do, at any rate).

Where they have ashtrays on every arcade machine. Japan really wants me to start smoking again.

I hadn’t played SF4 before, so here is a short review: I still own. The game mechanics haven’t changed much since Street Fighter II. And since the only people I’ve ever met who can beat me are living in a small neighborhood in the middle of LA, I wailed with Ryu (竜 or 龍 come to think of it).

I made it all the way to the final boss on one credit (Japanese learners, ignore the ¥100 sign above).

I blame the machine for moving around everytime I tried to do a special move (it was on wheels!). I felt sorta bad for the guy playing behind my machine. I kept bumping my machine into his.

So on to February. The month known for more cold weather and heart-shaped candy. Of course, in Japan, Valentine’s day is a bit different. I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

gingerbreadhousesugar
Here’s a Quick Way to Make a Gingerbread House