Tasty Ginger Pork

This dish is fast, easy, and will make your kitchen smell delicious! Tasty Ginger Pork Serves 4 Ingredients:12 oz. (340 g) pork loin or tenderloin2 yellow onions2 T (30ml) oilSalt1 knob of fresh ginger root (about twice the size of your thumb)3/4 c. (175 ml) mirin (sweet rice wine)*3/4 c. (175 ml) sake (Japanese riceContinue reading “Tasty Ginger Pork”

Convenience Store Woman

by Sayaka Murata Setting & details: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Setting & details: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Authenticity of Japanese characters & dialogue: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Represents real life in Japan: ⭐⭐⭐⭐Entertainment value: ⭐⭐⭐⭐My recommendation: Well worth reading Convenience Store Woman is the story of middle-aged Keiko Furakura, who has worked in a convenience store all of her adult life, and finally dares to seek a futureContinue reading “Convenience Store Woman”

Thousands of candle-lit igloos turn this village into a winter fairyland

Kamakura Festival in Yokote, Akita February’s destination is the castle town of Yokote, in the northiest north of Akita prefecture. For two days every year (February 15-16), the town’s children offer toasted rice cakes and sweet sake to visitors inside tiny traditional igloos (kamakura) built all over town. Each kamakura is a shrine to the water deityContinue reading “Thousands of candle-lit igloos turn this village into a winter fairyland”

Weird Chocolate

When Japan embraces Western holidays, things can go a bit…sideways. And the biggest example of Getting It Wrong is nearly upon us: Valentine’s Day. Why? Because only MEN get chocolate!* That’s right. For Japanese women, Valentine’s Day might as well be called Big Fat Obligation Day, because not only are they on the hook for giftingContinue reading “Weird Chocolate”

Why the most interesting food you’ll eat in Japan might be…spaghetti

I know. Nobody goes to Japan to eat spaghetti. It’s sushi that’s supposed to deliver the big revelations, right? The exotic fish. The squicky I-dare-you innards. The arcane serving rituals at a restaurant with no menu. But it’s eating spaghetti in Japan that will really make you think. Because although every “Italian” restaurant in Tokyo offers pastaContinue reading “Why the most interesting food you’ll eat in Japan might be…spaghetti”

Spicy Japanese Eggplant

One day in Tokyo, I was at a lunch made by the women in this crazy Japanese women’s club I belong to, where each member had made one dish to contribute (and they all looked like they had been made by professional chefs and styled by photo stylists aieeee!) When I tasted the eggplant dish,Continue reading “Spicy Japanese Eggplant”

The Tattoo Murder Case

By Akimitsu Takagi Setting & details: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Authenticity of Japanese characters & dialogue: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Translation quality: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Entertainment value: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐My recommendation: A real page-turner of a police procedural that also gives a glimpse into the postwar demimonde of the tattooed Why would someone kill a beautiful tattooed woman, and steal her inked torso? That puzzle is just theContinue reading “The Tattoo Murder Case”

Let’s visit the perfect garden for how we’re feeling right now

Kairaku-en Plum Garden in Mito prefecture Like cherry blossoms, which are beloved because their brief but glorious life is the perfect metaphor for our own lives, plum blossoms have a special meaning too. They bravely bloom when there’s still a chance of snow, when nothing else in the world is blooming or green, and nothingContinue reading “Let’s visit the perfect garden for how we’re feeling right now”

If you thought quilts were a Western art, think again!

The Tokyo International Quilt Festival You know how Japan embraces stuff from all over the world, and then turns it uniquely Japanese? Every year at the end of January, Tokyo hosts one of the most magnificent displays of quilting in the world—the Tokyo International Quilt Festival.* Japanese artists come from a long tradition of meticulousContinue reading “If you thought quilts were a Western art, think again!”

Pre-battered suitcases and other weird travel necessities

Japanese fears, explained by travel products I used to laugh at the sheer array of disinfectant travel wipes for sale at Tokyu Hands (for planes! for trains! for public bathrooms!) but in this day and age, those aren’t so funny anymore. But there are a few Japanese travel aids whose entertainment value never grows old…Continue reading “Pre-battered suitcases and other weird travel necessities”