Category Archives: Japan

Cooler Weather = First Batch of Oden Since Last Winter

You know you’re sliding toward fall and winter when you make your first batch of oden. It’s a bit late to dig in now (9:30pm) but it’ll be great with a side dish of genmai brown rice in the morning.

Anyway it’s often better when you let it sit for awhile and let all the flavors mingle…

Oden on stove

Yumi’s Mom in Aomori (northern Japan) makes wonderful nishime in the fall & winter — I get the impression that her stock simmers for months and she just keeps replenishing veggies and seafood.

Goshawk vs Snake Fight — in Tokyo?!

I just saw an NHK (if you’re Canadian think CBC) clip of a snake trying to snatch a goshawk chick from a nest way up a tree — in Meiji Jingu park in Tokyo. Mom GH intervened…

I used to walk through Meiji Jingu a couple of times a week on the way to work when I lived in Tokyo. I would get off the train a few stations early to fill my lungs with somewhat naturally filtered air and enjoy this haven in a sea of concrete and pavement…

But I never imagined a goshawk/snake fight in this green oasis in a metropolitan area of some 25-30 million people!

I’m attaching this Google Earth capture, just to show how isolated this island of biodiversity is in one of the largest metropolitan centers on Earth.

The red marker is Meiji Shrine and its park. The surrounding grey area is all buildings, concrete, and pavement. The other green areas to the right are other parks, and the Imperial Palace.

Meiji Jingu Tokyo Google Maps

Kodo Delivers Superb Concert Again

Yumi and I went to the Kodo concert in Vancouver this evening. We’ve seen them several times, and this show was another fantastic event.

While they used to focus on the sheer stamina and physicality of extreme, marathon taiko drumming, this tour is more nuanced with more story-telling.

It worked well. Close enough to their ripped roots to satisfy hard-core fans, and different enough to demonstrate that they are not creatively stagnating.

Also a bit more humor, which is fun.

Good show!

Celebrating New Year Japanese Style in Burnaby, BC

I love celebrating New Year Japanese style.

We tape the entire Kohaku Red (Women) vs White (Men) NHK song extravaganza to our PVR, and watch it at our leisure over the course of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. It’s always a bit over the top, a tish maudlin, and with few actually gripping or moving performances, but it’s a fun way to stay somewhat in touch with contemporary Japanese music and culture.

The food is great. Sushi, sashimi, chawan mushi, and a couple of bottles of choice nihonshu (sake) shared with friends.

Ringing the temple bell at midnight at Tozenji in nearby Coquitlam is always fun, too. Out with the old, in with the new.

Returning home at a crazy hour and cooking and eating toshi koshi soba for long life and prosperity.

Here’s Yumi’s Japanese-Canadian fusion tableau in our foyer:

New_Year_Tableau_2014