feature

Bamboo shoot (takenoko) article in the Japan Times

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A new article in the Japan Times about bamboo shoots, a quintessential springtime vegetable. continue reading...

Salt, Part 1

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A bit about salt. continue reading...

Sticky sticky natto article in the Japan Times

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Sticky slimy smelly goodness - and it’s good for you too. continue reading...

Katsuyo Kobayashi, 1937-2014

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Yesterday, it was revealed that cookbook author and TV chef, presenter and teacher Katsuyo Kobayashi (小林カツ代) had died on January 23, 2014. She was 76 years old. She was one of the biggest culinary influences in my life. continue reading...

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What it was like to run a popular sushi restaurant in New York City, with memories

sushisay-counter-natsukashi.jpg Two itamae (chefs) prepping before the store opens, circa 2001.

[If you have been following this blog or my Facebook page, you may know that I haven’t been doing too well. I was going to write yet another moan-y thing about my radiation therapy and stuff, but instead, I thought I’d end the year by posting this, an edited and expanded version of something I wrote a little while ago. I hope you have fun reading it, especially if you have ever run a restaurant, or lived in New York. Ah New York, I still miss you. Anyway - here’s to a much better 2014!]

I never ran a restaurant myself, so most of my knowledge on this matter is second hand. My mother ran a very successful restaurant in midtown Manhattan called Tsukiji Sushisay. In addition my stepfather was the accountant for several Japanese restaurants in NYC. I did however work the front desk for a few months, and helped out over the years with things like translating legal documents, making brochures, or creating their website. I translated the menu to English, and even taught basic ‘sushi-counter customer-service English’ to many of the chefs. “I’m sorry, we don’t have spicy tuna.” is one phrase I remember teaching them.

I also want to note, that I feel OK writing this because the restaurant closed its doors in 2002, and various statutes of limitations or whatever have run out. ^^; continue reading...

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Masataka Taketsuru, The Father of Japanese Whiskey And His Two Loves

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(I originally wrote this elsewhere but I thought you might enjoy reading it too without having to sign up there. :) So here it is. It involves a fine beverage, a man who made it his life’s works, and a story of enduring love against the odds.)

Whiskey first became widely available in Japan (least amongst the wealthy) in the 19th century, mostly in and after the 1870s, although it seems to have been introduced in the 1850s. Whiskey distilling in Japan did not get going until the 20th century though. The establishment of distilleries in Japan was spearheaded by a small group of men who fell in love with whiskey, and wanted to establish distilleries in Japan. continue reading...

Washoku (traditional Japanese cuisine) designated as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

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Japanese cuisine is now a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. continue reading...

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10 years.

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Ten years ago, I decided to start a food blog. continue reading...

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Artisanal rice and "ancient" heirloom rice in The Japan Times

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About a trend in Japan towards growing delicious artisanal rice - article in The Japan Times. continue reading...

Dried veggies and more (kanbutsu) in The Japan Times

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This month's Japanese Kitchen column in the Japan Times is about "kanbutsu", traditional dried food products. continue reading...

Rubber ducks in Osaka

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The great city of Osaka is invaded by one giant rubber duck…and a small edible one. continue reading...

The Mystery of Japanese "Sauce"

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About that ingredient in Japanese recipes that’s just called “sauce”. continue reading...

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Pictures from Japan

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A quick update to show I’m still alive ^_^ Also some photos from Japan. continue reading...

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The guilt trip on the way to Japanese shokupan (it's just sliced bread...)

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The moral of the story is probably - don’t go shopping on Amazon at 2 in the morning. continue reading...

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Japanese rice, grown in Europe or the United States

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While it is possible to substitute other types of rice for Japanese rice (see: Looking at rice) sometimes a Japanese dish just isn’t right unless you use Japanese-type or japonica rice.

Whenever I write about Japanese rice, I always get asked about the best brands to get, whether rice grown in Japan is worth the extra cost, and so on. Here’s what I recommend, depending on where you live. continue reading...

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What's so healthy about Japanese food?

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A lot of people who come to this site or JustBento are here because they think Japanese cooking is very healthy. By and large it is, but, like any cuisine it’s not 100% healthy by any means. I’ve been thinking about what parts of Japanese cuisine are indeed healthy, and what aren’t, following up on my previous posts about sushi here and here. Here’s what I have come up with. continue reading...

Preserving summer's bounty - for diabetics

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Some tips for keeping the bounty of summer for later use, especially if you are a diabetic or have other health restrictions. continue reading...

The English version of Cookpad, the largest recipe site in Japan, launched today

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The English version of the biggest recipe site in Japan launched today. continue reading...

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An article about Kyoto in Asia Eater, a brand new magazine about food

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I have an article about Kyoto in a brand new food magazine. continue reading...

Is sushi "healthy"?

Food model: Sushi (about 500 calories)

More about sushi. continue reading...

From what age it safe to give sushi or sashimi to kids?

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As we enter midsummer in the Northern hemisphere, chances are you’re going out for sushi more than in the winter since it’s relatively light on the stomach. But summer heat also means you need to be a bit more careful about food safety. While sushi does not just mean raw fish, a lot of it is raw; plus, sashimi does involve slices of raw fish So, how safe is it to give raw fish sushi an sashimi to small children? At what age should you start? This is what Japanese sources recommend. continue reading...

Global chicken parts

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A little musing on chicken. continue reading...

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Japanese Cooking 101: Final thoughts, or what was the point?

I’m still getting reactions to the recently completed Japanese Cooking 101 course (if you missed it, here’s the complete list of lessons.) While the reactions have been overwhelming positive, I’ve gotten a couple of negative comments too.

One I wanted to address in particular is the accusation, if you will, that the lessons do not represent that way most people cook in Japan anymore. continue reading...

A scandalous incident on a TV food show. No, not that one.

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By now you have probably at least heard about the brouhaha over the owners of a restaurant/bakery that appeared on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares show (U.S. version). If not, you can read about it here and many, many other places.

There was a big to-do surrounding a TV food show here in France too. The show in question: Top Chef. (Yes there’s one of those in France.) continue reading...

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Food packaging labeling for allergy-causing substances in Japan

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Last year I uploaded a series of printable cards for communicating dietary restrictions in Japan. This is a follow-up of sorts to this, with some information about food package labelling and allergy-causing products.

There are seven substances that must, by law, be indicated as being present on packaged foods that contain them in Japan. I’ve listed them below in this order: English: kanji: hiragana or katakana: roma-ji. continue reading...

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How to grow shiso (perilla)

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I posted a photo of my sprouted shiso seeds on Instagram this morning, which led to several people asking how to grow it. Although I’ve written about growing shiso a couple of times before, I have never described the procedure. So, here it is! continue reading...

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Would you seek out a restaurant for its sustainable practices?

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Do you care if a restaurant has sustainable practices? continue reading...

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Fishy interlude: An amazingly detailed model of a Tsukiji market maguro (tuna) by Hobbystock

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What a beautiful fish! It’s not real though… continue reading...

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Japanese Cooking 101: Lesson 5 theme and ingredients revised to - Fish!

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I’ve revised the plans for Lesson 5 of Japanese Cooking 101. We’ll be tackling fish! continue reading...

Japanese Cooking 101: List of fresh ingredients for Lessons 3 and 4

Here are the shopping lists for Lessons 3 and 4 of Japanese Cooking 101. continue reading...

2-year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake: You can still help

Today, March 11, is the 2nd year anniversary of the earthquake that devastated the north-eastern coast of Honshu, the main island of Japan. I would write many things about it, but I’d like to focus on some ways you can help the victims of the earthquake, besides the usual places such as the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders, that you may not have been aware of. continue reading...

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Japanese Cooking 101: Ingredients and equipment list for Lesson 2

Here’s the list of ingredients and equipment you’ll be needing for Lesson 2 of Japanese Cooking 101. We’ll be tackling the heart of Japanese cooking, rice. continue reading...

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Answering Questions: Sake/mirin redux, bulk buying Japanese rice, and storing Japanese ingredients

Sake and other beverages

Answering Questions is a very sporadic series where I attempt to answer some of the backlog of questions I receive via email, via Facebook, or in comments to unrelated posts, the answers for which may be of interest to a broader audience. I’ve taken out any personal details and so on in the questions. Today I am answering some questions about Japanese ingredients, especially as they relate to the upcoming Japanese Cooking 101 course. continue reading...

Nanohana in the Japan Times, plus the "Oborozukiyo" Hazy Spring Moon children's song

Nanohana no ohitashi

This month’s Japanese Kitchen column in the Japan Times is about a quintessential early spring vegetable called nanohana. There’s even a very well known children’s song about it. continue reading...

Announcing Japanese Cooking 101: The Fundamentals of Washoku

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Announcing a new, free, online course that will teach you the fundamentals of Japanese cooking, conducted right here on JustHungry. Your teacher? Me! continue reading...

How to treat your favorite diabetic, on Valentine's Day and beyond

A single perfect chocolate truffle

This is my second year of being a type 2 diabetic - my surgeries and other cancer treatments having somehow pushed me over the edge from the prediabetic range. Although diabetes is a very widespread disease (more than 100 million Americans are diagnosed with type 2 or pre-diabetes, a staggering number), many people have no idea what it’s like to live with it, and how diabetics keep it under control. Yes, us diabetics do have to be careful about our sugar intake, or anything that makes our blood glucose levels spike. But for most of us, unless we are at a very serious level, manage to live with it pretty well. continue reading...

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Buyee.jp, a new Japanese buying and bidding service, plus an update on ordering products from Japan

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About Buyee, a new auction-bidding and buying service in Japan, plus an update on my ordering-stuff-from-Japan habits. continue reading...

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It looks like the revival of Iron Chef Japan has been cancelled

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Iron Chef Japan has been cancelled already, according to reports in Japan. :( continue reading...

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Sketch diary: The cancer shield

Napping

It’s been a while, but here’s another Sketch Diary entry. continue reading...

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Pondering two food documentaries: Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Kings of Pastry

Two documentary films that show the importance of sushi, and pastry, in their respective cultures. continue reading...

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Osechi (New Year's Feast): The Next Generation

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This year’s New Year’s feast back home in Japan was taken over by the next generation of women in our family. continue reading...

Kamaboko, the Star of Year-End and New Year's Feasting

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About kamaboko, the humble, rubbery fish cake that is ubiquitous at this time of year, but is also eaten year-round. continue reading...

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Answering Questions: Aged white miso, plus Japanese for beginners

I get asked a lot of questions by email, Twitter and on Facebook (as well as on Quora, although I am taking an extended break from that at the moment). Sometimes the answers may be of interest to a broader audience, like two I received recently. I’ve taken out any personal details and so on in the questions. This week’s questions are about miso and learning Japanese. continue reading...

The Return of Iron Chef Japan, Part 2

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On Friday October 26, 2012 after 13 years, Ryouri no Tetsujin returned to the airwaves on Fuji TV. Does it live up to the legendary original? continue reading...

The Return of Iron Chef Japan, Part 1

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A long time ago, when I used to live in New York, there was a 2 hour long block of Japanese programming every morning from 7 to 9 on UHF channel 31 (I’ve forgotten what station that was). The programming originated from Fuji Sankei TV. The first hour was taken up by the news and such. The second hour was devoted to entertainment programming. One of the shows they aired was called Ryouri no Tetsujin (料理の鉄人). This was the original Iron Chef. continue reading...

On food, life, and such things

As I’m now re-booting my food blogs again, I thought I’d start off with a little musing about the future direction of this site as well as JustBento. continue reading...

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Basics: Japanese soy sauce - all you need to know (and then some)

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I’m still working on getting my sites organized in the background, not to mention my kitchen operational. In the meantime, please enjoy this updated and revised look at Japanese soy sauce. An exhaustive look at Japanese soy sauce. Originally published in December 2011. continue reading...

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Nora Ephron

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Essayist, journalist, screenwriter and movie director Nora Ephron passed away yesterday at the age of 71. She wrote about the joy of food as well as anyone. continue reading...

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All about dashi in The Japan Times

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Back to basics. continue reading...

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