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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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A short personal update...

This just a short update on what is going on with my health and things. continue reading...

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Technical note: The RSS feed and newsletter system has been switched to another service

A little technical note for people who read this site via Google Reader or another RSS reader, or subscribe to post updates via email:

I’ve switched over from Feedburner to another service called URI.LV. The reason I switched over is that Feedburner has kind of been neglected by Google (who owns the service) for a while now, and with their announcement that Google Reader is being shut down soon, it’s kind of logical to assume that Feedburner will fade away too.

  • If you are an email subscriber: You shouldn’t see much of a change at all, but there is a chance you may need to re-add the sender of the mail (thechef@justhungry.com) to your address book if the emails end up in your spam folder.
  • If you are an RSS reader subscriber: You should not see any change at all. If you want to be doubly sure you’ll continue to receive updates, subscribe to this link or click on the RSS button in the side bar and delete your Feedburner subscription.

(Incidentally, if you’re looking for a replacement for Google Reader and are Mac or iOS based, I’ve been using NetNewsWire for ever, even before there was a Google Reader. I highly recommend it. Otherwise if you’re looking for a web based solution Feedly looks pretty nice.)

This notice applies to both JustBento and JustHungry - it’s posted on both since not everyone subscribes to both. (AND WHY NOT??? (just kidding))

So that’s it for the techincal stuff. Going back to talking about food next time. ^_^

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Now it's JustHungry's turn to move...you may see some service disruptions

A few days ago we moved JustBento over to a new server. So now we’ll be moving JustHungry over too. Fingers crossed it should go fairly smoothly, but you may see some short disruptions in service over the weekend. I’ll keep you updated on Twitter and the Facebook page if we hit a glitch though. Thank you for your patience!

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Almost there....

An update. Finally, right? continue reading...

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Hiatus

Hozuki (physalis), Naraijuku, Japan

I'll be offline for a while (not sure how long), to take care of the health issues. There will be updates over on JustBento hopefully, as The Guy Does Bento series continues, but over here the lights will be dimmed until I get back. continue reading...

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To RSS subscribers to the "Recipes only" feed

A message to people who are subscribed to the "Recipes only" RSS feed. It's come to my attention that that feed has been broken since mid-March. I don't have the time to troubleshoot it properly at the moment, so you'll be getting the 'everything' feed (recipes and articles) for the time being. Sorry for the inconvenience! continue reading...

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Major site maintenance coming up this week

This week, both JustHungry and JustBento will be making a long overdue move to another server, undergoing major background maintenance/repairs and other things, so you may see some disruptions in service. Please bear with me on these. Everything should be back to normal by the end of the week (fingers crossed). Thank you for your patience. I'll update this post when everything is back to normal. continue reading...

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はじめまして、伊藤牧子です。

(This is my Japanese About page. For the more complete English About page go here.)

初めまして。イトウマキコと申します。中年女です。日本生まれ、元帰国子女、アメリカ、イギリス、スイスを経て、現在は南フランスのプロバンス地方の片田舎とスイスに二股かけて住んでいます。海外生活が日本に住んでいた年数よりも長い、いわゆる変な日本人です。 continue reading...

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Combatting Summer Fatigue article in The Japan Times

Chicken and shrimp soba salad with sesame sauce

There’s a new recipe from me, on another site - take a look! And a bit about the, uh, photo shoot… continue reading...

News from Maki

Maki had to undergo emergency surgery yesterday, July 6. Everything went well, and she is recovering now, although she may well have to stay at the hospital for a week or so.

We keep the site up and running as good as possible, but it will take some time until new articles will be possible.

In the meantime "Get well soon, Maki!"

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News about The Just Bento Cookbook, and no I'm not abandoning Japanese food!

As if the excitement, or stress, depending on how you look at it, of the move to France and the new/old house wasn’t enough, on Monday I got word from my publisher that my bento cookbook was sent off to the printers finally! I have lots more news about it over on Just Bento, in case you don’t follow things over there. continue reading...

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The start of my new adventures...in Provence, France

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In February 2009, I left the house I’d been living in off and on for years, and embarked on a quest for a new place to live. Last week the quest finally ended, and we’re now settling into a new house, which is actually a pretty old house, a new country and a new area for us - Provence, France. continue reading...

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Menu For Hope winner, please get in touch!

Just a quick note here: If you are the Kristina Johnson who won the Just Hungry Menu For Hope prize EU25 (check the winners' list) please get in touch via the contact form :)

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In Japan!

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I’m in Japan! I’ll be here for the next three months. I am here primarily for two reasons: My mother is in hospital; and the bento cookbook photoshoot will commence next month. But of course I’ll be filing plenty of reports on what I’ve done, not to mention eaten, here! I’ll be taking and uploading photos every day, which you can follow here on flickr.

The photo above is of dinner last night with family - a seafood nabe and a sashimi assortment. Delicious and so simple, and not at all easy (or inexpensive) to recreate properly outside of Japan!

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Menu For Hope VI: Just Hungry Offers a Taste of Japan Plus

menuforhopevi.jpgOnce again, Just Hungry is proud to offer a great raffle item for the annual Menu For Hope fund raising event, which will benefit the United Nations World Food Programme.

This year it’s personal: A hand-selected (by me, of course) box of Japanese goodies directly from Japan, plus…a signed copy of my upcoming book! continue reading...

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More on the new theme

Thank you for all of your comments about the new theme/event! I have been mulling over it, and I while I still haven’t decided on the name yet, I have more or less decided on what it will be: continue reading...

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An idea for a new theme/event

I know that I have sadly neglected this blog for some weeks now, as I struggle with completing the first draft of my book. (My main problem is I keep revising the recipes…but that’s another story.) I know that digging up things from the archives does not really constitute true updating! Anyway, I do have an idea for a regular theme or event of sorts, to commence probably in the new year (or when the book is further along in the birthing process).

The tentative title of the theme/event is Japanese Ingredient Focus Seminar (too formal?). I know that many Japanese ingredients are unfamiliar to non-Japanese readers. So the goal will be to become as familiar as possible with it, in a specific time period, say 2-3 weeks. I’ll announce the ingredient beforehand, so people have time to get a hold of it. Then we will try various recipes using that ingredient, from simple to not-so-simple.

How does this sound? Let me know if this sounds interesting to you. I’ll also accept suggestions for ingredients to tackle. continue reading...

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A problem with logging in on Just Hungry and Just Bento

A problem has cropped up in the last couple of days with login on Just Hungry and Just Bento. Previously, you were able to log into either site, and you’d be logged in on the other. This is not working as it should at the moment.

The workaround for now is to log in separately to either site. If you have a problem logging in, please let me know (via the contact form for the offending site) and I’ll try to fix it manually. Sorry for the inconvenience! continue reading...

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And the winner of the Izakaya book is....(and a small update)

The winner of the Izakaya Cookbook is… Mireia! Congratulations to Mireia, and thank you to everyone who entered. Look for more great giveaways on Just Hungry in the future!

A small update

I’m in the throes of frantic ‘must-meet-deadline’ mode for my own book. If I meet my first deadline (in less than 2 weeks!!!), I should at least be able to take a shower…I mean, pull my head above water for a bit and update here. Until then, please bear with me!

(Incidentally, doesn’t it bug you when people say ‘please bare with me’? No I don’t want to take my clothes off with you. Geez.

I’m going off on a tangent. Back to work.) continue reading...

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Yep I'm working on a book

So, I’m writing a book, and a deadline looms. continue reading...

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The book giveaway winner is announced, plus some more news

The winner of The Enlightened Kitchen book is… emalie from Australia!

If you didn’t win this time, stay tuned, because I have a couple more books to give away in the next couple of weeks which I am sure will be of interest to Just Hungry readers. continue reading...

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Maki on the radio!

I was interviewed on WRS Geneva, an English-language radio station in Geneva (Genève), Switzerland, this past Tuesday, on their food programme called Stir It Up. The MP3 is up now for download (link now corrected!), so if you want to know how I sound, with a stuffed nose (from allergies...agh!) complete with my totally mixed up accent, my segment starts after the rhubarb at around 9:45. It might be of interest to people who want to know why I started blogging about Japanese food after moving to Switzerland of all places. (Cross-posted to Just Hungry and Just Bento.)

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April is Frugal Food Month on Just Hungry

'Saving money with bento' Re-ment scene

As I have noted over on Just Bento, April will be Frugal Food Month here on Just Hungry (and Frugal Bento Month over on Just Bento). continue reading...

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My Japanese language blog and Twitter

I know that quite a lot of people who follow Just Bento and/or Just Hungry are interested in Japanese culture in general. So, this is a very-infrequent plug for my Japanese language mini-lesson blog and Twitter account. The Twitter account is separate from my main chatty Twitter (@bentotips, where I actually rarely tweet any bento tips…); it’s at @mainichinihongo. There is also a companion blog, Hungry For Words, which has longer lessons on occasion. The lessons are not very structured or anything - I just talk about words or phrases that pop into my mind.

So, if you are studying Japanese, or just interested in nihongo, take a look! It’s all part of my mission to spread Japanese culture over the world, like gomashio on rice ^_^.

(Cross-posted to Just Hungry and Just Bento.) continue reading...

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Name That Food! Mystery food identification flickr group

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Because I have sooo much to do right now, I’ve started yet another small project. continue reading...

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A forum for non-bento people too

I really have no idea anymore how many people follow this site but don’t follow Just Bento, and vice versa, but in case that is you, I just wanted to let you know that the brand new forum is now open. I’ve made sections to discuss non-bento food, or anything else that strikes your fancy too. continue reading...

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Registering on the site is a good thing!

You may have noticed over on Just Bento that I've now made the user login form much more visible. I'll be doing the same on Just Hungry, but for now the login/register links are at the top left of every page. This is to encourage you to register on the site. I have stopped short of requiring registration in order to comment and so on for now, but I have turned back on comment moderation for any unregistered commenters. continue reading...

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Just Hungry 5th Anniversary Giveaway - The Winners!

The winners are announced! continue reading...

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5th Anniversary Giveway Day 5: It's Just Me

This is the final day of the 5th Anniversay Giveaway week. I hope you’ve enjoyed it! continue reading...

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5th Anniversary Giveway Day 4: Regrets, I've had a few

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For a few months in 2006, I changed the banner graphic of the site every month to reflect the season.

There are a couple of things that I wish I had done differently during the last five years as far as Just Hungry was concerned. If you are a newish food blogger, or any kind of blogger, perhaps this will help you avoid these mistakes.

(This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for participating! The winner will be announced next week!) continue reading...

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5th Anniversary Giveway Day 3: The Meandering Path of Just Hungry

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The header graphic of the 2nd design of Just Hungry displayed one of these 4 illustrations at random.

As I wrote yesterday, when I started Just Hungry I had no plans at all about the theme of the site, other than it would be about food. I think that you could get away with that back then, when the number of actual food blogs was probably still in the low hundreds.

__( This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for participating! continue reading...

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5th Anniversary Giveway Day 2, with some reminiscences

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The image that I used in my first page design banner. I still love it.

During this giveaway week, I thought I’d indulge myself by sharing some reminiscences about the past five years of Just Hungry. Today: Why I started the site.

__ This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for participating! continue reading...

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Just Hungry 5th Anniversary / Just Bento 1st Anniversary Giveaway!

birthdaycupcake.jpg from iStockPhoto

I’m giving away goodies all this week!

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for participating! continue reading...

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Quick update

I’ve managed to sprain my left hand and wrist, so it’s very hard for me to type long articles. So I’m afraid the continuation of the Japanese budgeting series and other planned articles are on hold for a bit.

If you want to know what I am doing, you can always follow me on Twitter. One-handed typing is easier when it’s limited to 140 characters.

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The Japanese 100 list finally complete, and other things

The 100 Japanese foods list is done. Plus, you know, Swiss breast milk. continue reading...

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Bite-sized Japanese lessons on Twitter @mainichinihongo

I know that a lot of readers come to Just Hungry because they are interested in Japanese culture. You may have even taken a look at my language blog. At the moment I don’t have the time to maintain the language blog, so I’ve just started a Japanese language Twitter account, @mainichinihongo (which means ‘Japanese every day’. My plan is to introduce one or more words per day-ish, around a theme. If you are on Twitter, and interested in Japanese, give it a try! (I still have my other Twitter account, @bentotips, where I tend to blather on about everything and anything.)

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Some links and random thoughts

Here are a bunch of unrelated-to-each-other links and thoughts that have accumulated recently.

Product linkage, edible

For UK and Europe readers: Japan Centre has a sale on this week for Yamamotoyama Soy Rappu, colorful soy based wrappers that are an interesting substitute for nori seaweed when making sushi rolls. I haven’t really tried them myself yet, so I placed and order and will see how they work. continue reading...

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In Shojo Beat Magazine

I was interviewed recently for Shojo Beat Magazine, an English magazine published in the U.S. dedicated to shojo manga (manga for girls), and the results of whatever I said are in the most recent issue. Unfortunately the articles isn’t online, so I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but the whole issue is dedicated to Japanese food and manga - sounds like fun!

Update: Here is the link to the article (an excerpt I think). (Thanks heatherbug!) continue reading...

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How to get rid of craft and cooking books?

This is a mostly non-food related question. I have hinted around about this a bit, but I’m in the process of moving (not sure where yet, but that’s another story!) and I’m taking this as a good opportunity to seriously declutter. I have a bunch of cookbooks and craft books in Japanese and English that I want to part with.

Most of the books I want to find homes for are in new or very good condition. No splattered books with stuck-together pages! There are a few that are a bit worn, but are out of print so may have a rarity value. continue reading...

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April will be lighter around here

Incidentally, I plan to do a lot more vegetable-oriented/lighter cooking, so you’ll most likely see the results of that on Just Hungry and Just Bento. This means I’m going to give the yohshoku series a rest for awhile (breaded and deep fried hamburgers tend to stick to the waistline and all.) Besides, we’re finally starting to see reasonably locally grown vegetables that aren’t cabbage or broccoli! This kind of thing over on Just Bento is what I’ll be eating more of. I lost a bunch of weight when I couldn’t eat after my surgery, but almost all of it has come right back since my appetite returned! Must. Stem. Belly rebound.

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Hi, still alive

Hi everyone. I am alive and getting better. I actually had a tonsillectomy (hi Yoko I got it done finally); this winter I had two very bad bouts with tonsillitis and thought those things best be gone. At the moment I am feeling quite blah (probably the meds), and somehow quite depressed for some reason I can’t put a finger on. I’m not supposed to be doing anything too stressful for a while, and surfing the internets right now really gets me down even more - can’t explain that either. My throat is too uncomfortable yet to eat anything (even ice cream is sort of irritating, so I’m mainly drinking fluids…) - I don’t have much of an appetite, though I keep on thinking about the smell of butter melting in a hot pan. And bacon. But not bacon in butter. Weird.

Anyway, I’ll return to duty around here when I’m back to my own self. Thank you for all your good wishes! continue reading...

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Break down on two fronts

I love my Macs in a way that is hard to explain, unless you’re like me and have been using Macs since the ’80s. Well, my trusty 12 inch Powerbook suddenly decided to die. Thank god for backups. So the last 36 hours or so have been spent transferring, backing up and other things to a brand new Macbook Pro. It’s a bittersweet feeling; while a new Mac is always nice, that little Powerbook was a true workhorse, a perfect fit for me in so many ways. I’d resisted upgrading it for a while, but all good Macs must go to heaven some time.

At the same time that the Powerbook decided to die, it was decided that I would be going through with some elective surgery that I needed to get but was holding off on too. So, updates here and on Just Bento will be a bit slower. I have some things already written up which I hope will be postable by me or a helpful elf, but replying to comments and things will have to wait.

I didn’t know I had so much synergy with my Powerbook! I hope I can revive her as a media server or something, and I hope I can revive my body parts too.

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Taking a little inventory

Just like it’s a good idea to take inventory of your pantry sometimes, I find it useful to take a look back at my sites occasionally and take stock of what I’m doing. continue reading...

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Help me to assemble a comprehensive Japanese grocery store list!

I should have done this a long time ago, but hey, better late than ever. I’m going to try to assemble a list of Japanese grocery stores worldwide, that people can refer to. Obviously I cannot do this without your help! I can list info for places I’ve lived, and there have been some great comment posts in the past here that have included such info, but I’ll try to put it all in one place.

So, please head on over to to this constantly updated page and add any information you have about in the comments!

I’ve added the categories Food related shopping places you shouldn’t miss in Japan and Places that ship Japanese food-related things worldwide.

[Update:] Of course this turned out to be a way bigger job than I thought :) But I’ll try to add as much as possible over the weekend. I’ve found that there are quite a lot of Japanese pages that list stores and so on, for expats obviously. I’m collecting those and adding them, together with your suggestions in the comments. continue reading...

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Some admin stuff

You may have noticed that you can now comment here and on Just Bento without moderation. I’m seeing if it works out - so far the anti-spam measures seem to be holding up. (You do still have to pass at terribly difficult math test…) I hate comment spam - to me it’s the interweb equivalent of someone walking their dog on your lawn and leaving a poop. But on the other hand I know it can be a bit frustrating to see your comment not be displayed immediately. So, we’ll see how it goes…if problems arise I’ll turn moderation back on. continue reading...

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Ask Maki anything, well almost anything (or just say hi)

This post is now closed to new comments. It’s now replaced by the new forum section, Ask Maki Almost Anything.

makiface-redshirt-sm.pngThanks to you (yes, I’m looking at you!) Just Hungry and Just Bento have really grown in popularity recently. This has also meant that I’m getting more emails. I do very much appreciate getting your emails, but there’s a couple of disadvantages to email.

  • It’s a one on one communication so your question will only benefit you. It might just benefit a lot of other readers. I do actually end up answering the same thing several times.
  • I may not know the answer but someone else might!
  • I’m really bad at email. Don’t ask me why. I try to answer things as fast as possible but sometimes emails languish in my inbox for days, or I forget about answering them. Then you get mad at me and think I’m ignoring you, etc.
  • Answering lots of individual emails takes time away from me writing new posts, not to mention spending time with my family/friends, exploring new foods, and all that kind of thing.

Hence, this is Ask Maki (almost) Anything. comments here will remain always open, to ask me anything that doesn’t fit into the context of a particular post. Unless it’s something that must remain private, please post here before emailing. Thank you! continue reading...

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Best wishes for 2008

Thank you so much for your kind words of condolence. 2007 has certainly been a year of ups and downs, but I feel that 2008 will be a big year somehow, and I’m feeling quite excited about it.

We were in the habit of toasting the arrival of the new year every year with Martha with a little champagne or local sparkling apple wine (Blauacher Chlöpfmoscht, with a few nibbles (apero) to go along. We’ll be keeping up that tradition by ourselves now. continue reading...

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passing

Martha, Max’s mother, passed away quietly in her sleep last night.

We were prepared for it, I suppose, but you can’t really be fully prepared for the passing of a parent either.

There are a few articles that I’ve already written, which will be posted here and on Just Bento over the next few days but replying to emails and comments etc. will be slow. Thanks for your understanding.

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Last day for Menu For Hope, and Happy Holidays

Cross stitch Christmas Advent wallhanging

This is the very last day you can donate to Menu For Hope! And a nice bonus - take a look at the beautiful poem about Lesotho here by Rethabile. (Yes, if you also read Just Bento you’re getting this in double…but it’s a poem worth visiting more than once!)

Just Bento and Just Hungry (which is mostly me anyway) are taking a few days off to take care of a ton of offline duties. (Thank you for your nice emails…we’re hanging in around here.)

We decided not to get a tree this year, so the only Christmas decoration of sorts we have up is this wallhanging/advent calendar, that I finally finished last week.

Cross stitch Christmas Advent wallhanging

In this day and age when things I have made or worked on exist only in digital form, it’s really grounding and satisfying to create something that has a physical form and presence, that I can touch and hold. That includes food too. There’s nothing better than the warm feeling you get when your friends and family’s faces light up when you present them with delicious food that you made with your own hands. Especially around the holidays.

Happy Holidays everyone!

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Just Hungry is a site about Japanese food and home cooking, healthy eating, the expat food life, and more. [log in] or [register]

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maki Just Hungry is a site about food. There are lots of recipes and much more. You may want to read about Just Hungry, or contact the site owner, Makiko Itoh. To dive in real deep, try the site map.

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