The Just Hungry FAQ page

Here is an always evolving list of Frequently Asked Questions on Just Hungry. (Last updated March 2013.)

日本語で連絡しても大丈夫ですか? Can I contact you in Japanese?
勿論大丈夫です。 但し、コメントを頂いても必ずしもお返しのコメントは出来ませんので、
ご了承ください。
What camera do you use?
My early, fairly horrible photos were taken with a Nikon Coolpix 880, but I didn’t read the manual properly! Since then I’ve gone through several cameras. As of early 2013 I use the following cameras: a Nikon D700 (DSLR) with Nikkor macro and 50mm lenses; a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 (micro-four thirds or mirroless format) and an iPhone 5. And there’s always Adobe Photoshop to fix the photos when necessary. I’ve been using Photoshop since version 1.5!
Who takes the photographs on your site? What about the illustrations?
I take 85% of the photos here. Max is taking more photos for me these days, and friends and family have contributed a few others. There also are a handful of stock photos and Creative Commons license photos used with attribution. All the illustrations, icons, etc. on the site are by me.
Are you really Japanese? I read somewhere that you’re not Japanese, or you’re half/hapa, or from Hawaii.
Both my parents are Japanese and so are their ancestors stretching back for many generations as far as we know, and I was born in Tokyo, so I think that makes me 100% Japanese. 東京生まれの日本人です。
Are you a trained cook?
No I am not. Most of my cooking experience comes from observation - of my family, especially my mother and aunts in Japan. I’m also spurred on by a constant curiousity about how things are done. I also have more than 150 250 300 400 500 or so (I’ve lost count actually) cookbooks and I actually use many of them.
I worked at one time at very busy New York City restaurant called Sushisay, the top rated Japanese restaurant in the city for many years. I think that having been on the “other side” gives me a good perspective on how restaurants, waiters/waitresses, and reservation systems work, not to mention how hot it can get (in more ways than one) in a professional kitchen.
Are you a vegetarian or vegan?
No I’m not, but I do have a fairly low-meat diet compared to the typical Western diet. I also find it quite challenging and interesting to come up with recipes that are vegan or vegetarian but still taste great to omnivores, so you’ll see a fair amount of those types of recipes here.
Why do you talk so openly on your site about your cancer?
I’ve written several posts about my fight with cancer because 1. it helped me a little bit just to talk about it, and 2. I thought it might help someone else who is diagnosed with cancer. There’s no doubt about it, cancer is a bitch. I am very glad that as of early 2013, I’m cancer-free and reasonably healthy again.
Who designed this site, and what do you use to run it?
The site is designed by me - I am (or was) a web designer and developer until a few years ago. It was hosted on Typepad since its inception, but as of August 2006 it is hosted on an independent server. Until February 2007 it ran on Movable Type, when it was ported to Drupal. I can highly recommend Drupal for managing a busy site (hey, even Whitehouse.gov runs on Drupal!), or even a group of sites, though it is not for novices (some PHP and MySQL knowledge plus HTML/CSS expertise helps).
Can you recommend some restaurants in Tokyo/Japan/Zürich/Switzerland/France/Somewhere else for me?
I do sporadically write about restaurants here, but I really do not feel comfortable recommending restaurants per se. There are plenty of other sites that do that kind of thing. My general rule of thumb for restaurants in Japan (except for the super-expensive places) is: see where people are lining up to get in (and check if they are tourists or local residents).
I can’t use alcohol! What can I use instead of sake / mirin?
I’ve addressed this issue in a couple of posts. See this post and this post. Keep in mind that sake and mirin are used on a daily basis in Japanese kitchens, and there’s never been any issue about the kids getting drunk or alcoholics adversely affected. If you have a very severe alcohol allergy, or a religious reason not to take any alcohol in any quantity whatsoever, then I’m afraid traditional Japanese cooking may not be for you.
Can you give me the recipe for [some dish served by] [some local Japanese/Asian/other restaurant/my home stay mother in Japan]?
If it’s a standard, traditional Japanese dish, maybe - but unless I have eaten at that specific restaurant, it would be impossible for me to even guess at what is in there exactly. Also, it takes a lot of time for me to write out a recipe that is accurate and replicable, so basically I do not give out recipes via email.
One type of question that I get asked often is someone who has had a dish called xyz in Japanese, which they are convinced is a well known standard Japanese dish. An example of one that comes up frequently is jaga bataa. Now, jaga bataa (じゃがバター) just means “potatoes (and) butter” in Japanese, so it could be any kind of potatoes…with butter. Boiled potatoes perhaps with butter? Potatoes simmered in dashi stock with a little butter to finish? Potatoes sautéed in butter? You can see the problem there.
Can you plan my upcoming party menu for me, including a shopping list and all the recipes?
Contact me for my consulting rates.
Can you help me with my restaurant menu, including recipes that work?
Contact me for my consulting rates.
I want you to help me with a specific recipe on your site by email!
Basically I don’t do this. The reason is, when I help you by email, I am only helping YOU, and the next time someone has the same questions, I’d have to repeat myself. Therefore, if you have questions please ask them in a comment to the appropriate post. If you ask me “please email me with the answer” I won’t, sorry.
Why don’t you write in Japanese (or German or French since you used to live in Switzerland and you now live in France)?
Well, with an English blog I get to reach my intended audience - people who don’t understand Japanese but want to learn more about its cuisine and culture! As for writing in German or French…it would take a bit too much time, or be unintentionally funny with all the grammatical errors.
Can you supply Japanese translations for your recipes?
Due to time constraints, no.
Can you help me learn Japanese by becoming my email-pal?
Due to time constraints, no.
You never answered my email! Are you ignoring me/you’re a horrible person/f**k you! (etc etc)
I have, at last count, 30,000+ unread email messages in my inbox. I know, terrible. I think I catch all the important ones but I may have missed a couple. Try the contact form, or catch me on Twitter. or my Facebook page.
Can you design my site for me?
Unfortunately I do not have the time to take on web design projects these days, unless it really interests me. If you would like to consult me please get in touch with the details of your project.
Can I link to your site? Can you link to my site/blog?
Please feel free to link back to me or to email me about your site - you don’t need to ask me permission to do so. (このサイトはリンクフリーです。) I can’t guarantee I will link back to your site, and I have eliminated my blogroll since it was too outdated. If I read and like your site I may link to it. Pestering me to do so will not get you anywhere. I do not participate in link exchange programs.
Does Just Hungry accept guest posts?
No. This is my personal food site so to speak, and I do not accept any guest posts here, period. Just Bento does very, very occasionally open up for guest posts. Look for open calls for guest posts over there.
I want more!
You can try the more esoteric about page on my personal site. Also see the following posts here:

(Last updated March 2013)

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