Springtime beans aim for the sky

| May 24, 2013

Springtime beans aim for the sky

Throughout most of Japan, June is the rainy season. While all that rainfall is great for rice paddies so that we can have delicious new harvest rice in the fall, it makes it a rather dull month for seasonal produce: The summer’s bounty of ...

<em>Katsuo</em>, Japan's ubiquitous tuna

| Apr 26, 2013

Katsuo, Japan's ubiquitous tuna

In the world of sushi and sashimi, maguro (tuna, especially bluefin tuna) currently reigns supreme. It's so popular that large specimens of the fish fetch ridiculous, headline-grabbing prices at the Tsukiji wholesale market in Tokyo, and the species is in danger of extinction due ...

Why not just add a dollop of mayonnaise?

| Mar 22, 2013

Why not just add a dollop of mayonnaise?

Newcomers to Japan are often a little taken aback by the many decidedly non-Japanese condiments, such as ketchup and Worcestershire sauce, that are used in everyday cooking. And in particular mayonnaise: Usually reserved for sandwiches, salad dressing and dipping sauces for chilled seafood in ...

| Dec 28, 2012

Savor the symbolism at New Year's

New Year’s is the most important holiday on the Japanese calendar. And as befitting such an important festival, the food traditionally served is lavish and elaborate. At the centerpiece of the New Year’s feast, which traditionally went on for as long as seven days, ...

Fresh soba flour is fall's precious prize

| Nov 23, 2012

Fresh soba flour is fall's precious prize

The obsession with fresh, seasonal food in Japan extends to things that you may not even think of as having seasons, such as dried flour. Shin-soba-ko (new fall-harvest buckwheat flour, used in soba noodles) is eagerly anticipated every year by Japanese gourmets. While soba ...

The bittersweet taste of Japanese words

| Aug 27, 2012

The bittersweet taste of Japanese words

A little while ago a friend of mine who’s been living in Japan for few weeks texted me in a bit of a dither, saying, “This guy I barely know said I was sweet! Is he coming on to me?” It turns out the ...