Sweet dreams of a childhood winter warmer

| Nov 25, 2011

Sweet dreams of a childhood winter warmer

by Makiko Itoh

The mournful chant of the ishi-yakiimo-ya or stone-roasted sweet-potato seller advertising his wares is a cherished part of the late fall and winter landscape in Japan. The sing-song chant is often accompanied by the thin, penetrating tone of a whistle, which seems to echo ...

A taste of home: Life after National Azabu

| Nov 11, 2011

A taste of home: Life after National Azabu

by Steve Trautlein

Ask local expats what they miss most from their homelands, and they might tell you about Fig Newton cookies (Americans), Shreddies breakfast cereal (Brits), fresh coriander (Thais) or morning congee (Chinese). In other words, an authentic taste of home. That’s what Tokyo’s National Azabu ...

Forage your way into mushroom season

| Sep 23, 2011

Forage your way into mushroom season

by Makiko Itoh

Edible mushrooms are a feature of the fall season in temperate climates worldwide, and Japan is no exception. The humid climate lends itself to the growth of all kinds of fungi, so it’s easy to assume that mushrooms (or kinoko in Japanese) of all ...

Serving green tea in your own home

| Jul 22, 2011

Serving green tea in your own home

by Makiko Itoh

It’s impossible to write out a recipe for wagashi in such a limited space, and just as impossible to acquire the skills you need to make them! So here is a recipe for making a proper glass of iced matcha tea, the perfect summertime ...

Keep a low-power kitchen this summer

| Jun 24, 2011

Keep a low-power kitchen this summer

by Makiko Itoh

Now that we are entering the hottest part of the Japanese summer, it’s time to get really serious about saving electricity — in the kitchen as much as anywhere. The power shortages caused by failed or closed power plants (nuclear and otherwise) will affect ...

Farming without chemicals — or radiation

| May 27, 2011

Farming without chemicals — or radiation

by Makiko Itoh

Yasunori Toyoguchi peers under the netting protecting a small rice paddy. “See,” he says, pointing to some grassy shoots, “here’s this year’s crop, just starting to emerge.” He scoops up a little of the water trickling over the mud with one hand. “See how ...

| Dec 31, 2010

Living and eating with appreciation

by Robbie Swinnerton

A writer, author and longtime authority on Japanese cuisine, Elizabeth Andoh has been even busier than usual since the publication of her latest work, “Kansha: Celebrating Japan’s Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions.” Beside the extra demands of promotional commitments, for the past several years she ...

| Dec 24, 2010

Why not spend New Year's Eve totally soba?

by Makiko Itoh

The yearend period, called shiwasu, is a really hectic time in Japan. Think of it as spring cleaning, Thanksgiving and the usual end-of-year activities all rolled into one. Businesses and individuals busily try to tie up any loose ends, or at least bring things ...