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Yukari Pratt
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Feb 8, 2008
Taking a dive into the past
Day trips out of Tokyo are usually down south to Kamakura for hiking, out west to Hakone for the hot springs, or — for the ambitious — the shrines and temples of Nikko to the north.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Feb 8, 2008
Sparkling wine for your Valentine
'I start every morning with a glass of champagne," declared a friend of mine once, a food and beverage director of a hotel in Austria.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Jan 11, 2008
Molecular morsels
Nothing turns a woman on more than a room full of excited men. No, this was not the Super Bowl, but the International Chefs Congress, a "show and tell" held last September in New York City by some of the world's most influential chefs. The display of techniques and trends was impressive, with a roster...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Nov 9, 2007
New York chefs taste authentic Japanese cuisine
Top New York chefs were given a rare treat recently when master chefs from Kyoto traveled to the Big Apple to give a master class.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Nov 9, 2007
Falltime wines
Autumn brings the brilliant colors of the fall leaves, and the harvest of mushrooms and root vegetables as hearty stews find a home on the dinner table. It also signifies a time to finish the last few bottles of rose you picked up during the heat of the summer. Fall is the time to explore brawny wines...
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Jan 9, 2007
Picking up the pace of urban life
There are mile markers in life, and an impending 40th birthday recently forced me to take stock of my health. I had put on weight while at culinary school and, being a complete nonathlete, I never managed to lose it. I had a gym membership, but the only sweat I ever worked up was in the sauna. Running...
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Sep 15, 2006
Fishing around for a piece of history
"Enjoy it while you can," says Professor Theodore Bestor of Harvard University. He's referring partly to Tsukiji's famous fish market and partly to sushi and to the fact that "some species are at risk of becoming commercially extinct."
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Aug 29, 2006
Tofu, magic for both body and taste buds
When the summer heat sets in, my Japanese mother religiously serves hiyayakko (chilled tofu) sprinkled with katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and soy sauce. Just looking at this simple dish, I feel myself starting to cool down, knowing that tofu actually helps lower your body temperature.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Aug 11, 2006
Cravin' more of that summer wine
Summers in Japan are associated with boisterous matsuri filled with men in fundoshi sweating under the great weight of omikoshi portable shrines, and colorful yukata-clad girls clip-clopping in their geta en route to see fireworks-filled skies.
LIFE / Food & Drink
Apr 14, 2006
Your own home brew
Umeshu is one of a variety of kajitsushu (fruit liqueurs). The recipe for classic umeshu is simply green apricots (not plums), rock sugar and white liquor (a simple shochu) that has been left to steep for several months.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Apr 14, 2006
The hunt begins here
The wine and sake department at Tokyu Toyoko's main department store in Shibuya offers about two dozen umeshu. The individual brands have been helpfully labeled, so you can easily distinguish what each is based on, be it nihonshu, shochu or brandy. However, do check out your local supermarket; you might...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Apr 14, 2006
Picks to sip
Oushuku Nigori Umeshu from Tokushima
LIFE / Food & Drink
Apr 14, 2006
What type are you?
Depending on the "base" used for umeshu, you will find a wide variety of flavor profiles. For the novice, it may be good to start with a sweeter version, based on shochu. If you are a sake fan, obviously nihonshu-based umeshu will appeal.

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