The long awaited food blog

People often ask me, “Which do you like better, Japanese or American food?”

I prefer Japanese food, obviously. And I’m not just saying that because I live here or think American food is horribly unhealthy and not-so-tasty. So much of Japanese food (or food easily found in Japan) is delicious.

So I hate milk. And most dairy. I don’t hate cheese, but it does not like me. I’m also not a fan of red meat–or any meat for that matter. I can eat seafood. I love fish and shrimp and oysters, OH MY. And while modern Japanese cuisine is full of fatty animal products and sugar and all that, it is relatively easier to find healthy options (or foods without all those things I hate) in Japan. I think. I at least feel healthier eating Japanese food than I do typical American food, but I’m not really sure what’s right anymore. Either way, I’d like to share some of the foods I’ve eaten while in Japan. To the best of my ability, I will describe these foods and grade them based on their deliciousness, etc.

1. Sushi. The picture below is of various fishes and fillings for a temakizushi (hand rolled sushi) session. Sushi is one of my favorite foods in Japan because it is filling, easily accessible, and freakin’ delicious. Sushi is popular all over the world now, but I promise you it tastes best where it all began in Japan.

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Here we have crab sticks, Japanese-style scrambled egg (tamagoyaki), tuna, octopus, sea urchin (uni), and so many other fishes I don’t remember!

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This spread was also for temakizushi, which is really easy to do at home and makes for a wonderful dinner party!

sushi and tempura

sushi and tempura

***Helpful tip: for the last time, sushi does not mean raw fish or fish at all. Sushi refers to the vinegared-rice used. Raw fish is called sashimi.

2. Sashimi. Actually, I might like sashimi more. All of the flavor and none of the white rice. This spread included the standard types of fish and the meat from that little crab/lobster thing (sorry I don’t remember his name). It was so fresh that his arms were still moving. Not going to lie, it was a little unsettling at first, but the tastiness made up for it.

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3. Noodle dishes. The first is udon. Udon is a noodle made from flour. It’s usually really thick, but thin varieties are also available. In my opinion, udon tastes the best with a soy sauce based soup, green onions, and a big slice of fried tofu. This is commonly referred to as kitsune udon (fox udon), and it looks like this:

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You can also have kitsune soba, which is a noodle made from buckwheat. It is also delicious, especially when followed by matcha dango, a sweet dessert made from sticky rice flour and matcha powder.

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Then we have ramen. Ramen is actually a Chinese dish, but has been made it’s own phenomenon in Japan. Ramen is super super famous, but it’s nothing like those 10 cent soup cups you can buy at the super market. It has a rich, fatty flavor that makes you feel like you’re getting closer and closer to a heart attack with every slurp. It usually has a pork base, and the starchy noodles soak up all the flavor. I rarely eat ramen and can never finish a bowl, but it usually tastes pretty good after a long night of drinking. philips vacay 085

4. Takoyaki, y’all. Takoyaki is a glorious food. It’s little pieces of octopus, green onion, and maybe ginger surrounded by a little ball of fried batter. It’s covered with katsuoboshi (dried bonito flakes), mayonnaise, and a special sauce. It’s like Japanese comfort food and I want to eat it everyday. The Texas State Fair needs to get on this. NOW!
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5. Pizza. Pizza?, you ask. Yes, pizza. Despite being (maybe) Italian, Japan makes pizza all its own. One of my favorite varieties here is seafood pizza. Standard crust covered with squid, octopus, shrimp, and maybe some scallops is the perfect pie for me! However, for those of you less thrilled by shellfish on your pizza, margherita pizza is pretty easy to find in Japan.

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6. Tonkatsu, or deep fried pork cutlet, is probably my least favorite food ever. I ate it once because I agreed to go to a specialty restaurant a while ago, and I’ve never gone back. This particular one included cheese and miso paste. For someone who isn’t a huge fan of pork to begin with, this greasy slab of pig and cheese was torture. I wanted to die for a good 24 hours afterward. This is definitely not for the weak of stomach. stuffs 020

7. Matcha sweets. Above you can see a picture of matcha dango, but that’s really just the beginning of desserts using Japanese green tea powder. Ice cream, cookies, chocolate, cake…you name it, it probably exists in Japan. Oh! Matcha KitKats! My mouth is watering.

Matcha ice cream is so so good. I don’t even know how to describe it.

Obviously, Japan is a far more exciting culinary experience than one blog post can accurately show, so I hope to post more in the future! I haven’t even told you about school lunch yet…not to mention torisashi!!

See you next time! ^-^

Grow up

This post will have little to do with Japan. Or everything to do with Japan. I didn’t draft it, so we’ll see how it goes.

Today I deactivated my Facebook account. Recently, I’ve just been feeling very off, very incomplete. I don’t know what happened or why, but somewhere in the last month or so, I’ve forgotten what’s good about me. I think everyone deals with this at some point, and it’s never fun. But I wanted to somewhat explain myself to anyone who wants to listen.

I know I haven’t always been a good friend, the perfect daughter, or an understanding girlfriend. I know I get selfish and mean, but most of the time it’s because I’m so anxious going through my daily life, that I don’t really know how to act. I know I’ve written about this before. Japan as made me realize how afraid I am of so many things. It really is a good thing though; I’ve grown so much since August 2012, and I really feel like I’m a better person now. I’m at least taking the steps necessary to become who I want to be, and I’ve really begun to see what and who are important to me. Life has such a rich meaning to me now, and I really do have Japan and all the people in it to thank for that.

Yesterday I went to work, but left around 3rd period because I had a massive stomachache and felt dizzy. I didn’t think I had a fever or a bug or anything, but I went home and slept for pretty much the rest of the day. I got up this morning and got ready as usual but once in my car, decided I should take it easy again today. The doctor didn’t seem to know what was causing my symptoms, but suggested I reexamine my diet and try to reduce the stressful things in my life. She basically told me that I’m making myself sick.

She could be right. Recently I’ve become so worried and scared for my future. There are things I want to do, of course, but which path is right for me I don’t know. I want to be strong and make my own decisions, but I feel like being human is never so easy. I have to think about a lot of people and factors. Thankfully, I have a wonderful mom and possibly the best friends in the entire world. Now more than ever, I wish I could see them and talk to them more often. But I know they are always there for me, and that feels great.

I think that I often forget to just sit back and breathe. I get so wrapped up in going to work and being the ideal coworker and teacher. I focus too much on other people’s lives. I worry too much about things I cannot control. All of that piles up into big mounds of stress and anxiety, and it needs to stop. I need to stop. So from now on, I’m making a pledge to myself. Don’t get your information from Facebook, Kori. Ask people in person/directly how they’re doing. Go out more. Go for a walk and take pictures of birds. Put that piano to better use and learn more. Learn more in general. Find out how to get certified to teach from Japan. Take a TESOL course online or something. Exercise more, because we both know you need it. Eat more vegetables and seriously stop eating meat. Why did you ever agree to eat meat again? Just be you. If other people are into that, great! Maybe you’ll make new or better friends. But don’t force anything. YOU deserve everything. No matter how often you cry, you are crazy strong, girl. Your friends and family believe in you, and so do I. Do your thing. That’s all that matters.

I just put my hand over my heart and said this out loud. Feels good. Why I ever let myself forget this is beyond me, but I think we’re good now. Thank you so so much to all of you who have been here. Being human is not always easy, but it isn’t supposed to be. I am happy. I will continue to be happy. Even on days when I don’t want to get out of bed, I will be happy, because life is seriously way too short to be anything but. Right?

read this quote recently at a restaurant

read this quote recently at a restaurant