Food Archives

September 29, 2006


I am very thankful for my Japanese cookbooks that are in English! I saw a recipe for saury fish which is a fish that is particularly good in this season, so I wanted to try it! As I was chopping the head and tail off and cleaning out the guts at my kitchen sink, I was thankful that Dad taught me how to clean fish! It is a little different than bass and bluegill! I don't have a regular oven here on my stove, but a little drawer grill. It is used mainly for grilling fish. The fish area of the grocery store is about 2-3 times as large as the other meat sections.

October 3, 2006

Rice, rice, and more rice!

Perhaps it is something with my DNA, but I am having a difficult time eating rice 3 times a day! I feel like I am turning into a rice ball myself! Akihiro can eat rice about 3 times as fast as me and can eat almost twice as much as me. Now, many of you know that I usually have a good appetite, so I guess it's just proof that I am not Japanese! Oh well, I am starting to look for ways around this white "monster"! One way I have discovered, is to make rice balls for Akihiro's lunch, while I myself enjoy some pork and beans or PBJ--something besides rice, anyway! A rice ball is a triangle-shaped ball that can have a variety of things in the center--fish, pickled vegetables, pickled fruit, nato (fermented soybeans), etc. This ball is then wrapped in toasted seaweed. Akihiro thinks they are delicious. I think they are ok if I haven't had rice already that day! I am going to try to incorporate more noodles into our meal plan--the Japanese really like noodles, too. Hopefully I won't get "noodled-out" too!

A few other updates:

Today it is raining out. I must be the only one in the neighborhood who didn't read the weather forcast because no other people have wash on their balconies today. There's probably no hope for it getting dry today! We rarely use dryers because they are so inefficient. Ours is in the attic if I need it. Today I may have to give it a try!

No word on the job specifics--other than a big box of grapes as a gift from the company. The grapes from Yamanashi (Shioda area) are huge--almost like a small plum! They are so sweet!

I will go to the 100 yen store (like a dollar store) to check on some dishes I need to supplement the dishes I got from Akihiro's grandma. This store is great!

We got our curtains yesterday. It is wonderful to not have to prop up cardboard! Before I hung the curtains, I attacked the mold on the wood on the windows--lots of scrubbing and black, black water really made a difference. The hair dryer idea worked great, mom!

Today the bedroom is my project! There are heaps of clothes from our moving boxes. We got some storage totes yesterday from Jana, so hopefully we will get more organized. Especially because we will be having Matt and Dawn Brake as guests on Sunday night! We are looking forward to that!

October 9, 2006

Kaiten Sushi--A Sushi Train, Etc.

Today was a national holiday here, so we celebrated and went out to eat! This Kaiten Sushi restaurant is very interesting! You sit at booths or a bar-like area and dishes of sushi go travelling by in front of you! You pick whatever one you want and when you are done eating it, you slide it in this little slot under the conveyer belt-like thing and it automatically charges 100 yen for each dish you eat! There were many kinds of sushi--hamburger sushi rolls, roast beef sushi-style, and many interesting variations of this raw fish delicacy! I think most people could find things they like!

We had a successful workshop in Oita and were glad to meet so many kind people who were so appreciative of our teaching. I was the mother of Gilbert Sauder, a 14 month old male with RSV--10 times! I am not a very good actress, but hopefully I was still able to help them understand the importance of good communication with foreign patients.

We flew back to Tokyo on Sunday morning, so were able to attend church in Tokyo. After church, we visited a very beautiful botanical garden. I remember what one dear coworker said about nature being so good for our spirit. Indeed I did feel refreshed by this beautiful place and the fellowship with the believers. That night we enjoyed our first house guests--Matt and Dawn Brake. We got some good tips on Japan travel, so we can be ready to host many of those people we invited to Japan!

Akihiro has his first day precepting residents tomorrow in Kofu, so I will go with him and spend the day with Lois Ehnle. Hopefully we will have a nice fall day like we had today as we would like to wash windows!

Things are moving along on Akihiro's job in the Shioda area, but nothing is confirmed yet. We are thankful that we can feel the Lord's hand leading us through this time!

October 29, 2006

So much for Wheaties for breakfast!

Breakfast at the Isawa hotel is a 12 dish affair! We were ushered into a moderate-sized room by some very friendly uniformed women calling a friendly "Ohio gozimasu" (Good morning). A large low table sits on rice mats and is set with two large trays with small dishes and individual little candles burning under a dishes of small fish (cooked!). I try to gracefully sit down and fold my long gangly legs under the table and sit on the pillow. Besides the fish, there is rice (of course!), pickled vegetables, miso soup, seasoned mushrooms, seasoned burdock root, a salad with 2 small ham slices, green tea, toasted seaweed, soy sauce, a hot spring egg (a cold boiled egg in a special soy sauce and green onions), and a square inch of tofu with a small taro (like a potato) cut in a special shape floating in a special sauce with 3 green soybeans.

I dropped Akihiro off at the nursing home and came back to the hotel. This morning's entertainment for me is watching the hotel workers giving a deluxe send-off to their guests. There is lots of "arigato gozimashita"s (thank you) and much bowing. Then there are several uniformed employees with large smiles standing out in the parking lot and waving and bowing as the guest drives away--they continue waving until they can no longer see the car.

This is Japan!!!

February 6, 2007


Today we went to a restaurant named Jonathan's. It is somewhat of a Western-style place--much like a Denny's or Perkins in some ways, yet still has a few Japanese touches! Well, the menu has pictures, so you can see what things look like--how about fish egg spaghetti?!! No? Well, then maybe seaweed and oyster spaghetti! There is plenty of rice, too! The main American dish is "hamburg"--a hamburger with no bun and some sauce (sorry can't remember if I wrote about that already!) We surveyed the menu and when we were ready to order, we pressed this little button on the table and the waitress came dashing over to our table. She had a little device that looks like a large remote control and punches our order in there and apparently it goes right to the kitchen! We open our little wet nap to wash our hands--most restaurants have these instead of napkins--fancy places have wet washclothes for each person! In most families they all share the same wet washcloth! Anyway, my hubby chose an "interesting" spaghetti dish with seaweed, daikon radish, and mushrooms. Actually it was pretty good. I got a spicy chicken and rice dish with a dallop of mayonaise on it--Japanese love mayonaise--and it was pretty good too!

We leave Thursday morning bright and early with Andrew Klaus and his four oldest children to go skiing. Klutzy Carrie is hoping and praying that we return intact on Friday night! Akihiro says it is a beautiful area where we are planning to go.

P.S. Slowly, but surely I am getting the other blog entries transferred over to this new blog. Hopefully they will be there for "posterity!" One of the neat features of this blog is that we can see how many people visit, when they visit, and what region they are in! Amazing!

February 22, 2007

Cooking class

I wish I would have taken my camera to my friend's apartment today so you could see what we made, but I will do my best to describe it! Yoko is teaching me some Japanese cooking skills in exchange for talking English on Skype every Saturday morning. We both enjoy both of our tasks! Today we made what I call "fish balls"--you know--like meat balls, except fish! We started with a little pack of 3 inch long sardines. We chopped off their heads, gutted them, and pulled out their backbone and washed them in salted water. Then she has this special device that is used to cut them up and turn them into a sort of gray fish paste--hmmm. I could probably achieve the same thing in the blender. Then we dropped a ball of fish paste in fish broth water to cook and then added a green leafy vegetable--mitsuba--at the end. We tasted it--actually it was very good!
Next we started on sushi rolls and she pulled out this interesting looking package that looked like white rope. "This is food?" I am thinking! We boiled it 5 times in water--exchanging water each time and then seasoned it with sugar, soy sauce, and other Japanese seasonings--it became soft and flat. Apparently it is some kind of vegetable product. We put it in the sushi rolls with cucumber and an egg omlet and it also was very good! We added some pickled plum to the rice and made a sushi roll that had a flower in it--very impressive! Needless to say, Akihiro really liked his supper tonight!

August 2, 2007

"Would you like raw egg with that order?", etc.

Well, things have been busy around here lately, but also extremely blessed. We were blessed to have Frank and Kathy Sauder here for a week. They stayed with us a few nights and we accompanied them to Yamanashi for a few days. We enjoyed touring a small village of thatched roof houses that have been rebuilt as a sort of museum (see photo below of them drying washi paper in big strainers--for my neices and nephews, this is the paper I gave you!). We also enjoyed going to a lily park where they have planted tons of lilies on a ski slope (also see pic below). All of the Japanese believers and friends (who could come) gathered together at the base of Mt. Fuji at a hotel/conference center for our summer shuyokai or fellowship meeting. We have this meeting twice a year and in the summer we stay overnight. The Holy Spirit truly was with us as we learned about God's silence through Bro. Frank. We learned that even if it seems God is silent, He has a plan for our lives and our circumstances that is bigger than we can imagine or understand. How thankful we can be to have such a powerful, yet loving God to orchestrate our lives.

Speaking of God orchestrating lives, thanks to many of you who have prayed for us in regards to Akihiro's job situation. For now he is doing a sort of trial run at a few things. He is working for his parent's company to see how that works, yet is looking for a once a week job as a home doctor--either in Yamanashi or Tokyo area. He will continue his work 2 times a month at a hospital teaching residents. We feel at peace that God is directing us in this way at least for the short term and will continue to pray for God to lead us in the long-term.

Now, for an explanation of my title.... On Monday Akihiro took me to a Japanese fast food type restaurant. Sorry, I can't remember the name of the chain. It was an interesting experience as I could see the fast food concept applied to Japanese food! Before you even enter the place, there is a big menu and a vending machine-like thing that has lots of buttons showing the menu items. So, we chose our lunch--ginger pork "value set" for me and gyudon curry for Akihiro. We put our money in the machine and it spit out a little ticket. We entered the restaurant and handed the ticket to the lady at the counter and sat down. Soon our food came--it was delicious. The "value set" means you get miso soup, a salad, and rice with your meal--not a drink and fries! The miso soup is made quickly by putting some seaweed in a small bowel and dumping miso broth and tofu over the top of it. So we start eating and I was inspecting the little paper in front of me. Ah, you can get a side order with your meal. No, it isn't an apple pie or a milk shake! How about a raw egg, pickled vegetables, spicy kimchi, tofu, fermented soy beans, or sticky yam, etc with your meal!? It was also interesting to see the men come in and woof down their food in 1/3 of the time it took me to eat my meal! Ah yes, just another Japanese experience!

Next week we will be going to Hokkaido, the north island for an Ito Family vacation. Akihiro's brother and his wife are home for a few weeks, so it will be good to be together!

Last, but not least...a few pics of our recent adventures!



August 10, 2007

Japanese Festival, Squid Spaghetti

Last Saturday Li-san joined us and we went to the Hachioji matsuri (festival). It was interesting to compare it to the Tremont Turkey Festival back home! Basically there was a parade, lots of booths selling interesting food and toys, and lots of people--many women and children in brightly colored summer kimonos. The parade consisted mostly of ornate wooden carts pulled by long ropes. Each neighborhood has it's own cart. There are drums and flutes played on each cart and there is a man in a strange costume--somewhat like a wizard. It was kinda creepy for me to see. Also they played the town song and many different neighborhoods all wore different kimonos and together walked/danced down the street. It was cute to see the little children walking along trying to do the hand motions too. Later on we saw some idol boxes being carried down the street by groups of people. They carried them on their shoulders--similar to what we read about in the Bible and the Ark of the Covenant. It is interesting to see how even though religions are very different, there are some similarities. The food--interesting! No turkey sandwiches or drumsticks here, though I did see cotton candy! There were lots of booths selling okinomiyaki--a vegetable pancake with cabbage, and a variety of ingredients. Looked really yummy, but we got the cheapskate version at a grocery store stand, so it was not so delicious--oh well--we learned our lesson! There were also booths selling takoyaki--be careful! It looks like a delicious hush-puppy, but inside is a nice chewy morsel of octopus! Other popular food items included grilled squid, hot baked potatoes, hot dogs, yakitori--meat on sticks, chocolate covered bananas, snow cones, and crepes. It was an interesting experience, but I was glad to get out of the crowd and back to our quiet neighborhood! I took pictures with my cell phone, but they aren't the greatest! Sorry!


Our Ito Family Vacation started off with fishing in Akihiro's dad's bot. It was my first time to catch a squid! We caught around 30 of them! It was an interesting process, using about 6 lures at various depths and a lighted lure to entice the squid to bite the lures. Sometimes otosan (dad) would catch 4 at one time! To "cast" this contraption into the ocean, we used a seven-barrel pvc pipe contraption and a large weight. We were fishing 120 feet deep! The only way we could tell if we got a squid was if the line was heavier to lift! Thankfully, we could use electronic reels to pull up 120 feet of line! When we brought up the squid they would sometimes shoot out this black liquid (same principle as a skunk!). Thankfully I was able to stay out of the way of this black stuff, but otosan was not so fortunate--he got hit right in the face! But, he's a "die-hard" fisherman, so he kept right on fishing! As we kept catching them, ocasan (mom) was talking about how we would take them to a restaurant and have them make squid somen and squid tempura. Hmmm...sounds interesting! Well, somen is a thin Japanese noodle that is dipped in a soy sauce and ginger sauce and slurped up! So....squid somen is raw squid cut into this strips like noodles and eaten in the same fashion as somen. Actually it was very good! (Mom says she's been praying for me for the gift of tongue, meaning speaking, but it appears that my taste buds are being gifted for Japanese tastes instead of my langauge ability improving!) The squid tempura was also very good! Many times squid that is not fresh is very tough and cannot be bitten with your teeth, but this was able to be bitten and was a little sweet. Tempura means that food is deep fried in a light batter.

Otosan has been treating our stomachs too well this trip, but we are trying to exercise frequently! Yesterday we all went on a bike ride. Akihiro and I tried a bicycle built for 2! I was worried about it because of my lack of coordination, but actually, it was quite fun and I only ended up with one bruise from the pedal! We rode our bikes around a large lake. In the afternoon, Akihiro and I went with his parents for their first canoe trip! There was a canoe school that gave a two hour tour. It was interesting to see the Japanese approach to canoeing--quite structured as usual! After being outfitted in our rain gear (it has been raining off and on all week), we got a thorough lesson in canoeing. All four of us were in a large wooden canoe that had been handmade by the owner. It was a beautiful and lightweigt canoe. There were about 6 canoes and 4 guides. We rowed across the lake and there the guides made coffee on a portable burner. We had a little rest and then headed back across the lake in the pouring down rain. We stopped at a little island for another rest and pictures in the hammock there. We all really enjoyed the canoeing, despite the inclement weather. We headed back to our resort to take an onsen. The hotel has an outdoor onsen that looks out onto a small lake. It was very nice to be clean and warm!


A few other food notes... One day it was teppan yaki--fish, crab, oysters, steak, veggies, and fried rice is prepared on grill in front of us. The second day we had what the Japanese call kaiseki ryori. This style means that we are served special dishes artfully presented one at a time. It is quite an experience! The main dish was a huge crab leg with a light curry sauce. It (and everything) was delicious!

It's very hot and humid back in Tokyo (highs of 98 degrees F)! I didn't appreciate the cool weather in Hokkaido near enough! So thankful for air conditioning!

About Food

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Welcome to ITO NEWS in the Food category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Driving is the previous category.

Japanese culture is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.34