Strongly unsatisfied day.

 As I approached my home in Nagoya, I found a stylish red car which has never been there. "We bought a new car." My mother told me after the dinner. "I know, and I know you hardly said anything about it in advance." I just replied and left the dining room.

 I had a hard day today, my work didn't go well, so I cycled a big park near my home to draw. I just sit on a chair in a house that was opened for anybody and tried to think nothing. However, I couldn't make a good picture today. I packed my stuff up right after the moment I recognized it, then came back. Well, I have such a bad day sometimes.

Hopefully tomorrow isn't like that!


Eating Sukiyaki in a restaurant.

 The day before yesterday was a bit warm and I felt like eating meals not cooked by myself. And I also thought it must be nice if I could go eat a good meal in a silent chic place. That's the reason why I chose the restaurant named "Kisoji" to have a lunch.

 Kisoji is one of my memorable restaurants for myself. Probably I've eaten there before I was born. I mean, it's also my parents' favorite. As I was a kid, my all-time food in Kisoji was Sukiyaki, a Japanese dish. Boiled beef, vegetables and soup were served in the unique iron pot, then eat with a raw egg. Again, I like raw eggs so much and that might be why I like it :D

 After sitting back on a chair, they gave me a fabric for placing on my luggage to protect it from splash that could come from sauce, tea, or anything during eating.

 "I've been to Kisoji several hundred times." While I was waiting for the dish to come, I thought myself. It was the first time to come to Kisoji in Tokyo, but seemingly it looks like the one where I usually went: The Japanese traditional clothes were worn by women working in the restaurant, the way they communicate with customer were obviously over-hospitality and that's exactly what I'm fond of :)

 Okay, here it is :D Soon after beginning to eat, I realized how they think about cooking. It was absolutely well-managed and they took a huge amount of time to create their own menu.

 I also tasted raw fish with the dish. It was a few pieces of sliced fish, but it really fresh and taste great. I was really satisfied the fact that Kisoji has been the great restaurant in my life :)


Cooking with Tsuchi-nabe, Japanese sand pot.

 Tsuchi-nabe, or Japanese pot made of sand is widely used especially during winter in Japan. Families get together to enjoy eating in it, and looking at the steam coming up is really enjoyable. There are many restaurants available meals with Tsuchi-nabe, but I usually cook with it myself because it's way easier than people would think. The greatest point of this kind of pots is it keeps food warm longer than other pots. In the cold days of winter, I promise you would like it ;)

 Amazingly, this sand pot itself is really cheap. My own one was $8, or about 800 yen :) Sure, there are expensive ones that cost more than $100 or above, but why don't we start with a rather cheaper one? And it's still enough to use hundreds times! :D

 Since it's made of sand, you have to be careful when you use it so that it wouldn't be broken up.

Before using at the first time: I recommend to cook rice. The element of rice helps tsuchi-nabe be coated and prevent the pot from split up. When you cook rice, it's better pouring much more water than the usual. It becomes congee, looks like rice with soup.

Before cooking: Don't warm it up without taking anything in it, or it easily makes the pot broken.
After cooking: Tsuchi-nabe can take the smell of meals so try to remove meals to other pots. It's for cooking, not preserving food.
Also, stay dry it so that it doesn't get fungus :)

It's difficult to handle with, you think so? But it's not! Once you get accustomed to it, you would be no longer live without it ;)

 One thing I really like it is you can cook a variety of meals with it. If you want to cook with rice, go ahead. Not only plain white one, but also you can enjoy seasoned rice. And noodles! I like cooking noodles like Ramen (About Ramensee this post) and Udon (The post of Udon is here :))with it!

 And when you find mushrooms to eat, then,

 Why don't you bring your tsuchi-nabe and cook it?! :) That must be fun as well as delicious plus looks gorgeous :)

 When you find tsuchi-nabe in the shops for utensils, take it home and you're gonna be happy :)


Shirasu, the meal of whitebait with rice.

 A few days ago, I suddenly got hungry. It was the night, 23:00 or so. I shouldn't have eaten anything, of course, but I couldn't resist it and I cooked it :) This white thing is called whitebait, "Shirasu" in Japanese, boiled small fish. Cheap, easy to find in supermarkets, and on top of that, it's delicious. So, why don't you cook it? Here's how I made it :D

 First, prepare for plain rice. The amount of ingredients? It all depends on how much you eat and hungry! If you want to eat much, then you can prepare enough to be full :D

 Slice green onions. Thin or thick? My preference is rather thicker like the above picture ;) You don't have to burn anything, nor boiling, all you need to do is slicing it. Easy enough, don't you think? :)

 And whitebait Shirasu. What is Shirasu by the way? You would think so. They are mainly young sardines, however, sometimes it contains other fish.

 Boiled Shirasu is usually salty, but doesn't have a strong taste. In order to season it, I put soy sauce a bit, one teaspoon or two.

 Then, I also added some oil from sesame so that the taste of dish becomes richer. I personally like sesame oil by the way, haha.

 And raw egg XD I'm a big fan of it. Disgusting, you think? But I like it!

 In the end I put some white sesames on it as a topping. It helps add a different texture when you eat the dish.

TIP: When I add sesames, I usually do it with grinding by my fingers. By doing so, sesame itself has many textures and make more flavor than just putting without doing anything.

 Okay, it's ready do eat! :) No fire, no complicated process to prepare, it's one of the best meals for the dead of the nights! :) Oh, just one thing: don't eat so much such a night! ;)


Kushi style meals in the restaurant :)

 Last week my friend and I met in a city to have a lunch. What we have in common is that both like to eat out, especially somewhere new. Since I found the restaurant which is all-you-can-eat buffet plus its feature is self frying on your table, I decided to eat there.

 We gathered in front of the restaurant. It was just after starting lunch hour and there was few people eating. We put our luggage inside our bench and started to eat.

 You can see something on your table. Well, I'll explain later of course :)

 We can bring whatever we want like buffet style, so I picked something up. It wasn't only ordinary foods, but also something new for me to fry like "takoyaki", originally it's a unique food in Osaka, but you can find almost anywhere in this country now. We grill it though, we normally don't fry it. Anyway, let's get started :)

 Before frying, we dip this white sauce. It is probably eggs and wheat I guess, then...

 Next, it's bread crumbs that takes good texture when you eat it :D Okay, it's time to fry!

 I thought it was too small to fry, but shortly after starting to do it, I understood it was enough. The sensor seemed to be built in the fryer and it keeps the oil around 170 degrees. Leave 5 minutes or so, then pull it out.

 This is it :) Looks delicious? ;)

 Ah, it's Takoyaki! This ball shaped food actually has a chopped octopus inside it. It's a kind of fast food and many kids buy it after coming back from school.

 And instant noodle?? :) It appears they have a variety of foods!

 He took curry by the way. He always eats it wherever he goes to restaurants, haha.

 There were six or seven sauces you can choose from, such as sweet, hot, sour one. I took all sauces, for the record :D Of course you can dip it before eating as well as eat without dipping anything.

 Like any other places for all-you-can-eat, they also offered sweets. Japanese sweets, ice cream, that was so great!
 It is said that living in Japan costs too much, but personally it's not totally right. If you choose the right places to eat or stay, you can find budget-friendly restaurants and accommodations here and there. The restaurant I introduced this time was about $13 for lunch per person, and don't forget the fact that you can't eat anymore by the time you pay for it. This year, I would like to show you such kind of budget-friendly places as much as possible :)


Raw fish eating in my home.

 I got a fever a couple days ago and the first day I couldn't eat anything but yoghurt. The next day, when my body temperature got back to normal, I really wanted to eat something healthy. "No oil, no meat today." I told myself. So I went to a supermarket nearby to get something easy to eat. Thus, raw fish was my choice :) As you can see in the above picture, they packed many kinds of fish, around 6 kinds, or maybe more yet cheap. Well, here's a trick. When you eat raw fish like sushi style, you probably notice the fish is sliced beautifully. The sushi chefs cut one by one with their hands, but they can't make all of them completely, especially on the both edges. What are they going to do? Throw them away? No. They collect them and make assembled one. In many supermarkets, you can find this kind of budget-friendly and many edges of the fish all-in-one. The label said it was 397 yen, almost $4 and enough for one person! :D

I brought back, prepared for soy soup, soy sauce, and of course rice, which I just forgot to take picture, then ate it :) In the evening...

 I cooked it! Again, raw fish :) Well, I can live with eating it 365 days a year! (that's my grandmother does, haha. This one was less than $5 but more than 20 pieces for sushi. I sliced it one by one, sometimes picked one of these as an excuse for tasting ;) There are many great sushi restaurants available in Tokyo for sure, but it easily costs $50 or above. Although you can't compare the raw fish in restaurants to the one in supermarkets, it's a good idea to look at in the markets and see what do people in this country eat in general. :)


Pictures in 2013.

 Started in Ho Chi Ming City, Vietnam,  2013 was one of the hardest years of mine. Many important things collapsed, including relationships with some of my friends, a job I once belonged and so on. Except the traveling to South East Asia from late 2012 to early 2013, I never traveled abroad at all. It was weird as well as dangerous, considering the fact that traveling has been always the way of maintaining my mental health, which has been working since 2005. But I didn't do it last year because I simply wanted to live in this country as much as I could. I started to shuttle between Tokyo and my hometown each month, it finally made me stop to count how many times I go back and forth by the time of the middle of 2013. Anyway, we hit 2014 and I'm pretty fine. So why don't we see some pictures taken in 2013? (Probably most people have already stopped thinking about previous year, that's why I made this post :))


 While I was in Japan, I kept thinking about one critical thing: Why doesn't this country suit me?
I definitely am a fan of small countries such as Rwanda and Syria, not only its smallness, but also the hospitality of people that I felt when I was there. Compared to these facts, my country is so big and indifference to others, full of messes. Naturally, I got sick of them every now and then. In the same time, I knew there are many good aspects in this place, fresh delicious foods like sushi, old architectures are spread across the country.  "I hate some parts of this country because I like it as well" In the middle of the year, this notion suddenly inspired in my head. I'm not sure about my future though, let's not think about it so seriously for the time being.

 Oh, the last one was the 1st day of this year :D I hope the year of 2014 gives a lot of godspeed to all of you ;)