Sunday, February 28, 2010

culture shock + odds & ends

It is the end of the month, so let's clean out my photos.

In Japan, there are many different varieties of strawberries. In the past, I've shown you the Amaou, and the Hinoshizuku, now let me show you the Asuka-ruby.

This strawberry was first grown in a town called Asuka in Nara prefecture. The fruit are rounder than most strawberries, so this is probably why they named them "ruby"??

These in the photo were grown by a farmer in Hyogo prefecture and cost a little more than other strawberries, but carbon footprint-wise, they were closer than fruit from other parts of Japan.

Compared to Hinoshizuku, they are a bit tart, but still a delicious part of our breakfasts.

Once at the market I saw this sign for "tenshin", thinking they were filled with something.

It was a good thing I got some other "okazu" (side dishes) because these were just unfilled Chinese buns...very dry too! :(

I've started making coffee liqueur. Will let you know how it turns out in about 8 weeks or so.

Tried this Morinaga pancake ice cream. Vanilla ice cream and some maple syrup sandwiched between two pancakes. (Morinaga makes a pancake mix which I've tried in the past. They add sugar to their mix so it is kinda sweet.) This was different from the normal ice cream sandwich but delicious.

Chocopie, which I think is the equivalent to a whoopie pie, also has a dessert out which has vanilla ice cream, sponge cake and is covered in chocolate.

Also different, but delicious.

Starbucks has started their sakura (cherry blossom) series. Sakura flavored drinks and sweets.

I tried their Sakura chiffon cake. It was different from the one I tried before. This year, they marbled it with a cheese flavored cake. The cherry flavor was still bold like before though....meh! I should have known better...

To make the atmosphere more Springy, while I was there they even had a quartet playing classical music. They should have turned off the background music though as it was hard to hear the quartet.

Cos-play, short for "costume play" is something you see all around Japan, mostly in the big cities.

Most are women dressing up as their favorite anime/manga (cartoon/comic) character, rarely have I seen guys dress up, though I probably may not have been in the right places at the right times.

Anyway, saw this person in Kyoto recently...always get a kick out of seeing these dress-ups. In Hawaii, this would probably be tolerated only during Halloween or maybe if there were a convention for this type of thing.

I think it is so unlike the quiet, shy, demure image that I have of Japanese women.

During the winter, you see these elementary boys dressed in shorts.

I've heard that is is supposed to "build character", just looking at them I feel very cold....

At the beginning of February, I had a birthday and we enjoyed some Santero Pinot Rose, I loved the bubbles and loved the cork. On the top there was a smiley and on the bottom a star.
For cake, we had some strawberry tarts from Mior. I also made some steak and veggies since Satoshi had to work that day.

My host-sister was kind enough to send me some delicious chocolates from Yves Thuries. (Thank you!)

I was re-organizing my pantry and found this un-opened package of tea, which I bought several years back.

It is an organic Assam tea grown in Kagoshima called Beniogata. Japan is mainly known for its green teas, so I was intrigued that this was a black tea. I was also surprised that it was still aromatic.

It's been a delicious and interesting February!


Rowena said...

Lot's of sweet treats tucked away in your camera. That strawberry tart image....drool.

So...happy belated birthday?!

Hannah said...

The Morinaga pancake ice cream sounds good - I love maple syrup! And I wish Australia made desserts flavoured with our national plant emblems... we could have eucalyptus cheesecake, or something :P

genkitummy said...

Happy belated birthday Kat! The wine bottle's cork is so cute!

K and S said...

those strawberry tarts were quite expensive, I think 700 yen (about US$7) each, Rowena :)

that would be interesting Hannah, kinda menthol-y, but interesting :)

thanks Genki :)

Take care everyone!

KirkK said...

Hey Kat - That "Chinese bread" looks a lot like mantou, a Northern Chinese staple, which is eaten with something.... like soy milk for breakfast and such.

K and S said...

Thanks Kirk for telling me what it was. The people who work at this supermarket making the Chinese food are actually Chinese (I've heard them chatting to each other), they do a lot of spicy foods.

Take care.

Lindsay-Jean said...

Wishing you a very happy belated birthday!

Kim said...

I love your end of the month photo posts. I like the randomness of everything. You've been doing it way before Project 365 became the "trendy" thing to do. lol

I don't know about those little kids in shorts during the winter. Seems a little mean letting those kids freeze their butts off.

K and S said...

Thanks Linny :)

Thanks Pocky :) I really enjoy looking at other's 365s!

Take care you two.

jalna said...

Ohhhh, that strawberry tart . . . ohhhh.

K and S said...

I know Jalna, I know :)

Take care.

K said...

Yum- everything looks delicious, especially the pancake ice cream sandwich! I have some Japanese hotcake mix- might have to try that out at home!

K and S said...

Hope you like it K :)

Take care.

Deb in Hawaii said...

You have had some really great and delicious things stuck away in your pictures. ;-) Can't wait to see how your coffee liqueur turns out!

K and S said...

I'm excited to see how that liqueur turns out also Debinhawaii :)

Take care.