IMG: Lining up for ramen (lamen) in Paris.

There's an article in Food and Wine called 7 Reasons Why Tokyo Is the New Paris, and a post that follows up on that on the Wall Street Journal's Japan RealTime blog titled Paris vs. Tokyo: Which Has Better Food and Drink?. As a Tokyo native who currently lives in France (although not in Paris), I thought I have some qualifications for adding my 2 cents on the subject. While the focus of both articles is on which city is "better" for an American tourist who is interested in food to visit, I'll like to expand on that a bit.

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IMG: sushi counter

I never ran a restaurant myself, so most of my knowledge on this matter is second hand. My mother ran a very successful restaurant in midtown Manhattan called Tsukiji Sushisay. In addition my stepfather was the accountant for several Japanese restaurants in NYC. I did however work the front desk for a few months, and helped out over the years with things like translating legal documents, making brochures, or creating their website. I translated the menu to English, and even taught basic 'sushi-counter customer-service English' to many of the chefs. "I'm sorry, we don't have spicy tuna." is one phrase I remember teaching them.

I also want to note, that I feel OK writing this because the restaurant closed its doors in 2002, and various statutes of limitations or whatever have run out. ^^;

IMG: Masataka Takateru

Whiskey first became widely available in Japan (least amongst the wealthy) in the 19th century, mostly in and after the 1870s, although it seems to have been introduced in the 1850s. Whiskey distilling in Japan did not get going until the 20th century though. The establishment of distilleries in Japan was spearheaded by a small group of men who fell in love with whiskey, and wanted to establish distilleries in Japan.

The Mystery of Japanese "Sauce"

Bulldog sauce bottles

Miso, soy sauce, bonito flakes...these are the kinds of ingredients you'd expect to be used in Japanese recipes. But there's another ingredient that appears very often, and it's usually just called "sauce" or so-su (ソース). What is this "sauce" anyway?

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IMG: Nerikiri wagashi

Kyoto, the former imperial capital, is the top tourist destination in Japan for many good reasons. A lot has been written about this city already, and it's impossible to describe in a few sentences - so I'm not going to try to. Instead, I'll share some of my favorite destinations in a series of pictures and short descriptions -- as postcards if you will. Here's my first postcard from Kyoto.

Kyoto is a city that hits the sweet spot for me in more ways than one. It is dripping with history, has fantastic shops, great art and craft galleries, and so many places to have a wonderful meal. It also has a lot of literal sweet spots. Perhaps because of its history as the seat of the imperial court, where ladies influenced much of the culture, there are many amami dokoro, or places to enjoy a bite of something sweet, both traditional and modern.

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There's a rather extensive interview of me on Culinary Exchange. It has quite a lot of photos that are pretty nostalgic for me from the archives of JustHungry and JustBento, chosen by the interviewer, Matthew. I hope you enjoy it reading it. ^_^

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And it's about time too! The site has been totally redone from the bones up. It should finally look and work like a mid-2015 site rather than a mid-2005 one!

Here are some highlights:

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Keep reading New site design →

Weight loss shows on TV show cultural differences.

Yesterday I spent New Years Day with my mother, stepfather, middle sister, her husband and kids. It's the first time in years that I've spent New Years with my mother. It's still hard to get all my family into one place - my husband had to stay back home in France, and my other sister is in Ohio - but it was still a lovely day.

Our osechi (New Years feast) was a mix of Japan, France, England and America - besides traditional food like nishime (simmered winter vegetables), namasu, ozouni and a whole roasted tai (sea bream), we had chicken karaage, meatloaf, brownies, galettes bretonnes (butter cookies) and a Christmas pudding! Whew. It's fun to enjoy tiny morsels of so many different dishes though.

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Keep reading Happy New Year! →


Butter shortages in post-modern Japan.