site news

10 years.

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Ten years ago, I decided to start a food blog. continue reading...

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A short personal update...

This just a short update on what is going on with my health and things. continue reading...

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Technical note: The RSS feed and newsletter system has been switched to another service

A little technical note for people who read this site via Google Reader or another RSS reader, or subscribe to post updates via email:

I’ve switched over from Feedburner to another service called URI.LV. The reason I switched over is that Feedburner has kind of been neglected by Google (who owns the service) for a while now, and with their announcement that Google Reader is being shut down soon, it’s kind of logical to assume that Feedburner will fade away too.

  • If you are an email subscriber: You shouldn’t see much of a change at all, but there is a chance you may need to re-add the sender of the mail (thechef@justhungry.com) to your address book if the emails end up in your spam folder.
  • If you are an RSS reader subscriber: You should not see any change at all. If you want to be doubly sure you’ll continue to receive updates, subscribe to this link or click on the RSS button in the side bar and delete your Feedburner subscription.

(Incidentally, if you’re looking for a replacement for Google Reader and are Mac or iOS based, I’ve been using NetNewsWire for ever, even before there was a Google Reader. I highly recommend it. Otherwise if you’re looking for a web based solution Feedly looks pretty nice.)

This notice applies to both JustBento and JustHungry - it’s posted on both since not everyone subscribes to both. (AND WHY NOT??? (just kidding))

So that’s it for the techincal stuff. Going back to talking about food next time. ^_^

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Now it's JustHungry's turn to move...you may see some service disruptions

A few days ago we moved JustBento over to a new server. So now we’ll be moving JustHungry over too. Fingers crossed it should go fairly smoothly, but you may see some short disruptions in service over the weekend. I’ll keep you updated on Twitter and the Facebook page if we hit a glitch though. Thank you for your patience!

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Almost there....

An update. Finally, right? continue reading...

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Hiatus

Hozuki (physalis), Naraijuku, Japan

I'll be offline for a while (not sure how long), to take care of the health issues. There will be updates over on JustBento hopefully, as The Guy Does Bento series continues, but over here the lights will be dimmed until I get back. continue reading...

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To RSS subscribers to the "Recipes only" feed

A message to people who are subscribed to the "Recipes only" RSS feed. It's come to my attention that that feed has been broken since mid-March. I don't have the time to troubleshoot it properly at the moment, so you'll be getting the 'everything' feed (recipes and articles) for the time being. Sorry for the inconvenience! continue reading...

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Major site maintenance coming up this week

This week, both JustHungry and JustBento will be making a long overdue move to another server, undergoing major background maintenance/repairs and other things, so you may see some disruptions in service. Please bear with me on these. Everything should be back to normal by the end of the week (fingers crossed). Thank you for your patience. I'll update this post when everything is back to normal. continue reading...

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はじめまして、伊藤牧子です。

(This is my Japanese About page. For the more complete English About page go here.)

初めまして。イトウマキコと申します。中年女です。日本生まれ、元帰国子女、アメリカ、イギリス、スイスを経て、現在は南フランスのプロバンス地方の片田舎とスイスに二股かけて住んでいます。海外生活が日本に住んでいた年数よりも長い、いわゆる変な日本人です。 continue reading...

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Combatting Summer Fatigue article in The Japan Times

Chicken and shrimp soba salad with sesame sauce

There’s a new recipe from me, on another site - take a look! And a bit about the, uh, photo shoot… continue reading...

News from Maki

Maki had to undergo emergency surgery yesterday, July 6. Everything went well, and she is recovering now, although she may well have to stay at the hospital for a week or so.

We keep the site up and running as good as possible, but it will take some time until new articles will be possible.

In the meantime "Get well soon, Maki!"

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News about The Just Bento Cookbook, and no I'm not abandoning Japanese food!

As if the excitement, or stress, depending on how you look at it, of the move to France and the new/old house wasn’t enough, on Monday I got word from my publisher that my bento cookbook was sent off to the printers finally! I have lots more news about it over on Just Bento, in case you don’t follow things over there. continue reading...

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The start of my new adventures...in Provence, France

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In February 2009, I left the house I’d been living in off and on for years, and embarked on a quest for a new place to live. Last week the quest finally ended, and we’re now settling into a new house, which is actually a pretty old house, a new country and a new area for us - Provence, France. continue reading...

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Menu For Hope winner, please get in touch!

Just a quick note here: If you are the Kristina Johnson who won the Just Hungry Menu For Hope prize EU25 (check the winners' list) please get in touch via the contact form :)

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In Japan!

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I’m in Japan! I’ll be here for the next three months. I am here primarily for two reasons: My mother is in hospital; and the bento cookbook photoshoot will commence next month. But of course I’ll be filing plenty of reports on what I’ve done, not to mention eaten, here! I’ll be taking and uploading photos every day, which you can follow here on flickr.

The photo above is of dinner last night with family - a seafood nabe and a sashimi assortment. Delicious and so simple, and not at all easy (or inexpensive) to recreate properly outside of Japan!

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Menu For Hope VI: Just Hungry Offers a Taste of Japan Plus

menuforhopevi.jpgOnce again, Just Hungry is proud to offer a great raffle item for the annual Menu For Hope fund raising event, which will benefit the United Nations World Food Programme.

This year it’s personal: A hand-selected (by me, of course) box of Japanese goodies directly from Japan, plus…a signed copy of my upcoming book! continue reading...

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More on the new theme

Thank you for all of your comments about the new theme/event! I have been mulling over it, and I while I still haven’t decided on the name yet, I have more or less decided on what it will be: continue reading...

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An idea for a new theme/event

I know that I have sadly neglected this blog for some weeks now, as I struggle with completing the first draft of my book. (My main problem is I keep revising the recipes…but that’s another story.) I know that digging up things from the archives does not really constitute true updating! Anyway, I do have an idea for a regular theme or event of sorts, to commence probably in the new year (or when the book is further along in the birthing process).

The tentative title of the theme/event is Japanese Ingredient Focus Seminar (too formal?). I know that many Japanese ingredients are unfamiliar to non-Japanese readers. So the goal will be to become as familiar as possible with it, in a specific time period, say 2-3 weeks. I’ll announce the ingredient beforehand, so people have time to get a hold of it. Then we will try various recipes using that ingredient, from simple to not-so-simple.

How does this sound? Let me know if this sounds interesting to you. I’ll also accept suggestions for ingredients to tackle. continue reading...

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A problem with logging in on Just Hungry and Just Bento

A problem has cropped up in the last couple of days with login on Just Hungry and Just Bento. Previously, you were able to log into either site, and you’d be logged in on the other. This is not working as it should at the moment.

The workaround for now is to log in separately to either site. If you have a problem logging in, please let me know (via the contact form for the offending site) and I’ll try to fix it manually. Sorry for the inconvenience! continue reading...

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And the winner of the Izakaya book is....(and a small update)

The winner of the Izakaya Cookbook is… Mireia! Congratulations to Mireia, and thank you to everyone who entered. Look for more great giveaways on Just Hungry in the future!

A small update

I’m in the throes of frantic ‘must-meet-deadline’ mode for my own book. If I meet my first deadline (in less than 2 weeks!!!), I should at least be able to take a shower…I mean, pull my head above water for a bit and update here. Until then, please bear with me!

(Incidentally, doesn’t it bug you when people say ‘please bare with me’? No I don’t want to take my clothes off with you. Geez.

I’m going off on a tangent. Back to work.) continue reading...

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Yep I'm working on a book

So, I’m writing a book, and a deadline looms. continue reading...

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The book giveaway winner is announced, plus some more news

The winner of The Enlightened Kitchen book is… emalie from Australia!

If you didn’t win this time, stay tuned, because I have a couple more books to give away in the next couple of weeks which I am sure will be of interest to Just Hungry readers. continue reading...

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Maki on the radio!

I was interviewed on WRS Geneva, an English-language radio station in Geneva (Genève), Switzerland, this past Tuesday, on their food programme called Stir It Up. The MP3 is up now for download (link now corrected!), so if you want to know how I sound, with a stuffed nose (from allergies...agh!) complete with my totally mixed up accent, my segment starts after the rhubarb at around 9:45. It might be of interest to people who want to know why I started blogging about Japanese food after moving to Switzerland of all places. (Cross-posted to Just Hungry and Just Bento.)

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April is Frugal Food Month on Just Hungry

'Saving money with bento' Re-ment scene

As I have noted over on Just Bento, April will be Frugal Food Month here on Just Hungry (and Frugal Bento Month over on Just Bento). continue reading...

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My Japanese language blog and Twitter

I know that quite a lot of people who follow Just Bento and/or Just Hungry are interested in Japanese culture in general. So, this is a very-infrequent plug for my Japanese language mini-lesson blog and Twitter account. The Twitter account is separate from my main chatty Twitter (@bentotips, where I actually rarely tweet any bento tips…); it’s at @mainichinihongo. There is also a companion blog, Hungry For Words, which has longer lessons on occasion. The lessons are not very structured or anything - I just talk about words or phrases that pop into my mind.

So, if you are studying Japanese, or just interested in nihongo, take a look! It’s all part of my mission to spread Japanese culture over the world, like gomashio on rice ^_^.

(Cross-posted to Just Hungry and Just Bento.) continue reading...

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Name That Food! Mystery food identification flickr group

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Because I have sooo much to do right now, I’ve started yet another small project. continue reading...

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A forum for non-bento people too

I really have no idea anymore how many people follow this site but don’t follow Just Bento, and vice versa, but in case that is you, I just wanted to let you know that the brand new forum is now open. I’ve made sections to discuss non-bento food, or anything else that strikes your fancy too. continue reading...

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Registering on the site is a good thing!

You may have noticed over on Just Bento that I've now made the user login form much more visible. I'll be doing the same on Just Hungry, but for now the login/register links are at the top left of every page. This is to encourage you to register on the site. I have stopped short of requiring registration in order to comment and so on for now, but I have turned back on comment moderation for any unregistered commenters. continue reading...

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Just Hungry 5th Anniversary Giveaway - The Winners!

The winners are announced! continue reading...

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5th Anniversary Giveway Day 5: It's Just Me

This is the final day of the 5th Anniversay Giveaway week. I hope you’ve enjoyed it! continue reading...

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5th Anniversary Giveway Day 4: Regrets, I've had a few

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For a few months in 2006, I changed the banner graphic of the site every month to reflect the season.

There are a couple of things that I wish I had done differently during the last five years as far as Just Hungry was concerned. If you are a newish food blogger, or any kind of blogger, perhaps this will help you avoid these mistakes.

(This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for participating! The winner will be announced next week!) continue reading...

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5th Anniversary Giveway Day 3: The Meandering Path of Just Hungry

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The header graphic of the 2nd design of Just Hungry displayed one of these 4 illustrations at random.

As I wrote yesterday, when I started Just Hungry I had no plans at all about the theme of the site, other than it would be about food. I think that you could get away with that back then, when the number of actual food blogs was probably still in the low hundreds.

__( This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for participating! continue reading...

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5th Anniversary Giveway Day 2, with some reminiscences

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The image that I used in my first page design banner. I still love it.

During this giveaway week, I thought I’d indulge myself by sharing some reminiscences about the past five years of Just Hungry. Today: Why I started the site.

__ This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for participating! continue reading...

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Just Hungry 5th Anniversary / Just Bento 1st Anniversary Giveaway!

birthdaycupcake.jpg from iStockPhoto

I’m giving away goodies all this week!

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for participating! continue reading...

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Quick update

I’ve managed to sprain my left hand and wrist, so it’s very hard for me to type long articles. So I’m afraid the continuation of the Japanese budgeting series and other planned articles are on hold for a bit.

If you want to know what I am doing, you can always follow me on Twitter. One-handed typing is easier when it’s limited to 140 characters.

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The Japanese 100 list finally complete, and other things

The 100 Japanese foods list is done. Plus, you know, Swiss breast milk. continue reading...

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Bite-sized Japanese lessons on Twitter @mainichinihongo

I know that a lot of readers come to Just Hungry because they are interested in Japanese culture. You may have even taken a look at my language blog. At the moment I don’t have the time to maintain the language blog, so I’ve just started a Japanese language Twitter account, @mainichinihongo (which means ‘Japanese every day’. My plan is to introduce one or more words per day-ish, around a theme. If you are on Twitter, and interested in Japanese, give it a try! (I still have my other Twitter account, @bentotips, where I tend to blather on about everything and anything.)

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Some links and random thoughts

Here are a bunch of unrelated-to-each-other links and thoughts that have accumulated recently.

Product linkage, edible

For UK and Europe readers: Japan Centre has a sale on this week for Yamamotoyama Soy Rappu, colorful soy based wrappers that are an interesting substitute for nori seaweed when making sushi rolls. I haven’t really tried them myself yet, so I placed and order and will see how they work. continue reading...

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In Shojo Beat Magazine

I was interviewed recently for Shojo Beat Magazine, an English magazine published in the U.S. dedicated to shojo manga (manga for girls), and the results of whatever I said are in the most recent issue. Unfortunately the articles isn’t online, so I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but the whole issue is dedicated to Japanese food and manga - sounds like fun!

Update: Here is the link to the article (an excerpt I think). (Thanks heatherbug!) continue reading...

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How to get rid of craft and cooking books?

This is a mostly non-food related question. I have hinted around about this a bit, but I’m in the process of moving (not sure where yet, but that’s another story!) and I’m taking this as a good opportunity to seriously declutter. I have a bunch of cookbooks and craft books in Japanese and English that I want to part with.

Most of the books I want to find homes for are in new or very good condition. No splattered books with stuck-together pages! There are a few that are a bit worn, but are out of print so may have a rarity value. continue reading...

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April will be lighter around here

Incidentally, I plan to do a lot more vegetable-oriented/lighter cooking, so you’ll most likely see the results of that on Just Hungry and Just Bento. This means I’m going to give the yohshoku series a rest for awhile (breaded and deep fried hamburgers tend to stick to the waistline and all.) Besides, we’re finally starting to see reasonably locally grown vegetables that aren’t cabbage or broccoli! This kind of thing over on Just Bento is what I’ll be eating more of. I lost a bunch of weight when I couldn’t eat after my surgery, but almost all of it has come right back since my appetite returned! Must. Stem. Belly rebound.

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Hi, still alive

Hi everyone. I am alive and getting better. I actually had a tonsillectomy (hi Yoko I got it done finally); this winter I had two very bad bouts with tonsillitis and thought those things best be gone. At the moment I am feeling quite blah (probably the meds), and somehow quite depressed for some reason I can’t put a finger on. I’m not supposed to be doing anything too stressful for a while, and surfing the internets right now really gets me down even more - can’t explain that either. My throat is too uncomfortable yet to eat anything (even ice cream is sort of irritating, so I’m mainly drinking fluids…) - I don’t have much of an appetite, though I keep on thinking about the smell of butter melting in a hot pan. And bacon. But not bacon in butter. Weird.

Anyway, I’ll return to duty around here when I’m back to my own self. Thank you for all your good wishes! continue reading...

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Break down on two fronts

I love my Macs in a way that is hard to explain, unless you’re like me and have been using Macs since the ’80s. Well, my trusty 12 inch Powerbook suddenly decided to die. Thank god for backups. So the last 36 hours or so have been spent transferring, backing up and other things to a brand new Macbook Pro. It’s a bittersweet feeling; while a new Mac is always nice, that little Powerbook was a true workhorse, a perfect fit for me in so many ways. I’d resisted upgrading it for a while, but all good Macs must go to heaven some time.

At the same time that the Powerbook decided to die, it was decided that I would be going through with some elective surgery that I needed to get but was holding off on too. So, updates here and on Just Bento will be a bit slower. I have some things already written up which I hope will be postable by me or a helpful elf, but replying to comments and things will have to wait.

I didn’t know I had so much synergy with my Powerbook! I hope I can revive her as a media server or something, and I hope I can revive my body parts too.

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Taking a little inventory

Just like it’s a good idea to take inventory of your pantry sometimes, I find it useful to take a look back at my sites occasionally and take stock of what I’m doing. continue reading...

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Help me to assemble a comprehensive Japanese grocery store list!

I should have done this a long time ago, but hey, better late than ever. I’m going to try to assemble a list of Japanese grocery stores worldwide, that people can refer to. Obviously I cannot do this without your help! I can list info for places I’ve lived, and there have been some great comment posts in the past here that have included such info, but I’ll try to put it all in one place.

So, please head on over to to this constantly updated page and add any information you have about in the comments!

I’ve added the categories Food related shopping places you shouldn’t miss in Japan and Places that ship Japanese food-related things worldwide.

[Update:] Of course this turned out to be a way bigger job than I thought :) But I’ll try to add as much as possible over the weekend. I’ve found that there are quite a lot of Japanese pages that list stores and so on, for expats obviously. I’m collecting those and adding them, together with your suggestions in the comments. continue reading...

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Some admin stuff

You may have noticed that you can now comment here and on Just Bento without moderation. I’m seeing if it works out - so far the anti-spam measures seem to be holding up. (You do still have to pass at terribly difficult math test…) I hate comment spam - to me it’s the interweb equivalent of someone walking their dog on your lawn and leaving a poop. But on the other hand I know it can be a bit frustrating to see your comment not be displayed immediately. So, we’ll see how it goes…if problems arise I’ll turn moderation back on. continue reading...

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Ask Maki anything, well almost anything (or just say hi)

This post is now closed to new comments. It’s now replaced by the new forum section, Ask Maki Almost Anything.

makiface-redshirt-sm.pngThanks to you (yes, I’m looking at you!) Just Hungry and Just Bento have really grown in popularity recently. This has also meant that I’m getting more emails. I do very much appreciate getting your emails, but there’s a couple of disadvantages to email.

  • It’s a one on one communication so your question will only benefit you. It might just benefit a lot of other readers. I do actually end up answering the same thing several times.
  • I may not know the answer but someone else might!
  • I’m really bad at email. Don’t ask me why. I try to answer things as fast as possible but sometimes emails languish in my inbox for days, or I forget about answering them. Then you get mad at me and think I’m ignoring you, etc.
  • Answering lots of individual emails takes time away from me writing new posts, not to mention spending time with my family/friends, exploring new foods, and all that kind of thing.

Hence, this is Ask Maki (almost) Anything. comments here will remain always open, to ask me anything that doesn’t fit into the context of a particular post. Unless it’s something that must remain private, please post here before emailing. Thank you! continue reading...

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Best wishes for 2008

Thank you so much for your kind words of condolence. 2007 has certainly been a year of ups and downs, but I feel that 2008 will be a big year somehow, and I’m feeling quite excited about it.

We were in the habit of toasting the arrival of the new year every year with Martha with a little champagne or local sparkling apple wine (Blauacher Chlöpfmoscht, with a few nibbles (apero) to go along. We’ll be keeping up that tradition by ourselves now. continue reading...

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passing

Martha, Max’s mother, passed away quietly in her sleep last night.

We were prepared for it, I suppose, but you can’t really be fully prepared for the passing of a parent either.

There are a few articles that I’ve already written, which will be posted here and on Just Bento over the next few days but replying to emails and comments etc. will be slow. Thanks for your understanding.

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Last day for Menu For Hope, and Happy Holidays

Cross stitch Christmas Advent wallhanging

This is the very last day you can donate to Menu For Hope! And a nice bonus - take a look at the beautiful poem about Lesotho here by Rethabile. (Yes, if you also read Just Bento you’re getting this in double…but it’s a poem worth visiting more than once!)

Just Bento and Just Hungry (which is mostly me anyway) are taking a few days off to take care of a ton of offline duties. (Thank you for your nice emails…we’re hanging in around here.)

We decided not to get a tree this year, so the only Christmas decoration of sorts we have up is this wallhanging/advent calendar, that I finally finished last week.

Cross stitch Christmas Advent wallhanging

In this day and age when things I have made or worked on exist only in digital form, it’s really grounding and satisfying to create something that has a physical form and presence, that I can touch and hold. That includes food too. There’s nothing better than the warm feeling you get when your friends and family’s faces light up when you present them with delicious food that you made with your own hands. Especially around the holidays.

Happy Holidays everyone!

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It will be a muted Christmas

I realize that compared to a lot of other food blogs, I don’t get that personal on this blog most of the time. I just wanted to mention though that posting may slow down a bit for a while. I know that I’ve promised some articles such as one on pressure cooking, and I had planned some festive Christmas-y recipes and such. However, yesterday we heard that Max’s mother Martha, who is in a nursing home, has suddenly taken a turn for the worse. So, it will be a rather somber Christmas around here.

My pressure cooker actually used to belong to Martha, until she went into the home a couple of years ago. Except for replacing the rubber gasket, it’s as good as the day she bought it more than 20 years ago. She used it all the time, mainly for steaming potatoes, but for a few other things too. I hope to put those recipes up here in due course.

In the meantime, here is her authentic Swiss cheese fondue recipe, which is the absolute best I’ve ever had. A cheese fondue with crusty bread was always one of our favorite meals to have together.

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Book giveaway ends today

Just a poke to remind everyone that the 4th anniversary book giveaway / “Food Memories” mini-contest ends today, at 1 minute before midnight CET. That’s 11pm GMT, 6pm Eastern, 5pm Central, 3pm Pacific, 9am Saturday in Tokyo, etc. There are already many wonderful personal stories…add your own! The winner will be announced on Monday. Good luck!

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Just Hungry 4th anniversary book giveaway: Hungry Planet

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[Update: The winner is announced!] continue reading...

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Christmas livery

I originally intended to tweak the innards of the site a bit to improve performance and readability - the front page was getting rather (very) unwieldly. That somehow escalated more and more, as they do if you are a web geek taking a busman’s holiday*, and now the site has had a complete makeover. (Yet again. It’s the 5th re-design in 4 years.) For good measure I have given it a Christmas look, to stay in place for the next month. Ho ho ho.

Things should work properly, but if they don’t, please let me know.

(And yes, that new Swiss chocolate sponsor on the right does ship internationally.) continue reading...

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200 recipes!

I just realized that the kuri squash and apple maple pudding recipe is actually the 200th recipe posted on Just Hungry. 200 spread out over almost 4 years may not seem like that much, but every one of them has been tried and tested, in most cases repeatedly, so…it actually is quite a lot for me! Judging from the comments and email I get, most of them seem to work fairly well for people, which makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

(I also realized that ‘pudding’ may not be the right name for it…it’s more like a pie, without the crust. Though if you chill it before eating, it does sort of become a squash-cream pudding. I’ll leave the name as is though - whatever it may be called, it’s really delicious!) continue reading...

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Site news: Cross-site search

A little site news: I’ve added a new search function to the site that will search both Just Hungry and Just Bento for your convenience. It’s using Google Custom Search, which is a very easy way of setting up multi-site searches. (The results do show ads on occasion, but there’s not much you can do about that in Googleland.) continue reading...

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Just Hungry and Just Bento, now with tasty full RSS feeds

For the longest time (like forever) RSS subscribers to Just Hungry have only gotten the excerpts. There was no deep reason for this…except that I was afraid that my often long-winded posts would annoy you if you wanted to skim, or something. Well, due to approximately 3.5 people mentioning they’d prefer full feeds…from now on all Just Hungry and Just Bento feeds will have the full shebang, so you’ll never have to visit the site again*! Banzai!

Not subscribed yet? Then here they are: the Just Hungry newsfeed and Just Bento newsfeed. (What is a newsfeed?)

*Though I hope you do, I like visitors. I’ll even put out the Chex mix.

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Announcing Just Bento, a site about healthy, tasty bento box meals

Just Bento, my new brand site dedicated to the making of bento box meals, is now officially open! It will have bento-specific recipes, tutorials and tips galore. While the majority of the bento box examples will be Japanese or Japanese-style bentos (geared and adapted for people who don’t live in Japan), there will be foods and recipes from many other cuisines too, just as on Just Hungry.

The focus is on bento lunches for busy adults, especially those who are looking to using bento lunches to regulate healthy eating habits and/or lose weight. Why? Because that’s how I use bento lunches. Late last year I made a resolution to try to lose some weight in 2007. While a lot of things I attempted in order to achieve that goal fell by the wayside, one of the things that ‘stuck’ was making bento lunches at least 2 to 3 times a week, if not more. So far, I have very slowly lost about 30 pounds (15 kg), and plan to keep going! I occasionally indulge in more luxurious and/or time-consuming bentos too, but that’s all part of keeping things fun and loose.

Time is of the essence in the morning, so every bento example will be presented with a graphical timeline besides step-by-step instructions. (See Bento no. 1 for an example). Most bentos will be take less than 30 minutes to make, and the majority will clock in at 20 minutes or under.

There are already several articles up on the site. And no, Just Hungry will not be neglected; there’ll be a lot of cross-referencing of tips, recipes and more between the sites. continue reading...

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Onigiri galore, and shooting them

In case you don’t follow Just Bento, but read Just Hungry for the Japanese stuff, be sure to check out my onigiri magnum opus. In case you are wondering, yes I made all those onigiri and shot them over the weekend. It took 8 cups of rice! Some are stored in the freezer, but regrettably, many were consumed on the spot by the photographer and me.

Shooting white rice against a white background, especially on a cloudy day, is not easy. But the other weekend project we managed to finish finally really came in handy - the shoestring ‘studio’ box. continue reading...

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just beta

I am almost ready to give birth to a project that’s been incubating for ages. It’s still rather sparse (or, as they say in Web 2.0 speak, ‘beta’). If you take a look let me know what you think….

[Update:] Thank you for all of the positive comments! (If you have any criticism that’s welcome too.) As you can probably see already, the site will be quite tutorial-heavy, especially since there are already a growing number of bento blogs. As I’ve written in Bento Basics, the focus of most of the bentos (I’m sure there will be some exceptions) I’ll be writing about are 1) brown-rice based with a large portion of vegetables, 2) made in 20 minutes or under (with some prep work) and 2) 600 calories or under (a bit more for bigger guys). They won’t be that cute - at least inside the bento box. I don’t have a lot of patience for cute-fiddling in the morning. You can of course add cuteness with the bento box itself or the wrapper for the bento box.

The site is still ‘beta’ because I’m still ironing out some background kinks, but you can already subscribe to it and things.

Incidentally, I started to make a concerted effort to make bento earlier this year, as part of an overall ‘eat healthier, dammit’ thing. It’s been a really positive experience health-wise and taste-wise, and as one side effect I’ve lost about 30 lbs (15 kg or so) since the beginning of the year. Does that give you an incentive to start making bento too? :) continue reading...

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Quechup is not ketchup, or kosher

A little non-food business. I have been getting tons of invites from people I don’t know (and a couple I actually do) for yet another social networking site called Quechup. It seems that sometime during the signup process, this site makes it possible for people to send invites to all the people in the GMail and other online mail service address books. It’s kind of interesting to see who has my address in their address books, but nevertheless…if you want to avoid this annoyance, just avoid Quechup. continue reading...

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And my last supper would be...

This seems to be the week of appearing on other great food blogs! I was asked, amongst other more illustrious food bloggers, what my last meal would be by Chew On That. Check out the great answers!

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Interview on Culinate

Liz Crain of Culinate interviewed me recently, and the result is now up on their site. I always feel funny reading interviews of me, but nevertheless Liz did a great job. (I didn’t realize I average 15 posts a month… is that too little or too much?) You get to find out about my dad’s infamous restaurant business card collection! Food obsession must be inherited. continue reading...

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Recent comments

In case you left a comment here in the past few days and wondered where why it wasn’t approved - I suddenly stopped getting comment notifications, which is why I didn’t even know they were there. My apologies as I try to figure out if Drupal, Gmail or another interweb gremlin is at fault.

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Back! Apologies, and a mystery

I’m back home from Provence, both in the physical sense and the interweb sense. I actually lost Net access for the past two weeks (we thought we had something more convenient but it turned out we needed to drive 30 minutes one way to get to a WiFi spot, and well…other things sort of took priority). What I need to get into my head is that in this day and age, being offline for so long is not a good thing. It’s sort of like being MIA, for a lot of people that know me. Yes, I confess I didn’t even check my email for two weeks. So…if this affected you in relation to your food related questions and so on, I apologize. Next time I go away I’ll make sure I can at least get online once a day.

I’ll have a lot, lot more to say about my trip later on, but in the meantime, here is a little mystery. Can you identify these? (Click on the image to get a bigger view. RSS readers will have to go to the site to do this.) I’d never seen them in this state before.

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While the food in Provence is glorious - the freshest vegetables and fruit ever, tons of fresh garlic, and delicious cheeses, fragrant herbs - I really, really missed Japanese food. I did bring a (very small) bottle of soy sauce with me, but no rice or any other ingredients. (Curiously I found nori and soy sauce at the local hypermarché, but no Japonica rice, or most other needed ingredients. So I’m not sure what rice the people of Provence make sushi with.)

Last summer, I had to make an emergency stop at a small Japanese-Korean restaurant in Aix-en-Provence to take care of the withdrawal symptoms, but this year I toughed it out for three whole weeks. But anyway, the first thing I did when we got home last night? Make a potful of rice and have a bowlful with an umeboshi. I think the older I get, the more Japanese I’m getting. If my long term plans to Get A Place In Provence work out, I’m definitely going to have to sort out the Japanese food supply situation. continue reading...

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The kitchen as disaster zone

We’ve had a bit of a Plumbing Disaster in the kitchen, which has necessiated the removal of everything from shelves and such up onto higher ground (not to mention the disposal of many ruined food items). This has meant cooking activities have had to take a short pause. Hopefully the kitchen, my sanity, and cooking (and posting thereof on this blog) should be back shortly.

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A slightly slower pace for the next couple of months

Things may be just a bit slower on Just Hungry for the next couple of months, since I’ll be on the road a lot. I do have several articles piled up on the back burner though, so you shouldn’t miss much (hopefully) in the way of new stuff to read. What may be slower is my comment and new user registration approval rate, as well as replying to comments, but I’ll try to get to them when I can.

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A way to log in finally

A number of people have created accounts here to avoid the necessary evil to reduce spammers that is the CAPTCHA thingy. But you may have noticed that there was no way to actually log in. Oops. Now there is - on every page you should now see a login / register link. I’m still trying to figure out what additional benefits I can bring to registered and logged in users…but for now, if you are logged in, you’ll no longer have to solve the math question.

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Pop-up images

If you visit this site using a browser (this won’t work if you’re using a newsreader), and click on an image, in most cases you’ll be able to see a larger version of the image in popup “window” (it won’t open a separate browser window, but pop up right in your current window.) For all recipe step-by-steps for example, you can click on the small image thumbnail to bring up a better view. Note, this only works for the more recent articles posted since early February , but I’ll be using this feature in all future posts. continue reading...

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Upcoming list

More site housekeeping: I get quite a lot of emails that request certain recipes or ask questions of a general nature. Rather than reply in an email, which helps one person, I usually prefer to reply in the form of an entry here. So (though I may live to regret this!) I’ve made my list of upcoming planned recipes and other articles public. You can take a look there to see what I am working on or planning to write up. (There’s a permanent link to the page from the contact form as well as in the footer about area of every page. continue reading...

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Just Hungry reference handbooks

Handbooks are mini-guides to specific topics, with several pages. They are used as a more or less permanent repository of information.

See the list of available handbooks below. continue reading...

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Site changes

Just Hungry has had yet another site makeover. This is the fourth incarnation of the site in 3 years, and I think by far the biggest one. Besides a cosmetic facelift, it's been converted to a new backend engine, Drupal. Although Drupal is tad more complicated (for me, not you I hope!) than the blogging platform the site was running on previously, Movable Type (or the version before that which was on Movable Type's sister Typepad), I think it's going to make the site even better. Here are some of the changes that are in place right now. continue reading...

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Advertising on Just Hungry

Advertising and requests for reviews

(Updated April 2013)

Just Hungry is the leading Japanese cooking blog on the web. Readers are mainly interested in Japanese food and cooking, Japanese culture, healthy eating, food related travel, and great food in general. continue reading...

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Subscription options for Just Hungry

Various subscription options for Just Hungry. continue reading...

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The Just Hungry Site Tour

This page is a work in progress, highlighting some of the best and/or most popular posts on Just Hungry. Please also take a look at the recipe index, feature article index, and the blog archive index. try the search function if you can’t find what you’re looking for.

Japanese Recipes and articles

I’m from Japan, but I’ve been living outside of Japan for much of my adult life. I love the food of my homeland, but trying to recreate some dishes without easy access to all kinds of Japanese ingredients can be tough. A major feature of Just Hungry is on cooking Japanese food at home, trying to achieve authentic flavors with limited access to these ingredients.

The Basics: If you’re new to Japanese cooking, start here: continue reading...

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About Just Hungry

About and FAQ page. (日本語のプロフィールは こちらです) continue reading...

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Calling Menu For Hope winner "johanna"!

Quick note: The winners of the Menu For Hope prizes have been announced! If you're the "johanna" that won EU07 (the hamper) please contact me so we can arrange things. :)

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De-lurk and tell me about you, and what you want!

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I had meant to do something like this earlier but - well I forgot :). But a post on Roger Johansson's web development blog 456 Berea Street (one of the best out there, I might add, for any budding or not-so-budding web developers) which was in turn inspired by web designer Veerle Pieters (her blog is one of the prettiest on the interweb!) prompted me to do this once and for all.

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Three years of Just Hungry

Three years ago, I decided on a whim to branch off a bit from my main blog, which was mostly about web development and other matters, and start a blog about food, just food - and Just Hungry was born. On November 29, 2003, I posted my first entry. 450 or so entries later it's still here! It's now become a much more visited site than I ever imagined, and I am constantly amazed and surprised at how many people take the time to write me great emails or leave comments. continue reading...

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Off to England

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I am off to England for about a week. While it's supposed to be partly for work, somehow I've managed to schedule an awful lot of food-related things in there. One of them will be my first molecular biology..I mean.. gastronomy... experience, at The Fat Duck, on Hallowe'en. Concidentally, BBC 2 is going to be showing part 1 of a two-part documentary about Heston Blumenthal that very evening. We're going to lunch so it should be fun to see that after having experienced the restaurant.

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Off topic: my other site is up again

I know some people who follow Just Hungry also used to read my makikoitoh.com site, where I mostly talk about things like design in general, web design and development in particular, and so on. It's been dormant for a long time but I've just re-designed and revived it so please give it a visit!

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Food Destinations #2 roundup coming very soon

Just a quick note to say, first of all, a big thanks to everyone who participated in this second round of Food Destinations. The roundup will be posted very soon (hopefully today...just waiting for a couple of promised late entries... :))

Food Destinations #2 deadline is Saturday!

fdshinybuttonblue.jpgA reminder that the deadline for Food Destinations 2: My Local Greenmarket is this Saturday, September 2nd. I haven't gone out to my local market yet myself, and I sure hope that the miserable grey weather we are having will clear up by the end of of the week!

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New location and new design, moving pains

I have moved Just Hungry to a new server. Because of DNS issues for the next day or so you may not be going to the right location. You will know if you're at the right place if you see a new site design, without the gigantic fennel top. (Edit: oddly enough, justhungry.com seems to be resolving all over, so if www.justhungry.com takes you to Giant Fennel, please try clicking on plain justhungry.com.) continue reading...

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Late Spring Makeover

smallfennel.jpgIt’s been more than a year since the last design for this site was implemented, so it’s about time for a new one. I managed to break the whole site horribly earlier today, especially in Internet Explorer, but it should be fine now. If the pages look wonky please try clearing your browser cache. It should look rather green, since at the moment I am really into green, especially of the vegetable variety. continue reading...

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Another Reminder About Food Destinations, and Summer Travel Plans

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The picture above is of the World's Best Baguette (I swear, it is the best baguette I have ever had) perched on top of a map on top of the dashboard of our rental car last summer. continue reading...

Food Destinations Update

A quick update on the Food Destinations event: I've extended the deadline by a week, to the 17th, but by all means if yours is done by the 10th please send it in! The reason I'm extending the deadline is simply that I'm unexpectedly busy beyond words and I don't think I can reasonably summarize the entries soon after the 10th. continue reading...

Introducing a new author

I would like to introduce a guest author to Just Hungry. Some of you know him and love him.. he is The Max. Max will bring some Authentic Swiss Flavor to Just Hungry, plus his vast knowledge of wine and spirits.

He’s jumped into the Hungry Pool with both feet by making his first entry an IMBB one!

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Food Destinations reminder plus news

I wanted to remind everyone that we have about 2 weeks to go for the Food Destinations event. A few entries have already come in. By the way, a few people have mentioned that they already have several existing review-type entries on their blogs. If that fits you, what about a re-review/index that points to your past reviews? If you do put together an article like that (or already have), please send me the link! The main objective here is to have a listing of reviews from foodies around the world, after all. continue reading...

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Advertising and promotion policy

This page has been replaced.
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Food Destinations: A New Food Blogging Event

This is a food blogging event. Deadline: (updated) May 17, 2006. Email address: fooddestinations [at] gmail (dot) com.

fooddestinations.jpg continue reading...

I'm just being very me

I Was Just Really Very Hungry got a mention in the L.A. Times (registration required), alongside such illustrious company such as two of my favorite food blogs, The Accidental Hedonist and SliceNY. continue reading...

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Update: the cupcakes and muffins are pouring in!

A quick note: the entries for IMBB 13 are coming in in waves! So far there are well over 50 entries, and the deadline isn't past yet. I'll try to post them all as soon as possible. Oh..and write up my entry too. Stay tuned for a deluge of cupcakes and muffins!

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I was just very busy.

Hi everyone! Well it has been a while since I posted, and I've gotten many comments, emails and IMs wondering if I'd stopped updating this site. Well, I haven't. I've just been very busy with other stuff.

I've also been wanting to update the design for some time, and this past week I finally got around to that task too. The new design is a bit less busy than the old one (I think anyway), and it feels ready to accept fresh new entries now! continue reading...

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England, England

I am off to England via France (we are driving there...) early tomorrow morning. I will be totally offline during that time (I really need a break from the computer, since I work with it all the time, so I'm not even bringing my laptop...), but I'm hoping to gather some good food tales while I am there. continue reading...

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Out of commission

Just a quick note: I haven't been posting lately here because I hurt my left arm recently (and I am left handed), and doing any kind of serious cooking with one arm is sort of difficult. :) I hope to be cooking and posting more as soon as I can though.

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The obsession started early

One of my earliest conscious memories is food related.

It is of a vast sea of shiitake mushrooms, stretching out forever and ever before my eyes. I think I must have been around 2 years old when I saw this, and the bounty of shiitake caps was probably just a boxful of them. continue reading...

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Just Hungry is a site about Japanese food and home cooking, healthy eating, the expat food life, and more. [log in] or [register]

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maki Just Hungry is a site about food. There are lots of recipes and much more. You may want to read about Just Hungry, or contact the site owner, Makiko Itoh. To dive in real deep, try the site map.

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