Pictures from Japan

Hi everyone! I am feeling somewhat better, although it's a bit difficult to stay sitting up for long periods. I have figured out how to type reasonably well on my iPad lying down on my bed though, so I'm slowly getting back up to speed on the writing side. (I write on the iPad, put the text in Dropbox, and do any fiddling with photos on my laptop. A bit exhausting...)

Anyway, my mother sent me some photos from Japan that I thought I'd share. First up, my niece Lena had a birthday on September 12th. Her grandma got her this very pretty cake.


Lena was born on September 12, 2001. She and her mother are now looking at potential middle schools, since they aren't that happy with the default public school in their area. It's hard to believe she'll be a teenager soon!

There was also a gathering of some of my mother's siblings at the 'honke', or main household of the family clan, where my aunt Chikako lives. It's in Saitama prefecture, which is north of Tokyo. Aunt Chikako always liked to have tons of food ready for family gatherings.


It looks like they ordered in the sushi, but the rest she undoubtedly made herself. Aunt Chikako has always been a great country cook. I see her nishime (simmered vegetables), her vegetable tempura, and her famous handmade udon.


When she was cleaning out a storage area, she found this rather scary yet beautiful looking thing. It's an udon noodle machine, and must be at least 80 years old or so. It used to belong to her adoptive mother (my aunt was an orphan). It works like an Italian pasta machine. Apparently it's still in working order.


My aunt hasn't used it for decades though, since she prefers to cut her noodles by hand. She was going to throw it out...but my mother claimed it since it looks so nice. Goodness knows where she's going to store it though! I can't wait to take a look at it, and maybe even try it out, when I'm back in Japan.

Filed under:  japan japanese culture personal

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how can you NOT love that machine? and hand-made udon?

my heritage is german, and my grandmother used to make spaetzle by hand. it took skill and speed to create a consistent noodle. i grew up with my mother using a spaetzle "machine" (really a gadget like a rice press) and would imagine how hand slicing this noodle into boiling water would look like.

ours looked JUST like this

can't get it from my mom, as it's still in use. i look forward to giving one to each of my kids when they move out.

thanks for sharing.

I miss Japan so much! the last time I was there was in 1995, and sooo much has changed in that time! My mom is traveling there right now, and visiting our relatives in Hokkaido and Tokyo. I'm so jealous! But hopefully I'll be able to afford it someday soon. Finding rare treasures like the udon machine is awesome! I need to learn how to make Udon. I can make ramen noodles sort of. :D But not udon. I need to learn since Kitsune Udon is such a favorite!

Hi Maki, I'm glad you're feeling at least somewhat better! I love the homey look of that spread your auntie put on...though it looks exotic to me. When I visited my home in Newfoundland a year ago my (large) extended family did a potluck of favourite Newfoundland dishes...salt fish and brewis, moose stew, fish cakes, etc. It was a highlight of my visit to be with family and share those traditional foods with them.

wow that machine is beautiful!
Hope you're feeling at least a little bit better.

That spread (and cake!) looks amazing.

I'm glad you are feeling a bit better!

Lovely pictures, the cake is gorgeous and the food on the table... Yum yum!

By the way, your niece shares a birthday with me, though I'm quite a few years older :)

Glad to hear that you're feeling better. I loved the picture of the noodle machine since I have one that is identical right down to the board it's mounted on and the green paint job. I used mine often back in the 1970's to make whole wheat pasta. It has been consigned to a junk room for years now but I may have to dig it out, clean it up, and crank out some noodles soon. Hoping that you continue to improve.

I would love to go to Japan one day, but the issue is that I eat a fruitarian diet to manage my RA, and it seems really hard to get cheap fruits in Japan. I hope you feel better soon.

Hi Maki! Glad you are feeling better. Thanks for sharing the pics. :)

so happy to see that you are feeling well enough to write and thanks for sharing these lovely pictures! I love the udon machine.

Wishing you good thoughts for recovery!

Wow, what a spread! Oishi so - Wish I was there!

Best wishes for your recovery.

OMG that sushi looks amazing!!

+1. That sushi looks just too good right now.. since I gave up on my sushi in my own country as it's no where near as good as in Japan. Looking forward to my next trip to the land of kaiten! :)

Glad you are feeling better Maki! I just came back from a Tokyo/Kyoto trip about two weeks ago and I am already missing Japan. Love that historic udon machine and I am so glad your mom decided to keep it! I would love to see a post on you using it!