Today is Vegetable Day, or Yasai no Hi in Japanese. Like so many other promotional events, the date was chosen for phonetic reasons. In Japanese, 8/31 could potentially be read as 8 (ya), 3 (sa), 1 (i). Et voila!
I’m assuming you already know about all the delicious Japanese vegetables out there – tasty pumpkins, slimy mountain yams, bitter melon, etc etc. So let’s skip the introductions and go straight to the fun part. Break out your knives, it’s time to learn some cutting techniques.
Japanese cooking uses many of the same knife cuts as Western cuisine, but there are some that don’t cross over. Like my favorite, the rangiri (literally, “chaos cut”). This would be used for simmered dishes mainly, but I also use it for raw cucumbers.
Another cutting technique that’s not often seen outside Japan (at least that I know of) – the katsuramuki. I’ve read that practicing this cut – which involves turning a chunk of giant radish into one long, paper thin sheet – is something novice chefs do repeatedly to build their knife skills.
And if the careful finesse required for the katsuramuki is not your thing, you can always try this.
If you want to learn more Japanese cutting techniques, check out Ajinomoto’s YouTube channel.
It occurred to me in spite of all the fuss over the hunt for a yukata in the lead-up to the Sumidagawa Fireworks, I haven’t yet featured the famous display itself. Here are some of the best sequences from the show, set to music, from YouTuber calvin4787.
Now, finally a product for Tokyo Sky Tree fanatics who happen to have a thousand or so 500-yen coins lying about - a 1/500 scale piggy bank. Just in case you’ve forgotten just how massive Sky Tree is, a 1/500 scale model is still 1.26 meters tall. That’s pretty large for a coin box.
Oh yeah, it glows in the dark too.
In keeping with those prodigious dimensions, this bank can hold a ton of money. If you were to fill it completely with 500-yen coins, you’d have 634,000 yen ($8242), an accomplishment only slightly less impressive than constructing the 634 meter tower itself, I’m sure.
Source: Kaden Watch
Want more wacky coin boxes? Read a roundup of our favorite Japanese piggy banks
Yesterday we saw a seriously industrial-strength Lego creation. Today let’s look at something on a smaller, more manageable scale – Japanese nanoblocks.
A few weeks ago, SuperHappyAwesome devoted two posts to some pretty, well, awesome Nyan-Cat tattoos. I shared the link around the office and that got us all talking about other Japanese geek or pop culture icons that would make for silly tattoos. Here are some of the favorites we imagined, then found in real life…
This was the favorite idea I heard tossed around and I’m happy to report that at least one person had the same happy thought. Source
Not every cute Japanese marketing creation has + more
If this is how they play with Legos, it’s no wonder Japan became a car-making superpower…
See more details on the creator’s blog (Japanese only, sorry!)
I hope you’re hungry, because we’ve got a whole lot of food in this week’s Japan-related reading list…
Food in Japan
The newest J-Festa is out and the subject this time is food. The collection of 30 posts comes with neat little summaries so you can zero in on the bits that interest you most. Like raw horsemeat sushi, or perhaps fantasy dining?
If there weren’t a second-timer running in the frame, I’d swear this was a sped-up video.
Congrats to Yu Nakajima for achieving his first official under 10-second average!
A co-worker had to take a non-Japanese-speaking friend to the hospital yesterday. After visits to several departments in the course of a 6-hour visit, they left with a bag full of mystery powders and pills, but no diagnosis. This got us all talking about our various misadventures in the Japanese medical system. Here, in no particular order, are our particular pet peeves…
Resuable tongue depressors
Fernando was used to the system in Brazil, where the tongue depressors are made of wood and discarded after each use. So to see the depressor returned to a liquid-filled jar (I assume the liquid is alcohol or some sort of cleaning agent. At least I hope so) for use on the next patient really creeped him out…
Anti-biotics for everything
My pet peeve, the inability of doctors to + more
A look at my favorite shrine in all Japan, punctuated somewhat strangely by a cat at the end.