While it is possible, living in Japan, to purchase imported foods to cook some dishes that remind you of your home country, it can be inconvenient and expensive. Learning to cook some of the unfamiliar vegetables you see temporarily grace the supermarket shelves as the seasons pass, however, brings its own sense of satisfaction and introduces you to new aspects of food culture in Japan.
By Kylie Skelton
It’s daikon season folks! Daikon, or Japanese radish, will always mysteriously find its way onto your plate, be it in a sushi shop’s fancy stringy garnish or the oden tub next to the cash register in pretty much any konbini in Japan. It’s also a school lunch favorite. Like it or not, you are probably eating daikon almost everyday or at least every week. This Halloween, I went to the Sera Daikon Festival, where I saw just how much Japanese fancy their daikon. Fall is the season when the vegetable is firmest and sweetest.
Late summer is the prime season to eat kabocha. This green Japanese pumpkin is actually a winter squash very similar to the American buttercup squash. The deep orange flesh of the kabocha is sweet and can be used in numerous recipes. You will often see long and thin slices of kabocha in vegetable tempura alongside the onions and mushrooms.
August, one of Japan’s hottest months, has just arrived. Wouldn’t it be great to enjoy a refreshing drink in this heat? Why not try something Japanese, like umeshu?
Lauren Frederick is back with her bi-weekly wisdom to keep you healthy and active this winter. Check out her latest article for a fun, music-filled workout and a hearty Japanese soup recipe. You won't be disappointed.
Making umeshu, or plum liquor, is a highly orchestrated and seasonal activity in Japan. Walk into any supermarket at the end of May and you are bound to see a display of glass or plastic jugs, plums, rock sugar and cartons of mysterious alcohol that you can use to brew your own batch of this sweet yet sour beverage. It's the perfect umeshu kit just waiting for you.
I toss and turn all night in the prickly heat. My muscles can barely push down the pedals of my bicycle. At school, my thought processes move at a glacial pace, despite my flushed cheeks and the sweat trickling off my forehead.
Japanese summers are a hot and sticky business, so hot that you often don't feel like eating anything. Somen noodles are the perfect fix for the summer funk. It's THE simple, refreshing meal beloved by all Japanese. Somen can be eaten cold or hot, but the cold version is the perfect food to fight the summer heat. It's also extremely easy to make. No culinary degree required!
Scrambling for some quick and healthy meal ideas? Look no further! Abigail Clark from the Toyama Tram has you covered. Read on to learn how to make your very own jar salads.
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