Posts tagged ‘food’

Display Food

Looks are Deceiving

When it looks this good, I’m bound to grab a pair of chopsticks and slurp it up. Though be warned: IT’S A PIECE OF PLASTIC!

Display food is a great way to lure customers through the door. Not only do you learn what’s on the menu, you get the sense that it’s all amazingly fresh and perky. (I love perky!) That’s why so many of Japan’s restaurants spend thousands of dollars on elaborate store fronts, displaying rows and rows of food that’ll make you salivate before you’re seated.

And now you can get all your favorite food-fakes via Japan Trend Shop: kitsune udon, tempura, yakisoba, sushi, pork ramen and even a strawberry donut. But don’t think fake udon is cheaper than the real thing just because you can’t eat it. One bowl is $77, chopsticks not included. It’s the cost of craftsmanship. (Read up on the century-old industry here.) Apparently, there’s one company that only hires women to craft the food because, “Women cook everyday.” Hah!

Though once you actually get your delicious paper-weight in the mail, then what? I suppose it’d make a great dieting tool: just lick it whenever you get an urge to snack. Zero calories! \(^o^)/

Himawari

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Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
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August 31, 2010 at 10:17 am Leave a comment

Hi-Tech Cookers

In Japan, rice cookers are no joke. Some people spend upwards of $500 for their ultra high-tech electric cooker, obsessing over the moisture, texture and taste of what is endearingly called “gohan.”

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I’ve had dreams of the perfect bowl of rice. The best I’ve come across was one made in an iron pot over a hot flame. That’s how they used to cook it in the olden days and it doesn’t get better than that. A decent pot of rice can last days without developing a lingering odor, which I suppose means that even bacteria respect it enough to stay away!

But in 2009, we don’t have time to kindle a fire and spend three hours to cook rice. Instead we have our trusty rice cooker to do all the work. Just wash, place it in the cooker, set your timer and you’ll have your hot bowl on the table for tomorrow’s breakfast.

So what would drive someone to buy a $500 cooker? Here are some thoughts:

• They chime a Disney song when you start cooking.
• They come with a fancy hi-tech LCD panel that makes any
kitchen look cool.
• “Superior induction heating evenly distributes heat for excellent
results,” according to Amazon.
• Spatula holder and retractable cord!
• Open/close lid sensor.
• The option to cook rice porridge, sushi rice, cakes, curry, and more.

Though I think the most compelling reason to invest in an expensive cooker is the idea that a single machine can miraculously take you back the best meal of your life. But does it ever really? Probably not. But it looks pretty neat at least, right?

Himawari

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Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
japanizmo, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more

October 6, 2009 at 10:14 am Leave a comment

Japanese New Year

At the stroke of midnight into the new year everyone across Japan turns to each other and says…

あけましておめでとうございます。(Happy New Year!)
Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu.

Followed by…

今年もよろしくお願いします。
Kotoshimo yoroshiku onegaishimasu.

That’s a little harder to translate but it’s akin to “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” – a kind of camaraderie you verbalize with people when you first meet, and again at the start of the new year. It’s not as warm as a big hug and kiss, but these two phrases carry a lot of weight on the esprit de corp scale.

I said these phrases to my grandma on January 1 as she handed me a plate of beans, another Japanese New Year tradition. The sweet, black legumes are regarded as a force of good (not evil) and you’re supposed to eat one for every year you’ve been alive. Pink and white fishcakes and soft-boiled vegetables are other fortuitous items. Who knows what’ll happen if you don’t eat them? I sure don’t, but I’m not willing to find out.

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And an even better tradition than eating is receiving money envelopes from elders, which can contain anywhere from a quarter to a couple hundred dollars. I look forward to getting them but as I get older I realize I should eventually switch from receiving them to giving them. Eventually…

It’s still cold outside so I hope everyone bundles up and sips hot chocolate in front of a crackling fire. Have a tangerine while you’re at it. That’s a Japanese tradition as well.

Himawari

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Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
JPBizDirect, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. – Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more
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January 14, 2008 at 8:50 am Leave a comment

Mottainai: Don’t be Wasteful!

Soon after moving back to the U.S., I found myself sitting in one of those $8.99 all-you-can-eat salad bars. I ordered a cup of hot tea and the waitress handed me a fistful of lemons, creamers and sugar packets; three wedges and five sweeteners, to be exact. Most Americans wouldn’t think much of it, but after living in Japan, the land of “take only what you can eat,” my first thought was “What a waste!” After all, anything unused would inevitably be trashed.

In Japan, people express their disdain for wastefulness by saying, “Mottainai!” It stems from Buddhist philosophy, but grew into the psyche during the country’s wartime days when people literally starved to death. To this day, my father reminds me of how he sliced a single apple every day among his siblings in order to stay alive. “Mottainai!” he’d say when I started flinging my mashed potatoes at the wall.

Young Japanese kids these days are spoiled. That’s why one mother decided to write a children’s book called “Mottainai Grandma” to teach her son the importance of finishing his food. It sold over 400,000 copies.

But compared to the U.S., Japan is a country with conservation on the brain. Most public areas have separate trashcans for recyclables and non-recyclables. Eco-friendly grocery bags are the latest trend. And there’s little in the way of paper towels in restaurants and restrooms. Most people carry handkerchiefs. Though, I must admit, Japanese stores tend to go excessive on the gift-wrap, even when it’s not a gift. I brought that point up to a Japanese friend and she counteracted it with, “Well, why do Americans have a constant supply of paper towels at home?” Touché.

So if you’re thinking of doing business in Japan, think less, not more. It’s a tiny island country over there. The last thing it needs is an extra heap of waste. Well, so as long as they’re not planning to build anymore airports.* (^_<)

*Kansai International Airport was built on a man-made landfill island.

Himawari

—————————————————————————
Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
JPBizDirect, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. – Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more
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October 29, 2007 at 4:04 pm 2 comments


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