Posts tagged ‘kyoto’

A Taste of Japan in Switzerland

I was in Switzerland a few weeks ago visiting one of my best friends. On my last night there, to my surprise, she brought out a package of Nama Yatsuhashi, Japanese mochi sweets that I hadn’t had the pleasure of eating since my trip to Tokyo! Talk about global appeal.

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Nama Yatsuhashi look like delicate crepe triangles wrapped around a lump of color in the middle — usually a fruit or red bean paste, chocolate, or even sweet potato. They’re sweet and delicious, popular in Kyoto and travel especially well (hence their tendency to show up all over the world after someone makes a trip to Japan). Eating them before they spoil proves no challenge; in fact, it’s better if you share them because if you’re alone, one second you’re chewing contentedly and the next second you look down and they’re all gone (um, not that I’d know or anything ;).

My friend’s Japanese colleague gave them to her in recognition of Cherry Blossom season and the filling inside was dark pink and reminiscent of strawberries.

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The blog Sweet Travel waxes rhapsodic over the treat. One reason they’re so lip-smackingly good to foreigners is because the dough is made with rice flour, sugar and cinnamon. You can also drizzle powdered sugar or syrup on top to complete the look. Yatsuhashi is traditionally cooked on a griddle like a pancake before it’s flattened, stretched out and folded over a designated flavor. You can find both the cooked and raw versions (nama) in stalls or souvenir shops. Yum!!

Sarah S.

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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

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May 15, 2009 at 12:33 pm Leave a comment

Coin Purses: Buy Them, Trade Them, Gift Them or Make Them

You may have noticed I’m obsessed with shopping in Kyoto. It seems like everything there is adorable – especially gifts and souvenirs. Whether it’s face-blotting paper, candy, charms, stationary or snacks, I’m a sucker for cute and useful items that I can buy in bulk and hand out to my friends and family. Included in this category are Japanese coin purses.

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Unless you need it for laundry or parking meters, change is a pain to carry around. It makes noise and gums up the bottom of your pockets or handbag. So I try to make the most of the situation and give my coins a place to shine in a little coin purse that fits inside pretty much any bag and gets lots of attention whenever I use it. Most Japanese coin purses have a beautiful flower design and a “kiss clasp” (awww). The one I got from Kyoto, however, is a bit different; it’s a soft fabric vintage-looking Hato Hasi with a frog charm snap to keep it closed.

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Shizen Creations has some lovely pieces to check out. Feeling crafty? Channel your inner Martha Stewart (or MacGyver) and make your own Japanese coin purse with these simple household items: knitting needle, fabric, glue, pliers, purse frame and a paper bag!

Sarah S.

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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
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February 9, 2009 at 12:19 pm Leave a comment

What to Do with Your $600 Tax Rebate

During these shaky times when airline companies are folding by the minute, travel companies have to really think of enticing reasons to get you packing. One of my friends just signed up for a hiking tour through Croatia. For two weeks, she’ll be scaling mountains and inhaling nature in the company of strangers. Another friend just got a ticket to Italy where he’s dishing out $100 to sit in on a family dinner. At that price I’m sure they’ll tell him to stay for dessert.

If Japan is your preferred destination, a pop culture tour is the way to go. I found one called Intermixi that takes you to Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo for $2,300. Hotel and airfare are included in this seven-day excursion. And aside from the traditional temple sightseeing they take you to cool hangouts like Harajuku (as in Gwen Stefani’s Mecca) and Akihabara, where geeks go to shower in electronics and anime.

I read on their site that they also visit some of Japan’s vast collection of odd-themed restaurants. The one I’ve been to was inspired by purgatory. Customers dine within the confines of a jail cell and must walk through dark corridors to get relieve themselves in hell (the bathroom). There’s also a J-Pop cafe, a ninja restaurant, and one where the waiters look like mortuary attendants and you eat your dinner in silence. Believe me, it got awkward quickly. Not recommended for first-dates.

If I were to go on one of these Japan tours I’d ruin it for everyone by unloading too much of my better judgment. My friend who went to Japan recently for the first time decided to try different rice balls at the convenience store. When she bit into one stuffed with a sour pickled plum (ume), she gasped and patooeyed it in her hand. I’m sure she’ll always remember that day. Imagine what a party pooper I’d be if I was there to warn her.

But if you’ve ever wanted to visit Japan and hoped for more than just temple-hopping I recommend one of these alternative tours. They seem like a lot of fun and, heck, it’ll help stimulate our staggering world economy.

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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May 28, 2008 at 10:42 am Leave a comment


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