More Weekend Fluff

Top Ten Eats…
I Love food. Ask my kids. I can’t stop talking about it sometimes. I was going to list my ten favorite foods, but realized that the category was to broad. So I paired it down to foods I like to eat when I’m in Japan. So this is my Top Ten…


10. Umeboshi (salted plum) is generally okay–inside onigiri, with chazuke. But there is one umeboshi that is good enough to make me look forward to it when i go to Japan: Umehachi. This company has two branches in Tokyo that I know of, Kunitachi and Hachioji. YOu can also order online. the one to eat is called Godai Ume. It’s sweet and more like okashi (confection) rather than a salted condiment. But its pricey.
9. Kamasu/sanma: Kamasu is translated as “barracuda” in the dictionary, but I’m not sure that’s right. It’s much small than what we might imagine as barracuda. Anyway, salted and hiraki (opened as if butterflied) is a great fish to broil. Its great with rice or sake. Kamasu is hard to find in the US, unless you’re on the west coast or New York. Sanam is equallyu delectable, particularly in September and October shen you can eat really fresh sanma. I’m not sure why this particualr season, but when you broil it, you can eat the innards as well and it almost has a sweet taste to it. this is the only season you can eat it as sashimi as well. I used to make a day trip to Shiogama in Miyagi Prefecture every year just to eat it. It’s THAT good. If you go, and they serve it with a kind of miso, ask for it on the side. Note that the sanma they catch in Chiba (I think in Choshi) is not the same as the sanma they catch up north in Miyagi. There is a noticeable difference in taste.
8. Tonkatsu is a favorite of many, and there are many good places. I just make sure that I go to a place that is not too cheap and has good customer turn over. I’ve been to places that are cheap when I was a student and paid the pirce later. I learned the hard way that there is a chance of the oil being old, and that’ll make you sick if you’re sensitive. There is a good place in Tama City, Tokyo, near Nagayama Station (Keio Line) called Ume~ya. I know, the name sounds corny, but the preparation is solid, the tonkatsu sauce is a family secret–so they say–and you get to grind your own sesame seeds. Of course the shredded cabbage is all-you-can-eat.
7. Tempura is truly one of the finest in Japanese cuisine, although it’s allegedly Portuguese in origin. Shrimp and vegetable tempura is certainly good, but when available, I eat anago (sea eel) tempura. It comes out so soft and fluffy! Oh gawd, I’m drooling right now even as I recall its succulent texture and taste….. Aaaargh! Tabetai!
6. Soba can be found anywhere in Japan, and there are many good places. But if I had to go to only one, it would Sarashina Jingoro in Kunitachi, Tokyo. They use Shinshu soba and it is always al dente. The best dish is the Tanuki soba. This is different from most–usually Tanuki soba is just the deep-fried batter used for tempura. Here the topping a Kakiage–a mix of vegetables and seafood deep fried in batter–and it comes out so hot, I have to wait a few minutes for it to cool down. So I usually have to dig down beneath it to start to eat the soba first–don’t want to let it get soggy. Note: This shop is south of the station. Do not go to the Sarashina north of Kunitachi station.
5. Okonomiyaki, for those who don’t know, a dish with shredded cabbage mixed with a flour batter and cooked on a grittle. It also contains other vegetables and meats. There are two competing styles of okonimiyaki, regular, which is associated with Kansai, and Hiroshima-style–I once referred to it as Kansai-style and was scolded by a Kansai person, “Okomiyaki was created in Kansai, so that name itself already implies Kansai. Kansai-style would be repetitious.” Excuuuuse me. I digress… MY peronsal choice, however, is Hiroshima-style. The “original” okonomiyaki mixes the batter with the other ingredients. In Hiroshima style the batter is thinly spread on the grittle like a crepe and the cabbage, bean sporuts, green onions, pork slice, octopus and other things are mounted on top, then flipped over. There is less batter and hence less filling. While the best place to eat it is in Hiroshima (duh!), you can get a good one in Tokyo. There are a number at the Shimo-Kitazawa station of the Inokashira Line, but the closest to the real deal is Otafuku. Leave the exit directly from the Inokashira platform and turn right. Fortunately, I can make this at home, which I do for my kids who study Classicla Japanese… they deserve a break…
4. Tora Mangen is a Chinese restaurant and perhaps doesn’t belong on this list, but it is the best Chinese food for any price (except Hong Kong Flower Garden–the original store–in Milbrae, CA). Tora Mangen is so good and became so popular that there is a chain of restaurants with similar but different names around the San Tama region (Hachioji, Tama, Machida area). By Japanese standards, it is inexpensive and the food is first rate… The Yakisoba is to die for, and the Nira Manju is scrumptuous. <sigh!> The main store is on a small street two blocks west of Hachioji Station on the Keio Line.
3. Ramen is ramen? Well kinda. I konw people who swear by the instant Chikin Ramen, but I suspect its mostly out of nostalgia. The best ramen I’ve ever eaten was at a place called Bannai, in Kitakata City, in Fukushima. It is a journey to get there, but if you ever find yourself near Aizu Wakamatsu, then its not too far. My dad is from this small city, which is why I know about it, so you may say, “Big deal, every town has their favorite ramen shop.” But this is truly exceptional ramen. To give you an idea as to how good it is, they have tour buses from Tokyo lined up outside from 10 in the morning. Honest. the best, naturally, is shoyu ramen. I rarely eat any other style anyway. I stick to the basics. Of course, when I feel the carnivore, I eat the Chashu ramen, and the negi ramen is also good. Bannai’s popularity has grown and they now have shops in other cities, including a number in Tokyo, but they are not as good. Apparently, they get their soups stock concentrated from the original store, and they dilute it with local water, so the difference must be in the water. Kitakata makes good sake as well, so you know the water is good.
2. Madai or tile fish? Whatever, its the best fish on the planet, particularly, sashimi. It is best in the cold months when they are a bit more fatty. I could eat it forever. If there is leftover–a very rare case–I pour shoyu over it and keep in the fridge until the next morning and eat it for breakfast: tai chazuke (tea over white rice). I’m usually in a good mood all day. the best place to get tai at a reasonble price is in the asement of Keio Dept. Store in Shinjuku AFTER 6pm. Everything goes on sale. But beware of the Obatarians (pushy middle-aged ladies), they are very aggressive. But I’m an ojitarian (male counterpart), so I just kinda push back… haha…
1. Mos Burger. I know you are probably laughing now, but this is the one thing–well, Tora Mangen, too–on this list that is impossible to get in the US. The other things, you can get in some shpae or form in varying degrees of quality, but a Mos Burger cannot be had. The filler in the burger… mmmm, how Japanese. The thick slice of tomato… they’re secret sauce… This is the first thing I eat when I get to Japan, every trip. Okay, so I’m wierd, so sue me!

More Weekend Fluff

Top Ten Eats…
I Love food. Ask my kids. I can’t stop talking about it sometimes. I was going to list my ten favorite foods, but realized that the category was to broad. So I paired it down to foods I like to eat when I’m in Japan. So this is my Top Ten…

10. Umeboshi (salted plum) is generally okay–inside onigiri, with chazuke. But there is one umeboshi that is good enough to make me look forward to it when i go to Japan: Umehachi. This company has two branches in Tokyo that I know of, Kunitachi and Hachioji. YOu can also order online. the one to eat is called Godai Ume. It’s sweet and more like okashi (confection) rather than a salted condiment. But its pricey.
9. Kamasu/sanma: Kamasu is translated as “barracuda” in the dictionary, but I’m not sure that’s right. It’s much small than what we might imagine as barracuda. Anyway, salted and hiraki (opened as if butterflied) is a great fish to broil. Its great with rice or sake. Kamasu is hard to find in the US, unless you’re on the west coast or New York. Sanam is equallyu delectable, particularly in September and October shen you can eat really fresh sanma. I’m not sure why this particualr season, but when you broil it, you can eat the innards as well and it almost has a sweet taste to it. this is the only season you can eat it as sashimi as well. I used to make a day trip to Shiogama in Miyagi Prefecture every year just to eat it. It’s THAT good. If you go, and they serve it with a kind of miso, ask for it on the side. Note that the sanma they catch in Chiba (I think in Choshi) is not the same as the sanma they catch up north in Miyagi. There is a noticeable difference in taste.
8. Tonkatsu is a favorite of many, and there are many good places. I just make sure that I go to a place that is not too cheap and has good customer turn over. I’ve been to places that are cheap when I was a student and paid the pirce later. I learned the hard way that there is a chance of the oil being old, and that’ll make you sick if you’re sensitive. There is a good place in Tama City, Tokyo, near Nagayama Station (Keio Line) called Ume~ya. I know, the name sounds corny, but the preparation is solid, the tonkatsu sauce is a family secret–so they say–and you get to grind your own sesame seeds. Of course the shredded cabbage is all-you-can-eat.
7. Tempura is truly one of the finest in Japanese cuisine, although it’s allegedly Portuguese in origin. Shrimp and vegetable tempura is certainly good, but when available, I eat anago (sea eel) tempura. It comes out so soft and fluffy! Oh gawd, I’m drooling right now even as I recall its succulent texture and taste….. Aaaargh! Tabetai!
6. Soba can be found anywhere in Japan, and there are many good places. But if I had to go to only one, it would Sarashina Jingoro in Kunitachi, Tokyo. They use Shinshu soba and it is always al dente. The best dish is the Tanuki soba. This is different from most–usually Tanuki soba is just the deep-fried batter used for tempura. Here the topping a Kakiage–a mix of vegetables and seafood deep fried in batter–and it comes out so hot, I have to wait a few minutes for it to cool down. So I usually have to dig down beneath it to start to eat the soba first–don’t want to let it get soggy. Note: This shop is south of the station. Do not go to the Sarashina north of Kunitachi station.
5. Okonomiyaki, for those who don’t know, a dish with shredded cabbage mixed with a flour batter and cooked on a grittle. It also contains other vegetables and meats. There are two competing styles of okonimiyaki, regular, which is associated with Kansai, and Hiroshima-style–I once referred to it as Kansai-style and was scolded by a Kansai person, “Okomiyaki was created in Kansai, so that name itself already implies Kansai. Kansai-style would be repetitious.” Excuuuuse me. I digress… MY peronsal choice, however, is Hiroshima-style. The “original” okonomiyaki mixes the batter with the other ingredients. In Hiroshima style the batter is thinly spread on the grittle like a crepe and the cabbage, bean sporuts, green onions, pork slice, octopus and other things are mounted on top, then flipped over. There is less batter and hence less filling. While the best place to eat it is in Hiroshima (duh!), you can get a good one in Tokyo. There are a number at the Shimo-Kitazawa station of the Inokashira Line, but the closest to the real deal is Otafuku. Leave the exit directly from the Inokashira platform and turn right. Fortunately, I can make this at home, which I do for my kids who study Classicla Japanese… they deserve a break…
4. Tora Mangen is a Chinese restaurant and perhaps doesn’t belong on this list, but it is the best Chinese food for any price (except Hong Kong Flower Garden–the original store–in Milbrae, CA). Tora Mangen is so good and became so popular that there is a chain of restaurants with similar but different names around the San Tama region (Hachioji, Tama, Machida area). By Japanese standards, it is inexpensive and the food is first rate… The Yakisoba is to die for, and the Nira Manju is scrumptuous. <sigh!> The main store is on a small street two blocks west of Hachioji Station on the Keio Line.
3. Ramen is ramen? Well kinda. I konw people who swear by the instant Chikin Ramen, but I suspect its mostly out of nostalgia. The best ramen I’ve ever eaten was at a place called Bannai, in Kitakata City, in Fukushima. It is a journey to get there, but if you ever find yourself near Aizu Wakamatsu, then its not too far. My dad is from this small city, which is why I know about it, so you may say, “Big deal, every town has their favorite ramen shop.” But this is truly exceptional ramen. To give you an idea as to how good it is, they have tour buses from Tokyo lined up outside from 10 in the morning. Honest. the best, naturally, is shoyu ramen. I rarely eat any other style anyway. I stick to the basics. Of course, when I feel the carnivore, I eat the Chashu ramen, and the negi ramen is also good. Bannai’s popularity has grown and they now have shops in other cities, including a number in Tokyo, but they are not as good. Apparently, they get their soups stock concentrated from the original store, and they dilute it with local water, so the difference must be in the water. Kitakata makes good sake as well, so you know the water is good.
2. Madai or tile fish? Whatever, its the best fish on the planet, particularly, sashimi. It is best in the cold months when they are a bit more fatty. I could eat it forever. If there is leftover–a very rare case–I pour shoyu over it and keep in the fridge until the next morning and eat it for breakfast: tai chazuke (tea over white rice). I’m usually in a good mood all day. the best place to get tai at a reasonble price is in the asement of Keio Dept. Store in Shinjuku AFTER 6pm. Everything goes on sale. But beware of the Obatarians (pushy middle-aged ladies), they are very aggressive. But I’m an ojitarian (male counterpart), so I just kinda push back… haha…
1. Mos Burger. I know you are probably laughing now, but this is the one thing–well, Tora Mangen, too–on this list that is impossible to get in the US. The other things, you can get in some shpae or form in varying degrees of quality, but a Mos Burger cannot be had. The filler in the burger… mmmm, how Japanese. The thick slice of tomato… they’re secret sauce… This is the first thing I eat when I get to Japan, every trip. Okay, so I’m wierd, so sue me!

Weekend Fluff & Other Stuff

Killing time…
Takunishi posted this quiz the other day and I stole it from him, just in case some of you do not go to his site… Gomen, Taku…. Also, if you haven’t read them already, read my Responses to Selected Comments I’ve received, below….


2036 is only 33 freakin’ years away!
Okay, for some of you, 33 years sounds like an eternity, but believe me, IT’S NOT! Everyone likes to know something about their future–otherwise astrologists would be out telemarketing… wait, isn’t that waht Madame Cleo does? But few would wanna know how and when that future ends… Unless you’re kinda morbid. Well, thanks to Sparks.com and Takunishi79, I was able to satisfy my morbid curiousity.


I looks like I’m gonna die from either cancer or a heart attack, ailments suffered by my mother (1930-02). Ugh. It won’t be pretty, I can assure you. Of, course, her mother–my grandma–lived much longer, and my father’s side all live beyond 80. In fact, my dad is still alive and kicking… well, maybe not kicking, not at 91, but he’s still functioning. His sister, who died at 90 something, lived for over 20 years after being diagnosed with stomach cancer. So I guess there’s always hope, hope that the medical field will advance SIGNIFICANTLY! But I don’t think I’ll be abducted by aliens, illegal or otherwise… See, already there’s hope! 


Anyway, here’s my results…. Click on the link below for your results… I know, it’s morbid, but fascinatingly so.







“I’m afraid we have some bad news. Please, you might want to stay seated.”

Mark your calendar or Palm V. You can expect to die on:

September 28, 2036
at the age of 80 years old.

On that date you will most likely die from:

Cancer (38%)
Heart Attack (22%)
Alien Abduction (9%)
Homicide (6%)
Suicide (5%)

Disclaimer: We, despite being proficient with the human anatomy, are not doctors. Keep that in mind before calling your lawyer as you’re clutching your left arm moaning “Damn you, Spark, Damn YOU!” on September 28, 2036, as you slip silently into the night.





Like this test? Want to compare scores with your friends? Send them this link:
http://www.thespark.com/deathtest/

Weekend Fluff & Other Stuff

Killing time…
Takunishi posted this quiz the other day and I stole it from him, just in case some of you do not go to his site… Gomen, Taku…. Also, if you haven’t read them already, read my Responses to Selected Comments I’ve received, below….

2036 is only 33 freakin’ years away!
Okay, for some of you, 33 years sounds like an eternity, but believe me, IT’S NOT! Everyone likes to know something about their future–otherwise astrologists would be out telemarketing… wait, isn’t that waht Madame Cleo does? But few would wanna know how and when that future ends… Unless you’re kinda morbid. Well, thanks to Sparks.com and Takunishi79, I was able to satisfy my morbid curiousity.

I looks like I’m gonna die from either cancer or a heart attack, ailments suffered by my mother (1930-02). Ugh. It won’t be pretty, I can assure you. Of, course, her mother–my grandma–lived much longer, and my father’s side all live beyond 80. In fact, my dad is still alive and kicking… well, maybe not kicking, not at 91, but he’s still functioning. His sister, who died at 90 something, lived for over 20 years after being diagnosed with stomach cancer. So I guess there’s always hope, hope that the medical field will advance SIGNIFICANTLY! But I don’t think I’ll be abducted by aliens, illegal or otherwise… See, already there’s hope! 

Anyway, here’s my results…. Click on the link below for your results… I know, it’s morbid, but fascinatingly so.

“I’m afraid we have some bad news. Please, you might want to stay seated.”

Mark your calendar or Palm V. You can expect to die on:

September 28, 2036
at the age of 80 years old.

On that date you will most likely die from:

Cancer (38%)
Heart Attack (22%)
Alien Abduction (9%)
Homicide (6%)
Suicide (5%)

Disclaimer: We, despite being proficient with the human anatomy, are not doctors. Keep that in mind before calling your lawyer as you’re clutching your left arm moaning “Damn you, Spark, Damn YOU!” on September 28, 2036, as you slip silently into the night.



Like this test? Want to compare scores with your friends? Send them this link:
http://www.thespark.com/deathtest/