Monday, August 31, 2015

My to-go lunch made with LOVE

I like to take my bento box when I need lunch.  Often I don't have time to go out and get what I like to eat, or it can be such a rush in a limited time.  Buying or eating out everyday is not the healthiest nor economical.  Also, it is such a distraction for me to think what I want to eat for lunch during work.

My homemade bento box lunch is easy, simple and quick but made with LOVE.

When I make my bento lunch in the morning, I feel that my self-dignity slightly goes up and I gain the sense of achievement - it is a good way of starting a day.  It satisfies me more than buying something.  I enjoy the color of the food, its simple beauty, and the fresh taste when eating from my Magewappa bento box.

Today's lunch was made in less than 15 min.  It was steamed rice and everything else was made in one frying pan.
- chickpea brown rice with black sesame
- egg rolls with green onion
- stirred shishito-pepper marinated with katsuo bonito flakes and soy sauce
- panfried king trumpet mushrooms with white sesame and sesame oil
- stirred red pepper with onions with garnish

Friday, August 21, 2015

Keeping Japanese tea fresh with the Sen Tea Leaf Container

Tea is the most common drink in Japan. We drink tea everyday. Although we drink many different kinds of tea, most of the tea we make in Japan is green tea: sen-cha, maccha, houji-cha, ten-cha, kabuse-cha, kuki-cha, genmai-cha, ban-cha etc. They are all green tea.

Japanese loose tea is very delicate. It changes its quality by temperature and light, and it is easily affected by the scent surround it.  Therefore, it is important to preserve it well.

I recommend to finish the tea in a few weeks or a month after your purchase. If it's not open yet, I normally keep it in the freezer to avoid the leaves absorbing scents from other foods.

After it's open, this container will do a great job of keeping the leaves fresh in a beautiful way.  

It is made of Japanese Sen wood, hand-shaped from a block of the tree. Since the surface is left unfinished, the Sen wood breathes. The wood adjusts the moisture and dryness of the environment. It has an inner lid which fits perfectly and it keeps out the moisture.  

It is quite light, so you can take it to the office, park or hiking with you to have a nice tea time anywhere. You can use different size according to the need - I like to put my maccha tea powder in the smallest one.

They are all designed to have the same height, so are stackable and beautiful to display them together.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Embrace Your Towel Life with Imabari Towel

I can say a lot of great things about our Imabari Towel.  It is handsome, luxurious, yet functional.  Finely woven with the finest cotton, the touch is exceptionally soft and smooth - like silk, yet it is enduring in everyday use.  It looks beautiful and stylish, it is thin, light-weight and fast to dry, it absorbs water extremely well - it is a great travel accessory.

So what makes Imabari towel so different from other towels?

Imabari Towel is made in Imabari area in Shikoku island.

Not all the towels made in this area can be called as Imabari Towel.  There is a strict standard that you have to meet to be certified as 'Imabari Towel'.  There are a lot of components that the towel has to pass - durability by laundry, sweat and friction, and color fade rate etc.  Also, it has to absorb water within 5 seconds - thus Imabari Towel is SO absorbent.

But the top secret is water - towel making requires a lot of water - washing, dyeing, starching and desizing.  The Imabari area is rich in natural water from rivers and mountains that has very little heavy metal and is not hard - this soft, fresh water is the key.

The quality of towel is hugely affected by the quality of the water. The whiteness of the piles, the colors after dyeing, and the softness of the touch - all these benefit.  The naturally beautiful water imbues the fabric with extraordinary characteristics.  The blessing of nature creates the genuinely high quality of yarn that is woven into this magical towel.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Experience the diverse programs at Japan Society!

For over 100 years, Japan Society has provided high quality activities that reflect the traditional and contemporary culture of Japan.
The current building opened in 1971 and was designated as a historically important landmark from New York city in 2011.  It is an elegant but comfortable space with a beautiful Japanese indoor garden.

Photo by Peter Aaron/Esto

The building was designed by the renowned Japanese architect, Junzo Yoshimura, who also designed numerous sites such as Nara National Museum, and Tawaraya - the finest Japanese inn (ryokan) in Kyoto.

Photo courtesy of New York City Landmarks Preservation Committee

The inside is furnished with a superb collection of furniture by George Nakashima - I was so excited to find and try some of his great pieces when I was there!

Bench designed by George Nakashima
Photo courtesy of Japan So

Photo courtesy of Japan Society

If you wish to learn Japanese language but cannot actually visit there to take classes, Japan Society provides many Japanese language programs online.  Wakuwaku Japanese teaches the conversation Japanese from a basic to a more advanced level.  You can learn a lot of vocabulary in an amusing way.  If you are a food lover, Japan in the Kitchen teaches the ingredients that are peculiar to Japanese cuisine and how to use them at home!

And last but not least, this year's performing arts season is starting soon! Check out their marvelous programs here!