Feb 2

LM (CIR Ishikawa-ken, Anamizu, 2009-11) is the editor of The Ishikawa JET Kitchen: Cooking in Japan Without a Fight. Ze works in international student exchange; writes I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog about food culture in Japan and the US; curates The Rice Cooker Chronicles, a series of essays by JETs and JET alumni on the theme of cooking/eating and being alone in Japan; and admins The JET Alumni Culinary Group on LinkedIn.

 

Channel your inner katsudon fatale with this recipe, plus a review of hit anime Yuri!!! on Ice.

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Oct 28

Leah (CIR Ishikawa-ken, Anamizu, 2009-11) is the editor of The Ishikawa JET Kitchen: Cooking in Japan Without a Fight. She works in international student exchange; writes I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog about food culture in Japan and the US; curates The Rice Cooker Chronicles, a series of essays by JETs and JET alumni on the theme of cooking/eating and being alone in Japan; and admins The JET Alumni Culinary Group on LinkedIn.

Krispy Kreme’s “Mad for Monsters” campaign features four types of doughnuts: Spider Chocolate Custard (スパイダーチョコカスタード), a custard-filled doughnut with a spiderweb design in chocolate icing; Caramel Halloween Jack (キャラメルハロウィーンジャック), a caramel-custard-filled doughnut with a jack-o-lantern design; Maple Milk Franken (メプルミルクフランケン), a square doughnut with a Frankenstein’s monster design and filled with maple custard; and Purple Potato Monster (ムラサキイモモンスター), a yeast ring with purple-sweet-potato icing and three cereal “eyes.”

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Aug 25

Japan Local: B-1 Grand Prix in Towada

Mel T (Aomori-ken, 2007-2012) is a Canadian living and working in Towada City, Aomori. For more information about events, sightseeing, restaurants, etc. in Towada City, and around Aomori Prefecture & Japan, visit her blog at http://towada-city.blogspot.com.

B-1 Grand Prix in Towada Flyer Interested in trying out local “soul foods” from all over Japan?

Then the 10th B-1 Grand Prix in Towada is the event for you!

From October 3rd-4th, 2015, sixty-two groups from across Japan will gather in Towada (Aomori Prefecture) to promote their respective cities and local “soul foods”. Enjoy soba, udon, ramen, rice bowls, curry, fried foods, grilled meats, and various other dishes originating from Hokkaido to Kyushuu and vote for your favourite group. At the end of the second day, the most popular group–as selected by attendees–will be awarded the Gold Grand Prix Prize (symbolized by giant golden chopsticks :P).

Often misunderstood as standing for “B-grade” (“B級” B-kyuu in Japanese), the “B” in “B-1” actually stands for “brand.” The goal of the B-1 Grand Prix is to revitalize cities and towns through the promotion of their respective local brands. Apart from serving delicious food, participating groups also try to demonstrate their own unique brand of hospitality through performances, etc. This is why attendees of the B-1 Grand Prix are encouraged to vote for their favourite group and not just the best dish.

So if you want to get a taste of many different cities from around Japan, come to Towada for the B-1 Grand Prix.

十和田に愛に行こう!Towada ni ai ni ikou! Come to love Towada!

Official Website (Japanese): http://b-1towada.com/

Click HERE to learn MORE (English)


Oct 7

I’ll Make It Myself!: Marketing Halloween in Japan 2014: KFC Halloween Bucket

Leah Zoller (CIR Ishikawa-ken, Anamizu, 2009-11) is the editor of The Ishikawa JET Kitchen: Cooking in Japan Without a Fight. She works in international student exchange; writes I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog about food culture in Japan and the US; curates The Rice Cooker Chronicles, a series of essays by JETs and JET alumni on the theme of cooking/eating and being alone in Japan; and admins The JET Alumni Culinary Group on LinkedIn.

 

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Source: KFC Japan

As I’ve written before, Halloween has exploded into the Japanese food scene. Ten years ago, there were–as to be expected–barely any Halloween specials or goods. An increasingly large cultural shift toward Halloween as popular (children’s) holiday began sometime around 2010. While some of the shift was motivated by consumer demand, the ramped up marketing has increased awareness and consumer demand, leading other businesses to make their own Halloween specials to keep up with the popularity of the holiday.

This time, we cover KFC’s Halloween campaign.

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Sep 10

【RocketNews24】A diner’s guide to oden: Japan’s weird-looking, super-popular winter dish

 

Posted by Michelle Lynn Dinh (Shimane-ken, Chibu-mura, 2010–13), editor and writer for RocketNews24The following article was written by Philip Kendall (Fukushima-ken, Shirakawa-shi, 2006–11), senior editor and writer for RocketNews24, a Japan-based site dedicated to bringing fun and quirky news from Asia to English speaking audiences.

A diner’s guide to oden- Japan’s weird-looking, super-popular winter dish

When it comes to Japanese food, everyone and their grandmother knows the classics like sushi, noodles and tempura. But one food that always takes visitors to Japan by surpriseand which has just this month started showing up in convenience stores again, is oden. Rarely seen outside of Japan, many of the ingredients in this incredible savoury pick ‘n’ mix look almost alien to non-Japanese eyes, and so visitors are often wary of trying it for themselves.

With this in mind, today we’d like to introduce you to a handful of typicaloden ingredients, teaching you their names and telling you a little bit about each of them, so that the next time you pass a food cart or duck into a conbini and get a waft of that unmistakable aroma, you won’t be afraid to order some for yourself.

Essentially just a variety of foods served in a light, soy-flavoured broth, oden is a hugely popular winter dish in Japan, and usually appears around September or October depending on the region. Warm, filling and crazy tasty, there are all kinds of oden experiences to be had, with everything from typical convenience store fare (on which we’ll be focusing today) to far more sophisticated takes on this winter warmer available from dedicated vendors.

Some of the typical ingredients you’ll find in oden, however, can look a little intimidating, and buying some for yourself is made even trickier by the fact that vendors usually require customers to ask for the ingredients they want, rather than fishing them out for themselves. If you don’t have the vocabulary and have never come across some of these food items before, you may well find yourself with naught but a hard-boiled egg floating in your broth. But fear not because RocketNews24 has got your back, and we’re going to introduce you to some of the classics.

Feeling hungry? Here we go!


Sep 1

I’ll Make It Myself: Taste Test: Baked Kit Kats (焼きキットカット)

Leah Zoller (CIR Ishikawa-ken, Anamizu, 2009-11) is the editor of The Ishikawa JET Kitchen: Cooking in Japan Without a Fight. She works in international student exchange; writes I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog about food culture in Japan and the US; curates The Rice Cooker Chronicles, a series of essays by JETs and JET alumni on the theme of cooking/eating and being alone in Japan; and admins The JET Alumni Culinary Group on LinkedIn.

 

These Kit Kats may be old news in Japan, but I finally got my hands on some in Seattle at Uwajimaya and tried them!

 

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Aug 15

【RocketNews24】5 awesome Japanese ice creams that are perfect for summer

Posted by Michelle Lynn Dinh (Shimane-ken, Chibu-mura, 2010–13), editor and writer for RocketNews24The following article was written by Philip Kendall (Fukushima-ken, Shirakawa-shi, 2006–11), senior editor and writer for RocketNews24, a Japan-based site dedicated to bringing fun and quirky news from Asia to English speaking audiences.

5 awesome Japanese ice creams that are perfect for summer 【Video】

It’s the middle of August, and while the days we’ve been having recently aren’t quite as face-meltingly hot as those a couple of weeks ago, it is nevertheless still pretty toasty out there. Thankfully, just like when suffering with a cold or sore throat, the summer heat does afford us one very tasty luxury: a genuine excuse to gorge on delicious ice cream!

If you’re feeling the heat this summer, or are just curious about some of Japan’s go-to ice cream treats, join us after the jump for a special video featuring five of our frozen favourites.

You can pick up the five ice creams featured in our video from pretty much any supermarket or convenience store in Japan, so you’re never too far away from epic refreshment and creamy luxury. We must warn you, though: watching this video may cause uncontrollable salivation and pangs of jealousy in those living outside Japan.

This is of course just the tip of the vanilla-flavoured iceberg – there are tons more ice cream treats out there to try, so be sure to share your own favourites in either the comments section below or over on our YouTube channel. Happy gorging!


Mar 26

Leah Zoller (CIR Ishikawa-ken, Anamizu, 2009-11) is the editor of The Ishikawa JET Kitchen: Cooking in Japan Without a Fight. She works in international student exchange; writes I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog about food culture in Japan and the US; curates The Rice Cooker Chronicles, a series of essays by JETs and JET alumni on the theme of cooking/eating and being alone in Japan; and admins The JET Alumni Culinary Group on LinkedIn.

While searching for information on the 2014 sakura doughnut line-up (which appears not to be happening*), I stumbled upon this announcement from Mister Donut: the cronut is coming to Japan.

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Mar 20

Leah Zoller (CIR Ishikawa-ken, Anamizu, 2009-11) is the editor of The Ishikawa JET Kitchen: Cooking in Japan Without a Fight. She works in international student exchange; writes I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog about food culture in Japan and the US; curates The Rice Cooker Chronicles, a series of essays by JETs and JET alumni on the theme of cooking/eating and being alone in Japan; and admins The JET Alumni Culinary Group on LinkedIn.

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Look at these luscious hand-made mochi! I found this Kickstarter via Have You Nerd? and, readers, I need this in my life. Amy’s Mochi is fundraising to cover the costs of starting up in Seattle – kitchen equipment, website, marketing, research and development – with the intent to sell them at weekly events (farmers’ markets) and/or pop-up shops. Kickstarter here: Amy’s Mochi by Amy Eam — Kickstarter. Ends March 28, 2014!

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Sep 19

Leah Zoller (CIR Ishikawa-ken, Anamizu, 2009-11) is the editor of The Ishikawa JET Kitchen: Cooking in Japan Without a Fight. The Japan and International Programs Coordinator for NorthWest Student Exchange, she also writes I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog about food culture in Japan and the US; curates The Rice Cooker Chronicles, a series of essays by JETs and JET alumni on the theme of cooking/eating and being alone in Japan; and admins The JET Alumni Culinary Group on LinkedIn.

 

Throughout my four years in Japan, I had to figure out solutions to issues with ingredient availability and cooking equipment to be able to eat the food I wanted. I’ve just started a new resource with some of my tips for what to substitute and what to make at home. Some of them seem really obvious, but they weren’t to me at the time.

Click HERE to read more.


Aug 30

Leah Zoller (CIR Ishikawa-ken, Anamizu, 2009-11) is the editor of The Ishikawa JET Kitchen: Cooking in Japan Without a Fight. The Japan and International Programs Coordinator for NorthWest Student Exchange, she also writes I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog about food culture in Japan and the US; curates The Rice Cooker Chronicles, a series of essays by JETs and JET alumni on the theme of cooking/eating and being alone in Japan; and admins The JET Alumni Culinary Group on LinkedIn.

Putting the focus on links about Japanese food, I submit for your approval adorable animal doughnuts, what is and isn’t healthy about “the Japanese diet,” wagashi, and more!

 

Image via Kotaku.

 

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Jul 19

Leah Zoller (CIR Ishikawa-ken, Anamizu, 2009-11) is the editor of The Ishikawa JET Kitchen: Cooking in Japan Without a Fight. The Japan and International Programs Coordinator for NorthWest Student Exchange, she also writes I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog about food culture in Japan and the US; curates The Rice Cooker Chronicles, a series of essays by JETs and JET alumni on the theme of cooking/eating and being alone in Japan; and admins The JET Alumni Culinary Group on LinkedIn.

New Rice Cooker Chronicles submissions always welcome. Just e-mail it to Leah at jetwit [at] jetwit.com.

One of the aspects I hadn’t anticipated as much regarding my culture shock expectations was adjusting to Americanized- and fusion Japanese food, especially for foods that I encountered for the first time in Japan. This isn’t to say that American-Japanese food isn’t delicious–quite the contrary–but it can be a bit alarming at times to see sushi rolls cooked tempura-style (why?) or cilantro in your temaki (YES). If nothing else, it serves as a reminder of my relative inexperience with the Japanese home cooking when I left to study abroad in university and the problematic nature of the idea of a food’s authenticity.

Dragon Fest is an annual celebration of pan-Asian cultures held in Seattle’s International District.

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Jun 9

Leah Zoller (CIR Ishikawa-ken, Anamizu, 2009-11) is the editor of The Ishikawa JET Kitchen: Cooking in Japan Without a Fight. A writer, web administrator, and translator, she also writes I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog about food culture in Japan; curates The Rice Cooker Chronicles, a series of essays by JETs and JET alumni on the theme of cooking/eating and being alone in Japan; and admins The JET Alumni Culinary Group on LinkedIn.

New Rice Cooker Chronicles submissions always welcome. Just e-mail it to Leah at jetwit [at] jetwit.com.

 

I probably don’t need to mention how much I love “weird” local flavors of ice cream. In fact, I’m not sure I really need to preface this post with an explanation about how soy-sauce ice cream sounds a bit odd to people unfamiliar with Japanese “savory” flavors used in sweet ice cream.

 

 

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May 8

Leah Zoller (CIR Ishikawa-ken, Anamizu, 2009-11) is the editor of The Ishikawa JET Kitchen: Cooking in Japan Without a Fight. A writer, web administrator, and translator, she also writes I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog about food culture in Japan; curates The Rice Cooker Chronicles, a series of essays by JETs and JET alumni on the theme of cooking/eating and being alone in Japan; and admins The JET Alumni Culinary Group in LinkedIn.

New Rice Cooker Chronicles submissions always welcome. Just e-mail it to Leah at jetwit [at] jetwit.com.

 

The more I learn about cooking and food culture, the more I’ve become fascinated with cultural concepts of portable foods. As I’ve written before, Japan’s main example is onigiri, rice balls, but in the Shinshû/Nagano region, it’s oyaki, the steamed buns often made with savory fillings and soba-flour dough. Combine oyaki with another one of my favorite foods, kabocha, and you have a delicious, healthy addition to your bento that is easy to make and transport.

 

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Mar 21

Leah Zoller (CIR Ishikawa-ken, Anamizu, 2009-11) is the editor of The Ishikawa JET Kitchen: Cooking in Japan Without a Fight. A writer and web administrator for The Art of Travel, she also writes I’ll Make It Myself!, a blog about food culture in Japan, and curates The Rice Cooker Chronicles, a series of essays by JETs and JET alumni on the theme of cooking/eating and being alone in Japan, and The JET Alumni Culinary Group in LinkedIn.

New Rice Cooker Chronicles submissions always welcome. Just e-mail it to Leah at jetwit [at] jetwit.com.

 

This is a companion piece to “‘Deeply Ingrained Advantages’: American Media Discovers Kyûshoku.”

At the same time as Japan’s school lunch programs got picked up by the media, there was a burst of articles about Japan’s other distinctive lunch: the bento.

Bento and the Cult of Cute

 

In the lead-in to Carlsen’s and Turner’s “In Japan, Food Can Be Almost Too Cute To Eat,” there is a slideshow showcasing the cuter side of Japanese food: tofu character goods, a kyaraben (character bento), and images of Anpanman in cartoon and pancake form.

Click HERE to read more.


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