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eG Foodblog: torakris - Pocky and the geisha


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You may not have full cherry blossoms, but those white blossoms are very nice. You seem to get blooming trees before we do here.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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On Tuesday evenings I teach an English class form 4:30 to 6:00, the class consists of three brothers (ages 7 to 11) who have an American father and a Japanese mother. I teach them along with my two girls reading and writing. Today we were discussing Ninjas....

Tuesday nights are always a simple dinner as I have no time to prepare. My husband arrives home most nights about 6:30 and we are eating by 7:00.

Today was a pretty traditional meal prepared in the modern way, with lots of packaged foods. :biggrin:

some prep

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the entire meal was thrown together in the time it took to grill the fish (about 15 minutes).

the fish,

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In English it is called Atka Mackeral, in Japanese it is hokke and a speciality of Hokkaido. The fish is salted and then partly dried, I buy it in the frozen form so I can grill it at any time. I like it because it has a thick flesh that is quite sweet and very few small bones so it is easy for the children to eat. I cook it in the broiler like function on my oven. It is also one of the cheapest fish.... :biggrin:

rest of dinner

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fu (wheat gluten) and mizuna tamago-toji

tamago are eggs and tamago-toji is simply a dish that is bound together at the end by a very gentle cooking of eggs. The wheat gluten are rehydrated in water and then simmered in dashi, soy, and mirin for a couple minutes. Then the whisked egg is poured on top and then covered with a lid and cooked until your liking, I like them a bit on the runny side.

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hakusai (Chinese cabbage) pickles and a salad made with wakame (seaweed) lettuce and cherry tomato, the dressing is a prepared sesame and yuzu flavored one that I love.

We also had the daikon pickles (yellow slivers in the prep picture), these were leftover from the futomaki I made for lunch.

We also ate white rice, but that is sort of a given here......

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I was feeling the need for something sweet after dinner so I pulled out the two boxes of Fran that I got earlier today in my co-op order.

gallery_6134_1053_5801.jpg

Fran is a Pocky wannabe.... :huh:

These two flavors, blueberry yogurt and matcha with chocolate, were ok but I wouldn't bother getting them again.

It is 8:30pm and normally my children are asleep by now but they are still up and busy chattering about the new school year. Julia is very happy because the boy that she has been in love with since the age of 4 is in her class again.

i was asking Mia if her new male teacher was young or old, her answer? I don't know Mom but he looks just like Austin Powers....in Goldmember..... :wacko:

Now you know what kind of tv my kids watch.....

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Fran is a Pocky wannabe....

Ha ha :laugh: but in our house, it looks like they are a Pretz wannabe...I tested out the Pocky=girlz theory on son2 today, asking him at the supermarket if he wanted some Pocky for a snack tomorrow.

"No, Pretz", he told me, and reached past the Pocky AND the Pretz to get those blueberry Frans...

Pretz are a savory version of Pocky.

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For those of you who might be unfamiliar with Pocky, click here to find out.

I haven't seen this in New York.  Guess I have to go find out where now.

Soba

They can be had at Han Ah Rheum in N.J.

The Han Ah Reums only have a small selection -- by far, the biggest Pocky and Japanese snack/junk selection in the entire NY tri state area is at Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater, NJ.

I'm fairly sure there is a shuttle from Manhattan but I am not sure where it begins its run.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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the kids on their way to school

from the left:

Hide (age 4), Julia (age 7) and Mia (age 9), on the right is is their friend Natsuki who lives upstairs.

In our school district all children are assigned to a han (a small neighborhood group) of about 10 kids, these groups meet every morning at an assigned area and an assigned time and walk to school together. Our group consists of 11 kids this year and I am the chikurenraku-in, which is basically the mother leader of the group, this year. This job has various duties and you will here more about them as the week goes on as I have a couple meetings to be attending tis week.

i LOVE the idea of a small walk-to-school group in charge of an adult.

do the adults rotate this duty?

i wish we could replicate this model in our neighborhood! we do live

(unlike most of suburban US) in a walk-to-school area....

milagai

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Those are their names, there are written with kanji (Chinese characters) in Japan though

Mia  未衣杏 Katherine

Julia  珠理杏 Rose

Hideyasu  秀康 Robert

Beautiful kanji! Going way off topic (but I'll bring it back in a sec), does Hide have a Japanese first name because he's the eldest son?

Back on topic...I'm so glad you reported on Fran's offerings. I love Matcha Mousse Pocky and I had been wondering about Fran's version, and also their blueberry one. Now I won't have to try them--I'll just stick to my beloved Matcha Mousse!

I very recently tried Caramel Pocky. Much much too sweet for me--I was quite surprised at how sweet it was, especially for a Japanese product.

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Every day I will discuss a different kind of Pocky. We will start with the original Pocky that started it all.

Wow, I haven't seen Pocky since I was a kid, growing up in southern California. We used to have them as after-school snacks. Maybe my brother and I should have lobbied harder to have them for breakfast! :biggrin:

Look forward to more of this blog!

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gallery_6134_1053_14714.jpg

That's the second picture I've seen with the kids showing what I assume to be the "peace" sign. Does that gesture have the same meaning in Japan, or is it something else? Cute kids btw ... especially that shot of Hide with the ice cream!

A.

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It's not Pocky but in Canada there is a "gentei-hin" (limited edition) of Pretz in maple flavour! I bet Glico makes these limited edition flavours in other regions as well. They are made for tourists and sold in duty free shops frequented by Japanese tourists. You know those big Pretz/Pocky on steroids that come in massive boxes?

I have many Canadian friends ask me "what is the deal with this Men's Pocky thing?!" I hate answering that question...

ahh where's the button for the fries?

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My six year old is well aware of Pocky. Chocolate of course. I wonder if Kristin has the same problem we do with multi-cultural children. That is cross-cultural awareness of children's characters and products. Our 6 year old surfs kids websites in English, French and Korean (through the Korean websites she has become familiar with Japanese characters) and of course at the Korean market they sell Pocky. And Japanese children's characters are huge in America as well.

So she speaks three languages and wants all the typical kid stuff from four cultures. Makes us nuts.

We're waiting for some Algerian kid's characters and halal snack food. :laugh:

Great blog. Looking forward to more news on Pocky, although I want some photos of Geishas as well. You don't have a kimono?

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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That's the second picture I've seen with the kids showing what I assume to be the "peace" sign.  Does that gesture have the same meaning in Japan, or is it something else?  Cute kids btw ... especially that shot of Hide with the ice cream!

Y'know, I was wondering that very same thing myself. I've even seen kid-characters in anime making that hand gesture, so I've got the drift that it's popular, but I still dunno what it means. Non-verbal stuff like this is a whole other layer of cultural communication that can be hard to track down (like, how does one go about googling "Japanese hand signal that looks like an American peace or victory sign"? :biggrin: ), but can be so fascinating to learn about.

Valiantly trying to steer this post back towards food ... torakris, I'm anticipating enjoying your blog too. I've already enjoyed those glimpses into everyday Japanese food and culture from your other posts, and am looking forward to more.

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For those of you who might be unfamiliar with Pocky, click here to find out.

I haven't seen this in New York.  Guess I have to go find out where now.

Soba

They can be had at Han Ah Rheum in N.J.

The Han Ah Reums only have a small selection -- by far, the biggest Pocky and Japanese snack/junk selection in the entire NY tri state area is at Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater, NJ.

I'm fairly sure there is a shuttle from Manhattan but I am not sure where it begins its run.

Guys, even with Kris' dedication of the topic to NYer SobaAddict70, we shouldn't hijaack the entire topic in our extreme efforts to get him that Pocky... :raz::raz::raz:

Turning to the subject of Pretz for a moment, personally I think it's the superior product.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Turning to the subject of Pretz for a moment, personally I think it's the superior product.

I really wish someone would combine the two. I would love some ready-to-go chocolate covered salty pretzel sticks.

Speaking of Japanese snacks, I had my first mochi ice cream the other day. It is like a little mochi rice cake but frozen, with ice cream where the filling would be. (I had red bean.)

Now THAT was a revelation.

Is that a popular snack in Japan? I was the first time I'd heard of it. (The frozen kind, I mean.)

BTW, your daughters seem to be exhibiting early signs of that fabulous japanese fashion sense. I am deeply envious. :smile:

Edited by Behemoth (log)
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Everyone keeps mentioning the Men's Pocky. But I recently saw an imported bottle of Men's Latte. What's up with that? Are lattes usually considered a chick drink?

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Good morning! It is almost 6:30 am on Weds morning. This is my typical computer time, my husband leaves at 6:00 (we all get up at 5:30, kids included) and my kids play and watch in the mornings. Currently they are watching the X-Files on FOX (we have cable) but will probably be switching it soon to Power Puff Girls on Cartoon Network.....

I have my iced coffee and we be making breakfast soon, Hide asked for pancakes..

Let me answer some questions that were asked while I was sleeping.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Everything looks really scrumtious, Kirstin!  How many pocky flavors exist? 

Just a question - what does hanami mean?  Does it mean park, or is some kind of meeting (with the 8 women)?  :smile:

How many Pocky flavors? I don't think anyone knows.... :laugh:

They have a lot of seasonal and local variations that come and go

this is their current line up

Sorry I keep tossing out Japanese words without properly explaining them...

Hanami is written as 花見 in Japanese, the first character means flowers and the second one it to look or see, so basically it means flower watching and it most often referred to during cherry blossom (sakura) season. Hanami is essentially a gathering of people from a quiet group that honestly wants to look at the flowers to noisy drunken groups that are just there for the booze....

I prefer the first. :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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i LOVE the idea of a small walk-to-school group in charge of an adult.

do the adults rotate this duty?

The mother duty is a year long job that gets rotated among the mothers in the group every year, everyone will have to do it once per child. Though with 3 kids I may get by with only doing it twice.

One of my jobs is to take them to the school the first couple days (we are only 5 minutes away) and then during the year I will be responsible for taking any kids that get left behind for some reason.

There are also after school patrol duties that every mother in the school has to do 2 to 3 times a year. This consists of two mothers (from each of the 3 "neighborhoods") walking around the school area for about 30 minutes around the time the kids are going home just to keep an eye on things.

All the schools are different though, ours is the only one in the area that the kids walk together everyday, other schools do it just the first two weeks and some don't do it all. We have a really wonderful principal...

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Those are their names, there are written with kanji (Chinese characters) in Japan though

Mia  未衣杏 Katherine

Julia  珠理杏 Rose

Hideyasu  秀康 Robert

Beautiful kanji! Going way off topic (but I'll bring it back in a sec), does Hide have a Japanese first name because he's the eldest son?

Hide's name...

We had a really hard time with that. :angry:

I wanted something a little bit easier to pronounce in the US, my dad still calls him Heidi, the name is pronounce hee-day.

The character is from my husbands name. His name is Kosuke written 康介, if you look the character for ko and yasu are the same . This character is also in my FIL's nmae and his father's. So it it sort of similar to a jr. Unfortunately that character can only be read as ko or yasu and my husbands family think it is bad luck to use the same sound two generations in a row so we were stuck with yasu... and you can't do much with that.

Since we used his family's name for the first name, my husband suggested using my father's name for a middle name. Even my dad thought it best not to toture he poor baby more with the name Harold so we took Robert from my dad's middle name. :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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err...what is matcha?

and I am BEYOND excited that you are doing a pocky blog!

(my favorite for the record is pocky mousse royal milk tea)

matcha is green tea

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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My six year old is well aware of Pocky. Chocolate of course. I wonder if Kristin has the same problem we do with multi-cultural children. That is cross-cultural awareness of children's characters and products.

You don't have a kimono?

My kid's are quite familiar with many of the US characters and probably know American ators/actresses than they do Jaapnese ones. We tend to watch more US television and movies because I don't care much for Japanese programming.

They can point out Tom Hanks, Robin Williams and Eddie Murphy in a second.

American characters are also quite popular here, Power Puff Girls were quite popular a while back and even sponge bob has been showing up recently.

I do not own a kimono and have never worn one... :shock:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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That's the second picture I've seen with the kids showing what I assume to be the "peace" sign.  Does that gesture have the same meaning in Japan, or is it something else?  Cute kids btw ... especially that shot of Hide with the ice cream!

Y'know, I was wondering that very same thing myself. I've even seen kid-characters in anime making that hand gesture, so I've got the drift that it's popular, but I still dunno what it means. Non-verbal stuff like this is a whole other layer of cultural communication that can be hard to track down (like, how does one go about googling "Japanese hand signal that looks like an American peace or victory sign"? :biggrin: ), but can be so fascinating to learn about.

This was discussed a bit in my second blof and this is what Hiroyuki found:

QUOTE(melonpan @ Oct 11 2004, 10:01 AM)

in korea, all the kids do this too. you wont find any photos without them doing this!

The peace sign seems to originate from Jun Inoue, a Japanese singer and actor, who did that sign in a TV commercial for Konika, a camera manufacturer in Japan.

Two sources:

http://www.elrosa.com/dia/2003/20031201.html

http://www.netlaputa.ne.jp/~tokyo3/cheese.html

(Sorry, Japanese only)

But why do Koreans do this too? Is it contagious? biggrin.gif

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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When hamming it up for the camera during my early childhood in the Philippines, my cousins and I always made the peace sign. Nieces and nephews of mine still do it now when having their picture taken. And I have absolutely no clue why.

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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