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torakris

eG Foodblog: torakris - Pocky and the geisha

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i wanted to ask if your kids get meals at school and what do they serve them for lunch?  do you have any say in what goes into the school lunches?

A while back I did a little photo essay on kyushoku (the Japanese school lunch system):

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...272&hl=kyushoku

if you have more time here is the 6 page kyushoku thread


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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40,000 for one month for a family of five  i am in awe

Seconded! :raz: When we had 5 people at home (two men including brother in law, plus 2 pre-teen boys and me), I estimate we spent roughly 60,000 yen, including beer and eating out....and that must be roughly average, since it is around 20% of the national average income. Tokyo expenditure is higher than average, (partly because there are larger numbers of wealthy older people without dependent family, partly because living expenses are higher) so 40,000 is extremely thrifty. The wider Tokyo area average is close to 80,000 yen, I've heard, and if I had it, I could spend that much without blinking. I think that families with good incomes who get rent assistance from employers commonly spend over 100,000 yen. A lot of that extra expenditure would come from eating out.

Apart from the generally good childraising environment and elementary schools in Japan, it's nice that somebody like Kris who really hones her skills is recognized in Japanese society. Women's magazines here have all the gossip and the fashions, but also a lot on family finances, education, and the nitty-gritty of extended family responsibilities.

The whole gender picture here is (of course) much more complex than it looks in the newspapers, so I'll stay out of that :laugh::cool:.

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Thursday lunch, since we never did make it to McDonalds yesterday we went today.

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tomato Mc Gran (d?) I can't remember how they spell this in English... it is my favorite :biggrin:

Mia's favorite teriyaki burger

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Julia and Hide had happy meals (called happy sets here) Hide had his favorite juice, it is called yasai seikatsu 100 (vegetable lifestyle 100) and is made with 15 kinds of vegetable juices and 3 fruit juices. It is really good and I buy it for myself often.

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The McDonalds we went to is located in a sort of food court, behind Julia you will see ramen and taiyaki (sort of like a fish shaped pancake filled with various sweet things).

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behind Mia is Doutor a well known coffee shop

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a close up on the menu

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and their current special, a latte with little cubes of jellied coffee.....

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this restaurant sell okonomiyaki (a savory pancake like thing) but in a sandwich style

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and a picture of Hide because he is too cute not to include :biggrin:

gallery_6134_1053_40187.jpg


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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It's not Pocky but in Canada there is a "gentei-hin" (limited edition) of Pretz in maple flavour![...]

I would buy that! I've never seen that in New York. Is it available in Japan? I guess it would be expensive there. Also, how much does maple syrup sell for in Japan and what are some popular toppings for sweet pancakes?

I don't recall ever seeing a maple pretz here in Japan.

Maple sryup is quite expensive here, 250ml (one cup) bottles sell for about $7 to $8, I buy a massive jug at Costco in the US and make it last for a year....

Pancakes are pretty popular here, they are called hottokekki (hotcake) and theya re eaten more as a snack than breakfast.

Even McDonald's sells them. (look at teh 105 yen menu near the bottom) they are mini versions with cream and a fruit sauce, they sell regular American style ones for breakfast.

A popular topping is chocolate sryup and whip cream, this is how they are often sold in restaurants as a child's meal (anytime of day).

I guess I wasn't good at explaining myself. This Pretz is a limited edition only available in Canada. You know how Japanese like to make things "gentei" just like that Matcha Kit Kat, it says "kigen gentei" meaning limited edition for a limited time. I brought up the maple pretz because I thought maybe Glico made something like that in other areas of the world.

Kristin, your kids are ADORABLE! I think you should rent kimonos and take them to a photo studio... they'd look cute, maybe during 7-5-3 in November.


ahh where's the button for the fries?

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Fascinating blog! You know, Kristin, I've been involved with Japan for more than 30 years (studying Japanese, traveling, staying with Japanese and American friends there, working as a consultant for a Japanese company for 10+ years), and it never once occurred to me to ask (or notice) that most Japanese are paid on the same day each month!!!

And the price of rice in Japan astounds me. I buy 20 or 25-pound sacks of California-grown Kokohu Rose rice for about $10 to $12 (depending on the store and whether they're on sale). A few weeks ago, the local Wal-Mart ran a promotionl on a cheap brand of California rice for... if memory serves... $3.50 for a 25-pound sack!

My refrigerator contents look a lot like yours, BTW, only the fridge and freezer are larger.

If you ever decide you do want to move back to the USA, scope out Hawaii. I know you were in Maui some years ago... Several of my American friends who are married to Japanese or other Asians have done so, because the sense of community here is most like that of Japan.

I'm going to have to check out the Japanese markets here for the Matcha Kit-Kats and the Iced Matcha au Lait! Matcha is one of my favorite flavors.


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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If you ever decide you do want to move back to the USA, scope out Hawaii. I know you were in Maui some years ago... Several of my American friends who are married to Japanese or other Asians have done so, because the sense of community here is most like that of Japan.

That is where my husband wants to go, we both loved Maui. The only problem with Maui is then we are very far away from both sets of parents and we will spend a lot more money traveling to see them both...

My husband does insist he is going to retire to Maui though and then everyone can come and visit us. :biggrin:


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Kristin, your kids are ADORABLE!  I think you should rent kimonos and take them to a photo studio... they'd look cute, maybe during 7-5-3 in November.

I have done the 7-5-3 (pronounced shichi-go-san) for both of my girls when they were 3, but I didn't do their 7 year old ones yet. We are planning to do all three (Hide will be 5) this fall and get it over at once. I will find something food related about it and then post the pictures. :laugh:


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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this is the park that is right outside the food court we had lunch at.

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often we buy our lunch and then take it to the park to eat but today it was just too windy... :angry:

and just to the right of the park is a small local yao-ya-san (vegetable stand)

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and on the way home we I decided to take some pictures of the cherry blossoms that line the streets. This area is really beautiful and I was not the only one stopping to take pictures...

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this is our local temple

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Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Thursday afternoons my daughters have ballet class

Julia

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Mia (in the purple sweater)

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during the class I ate a couple of hard candies...

on the way home I stopped at a drug store to pick up milk (I MUST have it for my coffee tomorrow morning) and today's Pocky.

THERE WAS NO POCKY IN THE WHOLE STORE!!!! :shock::shock::shock:

I can't believe it, I had to buy to more pocky wannabes...

Fran in a tiramisu flavor and stubby little almond and chocolate sticks

gallery_6134_1053_4669.jpg


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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ballet class ends at 6, so by the time they change, chat and finally make it home it is 6:30 so Thursday's dinner needs to be a fast meal. I often do a lot of prep before I leave when I can and set the timer on the rice cooker.

the prep for our 'need it in a hurry' and 'day before payday' dinner

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the main is a dish of simmered karei (flounder with the eyes on the right side) with the egg sac still attached

this traditional was made in the modern way with a shortcut of using tsuyu (seasoned soy sauce) instead of a variety of seaonings. I soak a piece of kombu (kelp) in a cup of sake then add a cup of straight tsuyu and then add the fish and simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes, turning once. At the very end I add some greens to the pan, today it was mizuna.

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a close up on the eggs, the best part :biggrin:

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the sides (along with rice, furikake and nori seaweed)

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the orange stuff is a kabocha (Japanese squash) salad, I made this earlier in the day with mayo, salt and pine nuts. The red things are umeboshi (pickled plums) and the green stuff is nanohana (broccoli rabe) konnyaku dressed with karashi-joyu (soy sauce and Japanese mustard)

not familiar with konnyaku?

this site has all the answers

and this is our konnyaku thread


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I popped in to ask...what kind of bento do you make for your husband's lunch? I'm curious, because I assume it's pretty different from what I make for my desk-driving 54-year old husband!

...and then I saw your daughters' ballet class! All I can say is...I had no idea :shock: I thought little girls all wore plain black leotards to class :raz: . What I've missed through having only boys!

Did your kids eat the flounder eggs? Mine won't, and neither will my husband. :hmmm:

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the orange stuff is a kabocha (Japanese squash) salad, I made this earlier in the day with mayo, salt and pine nuts.

does modern Japanese cuisine typically incorporate foreign ingredients (like mayo & pine nuts) into traditional preparations?


Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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Did your kids eat the flounder eggs? Mine won't, and neither will my husband. :hmmm:

I've been kind of wondering if your children eat everything you've shown or if they're like children in my country that pick thru their food?

(This from a women who doesn't have children of her own) Children in the States seem to go thru stages of what they'll try and like. For instance I've know children that will only eat a small handful of items: like cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, french fries, crackers or cookies. Their taste buds reject stronger tasting foods or items that take effort to chew. Then in time they grow into eating more.

The food you've shown you feed your family amazes me. Do Japanesse children go thru these difficult eating stages..........or is your relationship to food and it's costs prevent children from being so picky?

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My dreams came true when I saw you were doing a blog this week. THANKS for all the work.

I love your reasons for living in Japan, and for raising your kids there. We started homeschooling recently in CA in order to attain some of those goals ourselves, with a large piece being control over our children's food offerings! They were eating light at breakfast, and their friends were bringing packaged crap extra in their lunches because they felt sorry for their friends. That alone is reason enough to pull them out of school, but I can only admit that on e-gullet!

Food, Japan, kids: Kristin your thread is not only fascinating to me, it's helpful with my son. He's just turned 10 years old, is passionate about all things Japanese, but is one of those picky kids who would subsist on quesadillas and chocolate milk if we let him. (He'll eat tofu, blueberries, and carrots when he's hungry enough an there's no other options. Yes, it's one of those twisted life circumstances as we own and live entirely off our organic vegetable farm.)

SO we're trying to introduce him to Japanese food. The soba struck out because it was sweet (my 8 year old daughter loved it), the tempura: he claims to have liked it but I"m not going to be making tempura at home very often, if ever.

Any other ideas on what he might like with what little info you have? This is a big favor, instead you could at some point this week just let us know some of your children's favorite foods. Thanks much!

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And the price of rice in Japan astounds me. I buy 20 or 25-pound sacks of California-grown Kokohu Rose rice for about $10 to $12 (depending on the store and whether they're on sale).  A few weeks ago, the local Wal-Mart ran a promotionl on a cheap brand of California rice for... if memory serves... $3.50 for a 25-pound sack!

Checking my weekly Han Ah Reum circular, the price of Kokuho Rose New Variety Rice is US$9.99/20 lbs. I don't know if that is long grain or short/sushi rice, can't tell from the image. Click here for NY area circular.
the sides (along with rice, furikake and nori seaweed)

gallery_6134_1053_12266.jpg

the orange stuff is a kabocha (Japanese squash) salad, I made this earlier in the day with mayo, salt and pine nuts. The red things are umeboshi (pickled plums) and the green stuff is nanohana (broccoli rabe) konnyaku dressed with karashi-joyu (soy sauce and Japanese mustard)

not familiar with konnyaku?

this site has all the answers

and this is our konnyaku thread

The dish with the green sliced things is broccoli rabe? It looks like cucumbers or maybe some other squash.

Ah, I checked the link, it's a reformed food, like vegetable surimi, huh? I found another link that is interesting, Mannan Life Konnyaku candy, it is apparently banned in the US. Too bad, I would have like to have tried it.

I assume you buy it pre-flavored, what other flavors does it come in?

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Thanks for blogging again Torakris, and providing all the pics.

To keep on the theme of food and kids, I noticed that all the children, in the park, ballet class, or at McD's, are all relatively slim. Childhood obesity is a big concern in North America, due to factors like quick access to fast-food, and lack of physical activity.

Is fast food just seen as an occasional treat? Are there less fast food options? Or is it just everything in moderation, with emphasis on healthier options, is the norm for the Japanese lifestyle? Are there more opportunities for physical activity? Is there less exposure to commercials promoting high fat foods?

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What exactly is the price of rice in Japan?

take a look here

the weights and prices are on the right side, to look at other types of rice click on any of the names on the left side. Currently the excahnge rate is about $1 to 108 yen but I just round it off to 100. so if it says 5,000 yen it is about $50.

OUCH! No wonder my old classmate always requested rice when his family visits, or when he comes home in the summer. He always buys basmati rice to take back to Kyoto.


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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and my iced coffee

gallery_6134_1053_30083.jpg

I understand from your previous posts that you are an avid coffee drinker and that you also like drinking water. My questions are:

Do you discern any difference between the coffee made with the soft water in Japan and that made with the hard water in the United States?

When you drink water, is it tap water, purified water, or bottled mineral water?

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torakris, your children are adorable and the blog is very interesting, as usual.

I also love the pictures of the cherry blossoms.


I don't mind the rat race, but I'd like more cheese.

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Thanks for blogging again Torakris, and providing all the pics.

To keep on the theme of food and kids, I noticed that all the children, in the park, ballet class, or at McD's, are all relatively slim. Childhood obesity is a big concern in North America, due to factors like quick access to fast-food, and lack of physical activity.

Is fast food just seen as an occasional treat? Are there less fast food options? Or is it just everything in moderation, with emphasis on healthier options, is the norm for the Japanese lifestyle? Are there more opportunities for physical activity? Is there less exposure to commercials promoting high fat foods?

I think children are much slimmer in Japan (than the US) because of the reasons you mention. Mothers seem to have more control over what their children eat in the home, as well as more influence over what they eat outside the home (I'm thinking of the about 12-year old boy who ordered the salad instead of the fries with his set meal and McD's). Children are also much more active here--they often go out to play with their friends instead of staying inside.

That being said, teenagers are a different story. Since my first stay in Japan ('93-

95) I have found that teenagers have become, and are becoming, much larger (both taller and heavier). I would say that they've gone up, on average, at least one clothing size since the early '90's. While they're probably still more active than US teens (PE is mandatory all throughout high school), they're becoming less active than in the past. This is, in part, because they're busier--club, juku, homework, etc, but also because they eat more fattening foods, less healthful foods while they're on the go.

I would be interested to see Japanese children 10 years from now. I would guess that they, too, will be getting bigger--especially with more and more mothers working outside the home and fewer and fewer grandparents (also a big influence on children's eating habits) inside the home.

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I popped in to ask...what kind of bento do you make for your husband's lunch? I'm curious, because I assume it's pretty different from what I make for my desk-driving 54-year old husband!

Did your kids eat the flounder eggs? Mine won't, and neither will my husband. :hmmm:

My bentos vary depending on what time I wake up and the time of the month (in more ways than one!) :biggrin:

I overslept this morning, didn't wake up until 5:50...

so my husband's bento consists of retort pack curry rice... :blink:

I normally use leftovers some way in his bento and I keep some fish products like satsumage and chikuwa frozen so I can use them anytime. I don't like the frozen bento products and don't use them.

On my first day I made those futomaki that had a seasoned spinach inside, the leftovers were made into an omelet and then for the rst of that bento I made a stirfry of the left over julienned carrots and some sliced chikuwa seasoned with tonbajian (Chinese chile paste). His bento box also has a cup for soup so he drinks that everyday as well.

My whole family fights over those fish eggs....


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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This article regarding the decline of rice consumption in Japan.

As the Japanese increasingly turn away from rice, the longtime staple of their diet, baker Koichi Fukumori believes he has found a solution to boost the heavily subsidised crop: turn it into bread.

I get the impression from this thread that running out of rice before payday is not a good thing, rice costs $50.00 for 10 pound bag (if I recall correctly?).

"This is the only way to survive for rice farmers," Fukumori said.

Why not lower the price of rice in Japan?

The tradition of rice, however, ensures that it remains one of Japan's most protected industries, with rice farmers heavily subsidised and Japan fighting tooth and nail against opening up to mass imports of the crop.

Who's controlling the market? Why are the prices so inflated that they cut demand, so that the demand doesn't meet the heavily subsidized production, surplus is created, the solution is rice bread? :wacko:

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the orange stuff is a kabocha (Japanese squash) salad, I made this earlier in the day with mayo, salt and pine nuts.

does modern Japanese cuisine typically incorporate foreign ingredients (like mayo & pine nuts) into traditional preparations?

yes, the pine nut addition was sort of more a Korean touch for me. Most Japanese kabocha salads I have eaten contain things like raisins and almonds.

Much of Jaapnese foods eaten in houses today is not the same foods their grandparents were eating.

Mayonnaise is very popular here and it used on almost everything.....


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Mayonnaise is very popular here and it used on almost everything.....

in onigiri and on pizza, for instance.

This thread might be of interest. :wink:

Soba

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