September 3rd, 2014

Summer holiday 2014 – Japan – PART 2

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One of the places where I just “had” to go to while in Tokyo was a Kitchen Town called Kappabashi. It is a stretch of street approximately 800 metres, & it is lined with just kitchenware shops.

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Knowing I’d be wanting to shop there thoroughly, (& I mean ‘thoroughly’!), I really didn’t like the idea of going there with the children, including Mr.D (sorry). Listening to “Are you done yet?” & “Can we pleeease go now?” while considering which size pan to get is not my idea of a fun shopping experience, nor theirs.

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And besides, it’s such a specialised area, if cooking is not your ‘thing’, that 800 metres will probably be a mere 10 minute stroll for you, whereas mine can easily be 2 hours.

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Luckily for me, Mr.D agreed to take the kids with him to see a friend for lunch & also go get new glasses made for himself. (Glasses in Japan? Yes, it is much cheaper & quicker to make it there compared to in the UK.) – – So yesss! I had freedom! (Lol) In Japan! And the cherry on top was that my childhood friend A came with me to shop there without her children too! A girly outing buying kitchenware…, for me it is the best…

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Let me tell you a tiny little bit about my friend A (& in fact, about her mum too afterwards). We’ve been friends since age 14. And we did teenager-ey things together. ^^ – Sure, we’re actually very different people, we have diffrent friends, we listen to diffrent type of music, & have a different dress sense. But when you share such fond memories, I guess the strong connection transcends the years of  living in a separate country now. I remember, at the time going for sleep-overs, & oh boy, those super-lengthy telephone chats on land-line! Back then, handy little things like mobiles weren’t yet invented, so I’d often be strewn across my parent’s double-bed, casually stretching the telephone coil while talking about God knows what for hours-on-end. Something super-engrossing for teenage ears I guess…!?

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Anyway, I must say a big *hello~* to her mum Mrs.U on here! I recently found out that she has been regularly reading my blog! Isn’t this fantastic!? When I saw Mrs.U during this trip, she told me how she’d been making the french toast from my recipe. She also told me how impressed she was with me, which made me feel very proud & very happy. – Although it kind of made me blush a little. I remember once going for a sleepover to theirs with a peculiar clothes sense…, lol, I think it was a mixture of Grunge & a bit of Camden. Oh, dear teenager, how I envy that beautiful ability to self-believe…

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When I met up with A at Kappabashi, A told me her mum gave her some pocket money that is for me to spend, I was to buy whatever kitchenware I wanted. After a pingpong match of “oh no, I mustn’t” & “oh you have to, I’ve been told to spend it for you”, I did accept. So, here’s pictures of my kitchenware purchases from Kappabashi that Mrs.U has very kindly bought for me. Thank you Mrs.U! (The pictures also contain goods bought from a store called Tokyu Hands in Shinjuku).

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www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Coco and Me -  Japanese tamagoyaki maker copper egg omelette traditional

Copper Tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette) frying pan.

I really wanted this!! I have a teflon one already, but this copper one is the don. You probably already know this, but copper has superior heat conductivity, meaning it gets hot speedily. On top of that, the heat distributes well, so that your food cooks evenly!

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So it’s my first ever copper ware! :) I’m so happy!! :) This pan is for making Japanese omelettes. You make it by frying a thin sheet of egg (just like when making crepe), which you then fold in to three. You then put this to one side of the pan while you make another sheet. When this next sheet is half-cooked, you fold it around the first, & then you repeat this process until you have a thick roll. Basically you end up with sheets of egg stuck together like a log. Think baumkuchen, only it’s rectangular.

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I make tamagoyaki often. I make it sweet by mixing in some sugar, & flavoursome by mixing in some dashi stock & soya sauce. It is a popular fixture for the bento I make for the kids. And I’m in love with the ritual of waking up early to make this, in a strange way it makes me feel like an “old-school Mam-ma” & I sometimes put on a nice apron to go with the occasion. (Does this make any sense?! LOL…Too much time spent in the kitchen makes for one’s madness!) Interestingly, quite often, my current state of being reflects on to the tamagoyaki. This dish needs your patience & full attention to cook each sheet, & so when I’m unhappy it doesn’t turn out well. On the other hand, when it does turn out beautifully, I  breathe a barely audible sigh of relief, revel in my competence & smile at my perfect tamagoyaki.

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www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Coco and Me -  Japanese cooking pot nabe beautiful silver dented pattern

www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Coco and Me -  Japanese cooking pot nabe beautiful silver dented pattern

Yukihira Nabe hammered pots.

Often used in traditional Japanese cooking, the sides are hammered to strengthen the pot, & create more surface-area to be heated. I also think it’s aesthetically pleasing too! :) And I’m a sucker for wooden handles anyways…!

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www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Coco and Me -  Japanese Kitchenware silicone cooking chopsticks miso stirrer rice scoop surikogi stick

From left to right:

– Silicone cooking chopsticks x 2 (I never used silicone chopsticks before, but I thought I’d give it a try!)

– Surikogi, a wooden stick used together with a grinding bowl

– Miso stirrer – to blend in miso paste in to your soup without lumps

– Rice scoop x 2 (from Tokyu Hands) which stands up

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www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Coco and Me -  Japanese cooking kitchenware - otoshibuta wooden lid pot glove heat

From left to right:

– Super short oven gloves. I thought it’ll be cute to use when you take a dish to the dining table.

Otoshibuta. A lightweight wooden drop-lid. You place this in a pot that is bigger in diameter, so that it directly sits on top of the food. It is mainly used for simmering with less water. As the boiling cooking liquid hits the lid, it then reaches over your ingredient so it cooks evenly. It also holds down the ingredients in place so that it doesn’t dance around & lose it’s shape, which is especially useful when you have delicate potatoes.

The one I’ve got is zig-zaged on the other side to pick up on the scum from the surface of the broth. It’s important if you want the cooking liquid to be clear.

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www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Coco and Me -  Japanese Kitchenware bento box items goods chopsticks pouch furoshiki

My new bento-ware! (all from Tokyu Hands)

From top left:

– Bento pouch.

– 2 x silicone dividers used to divide food inside the bento box.

– 2 x wooden bento box. What I like about these is that the insides are carved out, & that there are no hard corners.

– 2 x wooden chopsticks in a portable case.

– Mini ice pack – (Moomin looking a bit cold!)

– Furoshiki – cloth wrap for the bento box.

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17 Comments »

  1. I’ve been looking out for the 2nd part of your holiday story and I’m not disappointed! A lot of these utensils are strange to me but I also like buying things for the kitchen when on holiday, especially from a foreign country. I hope you get a lot of enjoyment out of using them.

    Comment by Jeannette - September 3, 2014 8:26 pm

  2. Jeannette! Yay!
    I’m so happy that you liked this post! It makes all this writing worth it.^^
    – I know what you mean about buying kitchen stuff in a foreign country – it’s fascinating to go in to their kitchen shops! I bought a wooden lemon squeezer in Lanzarote a couple of years ago, & whenever I use it, I am reminded of that holiday. It’s a good feeling. I just love things with stories behind it!

    Comment by tamami - September 3, 2014 9:01 pm

  3. 珠美さん、日本の旅シリーズ楽しみにしていました。素敵な家族との時間、買い物(必需品かな)満喫できたようですね。
    珠美さんのブログは読んでて元気になりまーす。

    Comment by toyomi - September 4, 2014 2:06 pm

  4. とよみさん!!!!コメントを書いてくれて嬉しい!有り難うございます。今回は日本でとよみさんと会えませんでしたね。日本でのメール、あれ、すっごく嬉しかったです。夢の宮古島。。。!!!!いつ行けるんだろう。その時は是非会って下さいねっ!!!!!
    ーお元気にしていらっしゃいますか?通訳のお仕事はまだ頑張っているのですか?お体に気をつけてくださいね!珠美

    Comment by Tamami - September 4, 2014 2:55 pm

  5. Hello Tamami, it’s great to see you blogging again in such a short time! I really enjoy reading your blog so please keep it up!

    From your longtime reader,
    Louise xx

    Comment by louise - September 4, 2014 8:02 pm

  6. Hello Louise!
    wowwww, thank you very much!!!!! It’s so great to know that I have people like yourself reading this blog regularly!!!!! Many many thanks!!!! I’ll try my best to keep it up!!!!
    T xx

    Comment by tamami - September 4, 2014 9:38 pm

  7. Hi, very nice post, I enjoyed reading, especially about your friend and her mother. My Japanese friend – adult – also recieved pocket money from elderly, is it a typical gesture to do in Japan? All the best, Alex

    Comment by Alex - September 5, 2014 8:00 am

  8. Hello Alex, thank you for leaving a comment!!

    Yes, I suppose it is! In the past, I have been given pocket money from my uncle in Japan, on several occasions! But maybe it’s a family thing mostly. – In Japan, children get given pocket money on New Year’s Day by adults, so maybe it’s kind of like an extension of that??

    Comment by tamami - September 5, 2014 9:35 am

  9. also a longtime reader here!
    Enjoyed the last 2 entries, especially because we went to Japan last year and loved our trip.
    And we did got to Kappabashi, on my request! I thought it was fascinating, and we bought some pottery, small bowls and 2 ramen bowls, and we use them all the time.
    Thank you for relating such experiences.

    Comment by kana - September 5, 2014 12:22 pm

  10. (I’m in France)

    Comment by kana - September 5, 2014 12:22 pm

  11. Hello Kana!!!! Thank you for commenting here!! Always so intriguing to find out where people are reading from!
    Kappabashi: I actually tried to take home a bowl from Japan too, but it broke…! You obviously packed yours well…! How did you pack it? And big suitcase or hand luggage? xx

    Comment by tamami - September 5, 2014 1:31 pm

  12. the shop packed them well in bubble wrap and neswpaper, and we put everything in the middle of our clothes in the suitcase.

    Comment by kana - September 6, 2014 10:22 am

  13. Hi Kana! Thanx for replying back! :)
    I see, in the middle of clothing’s good! Mine wasn’t packed well enough…, sigh. It was a beautiful Japanese ceramic mortar bowl to especially grind sesame seeds… Next time I’m in Japan I’ll try to buy one again!

    Comment by Tamami - September 6, 2014 5:39 pm

  14. What a nice haul! How nice to have a bit of free time ;) The grandchildren *hate* coming to a fabric store with me! Have you seen the Moomin embroidery patterns from Sublime stitching? (sublimestitching.com click under patterns)

    Comment by jonquil - September 7, 2014 2:23 pm

  15. Hi Jonquil!!!!! Thanks!!!!!
    Ha ha, yes, children aren’t shy to let feelings known when it comes down to boredom when taken to shops they are not interested in are they? :)
    Moomin: Ahhh! I love moomin!! I flew FinAir to Japan, and stopped over in Helsinki for flight change. I very nearly bought Moomin goods there…!!
    xx

    Comment by tamami - September 7, 2014 7:10 pm

  16. Yay, I have been wanting to read more about your trip and I am happy to see this post. You have a very sweet way of writing Tamami, it is a gift. Your site has become kind of a “comfort blog” for me…like comfort food, if it makes any sense? Reading (or re-reading) your posts cheer me up when I am feeling down, and your recipes always make our day.

    How sweet of Mrs.U to get you all that awesome kitchenware. I hope you put it to good use and show us what you cook in them :). I couldn’t understand the concept of Japanese Omelette so I went to youtube and watched a video, it sounds delicious but a bit complicated. Maybe I’ll try someday. And your French toast recipe…… what can I say? It has become one of my husband’s favorite dishes, he can’t get over how perfect it comes out everytime :)

    Comment by Poornima - September 19, 2014 5:42 pm

  17. Dear Poornima,
    thank you always for your sweet comment! :) :) :) You leaving comments also cheer me up too!
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    Yes! I’ve been putting the kitchen ware to good use! Except perhaps the silicone chopstick which feels a little clumsy & heavier to use… Oh well. – The Japanese Omelette is a delightful dish – ask any Japanese person & they will say they love it – it’s a national dish close to the Japanese heart.
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    The french toast recipe! Thank you!! I’m so happy that you’ve been making it for your husband! I haven’t made it for sometime now, you’ve reminded me of it, so I’ll make it tomorrow!

    Comment by tamami - September 19, 2014 6:44 pm

 

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