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Today my mother turns 80 years old. In Japan, traditionally, after age 60, these longevity celebrations called choju occur every 10 years. For year 80, it's called the sanju celebration and then there's a special one at age 88 called beiju. The number 8 is very auspicious in Japan and China, where many of these traditi...

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The sakura (cherry blossoms) are in full bloom in Tokyo. Although some people have refrained from partying, others have decided to continue with tradition. I was going to make this sushi roll for my preschool cooking class I taught last week, but decided in the end that it would be too complicated for little hands. I couldn't quite maneuver the ...

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Today, February 3, is Setsubun, the day known as bean throwing day. Thoughts of the coming spring, driving away evil spirits and eating roasted beans for good luck, are all encapsulated in the humble soybean. Unknowingly, dinner tonight was centered around the bean: miso soup with tofu and crys...

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Hopefully this won't be the end of a tradition. The person who started this holiday cookie exchange years ago is leaving Tokyo and relocating to Portland, Oregon. At first, there was a possibility that she would be moving to Tucson, Arizona, which made me decide to make iced saguaro cactus and red hot chili pepper cookies. Even after I found out...

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Now that the weather is starting to cool down, I can think about eating chazuke, which is rice with hot tea, or cha cha rice, as it's sometimes called in Hawaii. It is such an easy lunch or even dinner, when you don't feel too hungry and want something quick. In Japan, you can buy packaged toppings, ochazuke no moto, and all yo...

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So long summer, hello autumn. The blistering hot heat is gone for good, I believe, and with its passing, comes the cool, crisp tinge of fall. The rainy days of late convey my feelings of some sadness that summer was yesterday. The...

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Summer is here and with it come the heat and humidity. All the signs of summer abound on the streets of Tokyo: the ubiquitous handkerchief towel grasped in people's hands as they walk and wipe their sweat drenched faces; the dainty parasols toted by mostly older Japanese ladies; the

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Shungiku (garland chrysanthemum) was harvested from our rooftop garden the other day. This glorious bunch, after a dip in boiling water, resulted in a miniscule palm sized serving. It was still very flavorful and delicious. Next time, plant more!


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Birthdays are worth celebrating. In April there are three birthdays that I know of and using that as an excuse to get a crowd together, we grilled a leg of lamb. Peter brought home some Cajun seasoning mix named "Slap Ya Mama," which is so called because every time the creator, Wilda Marie Fontenot Walker, used it, she received a loving slap on ...

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It's March 3rd, and it's Girl's Day or Hinamatsuri in Japan. Everywhere you go, you'll likely see beautiful emperor and empress dolls displayed on a red cloth-covered tiered stand and pink and white rice crackers for sale. Growing up in Hawaii, I remember my parents ha...

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"Why do you insist on making a new dish when we are expecting guests?" Peter asks. I don't exactly know why I have this urge to try something new for company. Maybe it's because I don't feel it's special if I make something I've done a thousand times. Or maybe it's the excitement of trying a new dish along with my guests. But the occasion being ...

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