What transformed the cruel Japanese of World War II into the peaceful country who takes initiatives like the Kyoto protocol etc?
Simple. Different kinds of government in power. Different priorities, different times.
You're wrong to call the Kyoto Protocol a Japanese thing though. It's called the Kyoto Protocol because the meeting where the initiatives were agreed upon was held in Kyoto, Japan. Wikipedia: Kyoto Protocol (As a matter of fact Japan has had to withdraw from committing to the 2nd round of the protocol since it's had to fire up a whole bunch of conventional-fuel power plants due to the after effects of the Fukushimi Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster, which led to the shutdown of all nuclear power plants in the country for inspection and retrofitting etc.)
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I've never understood the appeal of fraternities and sororities. Granted I've never been in a sorority (I did go to university in the US btw, but not a school with a strong fraternity/sorority presence) and my view may be skewed by Revenge of the Nerds, but I don't see what they're useful for at all except for some people to continue behaving like brats for another 4 years. The recent email from some sorority girl that got circulated didn't do much for the image of the "Greek system" either.
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There's nothing to it.
- Get a pack of natto at a Japanese grocery store.
- At the same Japanese grocery store, get a packet of microwaveable rice.
- Mix the natto with the sauce and mustard that come with it.
- Heat up the rice.
- Put the rice in a bowl, and spoon the natto on top.Mix and enjoy.
You can of course cook your own rice. You can add things to the natto like more soy sauce, or chopped green onions.
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It is not directly about WWII and there are no battle scenes in it at all, but Twenty-Four Eyes (1954) (Wikipedia: Twenty-Four Eyes ) - 二十四の瞳 is considered to be one of the best anti-war films. It's available as a Criterion release in the U.S.
I can't say it's one of my favorites though. The actress who plays the teacher, Hideko Takamine, is considered to be one of Japan's best film actresses of all time, but she's a lot better in other movies - here she's mainly pretty. It's a pretty sentimental story. But if you're interested in what Japanese people thought in the '50s about the period of ultra-nationalism, militarism and the war, it should be interesting.
Going off on a tangent: The novel it was based on was assigned reading when I was in elementary school in Japan, along with some similar books, all with anti-war themes. Basically it made me hate any book or movie about war or anti-war because the message was so heavy-handed. I didn't see the movie until it was on NHK a couple of years ago, when it was shown as part of a series of "100 films about the Japanese family". (I didn't see Grave of the Fireflies until about 5 years ago for the same reason.)
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What are the health effects of consuming vinegar in mustard, salad dressing, pickled foods, sushi and other commonly consumed foods, condiments and flavorings?
First off, there is no vinegar in soy sauce. Soy sauce is made from soy beans and wheat (sometimes just soy bean, or other grains instead of wheat), that are fermented with rice malt or kome-koji.
There isn't much solid evidence that vinegar is an incredibly healthy food product. There are plenty of folk remedies involving vinegar, but none have been proven conclusively to be demonstrably effective by scientific research.
Where vinegar may be beneficial is to help to reduce the consumption of flavoring ingredients that have some negative side effects for some people, specifically salt and sugar. When people have to cut down on either they're often advised to try adding vinegar or lemon juice to 'perk up' flavors.
However, when it's used as an ingredient in condiments and so on, the other ingredients in there probably counteract any actual health benefits. To take your examples:
- Prepared mustard: Usually has salt, sugar, herbs and flavorings plus mustard.
- Salad dressing: Has salt, various flavorings (pepper, herbs) plus lots of oil. The ratio of oil to vinegar in a classic vinaigrette dressing is 8:2 or 7:3.
- Pickling liquid: Usually has salt, sugar, flavorings
- Sushi rice: Sushi vinegar, which is used to flavor sushi rice, is a mixture of rice vinegar, plus lots of salt and sugar Vinegar is used to prep some fish that's used for sushi such as mackerel, in conjunction with salt and sugar again. Plus you eat a lot of white rice.
So in conclusion, you probably shouldn't be eating a jar of mustard or drinking a cup of salad dressing every day, and sushi is not really an everyday food. Enjoy mustard and dressing for the enhanced enjoyment they bring to food, and have sushi occasionally.
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I'm a big shirt.woot fan. I own tons of their t-shirts. Their designers (freelancers) are great and they have reasonable ($5) shipping to Europe! (I tried to order a Think Geek shirt once and the quoted shipping was twice the amount of the price of the shirt I wanted.)
Just a couple of my faves
Motivation - my favorite exercise shirt, of course
Cats! Cats! Cats! - my favorite Quora-ing shirt
Kitchen Warfare - have the apron too
Only Memories - just a beautiful picture
and this is my husband's favorite...
Also, I don't have this one but I may get it : Disturbing
(I just realized I'd written a very similar answer previously: Makiko Itoh's answer to T-Shirts: What are the best t-shirts (with designs, logos, messages, etc.) you personally own, or have ever owned? Oh well, it just proves how much of a shirt.woot fan I am.)
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Two quick bits of news:
- monbento is releasing a mobile app soon, and to commemorate they are giving away an iPad and 100 bento boxes.. No purchase necessary to enter.
- Rakuten Global, the international part of the Japanese online shopping mall giant Rakuten, is holding a free global shipping campaign until May 17th. If you buy at least 10,000 yen worth of products from a participating merchant, up to 5,000 yen of your international shipping cost will be free (you’d pay for any extra shipping). This doesn’t just apply to bento box sellers of course so if you are a figure collector or a hobbyist or a Japanese fashion fan and so forth you could use this offer too. (I see one of my favorite craft supply stores there…) (Via @saraosenton - thanks Sara!) - this one is over now.
Last year I uploaded a series of printable cards for communicating dietary restrictions in Japan. This is a follow-up of sorts to this, with some information about food package labelling and allergy-causing products.
There are seven substances that must, by law, be indicated as being present on packaged foods that contain them in Japan. I’ve listed them below in this order: English: kanji: hiragana or katakana: roma-ji.
You shouldn't have much of a problem in Japan, as long as you can communicate your allergies and you know how the substances you are allergic to are written. Food allergy awareness is about on par with the U.S., although focused differently. Packaged food is clearly labeled (in Japanese of course) if they contain ingredients that people are allergic to. The word for allergy in Japan is アレルギー - pronouced a-RE-ru-gee, a loan word that's pretty close to 'allergy' if you say it out loud. (It was taken from German (Allergie), as were many medical terms.)
Peanuts are usually found in snack foods and sweet things, plus some foods from other Asian cuisines. Dairy is used in western style cooking. Neither is used much in traditional Japanese cuisine (washoku). Even peanut oil, which is the go-to cooking oil in some other countries, is not that widely used - rapeseed oil (canoila oil), soybean oil, corn oil and rice bran oil the most common, plus sesame oil as a condiment. (There is a difference between Asian cuisines! )
This is a typical food packaging label:
It lists 25 foods that people are commonly allergic to, and the ones that are in the product are marked in red. In your case, you would need to look out for 落花生 or ピーナッツ - peanuts; and 乳成分 or 乳製品 (dairy) or 牛乳 (milk) - note the character 乳 in all three words, which means milk/dairy/udder (or when applied to humans, breasts ^_^). The package above has dairy since 乳成分 is marked, but no peanuts 落花生 (top row, the two rightmost ones.)
A package might also say this:
It says "we manufacture products containing eggs, buckwheat, peanuts-落花生, shrimp and crab in the same factory." The general wording is similar to packages in the U.S.
This is a notice from a restaurant chain in the Kansai (Osaka/Kyoto) area:
The English translation is pretty bad but the meaning should be clear. It basically says if you have an allergy let the staff know about it.
Finally, I made these a while back for people with dietary restrictions to use, which you may find useful: Printable cards for communicating dietary restrictions in Japan I have ones for dairy and nuts there.
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makiwi: read the fine print tho! You need to spend at least 10,000 yen at a participating merchant and the shipping is free up to 5,000 yen
makiwi: Rakuten Global has a 3-day free international shipping offer starting tomorrow the 14th http://t.co/dst5yPtq5P
Japanese kitchens tend to be pretty small, unless it's in an old house. This is an old fashioned kitchen - my grandparents used to have such a kitchen, like 40 years ago (although they had an electric rice cooker already and the built in ones were used to store extra bowls and things)
But these days, anyone building or buying a new home wants a modern open plan kitchen.
Modern Japanese kitchens, besides their compactness, are designed to be pretty energy efficient. This is not because of environmental concerns (at least not originally) but because fuel is expensive.
Hot water is not available on demand (i.e. stored in tanks) from taps. You need to switch a water heater on first. Hot water for the bath and for washing your face etc. is also heated this way. Basic old fashioned ones, and/or ones you might see in a basic rental apartment, are pretty well, basic. The more up to date ones have remote controls. This remote control can heat your bath as well as the hot water for the kitchen, and it also controls the room heating (I'm guessing it's underfloor hot water heating). It allows you to set a timer to fill the bathtub with hot water too, handy if you are out working all day and want to come home to a hot bath. (It's similar to the one my mother and stepfather have in their apartment, which was built about 10 years ago, so it's not that cutting edge.)
Most Japanese kitchens have two burner ranges rather than the 4 that's standard in the U.S. for example. Single-person kitchens may have one-burner ranges. Fancier kitchens or ones with bigger families may have 3-burner ranges.
Many cooktops come fitted with a fish grill, rather than an oven. This is a countertop gas cooker with grill.
While gas cooking is still the most common, IH is gaining in popularity because it's pretty energy efficient and the cooktops are easy to clean.
Here's an IH cooking range with a fish grill, built into a countertop. Underneath it is a regular kitchen cabinet, not an oven.
There are very few dedicated ovens in use, but many people have combination microwave/conventional/convection ovens. (The writer of that article doesn't seem to know about such things, which are also pretty common in Europe. They are not 'half-baked ovens' ffs.) You can get them in various sizes, including ones big enough to roast a whole chicken. (However, roasting big chunks of meat is not part of Japanese cuisine - it's a pretty recent introduction. You usually cook parts of chicken, usually boneless except for wings.)
Here's a midrange convection oven-microwave/steam oven that holds a whole chicken, obviously.
Almost everyone has a toaster oven rather than the pop-up type of toaster. The toaster oven is used for way more than toasting bread; it's used as a kind of mini-oven, since it doesn't need preheating. Yes people get pretty creative with them, as they do with microwaves. There are tons of microwave cooking cookbooks in Japan.
Japanese refrigerators in family homes tend to be pretty big (but not as big as the big two-door American ones), and feature-laden. They might have a partial freezing drawer for holding fish, a separate vegetable drawer, and so on. The freezer section is usually on the bottom rather than the top.
This is a pretty big one for families:
This is a small one for a single-person apartment.
Japanese kitchen sinks tend to be big and roomy, probably because dishwashers are not that widely used, although they are getting popular (compact sized ones especially).
People tend to use small pots and pans rather than great big ones. This is a fair representation of what a typical kitchen has.
The most often used cooking utensil is probably the saibashi (菜箸) or long chopsticks, made of wood, bamboo, silicone, etc. They're used for stirring, beating, putting things in and out of pots, etc. This is an ad for a pair that has little spoons on the other ends.
Most people have electric/electronic rice cookers; a few traditionalists use a pot made of iron or earthenware to cook rice. Rice cookers come in all price ranges. This is a fairly high end IH pressurized-steam-cooker version. It costs around 45,000-55,000 yen (approx. US$450-550).
For other small appliances, the most popular one is probably a tabletop burner, used to cook hotpots (nabe). at the table with everyone helping themselves.
2nd most popular is probably the water heater, to make and hold boiling water. (These used to be called 'magic pots', after a very popular brand name, Tiger Mahou-bin (Tiger Magic Pot)
Bread baking machines are not as popular, but many people have them. A fairly recent innovation is bread machines that can bake bread using rice flour. There are also multi-purpose ones that can make yogurt, caramel sauce, pound rice into mochi, etc.
Other popular appliances include food processors and blenders (but not handmixers much).
Finally, people tend to have big china cabinets because Japanese cooking requires a lot of crockery.
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My mother sent me photos of a gorgeous Mother’s Day bento my stepfather got for her (and for himself too of course!) yesterday. It’s from Hikagejaya, a restaurant in Hayama, a town near Kamakura in Kanagawa prefecture (where Yokohama, where my mom lives, is too). I’ve written about Hikagejaya previously; it’s one of my favorite restaurants in Japan, and their bentos are just wonderful.
makiwi: I’ve switched my RSS over from Feedburner to URI.LV http://t.co/Db5bHMQkeu http://t.co/1C6DqzTaVh
A little technical note for people who read this site via Google Reader or another RSS reader, or subscribe to post updates via email:
I’ve switched over from Feedburner to another service called URI.LV. The reason I switched over is that Feedburner has kind of been neglected by Google (who owns the service) for a while now, and with their announcement that Google Reader is being shut down soon, it’s kind of logical to assume that Feedburner will fade away too.
- If you are an email subscriber: You shouldn’t see much of a change at all, but there is a chance you may need to re-add the sender of the mail (email@example.com) to your address book if the emails end up in your spam folder.
- If you are an RSS reader subscriber: You should not see any change at all. If you want to be doubly sure you’ll continue to receive updates, subscribe to this link or click on the RSS button in the side bar and delete your Feedburner subscription.
(Incidentally, if you’re looking for a replacement for Google Reader and are Mac or iOS based, I’ve been using NetNewsWire for ever, even before there was a Google Reader. I highly recommend it. Otherwise if you’re looking for a web based solution Feedly looks pretty nice.)
So that’s it for the techincal stuff. Going back to talking about food next time. ^_^