In Japan, it is said that “toshi-no-se,” the year-end, is bound to be busy, as everyone starts acting somehow anxious to finish off things prior to the fresh start of the new year. As mentioned before, the new year is a big deal in this country, and we do everything to make sure the new year to be quiet and special.
This year was no exception for me also, and I was running around like a headless chicken without any time to stop and take a big breath… until we left for our Christmas holidays in the Netherlands to visit my husband’s family. Hesitantly we dropped unfinished errands, hurriedly packed our suitcases, left beautiful & sunny Tokyo, and arrived in the equally beautiful, but quite dark Netherlands yesterday. It is Christmas Eve here in the Netherlands, and things already seemed to have slowed down, and people are starting to relax for the festivity to begin. The sense of rush I was feeling in Japan is nowhere to be seen here. It’s an interesting realisation what a huge difference there is depending on which culture you’re in.
Looking back at the bento photos I didn’t have a chance to upload before our departure, I can vaguely remember how I managed all these bento making during my busy schedule. It’ll resume in the new year, but for now I’m relieved that I won’t have to do it for the next two weeks.
15/Dec/17 – Grilled cod in saikyo-miso
18/Dec/17 – Simmered sword fish
19/Dec/17 – Nikudon-don
20/Dec/17 – Macaroni genovese
22/Dec/17 – Chicken soboro
Whether it’s my age or I’m just being busy or preoccupied by my daughter (& husband) on a daily basis, the speed of time passing in front of me has recently been unbelievably fast. I feel this more clearly especially in December, because in Japan we tend to “finish” whatever is left undone by the end of the year so that we can have a fresh and burdenless start of the new year. The new year is a big deal in this country, just like Christmas in the West, and people become quite adamant about it. While I’m grateful for all the friends who contact me to have this one last cup of coffee of the year or to meet up for ‘Bonenkai,’ a year-end party, I can hardly find the time to do so.
This morning I looked back at the bento pictures I hadn’t uploaded and realised I didn’t upload any of it for the entire week last week, without really noticing all the days gone by. And it’s already Tuesday today. Where has all the time gone?!
4/Dec/17 – Grilled cod in saikyo-miso
5/Dec/17 – Penne amatriciana
7/Dec/17 – Sukiyaki
8/Dec/17 – Chicken (inspired by the Phillipina Adobo)
11/Dec/17 – Macaroni genovese
12/Dec/17 – Salmon fried rice
My strained back is gradually getting better, but I still cannot carry anything heavy, including groceries. The stock in our fridge is running out, and there’s one more day until the weekend when my husband can help me with groceries.
I managed to drop by at a bakery on the way back from my daughter’s afternoon activity and bought a loaf of white bread. By the way, in Japan, this white fluffy toast bread is super popular and can be found mostly any bakery (except for the modern fancy ones). Anyway, I knew there was still some eggs, bacon and cucumber in the fridge, and we always have cheese and appelstroop being the Dutch household, so I decided to make sandwich for my daughter’s lunch.
Menu: Sandwich (bacon/cucumber/cheese & appelstroop, Broccoli omelet, Peanut butter & banana, Strawberry jam), Cherry tomato, Cucumber sticks, Leftover potato in pesto sauce
Strawberries & mikan tangerine for dessert
Last night I realised there was a pack of frozen sword fish filets in the freezer that I stored a couple of weeks ago. I decided to use it for my daughter’s bento in the morning, so I moved it to the fridge drawer so that it’ll get defrosted overnight.
In the morning I simmered the filets in the leftover noodle dip sauce (I added sugar to thicken it).
My freezer is getting empty. I’d better drag my husband out to visit a supermarket in the weekend!
Menu: Simmered sword fish, Simmered pumpkin, Spinach omelet, Steamed broccoli, Steamed carrot, Rice
Apple mousse & raisins with a sprinkle of cinnamon for dessert
As I am still suffering with my strained back, I didn’t get a chance to go to a grocery store to replenish bento ingredients. This means I need to depend on my stock in the freezer. It’s handy, but I’m running out of the options.
Today I made an attempt to go for a Soboro (chicken crumble) variation. I mixed the Soboro into freshly cooked rice along with wakana sprinkle. It tastes more or less the same as my bi/tri-colour bento, but hopefully the new visual presentation makes a bit of s difference.
Menu: Soboro & wakana sprinkle mixed in rice (with nori seaweed on top), Simmered pumpkin mixed with lightly fried bacon, Boiled egg, Steamed broccoli, Cucumber sticks, Cherry tomato
Apple mousse & strawberries for dessert