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
Earlier last week I strained my back, possibly due to overstretching at yoga class, or just overworking on my translation assignment in the same sitting position for hours. It’s been haunting me for the past week. Does anyone here have good tips on how to get rid of the pain in your back?
With or without pain, bento making continues. I generally enjoy cooking bento for my daughter, but at times, especially now with the sharp pain in my back, I wish there was an alternative. I wonder if they (her school) judge me if I just put store bought bento in her backpack… In Japan we have unspoken rules everywhere, and where homemade bento is required such as at her kindergarten, it just has to be homemade bento no matter how simple it is. Also, I’m so used to making bento with different ingredients and colours I don’t know how to make them simpler and not let my daughter down too much at the same time.
Ah, the joy of bento making!
16/Nov/17 – Onigiri
17/Nov/17 – Stirfried-tofu (my daughter ate only 1/3 of it, saying she didn’t care for it much. What a disappointment!)
20/Nov/17 – Sword fish & lotus roots
21/Nov/17 – Penne amatriciana
24/Nov/17 – Chicken soboro & scrambles egg
28/Nov/17 – Sausage
After a long, hot & humid summer, there is finally a sense of autumn in the air. The temperature at night time has cooled down, which makes us sleep better and hence gives us more appetite.
As dessert, I packed one of the seasonal fruits in our daughter’s bento – Kyoho grapes. The flesh is very juicy and sweet, but the skin is quite thick and bitter. I usually peal it off before eating, but left it on this morning partly because I am always in a rush in the morning, and that she can now do it on her own, but mostly because of this beautiful colour of elegant dark purple that I wanted my daughter to see and remember as part of our autumnal delicacy.
Menu: Chicken soboro & scrambled egg on rice, Stir-fried potato & spinach, Boiled green beans, Cherry tomato
Kyoho grapes for dessert
Menu: Chicken soboro & egg crumble donburi, Baba hamu kyuri, Okra mixed with sesame, “katsuobushi” bonito flakes & dashi soy sauce, Cherry tomato
Red grapes & banana for dessert
This morning, I seemed to have heated up the frying pan too much before pouring beaten egg in it. As soon as the egg landed on the pan, it started to give brownish colour in the bright yellow, and as I mixed the egg with my cooking chopsticks, it crumbled and looked as if I had added some other ingredient in the egg mixture.
No worries, it tastes the same. Another good reminder to not overheat the pan.
Menu: “Soboro” chicken crumble donburi, Corn omelet, Green beans goma-ae, Edamame beans, Cherry tomato
Banana & Apple salad for dessert
Menu: Boiled egg (exploded and hence deformed while being boiled), Grilled salmon & boiled chopped spinach mixed in rice, Steamed broccoli, Steamed sweet potato mixed with chicken soboro crumble with dash of olive oil
My daughter’s favorite apple mousse for dessert
Menu: Soboro-don (with additional chives and star-shaped steamed carrot), Pumpkin & egg salad, Stirfried spinach & potato slices
Apple and bananas for dessert
My usual, ordinary looking chicken crumble soboro was nicely transformed by adding some chopped chive (thanks to a tip from my good friend Y) and two small slices of star-shaped steamed carrot. It makes a whole lot difference in its taste, texture and colour. When my daughter opened the bento for lunch today, I hope its lively appearance lifted up my daughter’s whiny state of mind from this morning a bit!