Lately, I’ve been getting a lot more translation assignments. It’s a client driven business, so it’s highly due date sensitive. Because of that, I couldn’t post any of the bento pics last week, working my head off to meet the deadline.
I work freelance from home, primarily because I want to be flexible enough to have ample time with my daughter. She’s the only child, and I don’t want to miss a thing and don’t want to regret at a later stage of my life that I should’ve spent more time with her when it’s too late.
Having said that, I also think having a career is very important for one’s life. It is a great part of who you are, and gives you confidence as well as an independent mindset. Doing freelance was the choice I made, so that I can manage to have both.
The downside is I don’t get paid so well. The rate of freelance translation projects is not something you can brag about. But I take pride in doing this job. I hope one day my little girl will look back at this period of her life and remember her happy time she spent with her mummy, who always gazes at her computer, typing and mumbling something weird.
Tuesday 7/Nov – Bi-color bento with grilled salmon flake & scrambled egg
Wednesday 8/Nov – Onigiri for 2 (the school closed before lunch and it was raining outside, so we had a indoor picnic on the living room floor at our apartment)
Thursday 9/Nov – “Omuraisu” Omelet rice bento
Friday 10/Nov – Grilled Spanish mackerel bento
As a sign of changing season, I see many Japanese “Nashi” pears, in addition to Kyoho grapes, displayed in grocery stores in my neighborhood. Compared to what you find in the West, Japanese pears are rounder (sphere) and juicier (maybe comparable to that of watermelon). Again we generally pear the skin off, as it kind of disturbs the taste of the flesh in my opinion. I know, I may be taking its precious vitamins off, but what can I say, that’s how I’ve always eaten my Nashi… (FYI, in Japan we incline to peal off skins off most of the fruits. Must be something to do with… fertilizer?)
Menu: Grilled salmon, Edamame mixed in rice (with sesame sprinkle), Mashed pumpkin & egg salad, Steamed broccoli, Cherry tomato
Japanese “Nashi” pear for dessert
These cute cookie cutters, bought at 100 yen shop, are very useful… not really for cookies but for carrots.
After steaming sliced carrots using my Le Creuset steamer, this is what I do:
Cut out the shapes and put the outer part aside
I usually freeze these nicely shaped carrot slices in a container and use a piece or two in LO’s bento box from time to time. It not only gives bright colour in her packed lunch but of course additional nutrition (carrots are full in carotene and vitamin A).
I chop the outer part of the cutout slices and pack them away for later use, too (e.g. for miso soup, soboro variation, etc.)
This is the tori-soboro (chicken crumble) variation; with tofu, spinach and chopped carrots
It may seem a little troublesome at first, but I assure you this will actually make your life easier especially for your bento making. It will give more versatility to your recipes also.
Great purchase for a few hundred yen!
2nd april 2016, aoyama cemetary
as many people may know by now, japan is obsessed with sakura, cherry blossom. sakura is considered to be the national flower of japan that blossom splendidly around the end of march to beginning of april. the entire country gets flourished with the colour of delicate baby pink, which is the sign for the start of a brand new, exciting, fun season. this coincides with the new financial and school year, which lifts everyone’s spirits to the highest. everything becomes sakura this and sakura that, from sakura flavoured latte to sakura printed/shaped plates spread all over town. it feels a bit overdone in recent years, but i guess they do it because people fall for it. japanese take seasonality seriously, and make the most of it whenever possible.
so, what do we do? we go for picnic with our packed lunches and picnic mats, and this is called “hanami (hana = flower, mi = to look at”).
this is the bento i prepared for a sakura picnic (2 adults + 1 little one + 1 littler one who does not eat yet – the mini onigiri and assorted deli lunch on the right are for my LO). what i made is nothing special, but i prefer bringing homemade food because it brings me a sense of nostalgia from my childhood, and i want to give my little one the same feeling.
having said that, of course i get lazy and buy sandwiches or commercial bento from time to time…
one day, i’d love to make a bento packed beautifully in layered lacquer boxes and stuns everyone present, but i think it’ll take a while to realise that mission (have to buy the lacquer boxes to start with!)…
31 march 2016, yoyogi park (the image by courtesy of my dear friend L.G.)