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
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
Menu: Stirfried potato & spinach (with some bacon), Grilled salmon mixed in rice, Boiled edamame, Corn Omelet
Kyoho grapes & pear for dessert
Omuraisu is a Japanese name for Omelet & Rice. The ingredients are still scarce in my fridge, so this is my ultimate effort to come up with something that is both ethtetically and nutritiously satisfying.
Menu: Omuraisu, Steamed broccoli, Cucumber & cherry tomato salad
Kiwi fruits for dessert
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
Which bento do you prefer? Japanese bento with rice, or Italian bento with pasta?
Pork shabu-shabu salad, Nori seaweed omelet, Stir-fried potato & spinach, Cherry tomato, Rice with furikake sprinkle. Banana & grapes for dessert
Macaroni with broccoli & tuna, Steamed pumpkin tossed with chicken soboro, Cherry tomato. Apple mousse & banana for dessert
Menu: Grilled salmon mixed in rice, Mased pumpkin with boiled egg, Boiled cabbage & komatsuna salad, Cherry tomato
Apple for dessert