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
Menu: Chicken Soboro on rice with nori seaweed, Cabbage, cucumber & corn salad, Cherry tomato & broccoli omelet, Boiled green beans
Apple bunnies for dessert
The Soboro (chicken mince crumble) I used today was the last bit of what I made a few weeks ago that had been kept in the freezer. Of course it’s useful, but I shouldn’t have kept it too long as it’s flavour wasn’t as good as when it was freshly made. My daughter finished it all, so I consider it was still acceptable…
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: Grilled salmon mixed in rice with scrambled egg on top, Mashed sweet potato with tori-soboro, Steamed broccoli, Boiled green beans, Cherry tomato
Mandarin mikan for dessert
Menu: “Nishoku” bicolour bento (tori-soboro & scramble egg on rice), Spinach goma-ae, Steamed & mashed pumpkin, Boiled broccoli, Cherry tomato
Mandarin “mikan” for dessert
Menu: Tori-soboro (chicken crumble) variation with chopped veggies and tofu, Roasted sweet potato, Goma-konbu, Baba-hamu-kyuri
Green grapes for dessert
Having some guests over the weekend. I didn’t have time for grocery shopping for bento making on Monday. Whipped up this packed lunch box using the ingredients stored in our pantry/fridge/freezer. Not too bad!