Week 24: Trigun and teriyaki


Sorry for the slightly late post – I was away over the weekend and have spent the last week finishing my epic eBay clearout (which ended up becoming my second job after I got home from my actual job)! Anyway, here’s the traditional format that this blog has become known for. I’m going to start branching out into different areas though, mainly because it’s less taxing for me to write and it’s also more interesting for your readers. Speaking of, make sure you subscribe, as I really am back for good now!

News story of the week: Arranged marriages make a comeback in Japan

Source: News on Japan

Until 1945 they were almost universal. They started to decline during the post war American occupation, but as late as 1960 it is estimated that 70 per cent of weddings were arranged. Westernisation and the increasing independence of women led to a marked decline. By 1990 the proportion of arranged marriages is thought to have fallen to around 30 per cent of the total.
But things changed in the after a swathe of the country was devastated by the tsunami and earthquake . . .
Arranged marriage is very uncommon over here and, until recently, it was far less common than it used to be in Japan. No doubt strong family ties and traditional values play an important role in this resurgence of arranged marriage in the country. For the full article, head over to News on Japan now.
Destination of the week: Tsumago

Tsumago was an important post town on the route between Kyoto and Edo (otherwise known as Tokyo). Today, it is a very well preserved historical town thanks to the work of its residents. The Honjin, the principle inn serving travelling officials, and Wakihonjin, which accommodated travellers of lower status are still maintained, recreating the historical post town atmosphere.

Many ryokan, traditional Japanese inns, are located in the town as well as the Tsumago Castle ruins. Depending on how much time you have to spare, the old walking trail to Magome is worth exploring. The town is not particularly easy to access; the best option is to either take one of the infrequent buses or a taxi from Nagiso Station, which is accessible from Nagoya and Nagano Stations. Still, for the authentic historical Japanese holiday, Tsumago really should be on your list.

Source: japan-guide.com

Japanese saying of the week: I no naka no kawazu taikai wo shirazu

Literally, ‘a frog in a well does not know the great sea’. This is a very simple proverb – a person who is trapped in their own way of life does not know of any other and is therefore scared of it. People only know their own surroundings and therefore don’t have any real knowledge of anything else.

Bento of the week: Fighting Fish

Apparently these two fighting fish actually represent a showdown between bloggers J.D Roth and Trent Hamm. (I’m not making that up!) I have no idea what the ingredients consist of in this one but I suspect those fish are actually sweets . . .

Source: thedigeratilife.com

Series of the week: Trigun

Source: qirien.icecavern.net

I recently polled the blog’s Facebook page, asking what anime people wanted reviewing next. With a land slide victory, here’s Trigun, a staple Space Western anime for many fans.

The story follows Vash the Stampede, also known as the Human Typhoon, a wandering gunman with a bounty on his head. He travels from town to town, inevitably causing destruction, followed by two women employed by the Bernadelli Insurance Society. Despite the sixty billion ‘double dollars’ bounty of his head, Vash is a kind-hearted man who tries to save lives. He cannot clearly remember the incident that earned him the bounty, the destruction of the city of July. Occasionally joined by the priest Nicholas Wolfwood, another gunman with a mysterious past.

At first, Trigun looks like a slapstick show that relies more on comic relief than plot. However, it soon shifts towards the darker and dramatic side and is well-known for having one of the strongest and more emotional endings of any anime. It also has the cutest mascot kitty! If you like your action, gun fights and plot, Trigun should be on your immediate ‘to watch’ list.

Score: 9/10

Weird thing of the week: Konbini

Source: inhabitat.com

You can tell I haven’t blogged for a while. This feature was the request of the website banner art winner, Wai San. Konbeni, also known as 7/11, are convenience stores that can be found all over Japan. They’re much more impressive than your British ones (obviously) – some of the stranger items include shirts for extremely busy salary men, bento boxes and ticket reservations for shows, theme parks and so on. No two konbini are the same as the range of products is always slightly different, due to the major operators competing for new innovative products. For the busy travelling tourist, the kobeni breakfast is an essential item that you’ll be eating a lot. You’ll always find something weird and wonderful in a konbini, whether it’s a Dragon Ball crisps or sparkling soy water.

Recipe of the week: Chicken teriyaki

Chicken teriyaki is a staple lunchtime dish in Japan and for a very good reason – it’s delicious! This week’s recipe has been taken from norecipes.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 skin-on boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons mild flavored honey (or maltose)
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons sake
Method
1) Combine the water, soy sauce, brown sugar and mirin in large ziploc bag and add the chicken thighs. Press out as much air as you can and seal the bag. Let this sit in the fridge for at least an hour.
2) To make the teriyaki sauce, just add the honey, soy sauce, mirin and sake to a small sauce pan and boil over medium heat until the sauce is glossy and slightly viscous (it won’t get quite as thick as the jarred types). It should take on a caramelized taste but be careful not to burn it.
3) When you’re ready to grill the chicken, turn the broiler on and move the oven rack up to the upper position. Put a wire rack on a baking sheet (I use the rack out of my toaster oven), and put the chicken thighs skin side down onto the rack (the idea is to keep the meat elevated off the pan).
4) Grill until brown then flip so the skin side faces up. Baste the skin side with teriyaki sauce and continue to broil until the skin is golden brown with just a few charred spots. Give the chicken one final baste with the teriyaki sauce and serve.
You can, of course, buy teriyaki sauce by the bottle and save yourself the trouble of making the sauce from scratch but it just won’t taste as good!

Source: norecipes.com

Final Thoughts

Until next week!

2 thoughts on “Week 24: Trigun and teriyaki

  1. I stayed at a traditional ryokan in Tsumago last time I was in Japan and I walked to the trail to Magome as well! Beautiful area for sure and well worth the visit.

  2. I think the part about arranged marriages is very interesting!
    I actually think it’s not that bad as long as it’s a choice made by the two people who will get married without any external interferences. It definitely makes finding a partner easier.

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