Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Fundoshi - Allowing Men to be Free and Comfortable

On my first trip to Japan, I had chanced upon an authentic Japanese item, the Fundoshi. I was quite interested in them and had collected some of these unusual products as gifts for my male friends. Now, you must be wondering if the “fundoshi” is some kind of a food item or a gift. Actually, it is neither a food nor a gift; it is considered a traditional undergarment for Japanese men. Use of this underwear quickly ended just after the World War II, when trunks and briefs were introduced to the Japanese fashion culture.

Bearing a simple design, the fundoshi underwear is crafted from linen material and is worn as a strip of cloth to cover the male genitals. These wrap around garments are worn from the waist. When I went back to my homeland, my friends were interested to know if I had brought any gifts for them. I took out the entire collection of fundoshi underwear and asked them to choose. John, Francis and Shawn were surprised to find these single strip undergarments. Francis was like “Oh my God!! Did you just buy these for us?” they looked at me as if it was a wrong souvenir for childhood friends.

I had strictly asked them to try these fashionable undergarments at first before they tried to comment any further. They were stuck with common queries like “how to wear them” and “are they uncomfortable” and so on and so forth. I had assured my pals that these underwears were absolutely comfortable. Sometime later, my friends had called me up to say that the fundoshi undergarment I had bought for them were simply excellent; soft and comfortable. They were really pleased to have the fundoshi.

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Frankly speaking, while shopping in Japan, I was not quite sure whether the linen undergarments would make a fashionable style statement for me. Later on, I had tried them myself and found that the fundoshi were extremely stretchable and were designed like wrap around undergarment. From thin to fat, the fundoshi can fit around the waist of any person because of their elasticity. Though, it is recommendable for fat people to buy a bigger size in case they don’t want to see their undergarment tear apart. The summer heat in Japan is unbearable; hence men often wear the fundoshi cotton underwear to keep their genital area cool. In fact it’s true!! Because whenever I feel uncomfortable I slip off my trunks and wear the fundoshi which allows my private parts to remain cool and safe.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Spring Bamboo Shoot to Prepare Some Quintessential Japanese Dishes

When in Japan, you have plethora of food choices available in the bustling restaurants of lively cities. Japan is worldwide famous for the likes of exceptional and yummy cuisines. It’s the best place on earth for connoisseurs of good foods. If the gourmet in you is kicking from inside, visit nearest restaurant and order a delicious dish.

The Ate is one of the most frequented restaurants in the heavily built area of Tokyo, Ichigaya. This restaurant has to offer some of the best Japanese dishes to you. Although every dish you try out over here is exceptional in one or other form but the ones to catch attention from every quarter are dishes prepared from Grilled Spring Bamboo Shoot.

To make it a true delicacy, the restaurant serves the dish seasoned with soya sauce. By adding soy sauce, it does not lose fragrance. Once had this dish, you will be compelled to try it again and again.

There are some culinary methods to prepare this dish in your kitchen, why not have looks on the preparation method of different recipes from Grilled Spring Bamboo Shoot.

Peel off the brown skins of bamboo shoot and cut it away at 3 cm height from end. Make an angle while cutting the top portion of bamboo shoot and keep it halved lengthwise. Take a pan, deeply filled with water and mix rice bran in it. Put the water to boil over medium heat flame and continue boiling for approximately 60 minutes. Now leave the pan to cool down at room temperature.

Once it is completely cool, now peel off brown skin and taste the softer part. If bitterness is no more, don’t peel off any skin further. Wash the entire shoot well.

You can prepare three different dishes with the bamboo shoot. Bottom part can be used to prepare a rice dish whereas with top and rest bottom part, a stewed dish can be prepared. Save the middle part to prepare an omelette.

To flavour the dish, you can prefer to season it with Shiro Dashi. Basically, it is a mixture of mirin, soya sauce, salt, bonito stock, etc.

Bamboo shoot omelette can be prepared with small pieces of bamboo shoot, 1 tbsp of brown sugar and 2 tbsp of Shiro Dashi.

The stewed bamboo shoot with chicken dumplings is prepared by making dumpling mixture.
  • Take chicken thigh mince weighing 150 grams
  • add 2 spring onions, 1 teaspoon grated ginger juice
  • Potato starch, 1 ½ tbsp
  • Beaten egg of medium size, 1/2
  • Pinch of salt
Take a bowl and mix all the ingredients well
  • In a deep pan, add 3 cups of water and put it to boil
  • Add 4 to 5 tbsp of Shiro Dashi
Soup is ready, now mix bamboo shoots and dumpling mixture and stir it well with a spoon. Bring it to cook and keep the process on until it is reduced to quarter of original volume. Put the green beans, prior to taking away pan from heat.

To prepare bamboo shoot rice, you do not have to put much effort. Wash the rice and bamboo shoots and keep it in a rice cooker. Pour some water in the cooker, if you like to eat less soft rice, keep the volume of water short. Add 2 tbsp of Shiro Dashi, 1 tbsp sake and finely chopped fried tofu. Now switch on the cooker.

Spring bamboo shoot is one of the most consumed vegetables in Japan. This vegetable has all the qualities that you will like to consume on a tour to Japan. The texture, flavour and nutritional facts of bamboo shoot make truly delicious dishes.

Okinawa Greets You for a Worthwhile Trip

Summer has arrived and you all seem to be soaked in the holiday mood. This time if you have planned to visit Japan then don’t miss out on the beautiful island of Okinawa; the Japanese prefecture will greet you with clear blue skies, bountiful marine life, sun-kissed beaches, crystal-clear seas and of course the Ryuku islands homing the Shuri Castle. Did you know the Okinawa prefecture comprises a cluster of 160 islands? This Japanese beach destination tends to stretch for about 1000 kilometers.

You will simply adore, the place, its people and the culture observed here. Some say, that natives here follow a mixed culture that is derived from the best of Chinese, Austronesian and Thai cultures. Okinawa culture is clearly distinct from that of its mainland.

The blue tropical waters surrounding the islands attract the traveler’s eye first. Although, people here speak in Japanese, the dialects vary from place to place. The southern portion of the prefecture comprises a metropolitan area attracting tourists’ attention from different parts of the world.

Before boarding your flight you may as well want to look into few important things if you want to explore the specialties of the place. Some of them are mentioned below:

If you want to taste the authentic flavours of Japan then do not miss out on the delicious cuisines served at the Yamamoto restaurant. Here you can order for a Korean barbecue beef. For a Hakkan meal, Tsubame, the restaurant is absolutely fine. Now, it seems that Okinawa is quite a welcoming place for tourists.

The Euglena Mall is a must-visit for those who love cocktails; you will definitely want to be here if you love to sip on experimental liquor which may primarily include tea and coffee rum cocktails.

The Kokusai street is a place where vendors sell unusual seafood, some of which are considered delicacies among natives in Okinawa. The coconut crab, porcupine fish and snake meat are a must-buy if you want to pamper your taste-buds with bizarre foodstuff. Some of them are added with preservatives while some are sold raw.

Vacationing goes incomplete without shopping. While touring across the islands of Okinawa, it’s necessary you shop for goodies that are authentically crafted by people living here. The Japanese items are plentifully available in boutiques. You may pick them as souvenirs or as gifts for loved ones. One of the must-buys is the chilli oil that is exclusively made by Okinawa’s Pengin community. The oil is known to add flavor to your food.

You may also end up buying the Vintage t-shirts sold at stores; and bring some of them for your relatives and friends if you want.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

'The Land of Rising Sun' in Rainy Season!

And you thought Japan was all about history, science and technology, scrumptious dishes and picturesque sites, in fact Japan has a lot more to bestow the world. It’s the time of year, when Japan is in full glory. Spring is the best season to go on a sojourn to the land of rising sun. And, not long after spring comes monsoon.

If you love heavy droplets of sky-water, Japan is the place where you can cherish rainy days. Months of non-stop rains will soak you to the hilt. But, to avoid feeling down and blue, you need to have some precautions and alter your lifestyle in the rainy season. Especially to the foreign visitors, not used to heavy rainfall, get equipped with all the necessary monsoon kits as soon as you land in the Japan.

Keep yourself covered with designer umbrellas and scented with perfumes

Umbrellas are a must have during the rainy season in Japan. You can visit departmental stores in Takashimaya Time Square in Shinjuku to find wide range of beautiful umbrellas and rain-ware. Most umbrellas have two-step handle, which are made up of fine quality woods.

It’s quite common in rainy days to have pungent body odour. You must keep good perfumes together to avoid foul smell from your body. There are some of the best perfumes in the departmental stores of Japan.

Stay fit with ‘rainy season’ dishes

Rainy days might bring health hazards to the foreign tourists. You need to keep yourself fit and avoid being worn out. The loathsome humid weather might make you feel tired and exhausted. Having fermented foods in the rainy days can help you maintain energy level. Prefer having Miso, Soy Sauce and Natto, which is fermented soy bean. You can prefer Shio-Koji, fermented salty rice, over salt, as it can help you in easy digestion of food in the rainy season and contains Amino acids and Vitamins.

In rainy days, it’s common to have less appetite. Ochazuke can be a wonderful dish under such conditions. To prepare this dish, soak a chicken breast in Shio-Koji and preserve for half day in refrigerator. Prepare a pickled vegetable and boil chicken breast, in small pieces, for 5 minutes. Take a bowl and empty rice over other ingredients and then mix green tea on the top. Ochazuke might sound strange to you but it’s common for Japanese people to have this during the rainy season.

Indoor healing therapy sessions are common practice during rainy season

Remaining inside the house and practicing different therapies to improve health conditions is into the Japanese lifestyle in rainy season. If you are visiting Japan anytime near monsoon season, you can find some of best healing practices going on around almost every Japanese household.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Spring is the Season When Japan is in Full Glory!

If you are planning a trip to Japan around this time, get ready for some of the exhilarating experiences. Spring is the season that sees Japan in its full glory. Besides cherry blossom festival, Japanese foods are another centre of attraction in the months of spring.

Japanese foods are known worldwide for their scrumptious taste. They are yummy delights for a gourmet visiting Japan at any time of the year. Apart from several sea foods, Japanese vegetables also make delectable recipes.

Field mustard and Udo are the two most enjoyed vegetables that you can buy from nearby supermarket. Udo is an exceptionally aromatic vegetable that also makes wonderful salad. When had with Miso, you will get out of the world feel in your mouth. To enjoy Udo’s fragrance at the fullest, prepare it simply.

How to prepare Udo vegetable?

Before cooking Udo vegetable, peel off the skin and cut it into pieces. Now drain it in vinegar-mixed cold water. Boil the drained vegetable pieces for 30 seconds and let it cool down.

If you wish, you have the choice to add other vegetables too. However, sesame flavour works well.

It’s the time to prepare main dish, Peperoncino pasta that is also called as garlic and chilli pasta. When mixed with mustard and shrimp, it can produce heavenly feel to your mouth.

Ingredients to prepare Peperoncino pasta
  • 200g Spaghetti
  • Half bunch Field Mustard
  • 3 large cloves of garlic
  • Seasoning, to taste
  • 3-4tsp of Olive oil
  • 40g shrimp
  • 2 to 3 chilli
How to prepare Peperoncino pasta
  • After washing the field mustard cut it in half
  • Pre-heat the pan and add olive oil. When oil starts boiling up, mix sliced garlic and chilli. Before you take the pan off-heat, do not forget to add shrimps.
  • Cook the spaghetti in a large pan by boiling. Before few seconds to finish cooking, add field mustard and save the boiled water for preparing sauce later.
  • Put the pan back on heat and place reserved boiled water into it. Mix spaghetti and season it, to taste.

Finally, Peperoncino pasta is done. You won’t take more than 30 minutes to prepare both the dishes.

Udo vegetable and Peperoncino pasta made from field mustard is most popular Japanese food for spring season. There are several other dishes to enjoy in Japan during the months of spring.

You can go to any chic restaurants on the streets of Japan and find seasonal vegetables with the main course.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Reviews About Japan Help You Adjust Better on Your Visit

If you love to travel and are contemplating going to Japan on your next holiday, you have made the right choice. In Japan you will get the best of both worlds. It is full of culture and is well rooted in traditions yet extremely modern. Visiting Japan should actually be on the top of your ‘Places I must Visit’ list, if you are really passionate about travelling.


The Land of the Rising Sun is the perfect holiday destination for people who love to explore new ethnicities. The history of the country is very rich and travellers interested in history will completely love Japan. The country is an amalgamation of antiquity and modernity. So, if you want to visit a place in the Orient which has both hills and the sea, your best bet will be a trip to Japan.

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However, as tourists we have many preconceived notions about certain countries. For example, the first time I thought of visiting Japan, I had made up my mind about the fact that I was going to have a language problem in the country, but the people of Japan, proved me wrong. Every tourist spot is full of tour guides who know both Japanese and English. So, if you want to go sightseeing, first get hold of a good guide, for they know the best places in Japan, which are truly worth a visit. The Japanese race is quite proud and some people might not be very welcoming but on the whole, the country is magnanimous.

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You might have trouble communicating at restaurants and small hotels, but with the help of sketches and hand gestures, you can overcome these small hitches. Japan is scattered with western influences; therefore a ‘westerner’ will not feel out of place in the country. They will find it easy to go about the country, buy supplies as almost everything is available in the country. To save money a tourist can purchase a Japan Rail pass. This pass will cover the entire Japanese Rail network but not the subway route in Tokyo.

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Japan is a “shopper’s paradise”. In the busy city of Kyoto, Shijo is a place where you can buy various things, both of Japanese and western origin. Tokyo is the Mecca of technology; therefore if you have to buy electronics, Tokyo is the place. Before visiting the country consider reading a travel review about Japan and Japanese life style. This will help you understand the country and its people better.

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Kamaishi City Shows Signs of Post-tsunami Recovery Both Socially and Economically

After being devastated by the 2011 tsunami people in Japan have started showing signs of recovery even in a time when crucial job opportunities have temporarily fled from the island country. Ms Maekawa, who is in her sixties and is a resident of the Kamaishi city, a coastal town located in the Iwate prefecture, has set up her own bistro and says that her food joint is actually helping people come in terms with daily life after the massive tsunami loss had taken away countless lives without an alarm. Ms, Maekawa who has lost her daughter in the tsunami aftermath greets her customers whenever she is taking time off her busy schedule; some of them have even become her friends.


Today, a lot of people come to her eatery not just only for food; but to socialise, talk and make friendship with people. In fact such socializing help the people of Kamaishi city come over the trauma. Sometimes her customers even order for take-outs for loved ones. Two years have passed since the massive earthquake had struck high on the Japanese lifestyle and employment.

If you wish to enquire on how earthquakes affect Japanese life you will be surprised to know about the steadfast nature of the people living here. People living here reveal a determined attitude towards life. The calamity has not only cost lives but has also affected the overall employment in Japan. The mega disaster has affected around 841000 jobs. Since the aftermath, the Japanese Government has been giving efforts to restructure the employment scenario by urging private and public sectors to participate in projects designed employment progression.

The Technical Cooperation Project was first implemented during March, 2013; the project was set up and conducted by a group of experts; there were around seven professionals hailing from the Government’s “workers and employers’” organisations. The special team had paid a visit to the Kamaishi city to find out the level of recovery and how people have responded to such recovery measures. The main objective of conducting such thorough research was to collect and distribute the good practices of employment. Such research and data are deemed to form the basis of discussion at a conference that is expected to be held in 2014 in Japan.


The thorough study and analysis is helping the Government consider certain comprehensive mechanism for social protection; a lot of efforts have already been taken for extended employment and support to livelihood.