Skip to main content

When in Japan, Eat Italian

Today I decided to do pretty much nothing. Lazy Saturday, as a reward for the midterm exam I'd had the day before. And I pretty much fulfilled that promise: I did absolutely nothing except eat and read poorly written novels from iBooks until the evening when I had my one pre-scheduled event.

The highlight of my culinary adventures was getting to go to my host family's friend's restaurant: he's the chef. Trained in France, he used to own a French restaurant, but after the economy tank he switched to Italian because it's less expensive. But all his food still had a slight French flair to it...

The restaurant is named Nitarato, which is a mix up spelling of his name (which I have casually forgotten...)

Antipasti: small green salad with a light vinaigrette, smoked salmon with grapefruit and capers, smoked scallop, and prosciutto-wrapped fig.

Pasts with a light tomato sauce, squid, and spinach.

Potato, eggplant, and some of the flakiest white fish I have EVER had. Also broccoli and smoked tomato (which I actually ate...)

Caramel ice cream and a coffee-jello cake thing.

Me with the chef. 

Then when we returned home I made chocolate chip cookies because I can't cook to save my life, but can make a mean cookie. It was funny having to do everything in grams...weighing flour on a scale etcetc. It wasn't the recipe I usually use, but they came out perfectly! 

The only time I really left the house today was to see a noh play. Noh is one of Japan's traditional, male-actors only plays. It's the one where they wear the creepy masks. (You remember some posts back I went to the noh museum and got to play dress up.)

That's the traditional noh stage. There were two performances: kyogen (a short comedic skit usually performed inbetween noh plays) and the noh itself. The kyogen was a story of a lord who told his servant to find him 3000 sumo wrestlers. The servant convinces him he only needs one, and when he goes to search for a sumo wrestler he finds a mosquito that transformed itself into a human so it can get blood. The mosquito says it can wrestle, and so the servant brings him to the lord and they have a bout. When the mosquito stings the lord they realize what he is, and in round 2 the lord uses a fan to create wind and weaken the mosquito. However, the mosquito manages to win and flaps off the stage, making a comic peeping sound. In a rage the lord wrestles his servant, wins, and then exits the stage making the same flapping-motion/ peeping sound as the mosquito.

I never said it had to make sense...

The main noh play was a tragedy, as all noh plays are. Semimaru is blind and has been rejected from his noble status. He sits in a thatched hut and plays the biwa (a flute) His crazy older sister is cast out from Kyoto and hearing this flute, stops to listen. He asks who she is, and after realizing she's his sister they embrace. Then they part ways sadly. All the movements are slow, almost sloth-like, and there's weird chant-speaking accompanied by two men playing small drums. Interesting and culturally relevant but...not my thing.


Popular posts from this blog

Taking a Breather

Sometimes when you're in Tokyo, as wonderful as its bustling atmosphere is, you just want to forget you're in the middle of Tokyo.

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a guy from Sweden who regularly came to Japan on business and he said that despite how much he loved Tokyo he could never live here because of the lack of green space. Tokyo has its parks, of course, like all major cities, but if you want unspoiled greenery you have to be willing to head at least forty minutes outside of the sprawling metropolis limits. In winter this desire to surround oneself with greenery might not matter as much, but now that spring is seeping into the atmosphere and the upcoming sakura season is on everyone's mind (NHK even puts out an annual "forecast" for sakura!) the neon lights and concrete jungle start to feel a little oppressive.

That's when little hideaways like the Sato Sakura Museum and Kohmeisen come in handy.

The Sato Sakura Museum is a small museum in Nakameguro…

Short Hair, Don't Care: Model Behavior

I like to think I have a wide range of accomplishments under my belt:

Accidentally over-caffeinated myself conducting ethnographic research--check
Read 3+ books in a single day--check
Never (yet) pulled an all-nighter--check
Sung at Carnegie Hall--check
Published a poem--check

But now I can add a decidedly interesting item to that list:
Been a hair model in Japan--CHECK.

It's a bit of a long story.

It all starts with coffee, actually, like many of my adventures here in Japan do. I was checking out a coffee shop in the too, too cool area of Daikanyama (no, seriously, that entire neighborhood is just Too Cool for me, I don't even know why I was there). There I met stylist Yusuke, who asked if I wanted to appear in a PR photoshoot for the opening of his salon brand's newest branch, boy Tokyo, Harajuku. They're (wisely!) making a site to appeal to foreign clientele--it's a smart move because it's really hard to find a place that has stylists who truly are comfortab…

100K Announcement


Thanks to everyone who has read and followed my journeys in Japan from 2011 to 2017. Your support of my adventures and observations means the world to me.

In celebration of Riceandramen finally hitting 100k views, I am pleased to announce that I will be running a giveaway!

I will send one lucky person a custom box of goodies from Japan that could include (but isn't limited to): snacks, stationary, character goods, traditional Japanese crafts and more. The only limits are weight and size and your imagination (I'll be keeping everything small and light to keep the shipping costs down).

Without further ado, the details and rules of the giveaway are as follows:


The giveaway will run from today, February 25 2018 JST/ February 24 CST to March 11, 2018 JST/ March 10 CST.You don't have to be in Japan to enter: since almost all of my readers are international, this giveaway will be, too. The winner will be picked at random and notified via p…