Archive by Author


13 Nov

Hey  guys,

I went to the garden and harvested a lot of things today. I have a lot of bok choy and radishes, a funny shaped daikon, and some leafy greens (sorry, I don’t know what they’re called, but they were next to the radishes and bok choy if that helps). If anyone wants some, just comment on this post or send me an email about it. I’ll probably just bring them to class on Tuesday. We could also meet up at some other time if you really want. I’ll also send out an email to everyone in case they this post gets lost among others.

Harvesting was actually pretty nice and calming. A welcome change from all the schoolwork and stress. One of my friends came with me and seemed to enjoy the garden too!

Camping Food

9 Nov

As a young boy, I vividly remember camping in the wilderness with my parents. Leaving home early in the morning, we would drive for several hours, up a small mountain path and through a dense forest. Finally, we would reach our campground, just a flat piece of land that had been cleared of some brush—some stumps in one corner, a fire pit and picnic table in another.


Upon arriving, the first thing we would do would be to split up tasks. While my dad, my brother, and I would start setting up the tent and an overhang to provide shade and block rain, my mom would take out food and prepare lunch. After about thirty minutes to an hour my we would have our tents pitched and ready to use. At that point, my mom would have finished the food, too.


Now, being in the wilderness, it is only natural that we wouldn’t have much in the sense of fancy food. In fact, what was prepared was usually just some simple bread and spam we bought at a local grocer’s before leaving that day. But after the long drive to the camp ground and setting up the tents, we were all famished. Simple as the fare may have been, we eagerly dug into the food. Back home, we would have disdained a meal like that. But here, out in the wilderness and among nature, it seemed as peaceful and natural a meal as could be.

Garden Update 11/6

6 Nov

The garden is looking good today. A lot of plants look ready to be harvested (especially the radishes). The pumpkin seems to be invading our plot again, though.

The Apple

18 Oct

The apple is a healthy fruit. It is a good source of many nutrients that are good for the body, such as fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, and potassium. There are also many different varieties, and its variety of flavors can be said to fit anybody’s tastes. Despite its obvious nutritional value and good flavor, however, is often associated with evil and corruption in many different cultures around the world.


In Greek myth, Eris, the goddess of discord, was said to have thrown a golden apple into one of Zeus’s banquets and caused chaos in the banquet. In the fairy tale of Snow White, the witch used a poisoned apple to put her into a deep slumber. By some accounts in the Bible, the fruit of knowledge that Satan used to tempt Eve and give humans eternal sin was also an apple.


In all of these cases, the apple takes on the role of the instigator of conflict. But why would a fruit as healthful and tasty as an apple take on this role across so many different cultures? In my opinion, it is these very features of the apple that make it easy to portray as a starter of conflict. Because of its benefits, it is desirable to many. In a story, this desire can lead to people fighting over it and conflict.


Basically, the apple symbolizes temptation in the heart of humans. In the case of Greek myth, goddesses battle over the apple because it is supposed to belong to the fairest of them all. In Snow White, she is tempted towards the apple because of its flavor. Eve is tempted to accept the fruit from Satan because of the knowledge she believes it will grant her. They are all tempted by what the apple can offer them, ultimately resulting in conflict.


Garden Update Oct. 10

10 Oct

Went to water the plants at around 11. The plants seem to be doing well overall. Erica, Catherine, and I went to the garden on Friday to do some more transplanting for our plot. The relocated plants seem to be drooping unfortunately.

The first two photos are from Friday. The others are from today.

The Magic of the Unexpected

28 Sep

As strange as it may sound, food can be magical. Even though scientifically it is nothing more than chemicals reacting with each other, sometimes things appear amazing all the same. How is this possible?

When people can’t understand how something is possible, they often attribute it to magic. In the case of the “gastronomers” in Tanizaki’s Gourmet Club, they cannot fathom how such ordinary-looking food can taste as it does, such as how the bok choy can seemingly switch from being vegetables to human fingers and back again. It is unbelievable that such a thing could be possible, so they just describe it as magical.

Such a thing has happened to me before. During one of my trips to China, I came across a unique dish that translated into English is roughly “stinky tofu.” It was very stinky, to say the least. If I had to compare it to something, I’d say it smelled like manure, literally. After much goading, I tried it, and to my utter amazement, it actually tasted good! It was shocking to me that something that had such a repulsive odor could have such a savory flavor. I couldn’t think of a way to explain it, and thus could only describe it as a magical food, that could taste good despite smelling bad.

In my opinion, this kind of thing is common with Chinese food, at least from the eyes of the West. They use exotic ingredients, such as gall bladder of snake or lichen. With such strange ingredients, they can still make things that taste unexplainably amazing.

“Organic” Foods

15 Sep

To all those people who insist on eating only an all-organic diet, here’s news for you: organic food isn’t always healthier than non-organic food. Sometimes, it can actually be less healthy. The fruits and vegetables labeled “organic” in supermarkets are oftentimes misleading. Organic refers to all the chemicals and pesticides used when growing them, even if they don’t actually come in contact with the part to be eaten. With fruit, for example, inorganic and highly effective pesticides and attractive scents are applied next to the fruit, to draw insects away from the fruit. Because these chemicals aren’t organic, the fruit itself is not labeled as organic. When using organic pesticides, however, they must be applied directly onto the fruit. In other words, the organic fruit actually has more chemicals on it than the non-organic one.

So, it seems like strictly adhering to a regimen of just organic foods can actually be counterproductive. That isn’t to say that organic foods are bad for your health. It’s just that the foods labeled as “organic” in the supermarkets may not be as healthy or all-natural as expected. This relates to Fukuoka’s idea of how commercial influences in the exchange of food get in the way of people eating the healthy, affordable food they want and deserve. Things are made more complicated than they need to be.

That the food industry tries to make more profit by labeling things as organic reflects a trend towards the organic foods by the population. This kind of increasing demand for organic foods is driven by the organic-food die-hards. Just like the “foodies” of the Meiji era who favored beef over traditional Japanese meats; those who stay on organic-only diets represent powerful trends in food culture. Thanks to their efforts, organic foods may become the norm in the future, just as beef has become so popular in Japan in modern times.

Versatile Rice

5 Sep

It’s only been about two weeks since I started cooking in a college setting. But in those two weeks I have learned something valuable: rice is very versatile. I don’t just mean what it can be eaten with but also how it can be made, especially how leftover rice can be used to make different dishes for other meals of the day.

The issue of leftover rice first presented itself when I realized that the rice cooker I owned needed a minimum amount of rice to cook properly. However, this minimum amount of rice was more than I could eat in one meal. In other words, I would always end up with leftovers that I had to save for later.

This is where the versatility comes in. There are plenty of ways to use leftover rice to make entirely new meals. The simplest is porridge for breakfast. Just throw the leftover rice in a pot, add water, and let the water boil. The result is a warm porridge that can be eaten with any variety of salted or pickled dishes (radishes, tofu, etc.). Using leftover rice to make porridge also has the added benefit of being much faster than making porridge from uncooked rice. With uncooked rice, it can take half an hour for the rice to soak up the water and become soft. Using leftover rice, however, the rice is already cooked and soft, so it’s only a matter of adding water to change the consistency.

Another way I use the leftover rice is to make fried rice. After stir-frying it, the rice is flavorful and fresh. What’s more, with fried rice it is easy to add eggs, vegetables, and meat to the mix, making for a balanced meal. It is also much faster than making a fresh batch of rice just to be stir-fried.

These are all things leftover rice can be used to make. Rice from dinner can be used to make meals for breakfast and lunch the next day—and all in quick and easy ways, too! Now, I even intentionally leave some leftover rice so that I can make porridge and fried rice easily later.

Garden on 9/3/2010

3 Sep

Plants seem to be the same as yesterday; no problems. The ground did look pretty dry at first. It absorbed a lot of the water (and I watered it a lot).
There wasn’t a nozzle when I was watering the plants, so I just used my finger to cap part of the opening of the hose and make the water spray out. Seemed to work well enough.
Overall, not much to report on.