The Night of Gyoza

Gyoza is so yummy!
And I decided to make some the other night
because they are so easy to make.
Gyoza Recipe
2 cups ground meat
2 cups chopped cabbage
1 cup chopped chives
1/4 cup chopped Japanese leek*
1/4 chopped green shiso*
1 tbs chopped ginger
1 tbs sesame oil
2 tbs katakuriko (potato starch)
(can be subsituted with corn starch)
(can be substituted with chicken broth)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
50 gyoza wraps
Add everything in a big bowl.
Mix very well.
Place a spoonful of filling on the gyoza wrap.
Swipe water around the outer edges with your finger
so it will stick when you fold the gyoza.
(you can learn to do the fold here.)
Turn the heat on medium.
Pour some oil (1-2 tbs) on the frying pan
and place the gyoza in a circle inside.
Fry for a few minutes until the bottom is light brown.
Pour some water into the frying pan
(to about 1/4 of the gyoza)
place the lid on top and turn up the heat to high.
Take the lid off after 3-5 minutes
(once the water has mostly vaporized)
add a little more oil to the frying pan
and move it in a circular motion
(so the oil spreads evenly)
until all the water has vaporized.
Turn the heat off and
immediately place a plate over the frying pan
and flip them both over so the gyoza is now on the plate.
Eat with any kind of sauce you like.
And of course rice.
*The Japanese leek and shiso are optional.
If you want, you can also add chopped garlic.

*I used vegetarian soy meat
(which is why they are in a can)
but you can use whatever minced meat you like.
Not even sure but I think a lot of people use pork.
*I like to eat gyoza with Ponzu.
Just add lemon/lime to soy sauce
and that’s pretty much the same thing.

The Birds-Eye View

Katrin Korfmann takes the most amazing photographs.
She takes multiple photos from a birds-eye view
and merges them together to make one image.
On her website it says:
Various instants in time are being linked
as if they took place at the same moment,
offering a spatial experience of the progression of time.
There’s something about a birds-eye view that I love.
I always wonder what everyone is thinking
or what they are talking about .
Or in the case of the person laying on the ground
in the very last photo that is being run over by the bulls
…if the person is still alive.
One can only hope.

The Old Photos: Lake Michigan

Look at this crazy winter photo of
the North Pier Outer Lighthouse in St. Joseph, Michigan!
Apparently a wind chill advisory
was issued in Michigan this past week.
My family used to live right by Lake Michigan.
In the winter, parts of Lake Michigan would freeze over
and it becomes this massive field of snow and ice.
(I don’t think Lake Michigan has ever completely frozen over.)
This is us exploring out on Lake Michigan.
I remember being excited and a little freaked out
about walking out above the deep water.
Don’t you love our retro snowsuits?

The Sapporo Snow Festival

(photo by nyarumera)
will be held from February 5th to 11th this year.
Have you every been?
The Japan Ground Self Defense Force starts working on
these huge snow sculptures in January.
(you can see the progress here.)
I haven’t seen the snow festival since junior high
when I lived in Sapporo with my family.
I think I need to plan another trip up north
to go see these snow sculptures one day soon.
Aren’t the details amazing?
(photo by nyarumera)

The Day in Miyagi

Our day helping out at the paprika farm
starts by waking up at 6:30 am.
(Although I hit snooze once…or sometimes twice.)

We eat breakfast at 7:00 am.

One of our local volunteer friends always lets us stay over.
We all really appreciate his hospitality.

We head to the volunteer center at 8:00 am.

The snow outside was amazing.
Everything was white and shimmering.

This is the old town hall that was damaged by the earthquake.
The deconstruction has started already.
We make our way to the site and start working at 9:00 am.
This day our job was to construct
the inner poles for three greenhouses.
We dug holes in the ground.
We hammered.
It was great.
I think I like manual labor.
We took a lunch break at 12:00 pm.
We always go to a local place to eat
and get to interact with the people there.
Everyone is so friendly.
We headed back to the site at 1:00 pm.
We ended for the day at 3:00 pm.
The sun sets a lot faster up north
so have to stop working pretty early.
But it felt good to be working outside under the sun!
And here is a picture of our team that day.

So this is a typical day volunteering in Yamamoto-cho.
It’s always a wonderful experience
working together as a team and seeing the improvements.
And above all, it’s a great feeling
to see the farmers smile with satisfaction.

The Solaryman

So many things about the SOLARYMAN series appeals to me.
And I think it’s the same reason behind the concept that
inspired photographer Yuki Aoyama to do this series.
SORALYMAN is made up of
the word sora (sky) and salaryman.
In Japan salaryman refers to the business men
who wear suits everyday and work in a large corporation.
Back in the day (not sure when exactly)
salarymen were considered to be a powerful force
behind the economic growth of Japan.
These days though, a lot of people think of  salarymen
as over-worked and under-payed.
(which is kind of true.)
And what with this economy,
many of these salarymen are not as upbeat as before.
This is why I love the SOLARYMAN series.
It doesn’t show the tired salarymen squeezed into
a packed train during their morning commute.
It shows these salarymen jumping around
all energetic and full of character!
Which they are.
I should know.
I work with them everyday.
And not being biased or anything
they are the best coworkers!
So, what do you think?

If you like this series
they are displaying poster size photos
from the SOLARYMAN series at
Libro Ikebukuro Honten Bookstore until Jan 27th.

The Ningen Dock (aka Physical Exam)

Turning thirty is a huge turning point for women.
(or maybe just me…whatever.)
And one of the things I’d been dreading
finally came the other day.
Ningen Dock is a full physical exam,
much more thorough than regular checkups.
(you can see my exam menu here.)
And in my company, after you turn thirty
you take this exam every year.
Most parts of the exam are fine
but I’ve been dreading the endoscope exam.
It came at the very end of the whole exam.
I’d been reading A Time To Kill
to kill the time waiting between exams.
So my head was full of the courthouse drama
while I drank a little something (to clean stomach),
got a muscle shot on my arm (to slow stomach movement),
and sprayed anesthesia down my throat (to numb).
Then I gagged my way through the whole exam.
They say it’s only about five minutes
but it was the longest five minutes of my life.
But guess what?
My doctor said my stomach and intestine
were both very beautiful.
She used the word Utsukushii (美しい).
But even more importantly
she said that I didn’t need to take
the endoscope exam again until I’m forty.
Oh and did I mention that my Ningen Dock
includes a lunch at Grand Hyatt Tokyo?
I chose The Oak Door and it was delicious!
(they even made my meal vegetarian.)
With no endoscope exam to dread
I’m actually looking forward to the next year’s exam!

The Oak Door

Grand Hyatt Tokyo 6F
6-10-3 Roppongi
Minato-ku, Tokyo


Mon-Fri:( Lunch) 11:30am-2:30pm, (Dinner) 6pm-10pm
Sat, Sun, Holidays: (Lunch) 11:30am-3pm, (Dinner) 6pm-10pm
Bar: 11:30am-1am