By: RaY KinZoKu

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Saturday, 28-Aug-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Nippon ReVisited : ~ Sanuki Udon no Tabi ~

The Seto-O-Hashi..
..or the Great Bridge of Seto..
..connecting Okayama, in Honshu to Kagawa in Shikoku..
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"Sanuki Udon no Tabi" or in English, " Sanuki Udon (Eating) Trip"... A Japanese office-mate of mine seems so addicted to Udon (thick Japanese noodle), especially the local Sanuki Udon that one day he decided to share his passion with me... emm.. actually I was not into this "Udon thing" at first, even though I do enjoy it in a way, but the whole idea that I have about Udon changed when I decided to join him for a serious outing to some great "Udon-ya-san" (restaurant selling Udon cuisines)..

To Mr. Kajita, thanks for the trip, even though I lived in Osaka (really close to Shikoku Island) for 3 years, I never been To Shikoku and that was my very first time !
Konna Udon ha taihen mezurashikute, tottemo oishikatta ! Gochisou-sama deshita !
Kono tabi mo tottemo yokatta, kikai ga areba, mata sasotte ne...

Friday, 27-Aug-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Nippon ReVisited : ~ Shokuji ~

The Hotel prepared an "emergency-bento" for me..
..Tenpura Teishoku: It's on my boss..
..morning breakfast at the Hotel..
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.."Shokuji" is a Japanese word translated roughly as "meal" or "food".. These are some photos of what I ate during my short stay (10 days to be exact) in Japan.. As a Muslim, it is required and compulsory for me to observe some dietary rules and what I showed you here are some dishes that I strongly believe, lawful (halal) to eat according to Islamic rites.. Well, quite a gastronomical challenge though, but I love Japanese food, the Japanese cuisines prepared in Malaysia are not as good as the original ones, I mean, the ones in Japan which I found richer in variety (d`oh, of course !), much more delicious and quite...unique !

* Tenpura Teishoku => Tenpura Set. Tenpura is, deep fried seafood (fish or prawn), longbean, lotus root, sweet potato, pumpkin, Oba leaves etc, served with a special soy-based souce, often comes together with a bowl of rice and pickles.. and sometimes "sashimi" (raw flesh, mainly seafood)..
* Sanuki Udon => a type of Udon (thick Japanese noodle) served in hot or cold soup and often topped with Tenpura. The Sanuki Udon is famous in Kagawa-ken, in the island of Shikoku, and in the nearby area and people around Japan are said to come to Kagawa, just for the cuisine..
* Sake Onigiri => Sake or Shake, means "Salmon" ie a fish. "Onigiri" is a lightly salted or non-salted, ball of rice, but most of the time, comes in tringular shape, often wrapped with a sheet of dried,seasoned "nori" (an algae-like seaweed)..
Sake Onigiri simply means "ball of rice filled with Smoked Salmon"
* Unagi Juu => Or also called "Unagi Don", Unagi is a type of eel, or known in Malay as "Ikan Linang" ( Anguilla spp.) The eel, filleted nicely and grilled with a special sauce, cut into smaller parts and placed on top of the rice thus giving it the name, "kasaneru" (or in this case it reads "Juu") means "placed on top"..
* Bentou => a Japanese version for the Malaysian "Nasi Bungkus" ie rice dish with selectable set of "lauk" (fish, meat etc) packed in a plastic or paper box.
* Sashimi => flesh, mainly fish or other seafood, sliced nicely into thin, small portion, served fresh with soy-sauce. Most Japanese restaurant will try their best to express the freshness of their food to the customer, to an extent that they will pick a live fish from the aquarium, slice its flesh neatly without touching the fish central nervous system and let the fish wriggles on the plate, minus the FLESH! So, what do u think, huh ?

By the way, no "sushi" in the photos because I am tired of it.. ( hhee..but I still love it, my personal favorites are ebi-ten, ika-ten, kani, makizushi, unagi, ebi, ika, inari-zushi, however I try not to eat the raw fish due to health reasons)

Thursday, 26-Aug-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Nippon ReVisited : ~ Kanban ~

Dowaa ni gochuui (they keep crabs at Kansai Airport..hehe)..
..Darling, can't u see? I am just behind you !..
..Free Drink ! I aint talkin about tap water..
View all 18 photos...
"Kanban" is Japanese word for emmm.. something like "notice board" or "sign board" or "poster" or simply, a thing which we used to express something in public in either written words or pictorial... At least that what I think it means..emm..any other much more accurate definition? Well, I found "kanban" in Japan very interesting especially when it comes to how they advertise, give warnings, express emotions etc through very creative ways and mediums... At least people wont get bored looking at countless of "kanban"s around them !

*Dowaa ni gochuui = Be careful with the door
*Chikan = sexual harrasment, molest ; if you can read Katakana, you will realise that the word "chikan" often written in Katakana is almost everywhere, from public transportations to quiet back alleys, ie it sounds quite serious yet "funny" in a way.. hehhe..
*On driving while on the phone, Japan just enforced a law banning handphone while driving starting this October 2004, offenders will have to pay 8000 yen (RM 250)..
*Train services in Japan big cities started to introduce train coaches reserved only for women at designated periods of the day.. The reason ? I believe it must got to do with the "chikan" thing.. hehe.. But that's a great solution ! Parallel to the teaching of Islam and a developed, non-Muslim country just proved it !

Wednesday, 25-Aug-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Nippon ReVisited : ~ Ii Hi Tabidachi, Kasaoka he ~

From Kota Bharu Airport.. catch another flight at Kuala Lumpur Int'l Airport...
.. Karat & Juan were there for a reason...
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Working for a Japanese company, I did expect that I will somehow return to Japan sooner or later but I didn't expect that after just 5 months leaving Japan for good, I was asked to go to Japan once more, this time for a 10 days I went to Japan, alone on the 17th of August. I took that night Malaysian Airlines flight straight to Kansai AIrport in Osaka and from Osaka, journeyed down 300 km into Okayama Prefecture ( "prefecture" => an equivalent to "state" ) to a small "city" (they call it a "city" with 50,000 inhabitants but it looks more like a small town to me) called Kasaoka, somewhere close to Hiroshima Prefecture border ( where the historical atom-bombed Hiroshima City is located ) . By the way, the word "prefecture" in Japanese is "-ken", but only Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hokkaido do not have " - ken " attached to their names... and there are 47 prefectures in Japan, with all of them have " -ken" attached except for Tokyo-to, Osaka-fu, Kyoto-fu and Hokkaido ( just Hokkaido ! ) . Back to Kasaoka, the "city" population are mainly fishermen and farmers, and some work at industrial estates nearby or just escaped to big cities like Tokyo or Osaka.. Being very close to the sea (the Seto Inland Sea), the people are very proud of their catch, the freshness, the cheap and abundance of sea creatures. But there's one more thing they are proud of ==> the "KabutoGani" or the Horse-shoe Crab or simply in Malay, "Belangkas" ie the living fossil.. Horse-shoe Crabs are very rare in Japan and only can be found around Kasaoka and nearby area. So they built a museum dedicated to the creature alone ! How sweet.. Luckily, the locals don't eat them, they just pay their respect..

* Ii Hi Tabidachi, Kasaoka he => simply means, " Departure On A Nice Day, To Kasaoka ". But there is this famous, evergreen song, entitled " Ii Hi Tabidachi, Nishi He " by Onitsuka Chihiro (click HERE for a sample of the song in Realplayer by the original singer, Yamaguchi Momoe(1979 ) ). Now a theme song for West Japan Japanese Railway Company (JR) which controls the Bullet Train (Shinkansen) service in West Japan. If you are happen to travel southward from Osaka, the music box version of the song will be played whenever the Shinkansen stops at a station. Try look for the song, the translation too and you might like it.. By the way, the title means " Departure On A Nice Day, For the West "..

Wednesday, 11-Aug-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Nippon ReVisited : ~ Nihon he iku zo! ~

The BHL ..
..where "Little Japan" is situated..
View all 15 photos...
..crossed the Titiwangsa range from Kota Bharu in the east coast to Penang, an island in the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, or to be exact, to the Japanese Consulate General, 28th Floor, BHL Tower, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, for business trip visa application ! Nihon he iku zo * ! It is barely five months since I told myself, as the plane took off from Kansai Airport, " Nihon, itsuka mata aitai ** ", and now I found myself preparing for a trip back to Japan after those 3 short but exciting years going to school in Osaka.. Now, on completing the first stage ( got my visa ! ) , I am counting my days for another all new discovery, not as a student like I used to be, but as a company employee, struggling on my first, short overseas business trip !

* Nihon he iku zo ! = Going to Japan !
** Nihon, itsuka mata aitai = Japan, I want to see you again someday

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