Archive | April, 2011

How to make Nikujaga

30 Apr

Nikujaga is a representative Japanese home cooking dish. It’s a sort of dish that makes us remember the taste of mom’s cooking. In other words, it’s one of the most popular dishes that girls want to master for her boyfriend. πŸ™‚

Ingredients for 2-3 people
-thinly sliced beef (150g)
-potato (2 or 3)
-onion (1)
-carrot (1)
-soy sauce (tbs 3)
-sugar (tbs 2)
-cooking wine or cooking sake (tbs 2)
Prepare these ingredients.

Chop potatoes into chunks and immerse them in water.
Chop carrot and cut onions into wedges. Chop beef into bite-size.

Put 1 tbs of oil into the deep pan, heat it and put the beef inside.
Stir-fry it roughly and add soy sauce, sugar and sake.

Add potato, onion and carrot. Then turn down the heat to medium low with the lid over the pan.

Simmer it for 20-25 minutes, check inside from time to time.

It’s done when the soup is almost gone.

Ta-da~~!! ^__^

Usually most of Nikujaga recipes will say we need to add Dashi, but this way is easier, takes less time and tastes great. So why not? I have used Dashi for Nikujaga but my problem was I often made it taste less due to too much Dashi sometimes. That’s why I ended up simmering for a long time until the ingredients can absorb the Dashi and sugar/soy sauce taste well. This recipe was shared by Chika, and I quite liked it when I tried it. πŸ˜‰ You can easily make Japanese dish like this at home.

Also, pork can be substitute for beef. Especially in east Japan, beef is quite expensive and some people prefer using pork instead. People from west Japan would think of beef when they hear Nikujaga because beef is frequently used and I guess not so expensive there. Since my father is originally from Osaka, it was definitely beef inside Nikujaga in my house. I never thought of pork Nikujaga as an option. Thus, I was so surprised to see pork Nikujaga served at my hubby’s parent house for the first time. He told me it had been always pork Nikujaga in his house when it comes to Nikujaga. Gradually I started to use pork now because he doesn’t like beef (I think it’s just that he is not used to) and now I like pork more than beef. ^ ^;

How would you like Nikujaga? Looks easy, huh? πŸ˜‰


My GROUPON review

28 Apr

I’m a frequent user of Groupon. Have you ever checked Groupon in your area? In my case, I often check Groupon in Tokyo, Kawasaki and Yokohama area. πŸ˜‰ Groupon allows steep discount by gathering certain number of people and let them pay in advance by credit card or paypal or some other online payment services. This discount rate can be more than 50% and this is the most attractive aspect for most of the users. At the same time, shop/hotel/restaurant owners can let people know the simplest fact that they exist in the neighborhood by offering such a big discount through Groupon.

A trial lesson of arranging preserved flowers was one of them. I found it on Groupon. Preserved flowers are often sold at flower shops but they are very expensive. I was delighted to find that I could have one-day lesson at 1980yen (62% off from official price of that school) with everything included.

It was in Kichijoji, Tokyo. The lesson was given by a school named Blanche Neige.
Luckily other 2 people canceled that time, I was an only student who could easily ask the instructor to take my pictures for TKE blog. We enjoyed chatting casually and relaxed. She seemed to be interested in what I am doing with TKE blog. πŸ™‚

First I selected 3 preserved roses and 2 kind of preserved leaves from several different colors. (I was busy choosing mine and completely forgot to take pictures of the colorful flowers and leaves.) Since it was just a 2-hour trial lesson, I was not able to learn how to make preserved flowers. They were already made.

This is a picture that shows when I put ribbons on the surface of the pot by sticking them with a special glue.

I remembered one time when I had a trial lesson of flower arrangement using fresh flowers. That was terrible. I totally messed it up. -_- But this time as I didn’t use water, it was no problem. ^ ^;

This is a picture that shows when I roll a tape around the wire.

It was fun to insert one by one…

I finished it so soon.

I’m pretty much satisfied with what I made! ^_^

These days I’m slowing down my work and having fun by myself. I loved this experience and I hope to come back here to make something more, because it’s less expensive if I make it than I buy it. Moreover making it by myself is so much fun to me. Of course, from next time it’s no longer 1980yen, (Groupon is purchasable only 1 time per coupon.) but considering that the preserved flowers will last for over 3 years, it’s not bad if I had to pay 4000-5000yen for another work. ^ ^;

BTW, it’s said sometimes Groupon ends up with less participants (people who buy the coupon) than aimed. Then discounted coupon is not issued and your money is to be returned. So far some people had uncomfortable experience with them especially who ordered Osechi through Groupon Japan. Because it was so shocking, I believe there are still many people who have negative image against Groupon. But as for me, I totally enjoy it. πŸ˜€ If I have a chance to travel other part of the world where Groupon is also available, I’ll definitely try some from there!

Have you had a nice or terrible Groupon deal in your area? What was it?

My Kawaii Entry 14

26 Apr

entry #16

These are pics of my ever-growing Hello Kitty/Sanrio collection.

My super kawaii dog Houdini posing with my two favorite Hello Kitty plushies.

A purikura pic I made of me and my kitty Bella.

Follow Tokyochel on her blog, if you like makeup, Hello Kitty, and video games. πŸ™‚

Thank you Tokyochel! Your kitty is so cute! How you took purikura with her? Did you take her to purikura store near your house or something? Or did you make the photo look like purikura? It’ so lovely!! I wish I could take purikura with my dog (Pi-chan) just like you did with your Bella! How cute!!! πŸ˜€ Your dog and cat play together? I’m definitely a dog person but your kitty is so cute!! Thank you for sharing.

Are there any more entries for My Kawaii Project? It’s a good chance to let other readers know what you love!

TKE's Kawaii Reporter

24 Apr

I wish I could have become a world traveller to report kawaii from the world all by myself by now, but unfortunately I am not successful enough to make it happen yet. :p (It’s one of my dreams to write a travel blog with kawaii reports by myself in the future.)

Meanwhile one of the blog readers kindly offered me lately that she could contribute to TKE as a kawaii reporter from her own country, writing about such as how (Japan inspired) kawaii goods or fashion or services are well received and loved by the locals in her country. If any one of the readers of TKE blog is interested in becoming a kawaii reporter like her who offers such posts to TKE from his or her city or country, please contact Kirin with following information provided.

-Which city or country you want to report from?
-Like what you think you can report?
-Feel free to ask me any questions if any.

Basically it’s a non-profit activity. There’s no compensation or reward to kawaii report. But you can simply share your reports on TKE blog with all the rest of TKE readers from everywhere in the world. Kawaii report can be sent any time you want. But only the posts in good quality are appreciated.

Is there anyone who may be interested in reporting kawaii goods, services, phenomena, and etc. from your city and share that on TKE (Tokyo Kawaii, etc.) blog as a contributor? It will depend on the number of candidates whether I should start this project or not.

BTW, it’s different from My Kawaii Project. My Kawaii Project is completely a personal post. Kawaii Report requires your insights what kind of kawaii is supported or received by the locals of your country. It’s more objective and social.

Thank you in advance for your attention. πŸ˜‰

Tokyo Kawaii TV in Vietnam

22 Apr

Tokyo Kawaii TV in Vietnam
6/NOV/2010 on air

Following Shanghai, Hong Kong and Thailand, Tokyo Kawaii TV is to be broadcasted in Vietnam! HTV3 is a state-run TV channel in Vietnam that mostly deals with Japanese anime and programs dedicated for young people. They liked Tokyo Kawaii TV.

Street snap from the streets in Hanoi. There is a mini Harajuku? They found a store named Harajuku and even the one named Onii-kei. (They misspells it.)

The store named Tokyo sells the stuff the owner purchased in Tokyo.

A shirt for 50,000-70,000yen, a pair of shoes or a watch for 70,000-300,000yen…most of them are actually European brands and they are quite expensive. The owner can speak Japanese because he had lived in Japan for 6 years. “All the things in this store are from Tokyo. I want to make this store luxurious as if it were in Tokyo.” Their main customers are the people called “New Rich”. One of them can even pay 15 million yen (equivalent of VND) by cash when he shops there. The sales of the store surged by 3 times this year. That’s why the owner seems so happy.

There is a Shibuya Gyaru-kei shop where the customers can read Japanese gyaru fashion magazines. The owner of the shop is as well as a producer of the shop who had stayed in Japan for 6 years and experienced a sales assistant at Shibuya 109. She mastered Gyaru fashion in Japan and then established her brand for the Vietnamese 5 years ago when she came back home. She knew Vietnamese girls would love Gyaru fashion. She already opened another shop a month ago. She is a pioneer of gyaru fashion in Vietnam.

What about making-over Vietnamese boy and girl? Tokyo Kawaii TV searched the candidates at Vietnam Festival in Tokyo where many of the Vietnamese living in Japan gather. What taste of fashion do they like? Hime-kei, Cosplay, Onii-kei. Gyaru-kei, Lolita fashion or Urahara-kei?

Lolita is the most popular style for Vietnamese people to feel like trying, followed by Gyaru-kei and then Onii-kei. A Japanese Onii-kei model Ryo-kun makes over a Vietnamese boy to an Onii-kei boy. Yunkoro makes over a Vietnamese girl to a Gyaru. Misako, the queen of Lolita, makes over a Vietnamese model to a Lolita. “Tokyo Kawaii TV is a wonderful TV program that broadcasts what’s up now among young Japanese people. We believe it will make a difference to the young Vietnamese definitely!” says the representative of HTV3 from Vietnam who joined the contest to see how they are going to change.

“Young Vietnamese people are interested in fashion but they are hungry for up-to-date information. They want to dress like Harajuku style or Shibuya style because they know Tokyo is a center of fashion!” say the TV director and the producer from Vietnam who also joined the contest as a judge.

Yunkoro’s gyaru team visited Shibuya 109 and checked out some fake fur items and boots.

They then went to the hair salon that Yunkoro frequents to buy a wig.
Yunkoro by herself gave the girl a Gyaru makeup with gold colored eyebrow mascara and circle lenses.

Misako’s lolita team visited Shinjuku Marui One.
Angelic Pretty
Baby The Stars Shine Brightγ€€

Ryo-kun’s Onii-kei team checked out some Onii-kei brands.

Approx. 10,000 people gathered at the Cosplay Festa held in Hanoi. Cosplayers have to make their costume by themselves since there are no cosplay costume shops in Vietnam yet. However there is a woman who is considered the best cosplay costume maker in Hanoi, who takes orders from cosplayer one after another. She makes 5 costumes per month, and her income is 10,000yen. Considering it’s 4,000yen in average that public service workers earn monthly, her income is quite good.

The winner of the contest is authorized to appear on the channel HTV3.
It will take an hour to dress in Lolita from top to bottom.
300,000yen was spent for the Onii-kei coordination!
Gyaru-kei was the best of all. It was the best make-over!

Kirin’s opinion:
I personally liked the lolita girl more than gyaru. How about you?
How interesting Japanese fashion is becoming popular in Vietnam!

Disclaimer: Tokyo Kawaii TV is a TV program owned and broadcasted by NHK Japan, and has nothing to do with this blog.

***There are archives of episodes listed under the page titled “Tokyo Kawaii TV” that is just located under the title banner of this blog.
***If you want to know the music that was used in the episode, please refer to this page and help yourself to find it by selecting the date when the episode was on air in Japan.

My Kawaii Entry 13

20 Apr


A Special Birthday Gift for my best friend.
A self-made β€œmini paperbag ablum.”
Do you know that we can actually use old or used paperbags or envelopes to do a so-called paperbag or envelope ablum, which i think its very interesting.
Yup!~ mini paperbag ablum is done.
For the cover page,
i added a picture of my friend β€œJerlin + a fake passenger ticket.
I used pics which were taken in japan last year through out the whole mini ablum.

There’s a pocket slot at the left hand side. I made this by using a small paperbag with wishes & messages inside.

There were pictures at flaps of the ablum. You can put anything that you want. It doesn’t need to be pictures.

Photos of my friend with her cousin. They looked so sweet together, so i include the pic here.

Create another pocket flip here. Photos , poloraids etc can be put into the pocket too.

The photos can be moveable as i didn’t paste it. My friend can move the photos whenever she wants.

Other than the mini paperbag ablum, i self-made 2 hairclips for her. Which one do you guys like?

Spend a few weeks for me to finish up this ablum. Just hope my friend will like it.

Follow Mei-chan on her blog if you like her creations!

Thank you Mei-chan!! How wonderful, how cute!! I never paid much attention to paper bags but indeed, they are colorful and cute with so many different designs from each shop. What a lovely idea!! The ribbons are also cute, I like piano one better. The red in the center is great as an accent color. Good idea! Thank you for sharing!!!! πŸ™‚

Are there any more entries for My Kawaii Project?

Design Festa Harajuku Kawaii Exhibition

18 Apr

Thanks to Lisa‘s suggestion, I finally checked out Design Festa Gallery Harajuku the other day with her. I knew this whimsy building but never had a chance to go check out inside until that day!! πŸ˜€

They were holding a kawaii exhibition. BTW this explains kawaii well. Some people always ask what kawaii means. It can be cute, pretty, sweet, adorable, cool…it’s difficult to explain with one word, because what one thinks kawaii should vary from one person to another. Some people find something kawaii, while others don’t at all.

Ah…this post will be so long. Click below to continue reading if only you are interested.
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