Koban Box in Los Angeles

For those of you who don’t know a Koban Box is a small police box/station. They are located throughout Japan and are often found near intersections, street corners and train stations to give access to people who need assistance from the police. Mostly used for getting directions and to notice police of potential problems, they are also reassuring to Japanese residence that help is nearby if needed.

 

Recently, I was in the Grove, here in Los Angeles and to my surprise they have stationed in the middle of the shopping center a Koban. With it was a sign that explains what a Koban is and where it came from. I spoke with the police office that was on duty and he told me that they have received a very positive response.

 

It is interesting to see a typical part of Japanese lifestyle being integrated into American culture and I am curious of its acceptance.  So, if you’re in Los Angeles go by the Grove Shopping Center and check out a part of Japanese culture in LA.

My Favorite Tea Shop in Tokyo

Cha Ginza is by far, my favorite tea shop in Tokyo and if you live in Tokyo or going to visit it is a must! 

Located in Ginza on a side street from the main 4 chome shopping street, it’s a narrow three storied building nestled between all the skyscrapers and fashion houses of the trendy Ginza area.

As you enter the first floor the staff will great you and the rest is easy. The second floor is for the Sencha set and the third floor is for the Matcha set. They change the menu every month and each tea set starts with a small glass of sake to sip as a palate cleanser then the first pouring of the tea arrives, soon after a confectionary sweet will be served, then your second pouring is served to you. 

The decor of the shop is a great mix of modern and natural textures with floor to ceiling windows facing the street, and it’s easy to relax and enjoy a perfect cup of tea in the heart of the worlds largest city.  Other favorite location is their Tsukiji Market shop that only sells tea to go, but when in the market you should drop by for a cup on the run, but be prepared for the crowds.

I have attached their website and it’s easy to find.

Closed on Mondays and crowded on the weekends.

All for around 500 yen.

http://www.uogashi-meicha.co.jp/shop/ginza/

Tokyo Cult Recipes - Book Review

There is a lot to like about this book! Its massive over 270 pages are filled with tons of recipes and great photos. But what really draws me to this book is it’s a wonderful overview of Tokyo and the Tokyo food culture. 

In the preface, the author Maori Murota explains the need of this book and I couldn’t agree more. She writes that when living outside of Japan many non Japanese have a limited view of Japan’s enormous variety of different cuisine.  When they think of Japanese food, they think of sushi or yakitori or more recently ramen. 

This book is a great reference for someone who desires the ability to cook Japanese food at home. The book includes home comfort food like, agedashi dofu, tsukemono,  onigiri and zosui. It also includes some food that is popular on the streets of Tokyo such as, crepes, chiffon cake, yakitori, teba shichimi and teriyaki chicken burger.

There are so many different recipes after reading this book I am certain that the reader’s perspective of this unique and amazing cuisine will be broadened.

One of the things I liked most was not only the photos of food, but the candid photos of the Tokyo, stores, streets, people and the excitement of the city.

This book covers a large array of Japanese cuisine and it is great for the home cook who loves to explore, learn and fall in love with a great city and its wonderful cuisine.

It's all about Limes

Limes have been in the news a lot recently, not because of the flavor or their popularity, especially in the summer months, but because of their price.

I have been hearing about “lime apocalypse” for sometime now, with price reaching as high as 90 cents each.

It's all about Kabocha

This great squash is versatile and delicious and a symbol of the autumn season.

 The most classic way you will find kabocha in Japanese cuisine is in tempura and simmered dishes.  Just roasting it in the oven with a little sea salt is also a great way to enjoy kabocha, but in our episode  of kabocha the chef decided to use it in a ravioli.

It's all about Christmas in Japan

Well, it’s Christmas time in Japan and although Japanese people don’t celebrate Christmas in the traditional manner, they do celebrate it.  The city is alive with Christmas music and people are lining up for hours to look at the holiday illumination.

Where do people in Japan go for their Christmas dinner?

City Market Cuisine

City Market Cuisine is a video blog and blog with two different approaches. 

The first, is all about  the ingredients and the second is all about the preparation. With City Market Cuisine the ingredients are the star and they are given the cinematic respect that they deserve as you are guided visually through the preparation of each ingredient