In the past few months the Japanese word mottainai, which conveys a sense of regret over waste, has begun to spread into the Western world. While Japan is ahead of the game in terms of conservation in many ways, the concept of mottainai can be seen most clearly in every bowl of rice. YouTube vlogger Kanadajin3 shares how in her vlog, “Gaijin Tip #16- Eat all your rice in Japan,” explaining Japan’s cultural relationship with rice.
Japan likes to think of the food it produces as being the highest-quality in the world, and that goes double for rice. As such, many bags of domestically grown rice are decorated with iconic Japanese imagery, such as a crane, the rising sun, or Mt. Fuji.
But in today’s modern age, there’s no surer visual shorthand for Japan than cute anime girls, which is exactly what you’ll find on these bags of rice from Yamagata Prefecture.
Whether rightfully or not, Chinese products are much maligned for their supposed lack of quality. Even the Chinese people themselves are often critical of their own country’s products, criticizing everything from Chinese news to rice cookers.
But are they really that bad? Our Japanese reporter Meg recently went on a trip to China and brought back a Chinese rice cooker to test it out. She had a couple of surprises along the way, involving everything from getting the rice cooker to even work, to the taste of the final product, so read on to see how it all turned out!
What do you like to put on your rice when you eat it? Do you go for Western-style with butter and salt, or maybe Japanese-style with an egg or some natto? How about flavoring your rice with… a burp?
It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Supposedly if you smell someone’s burp while you’re eating, you can flavor your own food with a dash of whatever they ate. This sounded just bizarre enough to be true, so we gave it a try here at RocketNews24 headquarters. We have the extremely appetizing videos to prove it, so prepare to watch and be amazed!
Recently, our Japanese reporter Aya Ayabe went out to an izakaya [Japanese pub] and finished her revelries with an order of sudachi rice, sudachi being a type of sour Japanese citrus fruit. The slightly bitter flavor really hit the spot in the midst of the nighttime summer heat, and it got her thinking: “What would happen if I cooked rice with some ponzu sauce [a citrus-based sauce which mixes sudachi with other citrus fruits and soy sauce]?” Still curious, the next day she tried making a batch for herself, and the results were apparently quite epic: “This is the most exciting thing that’s happened to me all summer! I’ll never forget this day as long as I live.”
In any case, Ayabe would like to share her extremely simple recipe for creating ponzu rice with you–a delightfully refreshing treat for the dog days of summer which can be enjoyed either hot or cold.
Most of the food you find in supermarkets in Japan comes in small packages, and people tend to buy just enough for a few days. You won’t find many supersized, bulk discount items at the local grocery store, with one big exception: Rice! Many families eat bowls of rice with most of their meals, so it’s easy to go through a few pounds a week.
But what happens when you overestimate and end up with bags of rice that go untouched for years? While it won’t exactly “go bad,” it will end up pretty stale. You could throw it out, but what a waste that would be. Instead, try our lifehack to get your old rice tasting fresh and yummy!
Summer in Japan means festivals, fireworks and a host of annual events designed to bring people together despite the searing heat. And as the sun beats down on fields across the nation, there’s one special rice paddy that’s slowly taking shape, transforming into a very unique piece of art ready to greet crowds of adoring admirers over the next two months.
The Japanese words omusubi and onigiri are usually translated as “rice ball,” but there’s no rule that they have to be round. Walk into any convenience store or supermarket in Japan and you’ll find the shelves stocked with triangular versions, plus plenty that look closer to a soft-edged hockey puck than a perfectly spherical ball.
What we’re saying is that when it comes to omusubi design, your options are wide open, and with this kitty-shaped omusubi kit, they’re adorable as well.
With a new Star Wars film coming out this year, you can imagine people around the world are excited. And Japan is no exception! With all the advertising and events happening, it can be hard to keep up with everything, but the next big Star Wars event in Japan has a distinctly cultural feel to it: Rice field art!
You know that feeling after you eat too much of something really delicious? When your stomach hurts and you’re filled with a curious mix of regret, pain and contentment? We reckon Yuka Kinoshita, Japanese competitive eater, knows that feeling well.
So, let’s watch a video of her making her way through 5.5 pounds (2.5kg) of rice and sticky natto beans!
We’ve talked before about yuru-kyara, Japan’s adorable illustrated mascots. But cute manga-style horses and anthropomorphic pears aren’t the only local spokescharacters you’ll find in Japan, as some regions of the country are also represented by “Local Heroes,” (Gotouchi Hiro in Japanese), Power Ranger or Kamen Rider-like defenders of their communities.
One of the more popular Local Heroes is Neiger, whose mission is to protect Akita Prefecture’s people, mountains, and seas. Akita is a pretty safe and sleepy part of Japan, though, and not exactly the kind of place that’s under constant threats that require a superhero-level response. So what’s he been doing with all of his downtime?
Growing rice, apparently.
Japanese cuisine is known for containing certain dishes that many westerners find hard to stomach, delicious as they may be. That includes sashimi (raw fish!) and natto (fermented soybeans!).
But what about the flip-side of the coin? Which western foods make Japanese people want to barf? The results may surprise you – or perhaps not. Here’s a list!
Despite a rather weak track-record for its hamburgers with patties of noodles, fast-food chain Lotteria is back at it with the Moko Tanmen Burger. This time around they’ve also come up with the Moko Don Burger which uses a wad of rice as the patty. Good thing Dr. Atkins isn’t around to see this.
They say the definition of “insanity” is doing the same thing twice and expecting different results. We’re not sure what to call RocketNews24 reporter Mr. Sato then, because he is returning to Lotteria for a fourth time to try these noodley sandwiches in hopes of some redemption.
Think Japan loves it some rice? Well, you’d be right. Japan is definitely a rice consuming nation, and the little white grains are most certainly one of Japan’s staple foods. But would you believe the country doesn’t even break the top 10 nations when it comes to rice consumption?
It appears neither would Japanese Netizens, as a chart making the rounds on the Japanese interwebs has onlookers incredulously dropping their morning baked goods.
As many of our readers are undoubtedly aware, white rice is an essential part of the Japanese diet, a food that we Japanese treat with reverence. It so happens that we also enjoy various flavored rice dishes known as takikomi gohan, in which rice is cooked with different ingredients to give it a distinct taste. Some of the common takikomi gohan flavors that we like to have include kuri gohan made with chestnut and matsutake gohan made with matsutake mushrooms. But a particularly unique kind of flavored rice causing a buzz on the Japanese Internet has come to our attention recently, and as unconventional and unexpected as it sounded, we decided we had to cook and try it for ourselves. The ingredient used in this unusual flavored rice? It’s something you would ordinarily never associate with rice: coffee!
Good news for all those who live in Japan and suffer from pollen allergies! Scientists have genetically modified rice in an attempt to desensitize the body to that nasty Japanese cedar pollen that causes all of the sneezing, mask-wearing and eye-watering every spring. Just think, eating some of this special rice everyday could relieve you from all of your hay fever woes!
While out shopping the other day, I picked up a bag of prewashed rice. The grocery store was having a sale, so it was just as cheap as the unwashed kinds, and I figured, “Hey, there’s no advantage to having to rinse it myself is there?”
But as it turns out, the water left over after you wash the rice, called togijiru in Japanese, is actually pretty useful, as shown by these five ways you can reuse it instead of just dumping it down the sink.
Preparing a delicious bowl of rice is an absolutely essential part of Japanese cuisine, and fortunately for most amateur cooks today’s modern rice cookers have made that task as simple as pressing as button.
While these handy machines can whip up a tasty bowl of rice with little to no effort, we wanted to try out a time-consuming cooking method we learned from the popular food-themed manga Oishinbo. In it, one of the main characters painstakingly examines and sorts each grain of rice to prepare what is described as “a taste you won’t forget in 15 years.” But is all that hard work worth it?
All of Japan was thrilled when traditional Japanese cuisine, or washoku in Japanese, became a registered UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in December last year. And one thing that is for certain when it comes to Japanese food is that we Japanese love our rice with a passion. We have various brands and classes of rice, with differing flavors and prices depending on where it’s grown, much like what you might expect with fine wine, and we all have our favorites. It’s simply an irrefutable fact that rice holds a very central place in Japanese cuisine and in the hearts of the Japanese as well.
Yes, there’s nothing quite like the sensation of inhaling the scent of steaming hot freshly cooked rice when you open the rice cooker, and as fond as we are of rice, we were delighted to have the opportunity this week to attend a reception for foreign media titled “Celebrating Worldwide Recognition of Washoku and Rice“. And when we heard that it included being served a traditional Japanese meal by a master chef from a renowned Japanese restaurant and also a chance to try making some unique sushi rolls ourselves, we knew this was definitely a reception we couldn’t miss!