2013-12-31

New Year's Eve//Osechi!//Resolutions

Today I finished my Osechi cooking^^

I made the shrimps, the fish, konyaku, Iridori and Namasu by myself^^








I will make Toshi-Koshi-Soba with Shiho ina  few minutes, a traditonal Soba dish^^

Later we will go to the shrine~

I tried to do my nails for today but..well~




I'm not very good at doing my nails but I like it^^


I also tried to do make-up and hair..but totally failed (-.-;)

I always try to do much eye-make up and when I look in the mirror I see a lot of eyeliner, eyeshasow and stuff but then when I take a photo, it's somehow not visible at all. I always want to achieve a cute gyaru-inspired eye make up like in Popteen or something and I really put on a lot of make-up! But somehow it kind of disappears in my eyes and is not very visible (T_T) 



My hair also doesn't look like I wanted it to look (-.-;) Wanted to have cute loose curls, ended up looking like grandma.. XD however~ My outift~
With the INGNI-sweater I've bought in Tokyo(*0*)


This year was very eddying for me.
There were so many good and other bad things.
I finally achieved my biggest dream and got an exchange year in Japan.
And then, nearly this dream was about to get distroyed because of bureaucracy and stuff.
I needed money for Japan and I found a great work at TENTEN Coffee and met so many nice people there but I also got a lot of stress in my daily life, having no free weekends, too much to learn and work for university. Sometimes I really felt run out and weak.
My boyfriend and me are now a couple for 5 amazing years which I'm so happy about. Still we're both unsecure about our future, that scares me. 
In Japan, I met so many nice great people and was lucky to be able to see so many nice places and things until now^^ Still I think my Japanese is not so good and I want to improve it.
In my family bad things happend but from those bad things new good things arose. 
Like every winter my weight changed  as I'm eating too much sweets in winter (T_T)
I cut my hair to short.
I made new precious friends and I even came closer with my old friends because now as I'm in Japan we write mails more often^^
I had 2 little shootings for japanese TV, though I was embarassing XD
I went to Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka and Gifu.
I still want to go to Nara, Fukuoka, Ise, Ghibli museum and again to Kyoto. 

I want to thank everybody who  were by my side throughout this year.
I want to thank the cutest, friendly and lovable man I now for supporting me in this year and helping me through one of hardest times of my life. Without you, I probably would not have made it to Japan.
I want to thank my friends in Germany, July, Jasmin, Thanh Thao, Jenny, Anne and Stefan, Vici, Judith, my co-workes and my boss for being like a second family and teaching me so many important things.
I want to thank Katrin who let me stay at her place in Osaka and showed me around in Tokyo. Thanks to my friends in Japan Fumie, Anna,  Mami, Miyuki, Natsumi, Natsuko, Yoshiko for helping me in Japan and making me feel at home <3
I want to thank my Yamazato family, so many dear people who teached me so many important things. 
I want to thank the new great friends I found at Nanzan university, Megan and my dear Karaoke-girls; Mina, Hao, Wang, Souki-kun and all the others!
I want to thank my brother and sister.
I want to thank my mom for being the best person in this world, always helping and supporting me as much as she could. You are the best.
I want to thank my teachers in Germany. My university is strict but because of that I became stronger, I learned to fight for things I want. I learned so many good new things and they helped and supported me a lot.
I want to thank my japanese teachers and the staff of Nanzan University for teaching me more Japanese in a friendly and funny way so that I really loved going to university every day.
Last but not least thanks to my dear blog readers who always read and comment on my posts. I'm not a comment-seeker but I am happy about every comment and think it's sad that I often get very few comments though I always want to write interesting posts :(
But I'm so thankful to the people who always comment and support me,love you all<3

 

What are your New Year's resolutions?
Mine are:

1. Training my body 
2. Become better at Japanese
3. Finish german university (well it won't be possible in 2014 but I want to really take many courses and stuff to finish it soon-.-)
4. Stay together with my boyfriend and take further steps to a common future..<3 
5. I want to become stronger and more positive and a better person in general^^

We had Toshi-Koshi-Soba!

Have a good pass into 2014!! 

2013-12-30

Cooking Osechi for New Year!

I'm preparing for New Year's Eve!

Today I cleaned my room and arranged New Year's decorations in my room.

Mini-Shimekazari on my window. It should ward off evil spirits.

 Mini-Kadomatsu. It should bring longevity and also protects the home.


And my mini-Kagami-mochi^^ Little rice cakes, eaten on january 11th.




But the most important thing for me today was preparing Osechi!

Osechi are traditional New Year's foods. 
The foods are all symbolic for luck, longevity, children's health etc. 
In old times, it was believed that cooking during the first days of the new year would cause bad luck, so people cooked a lot of food before New Year's Eve and ate it during the first days of the new year.


Pics from tumblr

Today people just cook it like real food. Many people also don't cook it by hand as it's difficult but buy it or order beautiful and expensive Osechi boxes.

I always wanted to celebrate japanese New Year with all the food and decorations and stuff^^ 
And so I decided to also prepare Osechi.
I will not cook everything on my own, I bought some typical things like Kuri-sweets, fishes and soy beans but I will also cook a few things on my own^^



Today I made Iridori and boiled konyaku.

 So what you need for Iridori~ I'll post the original recipe, I used the double amount of ingredients^^

1. 3 Taro potatoes
2. 120 g Renkon (Lotus root)
3. 50 g carrot
4. 50 g Konyau
5. 1 Gobou (Burdock root)
6. 50 g Takenoko (Bamboo sprouts)
7. 2 Shiitake

1 tsp Sesame oil
300 cc Dashi

1 tbsp Sugar
1 tbsp Mirin
2 tbsp Sake
2 tbsp Soy Sauce

1. Cut Konyaku into bite-sized pieces

2. Blanch in boiling water for 2 or 3 minutes.

3. Peel, wash and cut Taro into bite-sized pieces.


4. Wash Renkon, peel and cut. You can make nice shapes of the renkon. I tried it but it doesn't look so good (-.-;)


5. Wash and peel burdock and cut into stripes. Rinse under running water to reduce the bitterness.


6. Wash and cut Shiitake

7. First, heat Sesame oil in a pot and sauté lotus and Gobo for 1 minute.

8. Add all the other ingredients.

9. Sauté everything for 2 minutes.

10. Add dashi and other sauce ingredients, put the lid on and cook for 5-8 minutes. 


11. Afterwards put the heat off and let it cool down on the stove for 30 minutes with lid on.

12. Then, drain and keep the broth.
 


13.  Put the broth back into the pot and thicken it by boiling for 2 minutes.
  


14. Put the vegetables back in the broth, mix and put out again. 
Store the Iridori in a box and store in the fridge^^
 


Very easy and nice Konyaku recipe^^

You need: 
- 1 piece Konyaku
  - 200 cc Dashi
- 1 1/2 tbsp Sugar
- 2 tbsp Mirin
- 2 tbsp Sake


1. Cut 2-3 cm thick layers of Konyaku and cut the middle.

2. Put one end through the hole and you get this nice shape^^


All the Konyaku (*v*)


3. Add Dashi, sugar, Mirin and Sake in a pot and bring to boil.
Add the Konyaku and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. 

Let them cool down and store them in a box and in the fridge^^

Tomorrow I will prepare the last foods and prepare my osechi-boxes for New Year's day.

We will eat Toshi-koshi-soba tomorrow evening and go to Atsuta-shrine afterwards. I'm excited :D

2013-12-29

My Trip to Tokyo: Meeting Anna in Nakano// Asakusa // Shibuya

On sunday I met Anna. We didn't see each other for somewhat like 4 years now (o.o;)
 4 years ago we had some fun with friends in Dusseldorf, I was just exploring Japanese Pop culture and Anna was already planning her life in Japan :D

We went to Koenji and Nakano ^^ Again, I made too less pictures (-.-;)

But Anna showed me a great Taiyaki-booth! There I had Caramel-custard-Taiyaki and Anna had Choco-banana-Taiyaki^^
They also had Yakisoba-filling, Custard-filling, choco, vanilla, anko, mochi etc. - so great (*_*)

Nakano shopping mall~


We had lunch in a great Indian restaurant^^ Indian curry with Naan-bread, so great! :D



And we made puri^^


It was so nice to meet her again, thank you for this nice day^^



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
On the next day, I went to Asakusa! ^^

The Asakusa-temple is the oldest and most important buddhist temple of Tokyo!

Allegedly the first shrine was built in 645 but that's myth. In 1180 the name 'Asakusa' was reported for the first time when Minamoto no Yoritomo (the first shogun of Japan) visited the temple. The temple was buned down and destroyed several times during the times and rebuilt in 1958 for the last time. 
 First you have to walk through this big gate.




Then comes a long street full of shops and boothes who sell everything: Food, Omiyage, Asakusa souvenirs, T-shirts, plastic stuff, plushies etc.



if you managed to fight your way through the many consumption loving tourists, you get to the second gate.

lol I was here~

Tokyo Skytree is visible~




After passing through, the actual temle hall.

Infront, an 'incense place' or whatever.

It brings you luck and health if you inhale the smoke.


And then the stairs to the inner of the temple. I did not take photos of the inner as I think it's not appropiate in a religious or spiritual place but you can find pics elsewhere in the internet of the temple's inner^^ 

The people could climb the stairs and upstairs is a place for praying. You throw some money and pray.
The temple is dedicated to Kannon, the buddhist deity of mercy. 


Besides the pagoda. 


Also included in the area is the rokkakudō (six-sided house) which is from Muromachi-period (1336-1573) and the oldest building that's still preserved (but I could imagine that it was bombed too and rebuilt but not sure) and a garden (which I didn't visit T__T)


Instead I bought some sweets (T//T) It's a highlight for me, whereever place in Japan I go, I buy Omiyage (eatable souvenirs) because they are typical for this place or city and mostly only available in this city/place^^
Tori-pastry filled with Anko :3

 
 The souvenir-street was too crowded so I escaped to one of the side streets.



Lucky I did!! Because I found an awesome Taiyaki-shop!!! :D





Look how thick they are!!

It was the best Taiyaki I had until now (*O*) 

It was a great and funny day^^ 


Afterwards I met KAtrin in Shibuya again^^ Again I didn't take a pic of us (T///T)
But I took great pics of Shibuya at night! :D

We went to Saizeriya and shared a pizza :D
Shibuya at daytime~

Margerita Pizza for 400Yen :D

 Afterwards Donuts at Mister Donut. O yeah, I ate a lot in Tokyo.. it's always when I go ona  trip I get in a 'journey-mode' and eat a lot, buy a lot etc. XD

I wanted to eat the special Snoopy-Christmas-donut but it wasn't as good as expected. Too much lemon :/

Last but not least, Shibuya at night!! :D


It was a nice day^^