This year make a hotpot at home!



This year make a hotpot at home!
vol. 08
QR Quality Review
[ F E A T U R E ]Fun, social dining for long winter evenings
Doraku Kiln
This year make
a hotpot at home!
A Proven Strategy Nets Over 70% of
the International Market
Cosmetic Sponges
Loved the World Over
● Yukigaya Chemical Industry Co. Ltd.
December 2011(distributed 11.7, 2011)
05 Following 3/11
The Great East Japan Earthquake: a volunteer’s Disaster
Reconstruction Report
07 Hiroshi Sawada’s
Theory of Cafe Evolution
Photos / Susumu Nagao
08 Fun, social dining for long winter evenings
This year make
a hotpot at home!
Doraku Kiln
◎ Has Japanese cuisine
real reasons to be trendy?
Japan and Me:
The Modern is in the Traditional
Francoise Morechand, Essayist
20 [A Conversation with Foreign Residents]
Continuing serial[Essay]
Praise of Fine Sake
31 InSoku
Junmai Daiginjo Aiyama
A Proven Strategy Nets Over 70% of the
International Market
Cosmetic Sponges Loved
the World Over
● Yukigaya Chemical Industry Co. Ltd.
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
Jun Shinozuka
Syozou Izuishi [Fashion Critic]
JQR editorial department
Jun Nakaki
Editorial Committee
Tanehide Egami [Executive Producer, Ecole De Cuisine Egami]
Kyoko Ohtsu
Shinichi Hanawa [Joint Representative Director Ramsar Network Japan]
2-1-14 Sarugakucho, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 101-0064
Maki Taguchi
Ryuichiro Matsubara [Economist, Professor at the University of Tokyo]
Dai Furusawa
Humio Maruyama [High-Tech Industry Innovation Agency]
Christine Lavoie-Gagnon
Yumi Yamaguchi [Travel Writer]
Fashion Director
Souta Yamaguchi
Additional Editing
High-Tech Industry Innovation Agency
Web Director
Tokuhisa Maruyama
Integral Corp.
Wakako Kawasaki
Digital Lights Inc.
kei Sugawara
Manabiya Inc.
JQR advertising department
2-1-14 Sarugakucho, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 101-0064
2 011 December
The Great East Japan Earthquake:
a volunteer’s Disaster Reconstruction Report
Following 3/11
Article and photos: Christine Lavoie-Gagnon
Getting factories back up will bring
a little hope to local economy and
Ishinomaki City has just closed all its shelters
on October 11. On one point of view, this is a
happy fact, as it proves that things are
progressing and that the people affected by the
March 11 Tsunami have found a place to stay.
This closure officially marks the transition into
a new stage in the region's reconstruction.
However, it also puts an end to all direct
support, information or life management that
were provided in shelters, and everyone has to
live on by themselves. Only a handful of people
had the chance to go back to their own homes.
Some have chosen to rent miniature studios,
others moved in with family or friends, or camp
on the second floor of their damaged houses,
but the majority has been attributed temporary
housing through a random draw.
Those prefab cubicles are aligned in quarters,
spread here and there around the great
Ishinomaki. There you don't know your
neighbors, you foresee the cold winter coming
up too soon, the general atmosphere is of
sadness. The local authorities are postponing
their decision about the new zoning rules for
the potential reconstruction of the residential
areas. There is a thick grey cloud covering
employment possibilities. The uncertainty of
the future is getting heavier. All this of course
without forgetting the solitude caused by the
giant hole left by the loss of close ones.
Within this atmosphere and facing this more
and more complicated situation, the work of
volunteers has yet evolved, but nevertheless
Christine Lavoie-Gagnon
2 011 December
remains crucial. Mud and debris clearing
chores continue now in remote areas
unaccessible until recently. However other
actions and projects are put into place. Some
volunteering groups bring help to facilitate
communication and give a lively touch to daily
life at temporary housing quarters. We are also
asked to organize events, help movings, in
other words, not to let people down on their
On another aspect, we also give a hand to
companies that have the will to get back into
business. As an example, we clean up the
machinery parts of one of the rare fish
processing manufactures that have the chance
to be rebuilt. This way, when the few-milliondollar machinery runs again, this company will
be able to hire tens of people and give back a
little bit of hope in the region.
While waiting for the new residential zoning
plans, we also get prepared to help the
reconstruction of the half-washed-away houses.
This is a complicated, expensive specialized
field that demands a lot of coordination. It is
however primordial that the people finally
return to their homes and get their normal life
The shelters are closed, yes, this is good news.
The most important thing is not to forget that
the families, children and elderly people, still
live in temporary conditions.
Originally from Quebec, Canada, she has lived in Japan for over 17 years and manages a
communications firm in Tokyo. However, she is most likely to be found in Ishinomaki with NADIA, an
organization she founded to aid the victims of the disaster.
2 011 December
Hi ros hi Sa wa
Osaka Prefectur
e artist. Born in
turer before
Barista and latt
a food manufac
ere he was
attle, U.S.A., wh
studying in Se
urned to his job
latte art. He ret
, but
enchanted by
back in Japan
the food manu
rsue a career
ependent to pu
soon went ind
08 Free Pour
named the 20
wada open
Champion, Sa
Latte Art World
own coffee sho
Hiroshi Sawada’s
Theory of Cafe
Evolution Vol.3
Photography/Kohji Kanatani
Milk Differs from Country
to Country
In last month’s column, I talked
Trial and error is the only way for
about my invitation to coach baristas
them to grasp the milk’s quality.
in free-pour latte art for a soon-to-
When frothing, the barista releases
open Singaporean café. The milk is
steam based on the amount of milk
the key to good technique.
and its temperature. They carefully
Frothing is crucial in free-pour latte
watch the size of the bubbles and
art. If the barista can produce a
the speed it froths, adjust the
fine-bubbled foam, the latte is
pressure accordingly, and stop when
delicious and smooth, but the milk
they have the perfect foam. This
quality influences how frothy the
process is difficult to explain and
foam is.
even more difficult to master. The
Singapore is a small country located
barista may be 98 percent satisfied
close to the equator. Cows produce
with their foam, but being 100
less milk in temperatures over 25ºC,
percent satisfied is the hard part.
so Singapore relies on Australia for
The season and weather conditions
its milk imports. Given the distance
also influence the foam.
it is shipped and the time required to
The best quality milk available is
clear customs, the milk needs to be
probably the organic variety. The
pasteurized at high temperatures.
cows graze in organic pastures and
High temperature pasteurization is
are not injected with hormones or
popular in the U.S.A. because of the
antibiotics. Their milk is so delicious,
size of the country. Since the milk is
it does not need to be mixed in
packaged in large, one-gallon
(3.785-liter) bottles, pasteurization
After taking costs into consideration,
can also be important in preventing
the best milk for the lattes we serve
the milk from going bad before the
at our shop is whole low-temperature
bottle is finished.
pasteurized milk. Milk in Japan is
Milk differs from country to country,
shipped in one-liter cartons, the
so the optimal amount of steam
perfect size for us. We have fresh
needed for frothing also differs; this
milk delivered every day, so we can
is a difficult balance. A barista needs
always serve delicious lattes – one
to know the milk they are working
advantage of Japan being a compact
with to produce the perfect froth.
1F, Miyagawa Bldg, 1-20-28 Shibuya,
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-6427-3705
2 011 December
Fun, social dining for long winter evenings
This year make
a hotpot at home!
When it comes to classic cooking for the cooler months, nabe hotpot dishes win hands down. This
year nabe dining at home has become especially popular. Healthy and economical, it's a great dish
to gather round and strengthen those family ties; just being with people you can relax with is fun.
Spending this winter exploring the tempting tastes of nabe cooking sounds like a splendid idea...
Photos (people/food) / Susumu Nagao Text / JQR editors
Prawns, clams, white fish (cod), chicken thighs, thinly sliced
pork loin, Chinese cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, leeks, carrots,
citron, tofu, shungiku (edible chrysanthemum leaves)
① De-vein prawns and parboil in water to which salt and sake have been added.
Remove stems from shiitake and sear lightly. Prep using a suitable method any
ingredients that require the removal of acrid taste.
② Fill a ceramic casserole with stock, and float citron peel on top. The stock is a
combination of ichiban and niban dashi (first and second batches of stock from the
stock ingredients), but commercial stock base will do, or even just water.
③ Add the clams, and when the shells open add the chicken, then the vegetables,
starting with the hardest. When cooked through, remove, divide into servings, then
add the pork, prawns and white fish.
④ When all ingredients have been removed and divided up, last of all add cooked
rice. When the mixture comes to the boil, add beaten egg and simmer to make zosui
(rice broth).
Brimming with delectable surf-and-turf
delights, yosenabe is the most
decadent of hotpots. The photo here
with its plethora of ingredients is sure
to whet the appetite, but if added all
at once, some may become
overcooked and lose their flavor. To
enjoy the individual tastes, add
ingredients in small quantities to
ensure each is cooked just right.
2 011 December
Delicious, adventurous nabe cuisine
2 011 December
[JQR Gourmet chat]
create-your-own nabe
options on the rise!
Tanehide Egami
Executive Producer, Ecole De Cuisine Egami
Word has it that the traditional Japanese nabe hotpot has acquired a radical new look lately. We talked to
two professionals about recent developments on the frontline of this remarkable evolution in nabe cooking.
So what does the "new and improved" nabe taste like?
ex t r a
effor t m
the di
Chieko Go
Food advisor
Photos (people/food) Susumu Nagao
Go: A family I know are already eating just
JQR: But nabe is a traditional dish, surely?
Noodles that are flat and broad, and when
about nothing but nabe.
G: People don't do the traditional sort of
you put them in the pot...
E: (Picking up the tan-tan noodle mix)
Egami: Mmm, I can see why that might be.
nabe at home though.
G: They go like rice cakes.
The same goes for this. Although it is
G: The wife likes nabe because it's
E: That's true. These days it's more a case
E: That's right.
ostensibly “nabe mix”, if you make a little
quick to prepare and clear away, and
of just combining all sorts of things and
G: You can get nabe for silicone steamers
extra effort when preparing niku-miso
warms everyone up. But her husband is
tucking in.
now too.
(ground meat in miso paste) to leave some
apparently getting sick of it, because she
JQR: Instant-type nabe mixes seem to be a
JQR: So you just put in the ingredients
over for nabe, it will just lift the flavor that
always flavors the nabe with ponzu.
frequent choice these days.
and stock, stick it in the microwave and
little bit higher. Maybe add lightly-grilled
E: I do things like grind in curry spices to
G: Because they're quick and simple.
it's done?
chicken, that sort of thing – you'll find the
vary the taste.
E: The package always says what you can
G: Easy as that.
taste improves immensely.
G: Using a spice mill?
make to finish: tan-tan (dandan) noodles,
E: Both convenience stores and
G: More and more ideas like that are sure
E: Yes, you just grind on this fragrant curry
risotto, udon broth... Without that final
supermarkets offer a comprehensive lineup
to emerge from now on. But this year, start
powder like pepper. If you start to get a
course (shime) I guess people don't feel
of “nabe” sets, so if you live alone and
by expanding your options with dipping
little tired of the same flavor, just a quick
they've truly “done” nabe.
come home late at night, instead of buying
sauces and stocks.
twist of the spice mill and voila! “Curry
JQR: Why is dining on nabe at home so
a ready-made lunchbox type meal you can
E: That's right, it's all about learning how
popular this year?
prepare a hotpot. Even nabe eaten alone
much fun it is to find flavors you personally
G: I've noticed that nabe with a selection
E: Well a lot has happened this year,
will warm you up more than a lunchbox.
of dipping sauces is all the rage this year.
which I think is turning people back to the
Accompanied by your favorite tipple, it
G: The possibilities are endless when it
E: Yes – personally I like green Tabasco
idea of dining as a family.
makes the perfect meal.
comes to Japanese seasonings, and you're
sauce too. Place a little on the serving
G: That's right.
JQR: On the basis of that description I'm
sure to encounter some totally new flavors.
plate for just the right amount of bite and
E: Because they're eating at home
not sure if you'd call it an indulgence, or a
E: So you can gather round and enjoy
Tabasco hotness – it tastes pretty good
more often, people are gaining a new
bit lonely.
dining together, but all have different
appreciation of nabe as a meal that's easy
G: Ha, true, true, but it's the best choice
dipping sauces on your plates, that sort of
Maximize satisfaction by
and fun to share with friends and family.
healthwise I'd say.
developing the flavors you
G: Plus there's the health aspect. Nabe is
E: Far healthier at nighttime than a calorie-
JQR: Kind of a “nabe masquerade” if you
like the way you like them
a good source of vegetables, and you can
filled bento meal.
JQR: Heresy surely?!
flavor it any way you like. I think that's a
A little extra effort with
G and E: “Nabe masquerade”?
E: I don't think there's any such thing as
big part of it too.
ingredients adds a new
JQR: Well, everyone's eating together and
heresy when it comes to nabe. I get the
E: There's the reassurance of being able
remarking on how delicious it is, but in
feeling people are getting tired of the
to see with your own eyes what goes into
JQR: So what's the future of nabe
fact are all enjoying different flavors.
same flavor from start to finish, and so are
the pot. And it's cheaper.
G: Different flavors? Now that does strike
rapidly starting to add their own favorites,
Convenient options speed up
G: Even greater variety I'd say.
me as a bit sad (laughs).
in the quantities they want.
the nabe evolution
E: A greater tendency to draw the flavor of
E: Ha, maybe. But eating your own
G: Which is more of a treat when you
G: There are a lot more “nabe” products
ingredients out thoroughly before adding to
preferred food, with your own preferred
think about it, isn't it? In that sense the
out there now, I see.
the pot, rather than using everything raw.
flavoring, your own preferred degree of
educator. After working for a food manufacturer, turned
Japanese do like new things.
E: That's right. Go to the supermarket
G: Nabe cooking is actually quite tricky.
saltiness, and because it's at home,
to the design and development of foodstuffs, food
E: Well, I wonder. Maybe we do tire of
and you'll find shelves of ingredients
If you get the timing wrong certain
imbibing your own preferred drink: if that's
things quickly.
specifically for nabe. Like pera-pera udon.
ingredients will be boiled to a pulp, for
a “nabe masquerade” it sounds pretty good
Tanehide Egami
Executive Producer, Ecole De Cuisine Egami. Dietary
venues and events. Director, TALK-TLC; Director, the
Food Coordinator Association.
2 011 December
to me.
“Find th
flavors y
really lik
Chieko Go
Food advisor. A foodie since childhood, and fan of all
cuisines from Western to Japanese to Chinese.
Studied confectionery-making. Worked under Kihachi
Kumagai, and since striking out on her own has forged
a career in menu design, product development etc.
2 011 December
Making classic nabe dishes
Seafood, meat, or a combination of both? Here are recipes for three of the numerous classic nabe variations, including the yosenabe shown at the
beginning of the feature. Whether or not you add any extra touches is up to you: nabe is one of the most adaptable ways of cooking there is.
Miso chanko-nabe
Chanko-nabe, served to sumo wrestlers, is
This nabe has a soup that grows cloudier
filling and packed with goodness.
with simmering. The more effort you put in,
Add eggs to the
broth for a filling
end to the meal;
soft yolks are best.
the richer and tastier the results.
Add yamaimo
paste (tororo) and
eat with other
ingredients for a
milder dish.
Add a knob of
butter at the end
of cooking for an
extra rich texture
and flavor.
If short on time,
simply pour boiling
water over the
chicken before
placing straight in
pot to cook.
Tofu,Ponzu Souce,
*Quantities to taste
2 011 December
① Boil water in a deep pan, add chicken pieces (bone in) and
② Simmer until cloudy, then strain soup and cool. If short on
time, you can start from step 3.
③ Place soup and chicken in ceramic casserole, add vegetables,
tofu, etc., as desired.
④ Use ponzu for dipping, and season to preference.
⑤ Finish by making zosui (add cooked rice).
Fish (sardine) or meat
balls,Chicken thighs, boned
pork rib etc.
Chinese cabbage,Leeks,
*Quantities to taste
① Make the fish or meat balls. Store-bought
meatballs also work well.
② Place miso, stock and sake in pot and heat. The
flavor should be intense.
③ Add meat, cabbage and other vegetables, then
fish balls or meat dumplings.
④ Finish by making rice broth or udon.
2 011 December
Using nabe mix
Packet nabe mixes are another option if you're in a hurry, and these days there are plenty of choices.
Use the mix on its own for a quick and easy meal, or add some extra touches for even tastier results.
Collagen nabe
Tan-tan nabe
Delectable taste, luscious skin?! A beauty
With its base of broad bean chili paste and
bonus nabe popular with female diners.
sweet bean sauce, tan-tan nabe is a rich,
Add finelychopped shiitake
and ginger to pork
mince for added
spicy sesame taste sensation.
Add sliced garlic
or ginger, goji
berries, etc., for
even greater
health benefits.
Sprinkle with
chopped bacon for
added punch.
Those less keen on
spicy food can add
a little milk for a
milder dish.
Minced pork,Chinese cabbage,
Pak choi (Bak choy),
Harusame (Bean thread
Tan-tan nabe soup mix
2 011 December
*Quantities to taste
① Stir-fry minced pork using sesame
oil in a frypan.
② Cut up other ingredients as
③ Place tan-tan nabe soup mix in pot,
bring just to boil and add pork.
④ Next add vegetables, etc., and
when heated through, add harusame.
⑤ Add Chinese noodles to finish for
tan-tan noodles.
Using this !
Chicken thighs,
Chinese cabbage,
Enoki mushrooms,
Tofu,Collagen nabe mix
*Quantities to taste
Using this !
① Cut chicken into bite-size pieces.
Cut up vegetables.
② Place collagen nabe mix in pot
and heat.
③ Add all ingredients except mizuna
and simmer.
④ When cooked, add mizuna to
2 011 December
Taking nabe flavor to another level
Just a little extra
effort makes delicious
A nabe hotpot makes for a fun, sociable meal, but if flavor is top priority, a little extra effort makes all
the difference. Here Chieko Go shares her recipes for “shikomi-nabe”: richly-flavored hotpot dishes
prepared in advance. Try them for a taste experience, a cut above the average nabe.
Chieko Go's recipes show how
Chinese cabbage and
chicken hotpot with
onion sauce
(A)Onion(finely chopped) 40g
(cut into bite-size pieces) 1
Chinese cabbage
Garlic(finely chopped) 5g
“Draw it out and seal it in” for maximum flavor!
The usual nabe cooking method is to
are very heavy, with a flat lid covered in
place the ingredients in a simmering pot
bumps on the inside. Rising steam hits
there and then for prompt consumption.
the bumps and falls like rain, promoting
The nabe dishes detailed here, however,
the circulation of moisture. The heavy
require extra preparation beforehand, or
lid forms an excellent seal, stopping
shikomi. The idea is to optimize the
steam from escaping. Meat braised
flavor of the ingredients through a few
using this type of pan results in a
advance preparations.
tender, richly flavored and nourishing
Nabe cooking may look easy, but it is
meal. And because heat circulates
actually quite tricky to get the timing
efficiently, the vegetables bubble away
right for eating. I'm sure most of us have
at a low temperature, for perfectly-
had the experience of serving food out
cooked, intensely flavorful results.
of the pot onto our plate only to have it
No stock is used. The next point is to
fall apart or dry out. The moment meat
use the flavor that comes from the meat
is thrown into a bubbling pot, it shrivels
and vegetables, while making sure the
and starts to toughen. If forgotten for a
meat retains its juiciness. This flavor is
while, it turns chewy. Conversation may
the product of salt and oil. Drawing out
be flowing around the pot, but one still
the flavor with salt and adding oil boosts
needs to keep a serious eye on the
its intensity.
food. Being something of a glutton
Everyone sits around the pan to dine on
myself, along with the chatter I like to
the finished product, but if left
be able to tuck in without worrying
simmering too long, as you might
about the state of the food (laughs).
expect, some ingredients will lose their
You'll find two of my suggested shikomi-
flavor. The trick is to turn off the heat at
nabe recipes on the right. I'll leave you
a suitable time, then back on again to
to follow the steps. Just let me mention
make the rice or noodle broth or risotto
a few important things to remember first.
to finish. Shikomi-nabe cooking draws
The most important thing is the pot, the
out the flavor of the ingredients to
“nabe” itself. Lately I've become quite a
maximum advantage, and is well worth
fan of the French stove-top pan. These
a try.
Boneless chicken thigh
Leeks(finely chopped) 30g
(B)Sesame oil
White sesame oil
(C)Soy sauce
1/4 clump
Tanba-shimeji (small
field mushrooms)
1/3 tsp Water A required
Fish sauce (nam pla)
1.5 T
White sesame paste
Black pepper
Sesame oil
1/2 clump
① Make the sauce. Place (A) in a heatproof bowl. Heat (B) until
smoking slightly, pour over (A), and add (C) to flavor.
② Cut chicken thigh into bite-size pieces, sprinkle generously
with salt.
③ Fill pan to about halfway with roughly-chopped cabbage. Lay
chicken on top, add remaining cabbage and shimeji.
④ Pour sesame oil over, fill pan with water to about 2/3 mark,
and simmer covered for approximately 25 minutes.
⑤ Place pot on table and serve.
⑥ At the end, leaving a little of the meat and vegetables and
the juices, add udon.
Salt pork and
cabbage braised with
(Salt pork)
Boned pork rib
Scant 10g
1-2 cloves
( roughly-chopped) 1/2 5
1 can
Canned tomatoes
1 can
Salt, pepper
To taste
(roughly-chopped) 1
Olive oil
1 1/2 T
Bay leaves
Salt, pepper
Small amounts to taste
① Prepare salt pork beforehand. Rub salt into pork, wrap in cling film or similar, and
refrigerate for 3-6 days.
① Use a pot with a heavy lid.
② Make the flavor of the
ingredients the stock.
③ Use salt and oil for seasoning.
2 011 December
② Place olive oil in pot, add roughly-chopped cabbage. Add onion and garlic, salt
lightly, place lumps of pork on top without further cutting and sprinkle with pepper.
③ Add bay leaves and water, place lid on firmly and braise. Add water from time to
time until vegetables release moisture to prevent sticking. Start at a medium to high
heat, and once steam rises from the pan turn down and simmer for about 30 minutes.
④ Remove braised pork and cut into manageable slices.
⑤ Return to pot, add ingredients in (A), season with salt and pepper and simmer
covered for 20-25 minutes.
⑥ Place pot on table to serve.
⑦ At the end, leaving a little of the meat and vegetables and the juices, add cooked
rice to make risotto. Use any leftover for pasta sauce the next day.
2 011 December
QR 1
The pot is fired before
Quality Review
the glaze is applied for
a final firing. The more
the pot is used, the
more striking the black
coloring becomes.
Doraku Kiln Kuchitsuki Kuronabe
Photography: Satoru Naito, Text: QR
gem, produced by the Doraku
earthenware pots, so its uses
Kiln in Iga, Mie Prefecture, was
reach beyond hot-pot cooking
Iga earthenware pot stirs
made by Masatake Fukumori,
and include stews, steamed
the Japanese heart
the seventh generation current
dishes and fried rice. Due to its
head of the family. Fukumori,
excellent heat retention, a
Earthenware pots – the oldest
who was producing tea sets,
heated earthenware pot remains
cooking utensils – have been
switched his focus to
hot longer. In other words, food
used in Japan since the Jomon
earthenware pots and utensils
can be heated – slowly –
and Yayoi periods (14,000
that would make food taste
bringing out the delicious flavors
BCE–300 CE). These simple
even more delicious. He now
of meat, fish and vegetables.
utensils, made by kneading clay
creates everything from plates
Earthenware pots are now
and firing them, can be found in
and bowls to sake sets, and 16
getting noticed again for this
many regions around the world,
types of earthenware pots with
but the mystery is when a lid
various uses.
Man has been cooking in
was added to the pot. Even
Fukumori searches for good
earthenware pots from hunter-
though opinions vary on the
quality clays for earthenware
gatherer times until a few
lid’s purpose – cooking or
pots in the mountains of Iga. He
hundred years ago. The refined
storage – Japanese pots already
digs these up and mixes them
beauty of a Kuchitsuki Kuronabe
had lids during this long period
to produce a clay suitable for
exists among this ruggedness.
in history. If we are to blow our
the pots. Using a hand-driven
Cooking with it can only make
own trumpet, the Japanese have
wheel, he carefully throws each
dishes more delicious.
been cooking with earthenware
for 10,000 years. Japanese
The beautiful black luster is
cuisine inarguably has its roots
created using an iron glaze
in earthenware cooking.
called ameyuu. A Kuchitsuki
The Kuchitsuki Kuronabe
Kuronabe, which uses this
featured here encapsulates an
glaze, has superior fire-
earthenware-pot ideal handed
resistance and heat-resistance
down from ancient times. This
compared to ordinary
The warmth of a beautiful
● Enquiries: Doraku, 1043 Marubashira, Iga, Mie Tel: 0595-44-1012 URL:
2 011 December
As the name
Kuchitsuki Kuronabe
implies, the pot has a
lip for use when
serving soup and
ingredients into the
Kuchitsuki Kuronabe
21 cm: 6,300 yen
24 cm: 10,500 yen
27 cm: 12,600 yen
2 011 December
Japanese cuisine
Has Japanese cuisine
real reasons to be trendy?
Steve Kim
Oleg Levy
Sébastien Pilotte
ree peop
eir views
ign Reside
with Fore
A Co
A Conversation
with Foreign
Japanese food has boomed out around the world, first with sushi-shops
everywhere, and now the Japanese-style dining has become a fascination for its
healthiness and balanced diet. Some writers even say it's the best healthy, antiaging food, thanks to its bases of soy and fish. JQR has met with three foreign
men of various backgrounds to see if their daily diet had really changed and how
Japanese food has affected their life since they have been living in Japan.
Photos / Susumu Nagao
JQR: Japanese food has become
quality food everyday also developed
you grill it, it's ready in 4 minutes or
trendy around the world. Beyond
a new attraction for it and I realized
so, and it tastes good! I'm actually
sushis, people now try to introduce it
that it had a real effect on my body. I
trying to make my own food and cook.
into their home-cooking. Having living
feel I have more energy, I eat less,
here for a while, has your daily diet
and lighter.
Seb: So you have become a cook
really change?
Back home in Canada, you go to a
restaurant and the plate is huge. Here,
Oleg: I don't know if it is more the
because Japanese food is easy to
Seb: I can fully understand why
it's small. At first it's difficult to accept,
Japanese food has become a trend in
but once you get used to that you feel
life, I like the convenience of it. I find
the world. I have lived in different
better because you realize you don't
myself making my own food and I
countries in my life, such as Germany,
need to eat that much, as you don't
have never eaten so much rice as
Italy, USA, France and Canada, but
feel so heavy and tired all the time.
here! And also the deserts here are so
definitely the food here, by its
Oleg: In Israel, we have had sushi
good and you find such a variety of
presentation, its quality... is special.
restaurants for nearly 15 years.
them. So to me, the biggest difference
It's beautiful, it's light, and for me who
Steve: In the US we have grown up
is that I can live on my own food.
as done sports in my whole life, I can
with the instant Ramen and the trend
stop anywhere at a convenience store
kind of evolved into sushis. But it is so
Steve: In the US I was used to eat
and I can find good food, which is
much not the same experience as the
it's just there and you get big portions,
something you don't find in any other
real stuff in Japan.
it's inexpensive, but it's also very high
All: That is so right! It is so different!
it salt and sugar. So for me, what I
For me it had a big influence on the
Oleg: I cannot cook at all, so I am
found here is that I've been forced to
way I used to eat: heavier food, a lot
used to only go out and eat in
develop a sense for other things. In
of meat... and now I eat less, I have
restaurants all the time. But here it's
the US the average size for soda is
learned to eat a little bit of rice and
much easier. You just go to the
32onces (〜1ℓ)and when I first came
fish everyday. Being exposed to good
supermarket and you buy fresh fish,
here you couldn’t find the big bottles.
2 011 December
Japanese food or the Japanese way of
so much fast food. It's so convenient,
Steve Kim
Korean-American, 43 years old, Banking Industry,
in Japan for 5 years
Oleg Levy
Sébastien Pilotte
Russian-Israeli, 33 years old, IT Specialist, in
Japan for 1 year
French-Canadian, 40 years old, Top Model, in
Japan for 4 years
2 011 December
Japanese cuisine
everybody would think “Does
salt on your fish and vegetables. For
food as well. It always comes in small
not sure if it really matters because it
have overseas. It's very healthy, with
you enjoy the whole broth ! People
example if you cook in the US, say a
portions, beautifully arranged, so you
definitely tastes good. Even simple
whole grains, light, I really like soba.
add salt, pepper and all sorts of
salad, you would put so much dressing
become very positive and appreciate
places like “Yoshinoya*,” where it is
Finding them abroad is very difficult,
ingredients into it and they just ruin
all over it you couldn't even see
eating, you'll eat more slowly, you'll
really cheap and still, it is not as nasty
even in New York. There is definitely
the true experience of it !
anything of it! As here you just pour a
enjoy with your eyes, with your mouth.
as it would have been in a fast food
a big difference in having them fresh
Oleg: Oden is something that I have
little soy on top of your vegetables, as
All this I believe will have an impact
restaurant abroad. It's nice to always
versus dried, just the same way as
never seen in other countries. A little
in the fish you don't put much of stuff
on you and on the long term into your
have something good.
pasta! It's something you can only
in China, but it was very different. It is
into it, you can enjoy just the taste of
have in Japan, I'll never have this type
very seasonal, in the winter, and it
it. It's all about the food experience.
Steve: I think it's true. In Kaiseki-
JQR: What would be the food that
of consistency in soba when I go back
tastes good ! It's definitely one type of
style*, they pace it very slow too. They
you think is not known overseas but
to the US.
food that would be promising
JQR: Do you eat Japanese style
bring all the little dishes one at the
you'd want to introduce the world to?
Seb: There is also yakiniku*, it would
people would not go there, but the
time, and when you come at the last
presentation is always neat, so it's
be very much appreciated in Quebec
everything tastes like that in Japan?
Then I'm never going to have
Japanese food in my life!” It is a whole
process of acquiring the tastes.
Seb: The food is of such good quality
that it inspires people to try when they
first come here, then they expand their
Oleg: A few things look weird, and
taste is never strange, and the
three or four, you realize you are
Oleg: Natto*! I really like it and they
(Canada) just as in the US, where
JQR: What would you never
All: Yes, mostly everyday.
already full and that's usually when
say it's very healthy and I'm sure
people love BBQs. Or even shabu-
recommend to foreign people?
pretty easy to try.
Seb: Everyday. Once in a while I go
the good stuff starts to come out ! In
people would very much like it too. I
for a steak, but I go less and less in
the US you would have a mountain of
discovered it when I came to Japan.
Steve: Shabu-shabu is not salty
Seb: I don't think that there is
JQR: What will you miss the most
that direction. If I eat a big steak, it
pasta, with a mountain of sauce. All
Seb: It took me years to get used to
enough for people. They don't
anything I would not recommend... or
tastes good, but I feel heavy for a
comes at once so quickly you can't
natto, but now I have some two or
understand the meaning of it, that you
maybe tororo* !!
while. It changes my mood also.
appreciate what you're eating.
three times a week for lunch. The way
are just making the final broth as you
Steve: The food is amazing, but you
Steve: I don't go for steaks anymore
Seb: Yes eating back home is
I eat it is very different too! I put fresh
go, with each piece of meat and
don't want people to have a bad
something you do fast, and then it's
pepper on top! Japanese people are
vegetable, and that it is at the end,
experience about it. If you would just
Seb: Balance and combination of the
done. Here people talk, exchange,
surprised, but I tell them to try
when you put rice or noodles in it, that
export natto as a product and then
elements in your food is important. I
take the time to eat. When you are
because it's good! But in general, so
thing the Japanese have the secret in
involved in this you really enjoy it !
little of Japanese food is know abroad.
there. And the way they present the
Oleg: It definitely looks good, but I'm
Steve: I think soba* would be nice to
It's all about
the eating
Food here
always tastes
when you go back?
Seb: The whole food in general
Oleg: Yes it's going to be tough
Steve: The whole experience, the
Oleg: And the convenience of it !
It's a
so healthy!
*Kaiseki-style food is traditional high-end full-course Japanese food, served one little dish at the time, each presented in a very refined manner, reflecting the season.
*Natto is fermented soy beans, usually mixed with soy sauce and mustard, and eaten on top of rice or in makis.
*Soba are buckwheat noodles, served hot or cold with a fish broth and various toppings.
*Yakiniku is Japanese-style BBQ, generally grilling small amounts of meat and a variety of vegetables.
*Shabu-shabu is a Japanese-style Fondue, in which the sliced meat and vegetables and quickly dipped in a few seconds at the time.
*Oden is a variety of small boiled items, varying from fish balls, eggs, tofu or vermicelli.
*Yoshinoya is a fast food restaurant chain that serve stirred beef and onions on top of rice.
*Tororo is a mousse obtained by grating a sort of yam called “Yama-imo.”
2 011 December
2 011 December
Sponge samples sorted by firmness and foaming. From top to bottom is soft to firm. Left to right is coarse to fine.
From the Workshops of
Monozukuri Manufacturers
V o l
Select Japanese Skills
A Proven Strategy Nets Over 70% of
the International Market
Cosmetic Sponges
Loved the World Over
Photography/ Susumu Nagao Interview and text/ Kyoko Ohtsu
Mitsuhiko Sakamoto,
President of Yukigaya
Chemical Industry Co. Ltd.
Under his guidance the
company stands ready to
give shape to flashes of
inspiration from daily life.
Color samples. Sometimes special orders are made for colors not available in the samples.
Skin condition is not the only factor
user’s preferences and the quality of
country,” boasts Yukigaya President,
that determines how smoothly makeup
the foundation used.
Mitsuhiko Sakamoto.
can be applied. The tools used for
With this in mind, the fact that
application are important as well, and
Yukigaya Chemical’s sponges are
changing these can make a dramatic
loved by women all over the world, is
difference in achieving a more
very interesting indeed. The secret of
desirable effect. Yukigaya Chemical
their success lies not in making an
What are the qualities of a good
Industry Company is a sponge
all-purpose sponge, but rather in
cosmetic sponge? The answer to this
manufacturer that holds over 70% of
making a huge variety of sponges to
is that it should feel good to touch, not
the world market for cosmetic
suit different women and their
harden with time, and not change color.
sponges. Japanese cosmetics
foundations in every country.
Meeting all these requirements
manufacturers such as Shiseido and
The company has a sample book in
necessitates employing various
Kose and world-famous cosmetics
various languages containing a wide
measures and strategies that make the
brands such as Lancôme and Estee
range of sample sponges arranged by
price of these products 30 to 40%
Lauder all rely deeply on the company
order of firmness, color, shape, and
higher than those of other companies’.
for their cosmetic sponge needs.
surface finish. Having this available
But top quality cosmetics
streamlines the process of creating a
manufacturers can accept that and still
Cosmetic sponges must be strong and
product. In Japan skin-tone sponges
choose Yukigaya Chemical’s sponges
durable since they are used on a daily
are most commonly used, but in the
in the end.
basis by their owners. Because they
West white is the predominant color.
“I think it’s because they are cosmetics
are in contact with women’s skin, their
Preferences for firmness and thickness
manufacturers who understand the
feel on the skin is also highly important.
also vary from country to country.
pursuit of beauty, and that gives them
However, “feel” is a unpredictable
“We have the basic technology, so we
the ability to decide on a cost outlay
quality that only finds its form when
are confident of being able to fulfill the
for quality products,” says President
there is a perfect match between the
requests of manufacturers in any
2 011 December
Quality is Bound to Be
2 011 December
From the Workshops of
Monozukuri Manufacturers
PVA:A New Product Useful in
Wastewater Treatment and Purification
The sponge inner padding of these bras is also made by Yukigaya.
Material that holds its shape and does not change color is
essential for light colored underwear.
One centimeter blocks of PVA. Its water absorption and retention
capabilities are excellent, as is its abrasion resistance. The idea of
purifying water by housing microorganisms in holes is currently
undergoing verification.
The sponge tip on these makeup applicators is also a Yukigaya product. In the
past they deteriorated easily, but nowadays they are strong enough to last until
all the makeup has been used up.
In the 1970s sponges used to swell up in the areas that absorbed oil (left). The
Yukilon sponge doesn’t swell even when it absorbs oil. (right)
Yukigaya Chemical was founded in
The foam polyurethane Tera Polyca is used for the edges of high quality audio
speakers, such as those used for home theatres, and is also now widely used in
mid-price range speakers.
Water purification using PVA is tested through various experiments
under different conditions. Even the President is conducting a water
purification experiment with PVA in his pond at home.
Demand for sponges also shot up all at
“I consulted someone I knew in a
cleanliness-loving Japanese people.
technology and products.”
up with the idea that microorganisms
once, unexpectedly making the problem
processing factory, and they trimmed
Starting with Revlon it also gained
The company actually developed new
housed in these holes might be able to
manufactured products such as
of sponge deterioration much more
the sponge corners for me. Cutting
acceptance amongst overseas
materials with vibration control and
purify unclean water.
cushioning for bed mattresses and
prominent. All over Japan there were
away the right-angled corners made
manufacturers, and the market share
waterproof properties. These materials
At present the annual electricity bill for
inner padding for brassieres.
incidents of “sponges swelling up and
the sponges seem much more stylish”
expanded steadily. Currently more than
are used for various applications, such
Tokyo’s wastewater treatment is
Cosmetics sales increased with the
foundation cases not closing.”
President Sakamoto explains.
1,000 types of sponge are
as car components, sports equipment
around 50 billion yen. However, if PVA
rise in women’s buying power during
That’s when Yukigaya Chemical
Kose became the first company to
manufactured for cosmetics brands all
and medical items. For example, the
could be utilized on a semi-permanent
Japan’s period of rapid economic
decided to begin developing an oil
adopt the Yukilon sponges, which
over the world.
highly functional polyurethane Tera
basis, it would not only greatly reduce
growth in the late 1950s. But the
resistant sponge, with President
immediately became hugely popular
Polyca, developed in 2006, is an
the electricity bill, but would
sponges used to apply foundation were
Sakamoto, then head of the sales
with customers. Shiseido and other
essential material in luxury speakers
undoubtedly receive more attention in
plagued by the problem of deterioration,
department, playing a major part in the
major cosmetics manufacturers all
because of its superb vibration control
the near future as an ecological form
brought about by the natural rubber
process. The synthetic rubber sponge
followed suit, and eventually Yukilon
qualities. Similarly, Yukilon’s distinctive
of wastewater treatment.
from which they were made. Oil in the
they developed after repeated trial and
cosmetic sponges were being used
“When you look at the gaps, they seem
feature is that it does not deteriorate
foundation caused a chemical reaction
error was given the name Yukilon.
throughout Japan.
to be filled in,” says President
easily and can be used for long
which made the sponge expand. They
But an unexpected hurdle needed to be
The Yukilon sponge has a fine texture
Sakamoto. There are always gaps
periods, because its raw materials are
were also vulnerable to UV rays, and
cleared before Yukilon could make its
that feels good on the skin and can
between two solid parts. Look closely
resistant to heat and UV rays.
would eventually fall apart.
debut. Although the functionality of the
spread foundation thinly and evenly. It
at a smart phone or a digital camera,
The next focus for the company is
In 1977, after a compact-type
sponge had improved, its appearance
also has excellent durability and can
and your eyes are drawn to the
wastewater treatment with a new
foundation by Kose exploded in
was exactly the same, and it therefore
be washed repeatedly, making it easy
sections where dust or water might get
material called PVA. PVA has
popularity, a string of similar
lacked a decisive factor that would
to keep clean, something that struck a
in, but “these gaps can be eliminated
outstanding water retention efficiency
foundations came onto the market.
convince manufacturers to choose it.
chord with the sensibilities of the
with our company’s distinctive
and many holes. The company came
1951. In those days it mainly
The Tsukuba plant and two overseas factories in China and Thailand
together produce over fifteen million sponges every month. The material
is poured still foaming into a mold, steamed, then removed from the
mold by twisting up with two hands. This work must be performed by
hand since the material is too soft to be handled by machines.
2 011 December
The Pursuit of
Yukigaya Chemical
Industry Co. Ltd.
Omorikita 6-23-22, Ota-ku,Tokyo
Tel: 03 3761 1445
Fax: 03 3768 0469
2 011 December
Japan and Me
Francoise Morechand, Essayist
-The Modern is in the Traditional-
In the age of video
garment without the use of buttons, zips or domes.
Dressing in kimono is a true example of “handwork”. For
Inevitably one imagines the kimono slipping open simply
those of us living in today's mechanized age, it's an art
by unknotting the long silk sash...very sensual.
ripe for rediscovery along with a delight mingled with
But even the most stunning kimono is nothing without all
pleasure for the soul.
its various accessories, such as the undergarment known
as a juban, the han'eri neckpiece overlapping the collar of
the juban, the obi, and cords of various sorts. These not
only stop the kimono from falling off, they form the draping
that defines the kimono's silhouette.
In these days dominated by video games and TV programs
One public holiday, as I strolled through the Meiji Jingu
designed with the thought that anything less than frenzied
shrine among throngs of young kimono-clad women, I was
action with new plot twists three times a minute might
reminded of something said by the famous Japanese
invite boredom, and in which unironed jeans and T-shirts
couturier Yohji Yamamoto:
are not only tolerated but positively celebrated as the
“There is something oddly moving about the sight of a
epitome of cool, the sight of a woman passing by in
woman viewed side on, or from the back on a slight
kimono is akin to a beautiful, fleeting apparition.
diagonal. A sense of treading close on the heels of
Appearing suddenly out of the crowd, she disappears
something passing, something going by. I guess you
around the corner just as swiftly, like a dream,
could call it a sensation of missing. The same goes for a
embodiment of the “ephemeral beauty” for which the
lingering waft of fragrance. There is something
Japanese have such an enduring love.
heartrending about it. That idea of being seduced by
Ephemerality. This without a doubt is the basis of the
something passing by is one of the things I admire in
Japanese view of life, and root of the concept of wabi-
women. So I can only ever see a woman as someone
sabi that we discussed in last month's edition.
who passes by, someone who disappears.”
*Yohji Yamamoto's comments are from Takaga fuku, saredo fuku Yohji
Yamamoto ron (“It's only clothing, yet clothing it is: In the words of Yohji
Yamamoto” (Shueisha).
It is a view of life attributable to the geographical
He adds, “So it comes down to the back. To my mind,
conditions of Japan as a country. The Japanese
clothing is something that should be made not from the
understand that the world in which they live could be
front, but from the back.”
extinguished at any moment; earthquakes, tsunamis out of
Furthermore, he concludes, “It is the back that supports a
the blue...disaster heaped upon disaster over the centuries
garment: if the back is not properly made, the front is
serving as a constant reminder of the impermanence of
this earthly realm.
This final comment of Yamamoto's applies to all real
Undoubtedly it is this powerful awareness that all things
clothing, no matter where in the world. The kimono, a
must pass that has nurtured in the Japanese their love for
surprisingly good example, is a particularly special case.
the transience of life and things and the ease with which
Likewise it's a rule always respected by Parisian haute
everything can change. The same could be said for their
couture. In the world of pret-a-porter it is common to
Francoise Morechand (Fashion essayist)
love of materials that have acquired the patina of age. It
economize on fabric for the back of a garment, but not in
reminds them that everything will one day meet its demise.
made-to-measure fashion. To use the haute couture term,
Japan's almost religious obsession with cherry blossoms,
a garment has to “fall” properly. At Chanel, to maintain
the epitome of transience, is grounded in the same idea.
perfect “fall” fine gold-colored chains are worked into the
Cherry blossoms last just a few days, their petals whisked
hem of a jacket to act as weights.
Born 1936 in Montparnasse, Paris. Came to Japan in 1958 after studying Japanese at the Sorbonne. Worked as a teacher on NHK's Tanoshii
Furansugo French language education series, and lecturer in French at Ochanomizu Women's University, before returning to France in 1964. Came
to Japan again in 1974 to manage Chanel's beauty department there. With a career spanning French teacher, TV “tarento”, writer, and fashion
coordinator, in 2004 Morechand's longstanding contribution to Franco-Japanese cultural ties was recognised by the French government with the
awarding of the Légion d’honneur. Visiting professor at Kyoritsu Women's University. Overseas trade advisor to the French government. North
Asia representative for the Conseil Supérieur des Français de l'Etranger (CSFE). International advisor to the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary
Art, Kanazawa. Ishikawa Prefecture tourism ambassador.
swiftly away on gentle spring breezes, instantly coating
Returning to the kimono and its splendid rear-view
the surrounding earth in pink snow.
silhouette, we find that the curve of the upward-spreading
Having become such a rare sight even in Japan, perhaps
collar highlights the beauty of the nape of the neck, while
the kimono is now more precious than ever to the
the back is adorned with the tied obi, or sash. The obi
Japanese in this era of media hype and frenzy.
brings the whole of the kimono together as a single
Yasuko Sensyu (Illustrator)
Leading creator of adorable “healing art”. All her work, starting with calligraphy employing her Level 7 calligraphic skills, and including her
illustrations and essays, is suffused with a warmth that soothes whoever picks it up. Her diverse portfolio includes paintings for the interior of Le
Comptoir de Benoit, chef Alain Ducasse's first restaurant venture in Osaka; murals at the En-Japan head office, plus illustrating, brand logos, wall
paintings and essays. She was also responsible for the “Japan Trump” playing cards showcasing famous sightseeing spots nationwide (supported by
the Japan National Tourism Organization), extending this concept further across Asia with a sub-brand for the Singaporean tourism office, and
Indonesian Trump cards.
2 011 December
2 011 December
Sake to Drink From a Wineglass
In Praise
Fine Sake Vol.
Fujioka Brewery
Address: Ima-machi 672-1, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto-fu
Telephone: 075-611-4666
Alcohol content: 17% ● Seimaibuai (rice milling percentage): 50%
Amino acidity: 1.2
Nihonshu-do (Sake Meter Value + dry, -sweet): +2
Acidity: 1.4 ● Rice: Aiyama
Volume: 500ml ● Price: 3,000 yen (tax inclusive)
Soku Junmai Daiginjo Aiyama
Text/ Kaori Haishi (sake sommelier) Photography/ Susumu Nagao
A Taste of
the Clear Blue Sky
the “resurrected brewery.”
I chose Soku Junmai Daiginjo Aiyama
sauce as the dipping sauce, try a sake
My first encounter with this sake was at
from the wide selection offered. It had a
infusion. Dip the yuba into an mixture of
Ryosen, a Kyoto izakaya which,
youthful green tinge that was cool to the
katsuobushi (dried bonito) and umeboshi
unusually for a Kyoto pub, serves sake
eyes, and a lovely, refreshing aroma. At
(pickled plums) simmered in sake to
in wineglasses. When I ordered “a local
first it slipped down my throat like water,
heighten both the delicate taste of fresh
sake,” they served me Soku. The bottle
but then came a strong sensation of
yuba and the flavor of the sake. If it’s
design was love at first sight, and after
fullness and a perfect feeling of
fish you want try a simple salt-grilled
tasting the sake I was taken even more.
satisfaction. With a flavor that combines
gindara (sablefish) or kamasu
When I’m head over heels with a sake, I
the delicacy and robustness of rice, I
(barracuda). It also goes well with dishes
simply have to see the face of the
imagine this sake is one that appeals to
featuring deep-fried soba or mukago
brewery that produces it. I wasted no
the very DNA of the Japanese people.
(yam bulbs) as ingredients.
time in setting off for Fushimi.
The curtain call is a grapefruit-like
yuba (soy-milk skin) sashimi as an
accompaniment. Instead of using soy
acidity. Fine brewing that makes
Five hundred milliliters is an unusual
A sudden death forced the Fujioka
maximum use of the world-renowned
size for a sake bottle, but one that is
Shuzo brewery into closing its doors in
water in this region manifests itself in
just right for two people to share along
the past, but fifth generation Masaaki
the quality of this sake.
with a nice meal. Afterwards you’ll feel
as happy as on a clear blue day without
Fujioka’s passion for brewing sake never
waned, and after being trained at
Don’t overchill it when drinking; the
another brewery he was able to revive
umami of the rice can be best enjoyed
the business. This is why it is known as
at about 10 degrees. I recommend fresh
a cloud in the sky.
2 011 December

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