In a few previous blog post, I talked about my love for the various sentai series that came from Japan. Well, the nostalgia trip didn’t end with writing that post.
I recently went to a toy sale at my local mall and found a whole stash of Kamen Rider 555 action figures. I immediately grabbed a Kamen Rider Kaixa figure (which is one of the coolest figures in the bunch). It was a 12-inch figure that lights up just like in the series — signifying that the armor is powering up.
Getting my hands on a Kamen Rider figure made me think of the other genre that is as popular as Sentai — the Tokusatsu genre. Tokusatsu is a looser grouping, not like the more genre specific sentai. Tokusatsu literally means Special Effects and is actually a contraction of two words tokushu satsuei, which means special photography.
The tokusatsu series runs the whole gamut of subgenres from science fiction, fantasy and even horror and monsters. Some of the most popular tokusatsu series or shows aside from Kamen Rider are the Ultraman series, the Godzilla and Gamera series, and even Doraemon.
The Tokusatsu is another one of those distinctly Japanese pop culture references that make their culture so unique.
Posted October 29th, 2010 by Maki+ | Comment (0)
While we are on the subject of miso, let me share with you the health benefits of this wonderful soup. Though, of course, its primary purpose (at least for me) is to satisfy my tummy and make me feel better, miso does have potential health benefits. I ran across this article from Associate Content written by Scott Kessman. In it, he details the benefits that miso soup can give to our health.
For women, consuming a bowl of miso a day can help keep breast cancer at bay. The reason for this lies in the inherent nature of the main ingredient, which is fermented soy bean. Another thing about miso is that it is supposed to regulate the production of estrogen in women. This, in turn, helps keep tumors from developing.
Miso also contains a whole lot of other nutrients such as Vitamin E and Vitamin B12. These vitamins help in increasing our immune system. In addition to these, miso contains antioxidants. We all know how antioxidants have come to the forefront because of their anti-aging and anti-cancer properties. Of course, miso contains protein, making it a good alternative to other protein-rich food such as beef and pork.
How about the other ingredients in the soup? The seaweed that is normally included in the dish is purported to have the effect of lowering cholesterol levels. Combine the seaweed with miso paste and what you get is something to help combat problems related to nicotine.
Indeed, miso soup is not only food for the soul but for the body as well!
Posted October 22nd, 2010 by Maki+ | Comments (3)
The past few weeks have been quite harrying for me and more than once, I found myself hankering for a big bowl of miso soup. What can I say? This, for me, is one of the best things to have when I need comfort food.
Japanese miso is perhaps the most popular soup that is included in their meals. It goes with anything, really. Miso is basically soy bean paste and is used as a base for the soup. Other ingredients are added to the soup, which is light and at the same time hearty, especially if fish is added to it.
There are different variants to miso, but here is one that I normally use. It is very basic and the ingredients can be found at most Japanese grocery stores.
Miso paste (red)
Japanese silken tofu
White fish cubes
Here’s how to make it:
Boil about 4 cups of water. Once it reaches a boil, put 3 heaping tablespoons of the red miso paste and stir vigorously. You can use less or more of the paste, depending on your preferences. Let the soup simmer for a minute and then add the fish cubes. Let it simmer for another 3 minutes and then put the leeks and the tofu in. Stir the soup again and let it simmer for another minute. Add salt to taste.
It would be better with some seaweed and some dashi stock – this adds more taste – but sometimes dashi is hard to find in my area. Sometimes I also add a bit of onion for added taste.
Posted October 15th, 2010 by Maki+ | Comments (5)
I was watching cable television the other day when I saw this program about a young girl who left school to train to become a geisha. I do know that geishas still exist in modern day Japan but I haven’t really paid attention. That is, until I watched this documentary created by BBC Four.
The documentary is all about a 15-year old girl named Yukina. She left school and her family in order to train as a maiko. This is the Japanese term for an apprentice geisha. Did you know that in Japan, 15 is the minimum age required for girls in order for them to train as a maiko?
So there she was, practically a pariah in the eyes of her family and her friends. You see, Yukina has always dreamed of becoming a geisha. Her parents and friends didn’t seem to approve of her decision to drop out of school and go to Kyoto to train, though.
The documentary showcases her journey as she trains to become a maiko under the Okasan, or geisha mother. I found the whole show captivating as it showed a whole new light to what a geisha is and what a geisha does. It also highlighted some facts that I never knew about. For example, did you know that a geisha’s kimono costs thousands of pounds? More so, a geisha has to have about 7 of them in her wardrobe!
If you have not seen this documentary, visit Veoh, where I saw an online version.
Posted October 8th, 2010 by Maki+ | Comments (2)