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  • Thumbnail for Grocery Store Display:  Curries
    Grocery Store Display: Curries

    Boxes of curry, a very popular food in Japan.

  • Thumbnail for Grocery Store Display:  Frozen Shrimp
  • Thumbnail for ATM, close-up 1
    ATM, close-up 1

    A closer look at a Japanese ATM.

  • Thumbnail for Vending machines:  alcoholic beverages
    Vending machines: alcoholic beverages

    With the variety of vending machines on the street, to live in Japan you'd never have to step foot inside of a store. Here is a row of vending machines offering beer and liquor.

  • Thumbnail for Boys at School
    Boys at School

    Three boys enjoying their time between classes.

  • Thumbnail for ATM, close-up 2
    ATM, close-up 2

    A closer look at a Japanese ATM.

  • Thumbnail for Exit Sign
    Exit Sign

    An exit sign warns cars not to enter.

  • Thumbnail for Meal at ryokan or "guest houses"
    Meal at ryokan or "guest houses"

    Meals at ryokan (traditional inns, or "guest houses") are elaborate and delicious.

  • Thumbnail for Yin Yang symbol
    Yin Yang symbol

    Picture of the yin-yang symbol, which represents the two opposing forces in the universe.

  • Thumbnail for Inari
    Inari

    Ingredients 2 cups prepared sushi rice 3 Tbs. Mirin 3 Tbs. Sugar 4 Tbs. Soy sauce 1-1/4 cup Dashi (fish stock) 1/4 cup Shredded par-boiled carrot Salt 4 Deep-fried tofu cakes (aburage)* or 8 Canned tofu pouches *Aburage can be bought canned or frozen at many Asian food markets. The canned variety are already seasoned and sliced; if using these, plan on three or four pouches per person. Method Bring the prepared sushi rice to room temperature. (If using canned aburage, skip this next step) Pour boiling water over the deep-fried tofu cakes to remove oil. Cool, then slice each tofu cake in half lengthwise to make eight tofu pouches. In a small saucepan, combine the mirin, sugar, soy sauce and dashi together. Simmer over low heat until hot. Drain gourd strips, then add the gourd strips and tofu pouches into the stock. Heat to boil. Cover, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Squeeze the tofu pouches and gourd strips dry. Set aside.

  • Thumbnail for Sushi:  chirashi
    Sushi: chirashi

    Chirashi sushi is unlike all other kinds of sushi. Even though it consists of rice with fish and vegetables, the preparation and presentation is different. All other types of sushi are somehow pressed together, either by hand, with a rolling mat, or in a mold. All other types are also served in individual pieces, usually meant to be eaten in a single bite. Chirashi on the other hand is never squeezed or pressed; the sushi meshi is scooped into a bowl. The fish and vegetables are spread out on top of the rice. Chirashi means to scatter, and the first time someone outside of Japan sees chirashizushi he or she will likely think it is a rice salad. Chirashi can be served in individual bowls (most common at a restaurant), or in one large bowl to be shared by everyone at the table (more common at home). To eat chirashi, you may either dip the pieces of fish in shoyu and eat as sashimi or put the fish back in the bowl, scooping up some rice to eat it together with the fish. This is an easier way to serve sushi to a group of people, as the cook doesn't have to take the time to make individual pieces for everyone.

  • Thumbnail for Grocery Store Display:  Cheeses, Close-up
    Grocery Store Display: Cheeses, Close-up

    A close-up of some cheeses in a Japanese grocery store.

  • Thumbnail for Grocery store display: apples
    Grocery store display: apples

    Apples (ringo), packed in foam and plastic have no chance for escape.

  • Thumbnail for Shopping Carts
    Shopping Carts

    Shopping carts in a grocery store in Hokkaido are actually a basket and cart in one.

  • Thumbnail for Grocery Store Display:   Pocky Two Kinds
    Grocery Store Display: Pocky Two Kinds

    Two kinds of Pocky: Men's (with dark chocolate) and original.

  • Thumbnail for Ram Cards
    Ram Cards

    Ram cards usher in the new year.

  • Thumbnail for Rice Cookers, close-up
    Rice Cookers, close-up

    Some high tech rice cookers.

  • Thumbnail for Candy Store Display:  Mochi
    Candy Store Display: Mochi

    Mochi (rice cakes) looking very delicious.

  • Thumbnail for Room
    Room

    During my homestay I snapped a picture of my room for posterity. Note the tatami mats, futon, space heater, and "desk".

  • Thumbnail for Sushi on conveyor belt
    Sushi on conveyor belt

    Brendan Eagan enjoys a dinner of sushi at a "rolling sushi" restaurant (the food comes to you on a conveyer belt) with his host family in Nagasaki.

  • Thumbnail for Flower Shop
    Flower Shop

    A flowershop in Hokkaido.

  • Thumbnail for Shinto Falls
    Shinto Falls

    A clear waterfall at a shrine in Nagasaki.

  • Thumbnail for Kimono Store:  Obi
    Kimono Store: Obi

    A selection of beautiful obi, to be used with kimonos.

  • Thumbnail for Subway Passengers
    Subway Passengers

    People sit on a subway car, waiting for their ride to begin.

  • Thumbnail for Pedestrian Fashion 2
    Pedestrian Fashion 2

    An excerpt from Lee Magazine shows fashion-wise Japanese ladies in their natural habitats.