Aug 7, 2013

Go to kissaten, Japanese coffee shops!

I'm always wondering why my foreign students (I'm a Japanese teacher) loves Starbucks Coffee so much. They hang out there very often, which is not bad at all, but Starbucks is everywhere in the world. As many of them will leave Japan in a couple of years, I'd like to say to them: "You are living abroad. Take advantage of this precious opportunity. Do something new or different!" 

I'm not saying they should learn karate or climb Mt. Fuji, which may be too tough, but they can have coffee at some Japanese kissaten (coffee shops) instead of the Seattle-style cafe once in a while, right?

My recommendation is Komeda's Coffee  (コメダ珈琲店, pronounced Komeda Kohi-ten), a Nagoya-based coffee chain with nearly 500 franchise stores around the country, mainly in the suburbs where they can secure a big parking space. All the stores feature comfortable high-back sofa seats and "interesting" Nagoya-style menu items.

Look at the photo below, for example. This is "misokatsu sand (=sandwich)" that I had the other day at Komeda's. Misokatsu, or a tonkatsu (deap-fried breaded pork) with miso-based sweet sauce, is one of the typical Nagoyan local dishes. The misokatsu, shredded cabbage and fluffy bread surprisingly go well.

But the most popular food at Komeda's is not misokatsu but  "shiro-noir," a warm brioche bread with cold soft serve ice cream on the top. I don't know why it is called Shiro-noir. Shiro means white in Japanese and noir is black in French. It does not mean anything. Strange name, but definitely  worth tasting. The warm bread melts the cream very quickly like the photo below, but this hot-cold combination is interesting and addictive.  

Oh, I have to say this: Komeda's Coffee is one of the best places to have breakfast. If you happen to find one of the chain shops before 11 a.m. and you are hungry, don't hesitate to go in and ask for "Morning sevice." Why? Because, like many other kissaten (Japanese-style coffee shops) in Nagoya, Komeda would offer you a slice of toast and a boiled egg for free if you order a drink. If you want, you can have a mini salad if you pay 200 yen extra.

To check the menu, please click here. It is all written in Japanese, but photos would help you to understand what it is like.

From here I'm writing in Japanese for someone learning Japanese!


生徒: せいと students
悪い: わるい bad
世界中: せかいじゅう all over the world
どこでも: anywhere


新しい: あたらしい new
喫茶店: きっさてん coffee shops


おすすめ: recommendation
珈琲: コーヒー 
名古屋: なごや name of the city
全国: ぜんこく the whole country
約: やく about
背が高い: せがたかい tall
座り心地がいい: すわりごこち be comfortable to sit on
独特: どくとく peculiar
特徴: とくちょう features, characteristics


写真:しゃしん photo
この前: このまえ the other day
甘い: あまい sweet
味噌: みそ soy bean paste
たれ: sauce
千切りの: せんぎりの shredded
柔らかい: やわらかい soft


人気:にんき popular
温かい: あたたかい warm
冷たい:つめたい cold
乗せる: のせる to put
組み合わせ: くみあわせ combination
くせになる: addictive


そうそう: by the way
お得: おとく bargain
注文する: ちゅうもんする  to order
無料: むりょう free of charge
ゆで卵: ゆでたまご a boiled egg
頼む: たのむ to ask

Aug 2, 2013

Edamame beans are the best nibbles to go with beer!

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven't posted for weeks. Are there still someone interested in my blog?

From now on I'll write this blog both in English (probably full of mistakes though) and my native language Japanese. As you can see in my profile, I'm a Japanese teacher and I suddenly felt like doing something a little more beneficial for those studying Japanese.

The Japanese text probably intermediate and advanced level. 


Today's topic is "edamame," young green soybeans usually served in the pod. It is the ever-popular appetizer that goes very well with beer. When we sit at a the table of an "izakaya,"  a type of Japanese eating establishment that serves a great variety of foods as well as alcohol (and non-alcohol) beverages, many of us half-unconsciously order a jug of beer and edamame.

I suppose that edamame is now eaten not only in East Asia but also in some Western countries where Japanese foods are accepted. For example, when I was living in Paris, I often bought edamame at Picard, French frozen food store chain, and I found their made-in-Thailand edamame very delicious, probably even better than average Japanese edamame beans.

Frozen edamame is available all year around, but you should buy fresh ones in summer, found at any supermarkets and vegetable stores. This time I bought the ones still attached to the branches. It was 390 yen at a nearby store, a bit more expensive than the average price for edamame.  

This is how it looks when you remove the plastic bag. I can tell it is still very fresh from the look of the leaves. Not bad at all.

Cut off the pods from the branch with scissors. It would be better to cut off one or both ends of the pods, so that the salted water comes in the pods when boiling them.
Like this...oops! Sorry the photo is blurry (again). I cannot blame for these bad photos on my camera, because it is new..

Wash edamame beans with running water, and then rub the pods with about 10 grams of salt to remove fine hair covering the surface. Don't rinse after that.

Boil 1 liter of water and add 40 grams of salt. Put edamame in it and cook 5-7 minutes. Be careful not to overcook to keep the texture.
Drain edamame in a colander and cool it as quickly as possible to keep the green vivid color. In this photo, I'm fanning edamame with a ”sensu” (folding fan). Looks strange, but I don't have ”uchiwa” (round flat paper fan). Taste one and if it is not salty enough, sprinkle salt over edamame.

Edamame is not only tasty but rich in dietary fiber, protein, iron, magnesium, vitamin K, etc. In short, it is good for your health.

Pods are not edible. Push the beans out of the pod with your fingers and pop them into your month. Enjoy!!

Today's useful expression or tourists. At izakaya,
「とりえず、なま(ビール)の ちゅうジョッキ と えだまめ ください。」
"Toriaezu nama no chujokki to edamame kudasai."
= First of all, one draft beer in middle-sized jug and edamae, please."
chu-jokki (middle size) is most common here for some reason. Beer is a beverage
From here, I'll write in Japanese. ここからは日本語で。


未成熟:みせいじゅく immature
大豆: だいず soybeans
定番: ていばん must-have items
居酒屋: いざかや


冷凍食品:れいとうしょくひん frozen food

日本にも冷凍枝豆はありますが、夏は八百屋やスーパーに新鮮なものが出ますから、それを買いましょう。 今回私は枝付きのものを買ってみました。 近くの店で390円。

八百屋: やおや 
新鮮: しんせん fresh
今回: こんかい this time
枝付き: えだつき with branches


ビニール袋: ビニールぶくろ a plastic bag
葉: は leaves

離す: はなす to detach
鞘: さや pod
端: はし end
塩茹で: しおゆで to boil in salted water
ぼける: out of focus, blurry


塩:しお salt
振る: ふる sprinkle
もむ: to rub
表面: ひょうめん surface
細い: ほそい fine
洗い流す: あらいながす to rinse


湯: ゆ hot water
沸かす: わかす to boil
加える: くわえる to add
茹でる: ゆでる to cook in boiled water
歯ごたえ: はごたえ texture
注意: ちゅうい attention

茹でたら、すばやく冷やします。 私は、「うちわ」がないので、扇子であおいでいます。
すばやく: quickly
扇子: せんす folding fan


食物繊維:しょくもつせんい dietary fiber
たんぱく質: たんぱくしつ protein
鉄:てつ iron
豊富: ほうふ rich

指:ゆび fingers
押す: おす to push
豆: まめ beans
放り込む: ほうりこむ to pop something into~