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I love these colourful maki-e stickers with gold so much that when I entered the ‘competition’, I vowed that I would go buy that longed for iPhone should I win… And I’m one to keep my promise! Don’t you think my mobile will look great with those gorgeous koi fish? Accessorize, Personalize! Better start making plans for a shopping trip ;)
The lucky cat phone charm is called Maneki Neko, which can be translated in ‘beckoning cat’. It is asking you to come in, because you’re welcome! It is believed to bring good luck. This cat has his left paw raised — some say to bring customers in, while having a raised right paw brings wealth and good fortune. Well, I’m lucky anyway! ;)
Didn’t I get spoiled? The first thing to notice is Snow Country, by Kawabata Yasunari. I guess velvet noticed I fell in love with the author last year, while reading The Old Capitol in the Japanese Literature Bookgroup. I still need to review it, but I claimed it to be my 2nd best read of 2009! The other two books don’t trigger any memories, except that I know velvet read Gail Carriger’s Soulless, and loved it. I quote:
this is a fabulously fun Victorian romp involving supernatural creatures and others
I’ve decided against rereading her review because I prefer to know as little as possible about books before I begin — as I’ve said before ;) The Christmas Quilt by Thomas J. Davies hasn’t popped up anywhere on my radar yet, but it seems a cosy read for this year’s Holiday season. Let’s just hope there aren’t any zombies in it — can’t get comfy with guests like that, can I? :\ Then again… Why would I need brain flavour zombie mints when not expecting any living deads ?! :-o Boy, they must have bad breath… You think I could scare them away with the Christmas Cracker in the right-hand corner? Because I’m saving that until December as well! It has a cute wooden ‘Nutcracker’ toy on it.
Still, the box is not empty yet. There’s some stuff to get myself organized in the new year: a cool sushi bar calendar (stickers) and a monster heart pencil. I hope velvet doesn’t mean to suggest I need to stop blogging and start writing a personal diary? :P Nooooo, it’s probably to take notes while buddy reading Sei Shonagon’s The Pillowbook with her!
I’m open to suggestions on how to use the calendar stickers btw… The wrapper hints to putting them on my personal computer, but somehow that doesn’t seem such a good idea to me.
And then I got some more awards. You know by now I don’t pass these along, but I do APPRECIATE THEM very much! So many thanks to velvet for the Superior Scribe Award and to Sherimiya for the Happy 101 Blog Award! They both make me really happy :) But the one I like ‘bestest’ was passed on to me by the ever faithful velvet: the Zombie Chicken Award. (Yesh, velvet likes her zombies ;)
The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken – excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words.
I rest my case. Let’s scatter those mints for the chicks and any other zombies Maneki Neko brings in. Then I can wallow in my wealth :)
Obviously I am not used yet to my new routine of working at home on Thursdays — I started making a bento last night! And did I have some good foodies to put in it… YUM! But when I remembered I stopped and went to do other things (like blogpost my third book review for the What’s in a Name challenge), so today’s bento is a small one. It’s a pity I can’t name it #77.5! LOL
We tried out some new Japanese take-away — Dutch readers might think I mean Tiny Tokyo which can be found at train stations but noooo, we went to Maneki, which seems to be a new branch of Kyushu, our favourite local restaurant. And I managed to save 1 avocadomaki (avocado sushi) and 1 tamagomaki (Japanese omelet) each, alongside some seaweed salad known as chuka wakame (わかめサラタ).
I LOVE that salad — I wish I could make it myself! But it is really hard to find the exact recipe, let alone kuki wakame: the stems and ribs of wakame seaweed that are the main ingredient. I’ll have to wait until an acquaintance is going to Japan again so I can put in a request! According to the great (Dutch) Tokowijzer weblog the correct name for this salad would be chuka kuki-wakame. “Chuka” meaning ‘Chinese way’ btw, because of the typical Chinese ingredients.
I have read somewhere that most Japanese restaurants in Holland/Europe buy this salad prefab… I wonder if that is true.
But I am getting side-tracked. The rest of bento #77 contained radish flowers, a cucumber divider, some runner beans and a soy fishy that Katie and Anita brought me all the way from Japan. In the lower tier there are also a small shalot ‘fan’ and a ball of dark miso to make miso soup. Next to it in the container you can see a tiny piece of black stuff: that is fueru wakame: dried leaf of wakame seaweed, which will swell enormously when soaked in hot water. The beans, onion and some radish also went into the soup.
All this talking about kuki wakame made me think of kukicha, or ‘takkethee’ (‘twig tea’) as we call it. I am going to make myself a pot RIGHT now! Strange how a small bento like today’s can result in such a long post like this… ;)