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Today is Japanese Culture Day — and statistically also the best day of the year in Japan regarding weather. Well, we’ve had some strange weather here on the other side of the globe: cold, autumn sun, rain and hard winds all taking turns. Culture Day is celebrated as such since 1948 but it was already a national holiday in 1868; November 3rd being the birthday of the great Meiji Emperor.

Bento #85 is not about Japanese culture, and not really about Dutch culture either. But it is about heritage! It is stuffed with Indonesian food, and of course the Dutch have a colonial history in the (Dutch) East Indies. So does my family… :\ As a result you can wake me up anytime just for some good asian food! I guess the hardest part of becoming a vegetarian was that I wouldn’t be able to eat anymore saté, rendang, or ajam pedis… :( I’ve drafted a blogpost about my search for vegetarian lemper some time ago — I hope to finish it soon ;)

Now, about today’s bento.

Bento #85

Upper tier

  • Asian salad of white cabbage, red and yellow bell pepper, fennel, gherkin and a soy dressing (adapted from Culinette)
  • sweet red pepper
  • red Batavia lettuce
  • nasi goreng with leek and onion
  • shiitake mushroom

Lower tier

  • boiled egg with African peper spices on gherkin slices
  • parsley
  • lettuce
  • emping (in a container I borrowed from my aunt to test its size)

We also had some leftover tumis cabbage & tofu, but I didn’t think that would taste to great cold. Although most Indonesian dishes can very well be eaten at room temperature! They’re best when they have had some time to rest anyway, so that the flavors get a chance to blend.

BTW I did eat this bento in my museum office — does that count for Culture Day? ;)

CSA (& organic): cabbage, fennel, sweet red pepper, Batavia lettuce, leek, parsley.
Organic: onion, shiitake mushroom, egg.


Remember last time when I thought I had some frozen edamame left but I didn’t? Well… I did too :\ Silly me. In the picture they’re still frozen but this morning after cooking I seasoned them with some African Peper spice mix (no typo), together with the corn cob. There’s not much corn left, so don’t get bored yet!

Only half a bento today because yesterday I came home late from a trip to Rotterdam, where I visited an exhibition about ‘Edward Hopper in his time’ and had a great dinner at Bazar. Have you ever heard of a dish called koekoe? I hadn’t, but it was delicious! It seemed to be sort of a potato soufflé. Maybe I can add some links and/or pictures to this post in the weekend, because now I need to hurry up and get to bed.

Half-a-Bento #84

So what was accompanying the edamame beans? Clockwise: marinated olives, a head of corn salad, rice crackers, smoked almonds, corn cob (ah, I already mentioned that didn’t I), dried strawberries and houmous. All centered around a sheep’s cheese sheep.

On the side I brought an apple and two sandwiches because a grrl can’t go hungry!

Alas, no bento on Friday: it was either updating my posts or making a bento. Not an easy decision but one I had to make ;)

Unfortunately I don’t have much time to play on the internet in this Book Blogger Appreciation Week. But I try to keep up with the fun, so.. here’s a picture in answer to Tuesday’s reading meme!

Looking at this picture you’ll know the answers to three of the questions asked:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
  3. How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?

Right now I am reading some Dutch non-fiction about an 19th century colony for poor people, and its significance for several generations of the author’s family: Het pauperparadijs (Pauper Paradise), by Suzanna Jansen. I chose to read this book now because in a few weeks we’ll be having a ‘pauper arrangement‘ as a company outing in the Gevangenismuseum (Jail Museum), located in the last remaining building of the former colony. I hope our visit won’t turn out too beggarly…

This copy is signed and I borrowed it from my mother-in-law so I’ll admit to being extra careful with it, but that doesn’t make any difference for the following answers. Although I can understand people making notes in their books, I never do so. I drag along a notebook almost anytime I leave the house; not just to write down thoughts about my book but also for taking notes relating to work, blog ideas etc. This week I filled the last page of my orange moleskine so the notebook in the photograph is nice and fresh! I love starting in a brand new booklet :))

As you can see I also use post-its to mark pages, especially when I don’t want to stop reading only to scribble down quotes. I keep some of these markers at hand on the backside of my bookmark — which brings me to the last question: I really need those to help me remember at what page I am. I own several bookmarks and I always choose one that ‘fits’ the theme of my book. You’ll find some on my Flickr page! Can you find out what’s on the front of the bookmark shown here?

So now you know some of my reading habits! What are yours?

This week all book geeks should catch up on their book reviews. If they’re following Weekly Geeks, that is ;) This specific recurring question is how I came to know of Weekly Geeks so I can’t refuse, can I?

Now before I go on, MY QUESTION TO YOU is: which one would you like me to write about? And what question(s) about the book should I answer in my post?

So, here are some of the books that I still need to review…

ammaniti 9789048800452

Crossroads (Zo God het wil / Come Dio Comanda) by Niccolò Ammaniti (2006)

I bought this book because of a very positive review in Simon Mayo’s Book Panel. Great podcast to listen to btw! Crossroads was compared to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (but said to have more humor), and to movies by the Coen Brothers… I finished it recently during my holiday on Madeira. I’m waiting for Mr Gnoe to read it because I would really like to discuss whether this is a good book or if it will be thought another The Shadow of the Wind in a while…

akkerman 9789046805428

The Native (De inboorling) by Stevo Akkerman (2009)

In 1883 a Colonial Exhibition was held in Amsterdam, and real people from the Dutch colonies were part of it. De inboorling is a novel about a black Dutchman who, at a time when the Rijksmuseum is planning an exhibition in remembrance of the centennial of this event, discovers his great grandfather was one of the people exhibited. An interesting ethical subject for a museum employee like me! I bought this book at Teylers Museum, where an exhibition about exploitation of humans in exhibitions and art fairs just closed (De exotische mens).
scarlett thomas

The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas (2006)

I am really embarrassed that I haven’t reviewed The End of Mr. Y yet, because it was given to my as a RABCK by Rapturina: a Random Act of Bookcrossing Kindness. And I have a personal rule that I always review bookcrossing books that are sent to me, either as book ring, ray or rabck. Also I can’t send this book on the road again until I’ve made a journal entry about it! This novel about books and time traveling was an appropriate read when I had the flu ;)


South of the Border, West of the Sun (Ten zuiden van de grens, ten westen van de zon / Kokkyo no minami, Taiyo no nishi) by Haruki Murakami (1998)

Haruki Murakami is one of my few favourite authors. Some fans read all his books in one continuous flow, others (like me) like to take it slow and read a book every once in a while. Savour it, so to say :) South of the Border is my 9th book of this author since I started with The Wind-up Bird Chronicles in 2004 and I read it together with Elsje, who’s a Murakami addict of the other type ;)

BTW Did you know there’s a new Murakami novel coming soon? It’s called 1Q84 and has been for sale in Japan since the end of May. It’s a great succes already. Ha! Another 1000 pages to enjoy soon ;) Erm, soon? It will be published in Holland in 2011…

Anyway, here’s a bonus for all Murakami lovers in suspense of the new novel: 1984 by the Eurythmics on YouTube. Why? Q = kyū= 9 > 1984!

ETA: in the end I reviewed The End of Mr. Y based on your questions!

Net als vorig jaar ga ik komende zondag naar de Japanmarkt in Leiden. Voor het Sieboldhuis op het Rapenburg staan kraampjes en her en der vinden activiteiten plaats. Eerst is er picknick in het Stadspark, dus dat is een goed excuus om wat bento’s mee te nemen! Een van de kookgrrls mailde me net een pastasalade recept waarvoor ik alle ingrediënten toevallig al in huis heb, dus die gaat sowieso op het menu :) Leuk om onze vrienden mee te verrassen! Wel jammer dat mijn picknickbentobox na hanami in het Amsterdamse Bos is gesneuveld :(

Vorig jaar was het best wel koud en winderig (dat valt op de foto’s te zien), en de markt zelf viel me ook wat tegen. Toch heb ik toen leuke dingen gescoord: het matchapoeder waar ik al zo lang naar op zoek was (voor matchacake), lekkere first flush senchathee (in blik), een bijzonder theeblikje in herfstkleuren, mooie kaarten van de Paul van Riel fototentoonstelling in het Sieboldhuis en een boekenlegger met Japanse dame. Met andere woorden: ik heb best wel weer zin om te gaan! Helemaal omdat de weersverwachting top is en het programma door 400 jaar Japans-Nederlandse handelsbetrekkingen uitgebreider is dan vorig jaar. Een leuke invulling van eerste pinksterdag :) Waarmee zal ik nu weer thuiskomen?

This week Weekly Geeks asked:

Do you live in a place where a famous author was born? Does your town have any cool literary museums or monuments?

D’oh! Maybe you won’t know the best known author of my hometown Utrecht, Dick Bruna, but most people LOVE his famous character: Miffy! Which is, btw, known as Nijntje by Dutch readers. That’s her real name ;)

Miffy is almost as well known as Hello Kitty :) And I really don’t have any feelings for the Kitty cat, but I can’t help feeling sympathy for little rabbit Nijntje :) Even though I didn’t have any books about Miffy when I was small. My best friend did!

My brother and I had one book by Bruna each. Mine was The fish (published in 1962, that’s 8 years after I was born :)) It’s about a little fish that’s sad because the swans and ducks in the pond eat all the bread that’s been fed to them. Then a little girl falls into the water and… the fish rescues her! After that (s)he can have all the bread it wants :)

As you might have noticed there’s no Miffy in this book, LOL. But it’s one of the author’s first stories!

Miffy chocolates!

Miffy, or okay, Dick Bruna ;) has its own museum in Utrecht: Dick Bruna House. And there’s a chain of Dutch bookstores called Bruna. Is that a coincidence?

Now I’m going to be generous here: anyone who would like a postcard of Miffy: mail me your address ;)

Tell me: did you know Miffy? Or am I imagining things? ;)


Wat leuk dat er in het culturele veld zoveel aandacht wordt besteed aan 400 jaar Japans-Nederlandse betrekkingen :) Zo ben ik erg benieuwd naar de tentoonstelling Silk Stories Taishi Kimono (1900-1940) in de Kunsthal. En ik zou ook graag een workshop 0bentō van Yumiko Kunimori volgen, maar ik vrees dat er geen vegetarische variant is :( Which reminds me… volgend weekend gaan we hanami vieren bij de kersenbloesem in het Amsterdamse bos! Haal de bentoboxen maar vast uit de kast :))

Maar dat uitje vergeet ik niet dus daarvoor is deze ‘note to self’-post niet nodig. Nee, behalve de Japanse kleding uit het begin van vorige eeuw wil ik nog meer interessante historie bekijken. En exposities zijn altijd voorbij voordat ik er erg in heb… Dus hier een lijstje met data om mezelf te helpen herinneren!

  • ✔ 10-05-2009: De exotische mens in Teylers Museum
  • Liefde! Kunst! Passie! Kunstenaarsechtparen in het Gemeentemuseum Den Haag t/m 1 juni
  • Silk Stories Taishi Kimono in de Kunsthal t/m 21 juni
  • Tiffany Girls in het Singer Museum t/m 30 augustus
    Op basis van een aantal betrouwbare ervaringen heb ik besloten dat ik niet naar de Tiffany tentoonstelling hoef ;)

Waar een blog al niet goed voor is ;) Want wat was nou toch die laatste tentoonstelling die ik van plan was te bezoeken???

Back to school ehm.. het museumEr staat weer een nieuw bericht in mijn Museumlog!

Philipp von Siebold

Philipp Franz von Siebold was de eerste buitenlandse arts die, vanaf 1823, in Japan een praktijk mocht onderhouden en de oosterse geleerden mocht onderwijzen in de westerse geneeskunde. Als arts mocht hij geen geld ontvangen maar in plaats daarvan kreeg hij vaak mooie geschenken.

Old tea plant picture on Flikr

Japanse verzameling

Eigenlijk is Von Siebold vooral bekend door zijn onderzoek naar de Japanse flora en fauna. In 1829 werd hij Japan uitgewezen op verdenking van spionage en hij vestigde zich toen in Leiden. De Nederlanders hadden in die tijd immers als enige handelscontact met Japan, vanaf het eiland Desjima in de baai van Nagasaki.

Hier vandaan werd de Japanse cultuur bestudeerd en zo kon Von Siebold nog altijd Japanse planten, dieren en voorwerpen ontvangen. Een deel van de collectie die hij opbouwde is te bezichtigen in zijn voormalige woonhuis aan het Rapenburg in Leiden: het SieboldHuis. Maar ook in Naturalis, het Nationaal Herbarium en het Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde zijn restanten te vinden. Eigenlijk had deze post dus ook in mijn Museumlog gekund ;)

Blog from the dead

Maar wisten jullie nu dat Philip von Siebold himself sinds half februari een weblog bijhoudt? 182 jaar na dato schrijft hij dagelijks over zijn hofreis naar Edo. Mét afbeeldingen. Misschien was hij niet alleen de eerste westerse arts in Japan maar is hij ook de eerste blogger uit het hiernamaals? Of kennen jullie nog andere(n)?

Japanse markt

Tot slot nog een tip! In 2008 en 2009 zijn er verschillende activiteiten naar aanleiding van 400 jaar handelsbetrekkingen tussen Nederland en Japan. Op zondag 25 mei is er daarom van 12-17 uur een Japanse markt op het gedeelte van het Rapenburg waar in 2000 onze koningin (toepasselijk dat ik dit schrijf op Koninginnedag aangezien Beatrix verder niet vaak in mijn journal zal voorkomen), met de Japanse keizer en keizerin van het SieboldHuis naar de Hortus Botanicus wandelde. Lees er meer over bij de actualiteiten op de website van het SieboldHuis. Om 13 uur kun je daar een gratis concert bijwonen van het Dejima Ensemble, mits je je op tijd hebt opgegeven. Ik ben zelf wel van plan om te gaan want ik wil graag nog eens naar de Von Siebold herdenkingstuin in de hortus en ik moet voor 22 juni in het SieboldHuis ook nog de tentoonstelling Kyoto dolls: zoektocht door de leefwereld van de geisha bezoeken (zoals gemeld op mijn lijstje te bezoeken tentoonstellingen).

Yesterday I went to work early and I finally saw the squirl that is living in our museum garden. So it was no fairy tale ;-) And today I got to leave early because of yesterday. But don’t you think that means I am having a spectaculair Friday night. I am quite tired because of the heat and a long working week. I am going to bed and start my weekend tomorrow!

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!


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