I’m gonna boot you out, 鬼、shoo!

I’m gonna boot you out, 鬼、shoo!

Today (February 3rd) was not a usual Saturday. Today was the Setsubun (節分), which marks the start of spring. As it is celebrated at about the same time as Lunar New Year – there is some historical connection there- it involves purifying rituals. Because, you know, at the start of a new year you usually make resolutions that you will not keep and clean your house, so why not sweep some devil ogres along with the dust while you are at it? The Japanese oni (鬼) are a pain-in-the-ass kind of demons and for this reason require special handling. You can only drive them away by throwing soy-beans at them (豆まき mamemaki). But not any kind of beans, the ones that are purified at a temple by a miko (young girl priestesses) or maybe conbini stuff (they seem to also possess super powers, judging by their insane working hours). Nowadays, with globalization and everything, wild onis are hard to find, so in order to keep the ritual going someone wears a demon mask and the rest of the family chase them out of the house by throwing the above holy beans while yelling “Demons out! Luck in!” (鬼は外! 福は内! Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!). Furthermore, because Japan is the country of motaenai, nothing goes to waste. Which means that you have to eat the leftover beans, one for every year of your life and that will supposedly bring you luck. 


The big jinjas in tokyo usually organize events for Setsubun, so my plan was to go to Zojou-ji and sneak a peak. However, I arrived there too late and there was nothing to be seen, even the temple ground was swept clean. 

Well, there were some remains of the bean ammunition


The traditional food of the day is ehoumaki (恵方巻), a super-long sushi roll that is supposed to be eaten will one is facing a certain lucky direction. I wanted to buy a special one from the temple and eat there facing south, south-east, but my luck had abandoned me today. I got a beni-haruka sweet potato and chilled at a nearby park. 

Lawson had an interesting campaign today, with the 4 employees selling ehoumaki  outside the store dressed up as blue- & red-masked onis and the accompanying miko. Contrarily to popular belief, demons and priestesses seemed to get along pretty well. On my way home, I came across Seijoishii super market (ultimate favorite because it sells greek chocolate ION) and guess what? I bought ehoumaki! The cheap one with 7 ingredients, because 1300yen for supermarket sushi is far too much. I also got some soy beans and a tiny ogre mask, but now two problems have arisen: 1. who will accept to be transformed into a demon, so that I can through beans at them?, and if they do 2. the mask is tiny, does not fit but to a mouse-head, how the hell will they put it on?

P.S. A nice advertisement for car tires inspired from the day.




[Greek text]
Επιτέλους! Ευχαριστώ για τα μελομακάρονα ρε μάνα!Αν και μόνο 5 έφτασαν αρτιμελή, τα υπόλοιπα θα τα φάω με το κουτάλι. Μαζί έφτασαν αμυγδαλωτά και καρύδια. **Το μπουκάλι κοκα κόλας δεν περιέχει νερό.**

[English text]
Finally, my mom’s parcel with homemade Christmas sweets arrived (late and with 5/10 surviving ‘melomakarona’). **The coca cola bottle does not contain water – ‘tsipouro’ 38%vol**

  • Melomakarona are biscuit-like, traditional Greek sweets, made commonly during winter  for Christmas. They are based on flour, olive oil, honey, cinnamon and grated walnuts. The name origin is not certain; some claim a connection to the Italian ‘macaron’, some suggest relations to the work ‘makarizo’ for praising the dead. Either way it’s delicious and here’s a recipe by Akis.
  • Tsipouro is a widely spread, strong (40-45%vol), distilled spirit, made from grape byproducts. It is commonly sold both from official industries and from local distillers. It comes in two versions: pure or with anise flavoring, though i prefer the first version. Normally, it is served on the rocks or with water, and it can be drunk in shots at fun times. During winter, it is enjoyed boiled with honey, hence called tsipouromelo. 

Japanese foodporn (Part 4) + Autumn delicacies and travel suggestions

Japanese foodporn (Part 4) + Autumn delicacies and travel suggestions

[Feature Photo: Come on! Welcome to our house, we have coffee and cookies!  — reminds me a bit of the ‘come to the dark side, we have cookies’ meme (Credits to Martin)]

Hey there! I haven’t been active for a while because I was busy EATING. Oh my god, this Sunday was the first day in two months that I managed to sleep later than 9am. But, the reason for not sleeping was having fun, so I guess it’s ok. Autumn is the best season for excursions, short hikes and roadtrips, I encourage you to do so. I strongly recommend: Nikko, Hoshinoonsen in Karuizawa,Teradomari, Yuzawa and Yahiko in Niigata, Matsumoto in Nagano, Hakone and anywhere else with nature nearby! If you don’t like nature that much, Xmas is closing up on us, which means —> ILLUMINATION TIME // BLINK BLINK PIKA PIKA LIGHTS EVERYWHERE! Enjoy the red autumn leaves (koyou) and remember that it’s the best time of the year for hot coffee, Irish hot coffee or warm sake with rice porridge (amazake). Also I suggest this version of hot chocolate : melt chocolate with rose petals, add milk,  a pinch of cinnamon, 1-2 threads of saffron, a blanket with cats and a medieval fiction book.


P.S. Mostly Japanese stuff with Greek, Finnish and Ecuadorian surprises.

Open the gallery images for detailed captions!

Enough about food, let’s check some cheap yet fancy cosmetics and random stuff!

Japanese foodporn (part 3) with goodies: What to eat/drink in Okinawa + Random 100yen shop beauty products

Japanese foodporn (part 3) with goodies: What to eat/drink in Okinawa + Random 100yen shop beauty products

Pretty much only one thing happened during the past days: rain. So it was a great opportunity for me to start experimenting with Japanese cooking. The results were satisfying, so I’ll try to keep up the pace and try to get better! The recipes that weren’t improvised, were successful thanks to japanesecooking101. Pro tip: Be extremely careful when you buy the ingredients; the contents may look the same, the kanji may look the same, BUT it’s highly possible that it’s NOT the same.


Avocado-Chicken with Korean noodles


Japanese satsuma sweet potato a la amani (basically boiled in sugar syrup) [recipe here]


An awful lot of ingredients here – I mixed up too many things together, but at least it was eatable; salmon flakes, avocado, bean sprouts, fermented bamboo shoots (menma), red ginger (紅ショウガ), some king of transparent noodles made of kudzu starch (くずきり) which I accidentally bought instead of bean threads (春雨) – I wanted to make this cooling salad .


Trying to make gyoza. I made it using a filling with minced pork meat, cabbage, green onion etc. The folding is tricky at the beginning, but ‘practice makes perfect’. In the background: Vietnamese ‘Nem’ cooked by my roommate, and an episode of ‘Rick and Morty’. I had to spend my time resourcefully, considering I was making gyoza, tsukune and greek meatballs all at once.


Special Halloween KitKat with caramel pudding flavor: The individual packages came with cute little messages like ‘thank you!’, ‘sorry’, ‘you can do it’, ‘good job’, ‘of course’ & ‘friends’


Special edition Milk Tea with Princess Ariel and her sisters, from Disney’s ‘Little Mermaid’

PLUS: What to eat in okinawa

  • サーターアンダギー(saataa andagii): something like doughnut, with brown sugar coating
  • 紅イモ(beni imo) tarts/soft cream/kitkat/everything: purple yam flavour
  • タコライス(tako rice): doesn’t have any actual taco(octopus) and comes in a lot of variations with avocado, tomato , etc
  • ソーキそば(sokisoba): soba served containing giant lumps of meat
  • ゴーヤチャンプルー(goya champuru): omelette style dish with the okinawan cucumber(goya), tofu, pork etc
  • Orion beer: the local beer, they advertise it everywhere, and comes in 3-4 variations
  • さんぴん茶: jasmine tea, but it’s supposed to be a special okinawan blend that offers longelivity
  • シークワーサー・パッションフルーツ・マンゴ・グアバ お酒 (flat lemon/passion fruit/mango/guava drinks):local alcoholic cocktail canned drinks with tropical fruit flavours
  • 泡盛(awamori): the local alcoholic drink (around 25%), resembling shochu in terms of production, as it is a product of distillation



Silicon covers for relaxing and hydrating the feet


Concentrated facial masks; I saw them for a first time, and tried to infuse one with the Kose ‘Sekkisei herbal gel’, with satisfying results

Drink-related random rants

Drink-related random rants

The past weeks were so full of trips and outings, that I feel like staying in for a week is the best way to go, which is pretty strange, because if you know me, you also know that I NEVER do that! Anyway, baito is fun, meeting new people is fun, drinking with new people from the baito is even better. Here follows a petite introduction to some random drinks etc that I came across last week and attracted my attention.


Lab party with random japanese and finnish drinks. I tried to google translate the contents of jaloviina, but the only thing I got was “jumbo jumbo jumbo jumbo jumbo”.


How NOT to make toast bread. Attempt #1: put ham and cheese, text for a while and you get this magnificent colourful result. Attempt #2: re-do by putting nothing on top, and get a DIY world’s blackest black easily at home.


Frula pear soda. It took me a while to figure out how to de-attach the ball on the cap. This thing needs strength!  But the drink was all about the looks after all, nothing special regarding the content.


Precure donuts from Mr. Donut. Comes with marshmallow ears and smarties-style eyes and cheeks. The strawberry flavour of the topping hits your nostrils right away!

little ripa

New Zealand red IPA beer. I adooored the smell, it was perfect for a cool summer evening. And the taste was also full of fruit flavors. Highly Recommended! (Also, I don’t know if it was intended but the name sounds like “Little  -grim- ripper” to me)


How to properly drink nihonshuu. 1) Put a shot glass inside a square box. 2) Fill the shot glass with sake, let it overflow until it fills the box to the brim as well. 3) Drink from the shot glass and then drink from the box as well. 4) Triple quantity in one go, that’s the way to go!


The best flavoured filter coffee around here, for the time being. This one is “vanilla macadamia”, but I think i liked “hazelnut” more. Hawaiian dancing coffee beans – hooray!


Japanese foodporn (Part 2) [aaaand a little bit of Yotsuba~~~]

Japanese foodporn (Part 2) [aaaand a little bit of Yotsuba~~~]

Featured Image: Night sea in Kamakura, the foam on top of the waves was glowing with an awesome electric blue hue. No camera could capture that view.

You know, my main goal since I came here, is to try every silly food that exists. It’s the country of infinite possibilities! Also, after a quick experimentation session I decided that (apart from maccha that will always have a special space in my heart and stomach) my favourite flavour is kurogoma(黒ゴマ - black sesame). Subsequently, I started using kurogoma oil in pretty much every dish I cook at home.

Also, I tried to cook a traditional Greek dish with green beans the other day, you know? Ah, didn’t work out well. The beans that I bought at the supermarket had the correct colour, correct shape, correct texture – but they were not the normal green beans! It was soy beans, the ones that Japanese grill and eat while drinking alcohol. You cannot eat the outside part, so my whole dish was ruined, it was a disaster. Meh, they do say that ‘as long as you live, you learn’.

Finally, let’s hear what Yotsuba (from Yotsubato!) has to say about Taiyaki.


I personally conclude that the only reason the taiyaki shop went bankrupt was because of bad management – Taiyaki is soooooo much better than pudding.

What about this week’s stuck song?
Hydrogen Sea – Beating Heart (Always thankful to Suicide Sheep for the music he introduces us to)

オトナの甘さ (Adult Sweet)

オトナの甘さ (Adult Sweet)

Featured Image: From 茶庭 然花抄院(Zenkashoin) @Hikarie Mall in Shibuya. (Top) Roasted tea float (with agar, ice cream and stewed sweet japanese chestnut, (Bottom) Maccha chocolate terrine (from Uji, Kyoto)

Q: What’s an adult’s sweet taste?
A: Maccha.

Hey there! I moved to Japan about a week ago and everything is SUPER different here! The first big difference: food! As a European, the first time I went to the super market, I didn’t know what to buy, because I didn’t know what all these products were! However, I am getting used to it and I am starting to like japanese food, even though up until now I’ve only tried cheap dishes from the school cafeteria or the convenience store. Of course I have many pictures of landscapes etc. but food has priority. Enjoy the foodporn! 

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P.S. I would just like to boast about the univ. internet connection. ABSOLUTELY no comparison with my home country.20170412_155846