My First BBQ in Japan (Part 2 of 2)

Hello everyone! I think I’ve vanished from this space for a while. I blame it on TBS (one of the free-to-view TV channels in Japan). Why? Because they re-aired 2 series of past dramas in the afternoon consecutively! I’m so sucked into the drama that I’ve forgotten to write my part 2 of my BBQ trip. (FYI, the 2 series of dramas I’ve watched were 魔王 and パパドル and today is Rookies.)

My previous post can be found here. 😀

So we slept at around 3+am but woke up at 7am. (crazy right?) After we finished our make-up and packing, we headed to the men’s cottage and were shocked at the scene.

YAKINIKU at 8.30am. (-__- || )

Okay, there’s a reason behind it. As there’s leftover meat from the BBQ the night before, and it’s quite risky to bring the raw meat back to our home since it will spoil under the heat. Mami-chan and I joined in this ‘morning party’ by having cup noodles. 😀

M-chan and my chicken noodles (at the bottom)

M-chan and my chicken noodles (at the bottom)

After eating, we did the last clean up of the cottage and check-out! Super in love with this place and if there’s another chance to go again, I’ll go without any complaints. 🙂

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We went to some sight-seeing after that since it was quite sunny compared to the day before. The first place we went to was Shiobara Onsen Momijidani bridge (塩原温泉 もみじ谷大吊橋). Y-chan totally freaked out at the length of the bridge (320m) and face changed when he step foot on it. The bridge swing the most when the whole group was at the middle of it. After reaching the other end of the bridge, took some photos and the organizer mentioned that we shall go to another sight-seeing spot. (I LOL-ed because Y-chan thought this nightmare was over but he forgotten there’s a return-route back to the parking area.) The next sight-seeing spot was quite deep inside the mountain and I almost gave up walking because I was wearing heeled sandals.

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We had lunch at Gusto (family restaruant) before heading towards the highway. Oh!! By the way, Nasu-Shiobara has this special way of ‘preserving’ nature. The signboards are all in white & brown colors. It’s such a unique scene but I didn’t managed to snap some of it! *shocked at myself* So I’ve searched google to compile it. 😀

Apparently, these white & brown signboards can also be spotted at Kyoto city. If you have the chance to go to Nasu Shiobara or Kyoto for holidays, try spotting it! 🙂

I’ll be sharing recipe in my next post! It’s been a long time since I wrote one. 😀

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My first BBQ in Japan (Part 1 of 2)

Hello! About 2 weeks ago, I went to Nasu-kougen (那須高原) with Y-chan and his colleagues. Nasu-kougen is located in Tochigi Prefecture, about 2 – 3 hours drive from Saitama Prefecture.

We left house early in the morning to meet up with the rest of the group at one of the train station in Saitama Pref. Y-chan was super tensed since the moment we met up because he’s so afraid I’ll speak the wrong stuff in front of his seniors and bosses. <inserts *troll-face>

Our first stop-over was at Sano Service Area (佐野 S.A). The weather was so hot and sunny that I was sweating the moment I stepped out of the car. Since Tochigi Pref. is famous for Tochiotome (とちおとめ苺), a strawberry ‘brand’, I went to get a Tochiotome soft serve for myself. It was super good! 😀

Then we headed to michi no eki (道の駅) for lunch. Service area is an area which is located near to the exit of an expressway whereas michi no eki is a rest area located in normal road. The place where we had our soba lunch was not fantastic at all. I ordered cold soba with mountain vegetables but the tsuyu (sauce) was soooooo salty that I think my tastebuds went crazy after that.

那須に入ったw

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ランチは蕎麦屋。had #soba lunch (: #そば

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As we still have extra time before checking-in the cottage, the organizer of this trip brought us to one of the leisure place in Nasu-kougen – Minamigaoka pasture (南が丘牧場). You can ride a horse, rent a rabbits, feed sheeps and also see mini piglets roaming in their own area. There also restaurants and fishing area within the place. To be honest, I didn’t enjoyed it much because I wanted to visit alpaca which is somewhere near that area too. (T_T)

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So after visiting the ‘pasture’, the whole group went to a super big supermarket to get food and drinks for that night’s BBQ. I think we bought near to 3.5 baskets full of alcohols and 2 baskets full of food. Canned beers and alcoholic drinks in Japan is cheaper as compared to the price you find in Singapore (Meidi-ya or Isetan).

The 13 of us lugged all the stuff from the supermarket to the cars and set off to the log cottage! The organizer had booked 2 cottages, 1 big (for men)  and 1 small (for ladies) from Finlandia (Nasu). It’s so pretty and the image I had was so different can! There’s kitchen, bathroom, tv, beddings, pots & pans, plates and even air purifier. What’s best is that the BBQ pit is just right next to the cottage (covered!).

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We started our BBQ at 6pm because it has started to drizzle. From cut vegetables to sliced pork belly to beef tongue, we ended the BBQ with yakisoba (焼きそば) – stir-fried noodles to eat inside the cottage. Right after we moved back into the cottage, the rain just went crazy. (T_T) The men continued drinking while I already on the verge of giving up.

The 3 of us took turns to go back to the ladies’ cottage to take a shower. It’s so good because the bathroom is sooooo clean! No need to bring any amenities because it’s already prepared by the person-in-charged. We slept only at 3+am in the morning because we kept on talking and trying to know each other. 😀

I’ll continue the rest in the next post because I think this post is getting quite long. 😀

Attending funeral in Japan (cont.)

Finally the weather is being kind, and the temperature dropped 4°C to 33°C now. Although I think Singapore now might be even cooler than Japan. 😦

So I ended my post previously at the 2nd day afternoon of the wake. The 4 of us (Us, R-chan and Ryo – Y-chan’s younger brother) went to the funeral parlor straight after sending the car off. We planned to stay overnight at the parlor so that the following morning everyone won’t be in a rush.

Once we reached the parlor, we were brought to the resting room which is a Japanese style room (i.e. tatami floor). This room will also be the place where we’ll be resting for the night together with some other relatives. It has a changing room and also a small kitchen. The bathroom was separated from the resting room because it’s so huge. It has this super big bathtub (about 3 – 4 person can dip in) and that it can turn into a jacuzzi with the twist of a knob.

As there’s a ceremony at the evening and there’s still plenty of time left, the 4 of us just sat at the corner of the room. We were kept busy by doing some simple greetings and self-introductions to the relatives who came over. In this position………..

This sitting position is called Seiza (正座) which is the most common way of sitting in a tatami room. I think this continued for 2 hours straight and my knees and ankles were so sore that I can’t stand properly after that. 😦

We then attend the ritual ceremony and it ended within 1 hour. After which, we proceeded to have dinner at the dining room inside the parlor (all-in-one). The food was good and there’s free-flow of drinks including beers. There’s even a ‘waiting room’ where you can have free-flow coffee (24-hours). Cool huh! 😛

Some relatives continued to drink while some had already taken their bath and went to sleep. I, of course, went ahead to use the jacuzzi bath alone. So shiok can. Even shampoo, conditioner and body soap is Shiseido. 🙂 Had some mini talk with grandma & my mum-in-law to check on them before I got K.O. by the sleeping bug.

The 3rd day was quite slow-paced though. Not what I had expected. 😀 Had breakfast (quite a gorgeous meal) and off we went to attend the ritual ceremony. The ceremony is quite similar to Buddhist style where the monk will rant some scripts to ‘enable’ the deceased to have a smooth journey to heaven. Flowers were placed inside the coffin and some items which grandpa liked. After that, he was moved into the car to be sent to the cremation center.

I think this procedure is the same as Singapore. Maybe except the point where families and relatives of the deceased picked the bones up to place into the urn. I don’t remember seeing my relatives doing this when my grandma passed away. After which, everyone returns back to the funeral parlor to have lunch together before the whole thing ends. The lunch was super gorgeous and it’s like some nth-course meal. There was mini hotpot, sashimi, tempura and some other dishes. (Sorry no photos because I was famished and can only concentrate on eating!)

We returned back to grandma’s house to prepare for guests coming over for dinner. Some of the relatives ‘tabao-ed’ sushi, mini-sized udon and also gyoza from Ryo’s part-time restaurant. I was actually labelled as Ojiisan’s favorite person because I was good at mixing shochu (焼酎) at their requested ratio. LOL Everyone was so funny and they even mentioned of going to Singapore with me as their tour guide. I told them I wouldn’t mind as long as they pay for my expenses. 😛

We actually received grandpa’s last words for us during our last visit at the hospital. I think it’s so useful not just to me and Y-chan but to every couples out there.

喧嘩してもいい、でも最後は仲直り。

(It’s okay to have arguments and quarrels, but at the end of this, is to be able to reconcile back.)

Attending funeral in Japan

Hello! I’m back from Yamaguchi and the weather for the past 3 days were so crazy! 37°C… hotter than Singapore, you know! 😦

Today I’m going to share my experience about attending a funeral session in Japan. Y-chan’s grandpa passed away last Thursday (which was 1 day before Y-chan’s birthday) and we have to rush back on Friday morning to prepare for the funeral.

After we reached Yamaguchi, Y-chan’s sister (R-chan) drove us along to get our attire for the funeral. In Japan, it’s necessary to wear full black formal attire (from head to toe) as a form of respect. So we went to Shimamura (しまむら) – a super cheap yet trendy store to get my formal attire.

And I managed to get something like this (excluding the pearl necklace)..

Even the handbag has to be black, something like the one below.

日本製 フォーマルバッグ

Okay… and also black handkerchief and hairband. (You get it?)

After getting everything, we headed back home to ‘visit’ grandpa. As it was a Buddhist style, there’s some procedures to offering your prayer to the deceased. I managed to google the procedures before leaving for Yamaguchi so I won’t ‘lose face’ in front of everyone since Y-chan is grandpa’s first grandchild.

Some friends and relatives of grandpa & grandma’s came to offer their prayers and stayed for dinner that day. It’s so different as compared to Singapore’s Buddhist wake because everyone put aside their sadness and gathered around to eat and drink. Maybe because grandpa loves lively atmosphere, thus this turnout? :\

As these ojiichans and obaasans all never meet me before, all of them are super excited that I’m there. They kept asking me to refill their drinks (kind of like 接待 – serving) and asked me a lot of stuff about Singapore. 

The second day, we had to dress in the black formal attire because grandpa will be ‘leaving’ the house to the funeral parlor. My heart was so filled with sadness as I ‘sent’ grandpa off. It’s because when grandpa was still around, he would always stand at the parking lot area to send us (Y-chan and I) off whenever we visit him. However this time it was the other way round. 😦

*sighs*

Allow me to continue the rest of the contents in few days time because I can’t concentrate writing in this extremely hot weather. It’s still 37°C now. *melting*

Recipe: Oven-baked Chicken Wings

Hello!! How’s your FRIDAY? 😀 Any plans over the weekend?

Today is Y-chan’s birthday but we are on an emergency trip back to Yamaguchi and already on our flight there.

Anyways!! If you have no plans over the weekend, how about you try this recipe out for your dinner? (Sorry if you don’t have an oven at home!) (T_T)

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Mid-joints wings (w/ or w/o tail also OK) – 7 ~ 9 pieces
    • Black Pepper (grounded) – ½ tablespoon
    • Sake (Japanese cooking wine) – 1 tablespoon
    • Mirin – 2 tablespoons
    • Honey or Sugar – 2 tablespoons
    • Shoyu – 4 tablespoons

How to:

  1. Mix everything in a bowl including the wings and cover with cling wrap and rest in the fridge. 
  2. Allow the wings to marinate for at least 2 – 3 hours and mix the wings from time to time. [Note: this will allow the marinate to ‘absorb’ into the wings and mixing it from time to time allows the marinate to coat equally.] 
  3. Preheat the oven at 200°C and lay baking sheet on baking pan.
  4. Once the oven is preheated, line the wings on the baking pan and into the oven.
  5. Bake for 20 ~ 25 minutes.
  6. Serve on plate.

I tried to make full use of my oven because electricity & gas are expensive in Japan. So I cut some potatoes into wedges and sprinkled olive oil and salt over it and place it on any empty spaces I can find in the baking pan. Then I found out I have some leftover asparagus in the freezer compartment, so I sliced a few stalks of it and scattered it over the baking pan.

This wings tasted so great that Y-chan told me to ‘delete’ the few previous wings’ recipes and focus on this instead. 😀 I love it too because it tasted like the wings I used to eat when I was about 8 years old? My aunt used to bake chicken wings for me and my cousins after we ended our school. She fed me too well that I was almost…. overweight.

P/s: Do use the Japanese shoyu instead of the normal soy sauce because the taste is different.

Pp/s: I added a few shakes of MasterFoodsCajun Seasoning into the marinate to give the flavor a ‘punch’.