April 21, 2014 § Leave a comment
I have always been wanting to discuss the issue of growing concern over environment, which is undoubtedly a controversial issue.
To a great degree, I think a lot of so-called “environmentalists” and “eco-friendly people” are overreacting and hypocritical. I enumerate from following reasons.
Firstly, many wannabe-hippie environmentally friendly people a.k.a. fashion-environmentalists take recreational drugs and complain that human are damaging the environment and destroy the way of nature. I have nothing against being vegetarian/vegan for ethical reasons. Some people think it’s wrong and cruel to kill animals/live stocks such as cows and pigs. However, those people are ok with taking recreational drugs that is not fully metabolised in their bodies and contaminating the sea. One might argue “well, it’s not like I am taking tones of cocaine”, but you really shouldn’t underestimate the accumulation of toxic in the sea. For instance, one small fish contaminated getting eaten by a medium sized fish and this medium sized fish getting eaten by a bigger fish etc does affect the bigger fish in the sea, which get contaminated the most. You could also argue that “well, it’s not like I am eating millions of rashes of bacon”.
Secondly, most of environmental related issues are imposed by the West and consequently the developed countries. Recently, the UN has announced that Japan cannot longer hunt whales under the name of “scientific/research purposes”. To be honest, I think it was wrong for Japan to continue whaling in the name of research purposes. Japan should rather hunt whales for consumption. Alaska, which is technically a part of the USA, is allowed to kill whales because it is a part of their culture. However, Japan has been hunting whales for a long time and consuming whales is definitely a part of Japanese culture. Therefore, I do not understand why it is legitimate for Alaska to hunt whales for “cultural purposes” and it’s not for Japan. This argument also applies to less developed countries. As environmental Kuznets curve and Inglehart’s silent revolution suggest, developed countries do start caring other issues i.e. environment compared to less developed countries. New emerging issues such as environmental issues are almost a norm for developed countries as they have reached the most growing economic period. Less developed countries are still concentrating on the growth in terms of economy. Therefore, I think it is wrong that people from developed countries to say the whole world should care about the environment. It is self-righteous for countries that have already been through damaging the environment for growth to say countries aiming for growth are damaging the environment thus should stop what they are doing right now. Furthermore, if the world was working the other way round in the sense that the West was not dominating the world, probably eating dogs/whales could have been a norm and eating beef/pork could have been seen as a taboo. Some people say dolphins and whales are intelligent animals thus should not be consumed, but if the world was dominated not by the West i.e. China, might have brought a different norm.
In the light of these facts, I think a lot of eco-friendly people are actually, in fact, ego-friendly people, who want to be seen as cool, edgy and hippy. They care more about how they look in front of others rather than the environment. It makes more sense to say we accept how the nature works in the sense that human do eat other animals and big animals eat small animals. Without a doubt, it is important to think about the nature and sustainability but we humans shouldn’t really overreact too much and impose the Western culture on other indigenous/unique cultures. It may sound harsh but those fashion environmentalists are rather ego-friendly, whose ego is as big as mother earth!
February 12, 2013 § Leave a comment
It’s Pancake day today also known as Shrove Tuesday. It sounds unfamiliar to a Japanese person since I’m not Christian (although I attended a Catholic school). To expain briefly, today is the first day of Lent.
Interestingly, I met up with my Japanese friends lastnight to cook and eat Okonomiyaki together. Okonomiyaki is a Japanese dish, which is a savory pancake that contains some shredded cabage, sometimes meat and seafood and lots of things.
It always makes me doubt to cook proper Japanese food in England due to the lack of ingredients but it turned out to be a very delicious Okonomiyaki so we were all happy.
February 7, 2013 § Leave a comment
It was my friend’s birthday the other day. We went to a very cosy and nice Indonesian restaurant in town.
Although I had never got to eat any Indonesian food before, I was pretty sure that it would be amazing, and obviously the food served did not live up to my expectation!
I took those pictures with the camera my parents sent to me as a birthday gift.
Food always makes me happy.
December 31, 2012 § Leave a comment
In Japan, traditionally New Years is more important than Christmas.
We do celebrate Christmas (although it’s nothing alike compared to Western version of Christmas) but New Years is more traditional and important for Japanese people (as far as I know).
First of all, probably one of the most notable features in Japanese New Years is “Osechi ryori (お節料理)”. The incredible thing about this cuisine is that this tradition has started in the Heian Period (794-1185), and we do still cook this cuisine!
Look at this razzle-dazzle cuisine below. It looks pretty.
Not to mention, Osechi ryori has lots of meanings. Basically Osechi ryori is like a big bento consisting of lots of different kinds of dishes in it, and those dishes have meanings for the coming year.
Examples of Osechi dishes are:
Daidai (橙) – Daidai phonetically means “from generation to generation” when written in different kanji as 代々.
Kazunoko (数の子) – Herring roe. Kazu means “number” and “ko” means “child(ren)”. It symbolises a wish to be gifted with numerouos children in the new year like Daidai.
Datemaki (伊達巻) – Sweet rolled omlette mixed with fish paste. They symbolise a wish for many auspicious days.
Kamaboko (蒲鉾) – Broiled fish cake. Slices of red and while kamaboko are alternated in rows or arranged in a pattern. The color and shape are remiscent of Japanese rising sun indicating a festive meaning.
Konbu (昆布) – A kind of seaweed. It is associated with the word yorokobu which means “joy”.
Kuro-mame (黒豆) – Black soybeans. “Mame” means “frequent” or “more often”.
Kohaku-namasu (紅白なます) – Is made of daikon and carrot cut into thin strips and pickled in sweetened vinegar with yuzu (citrus fruit). “Kohaku” means red and white, which are lucky colours.
Tai (鯛) – Red sea-bream. Tai is associated with the Japanese word medetai, symbolizing an auspicious event.
Tazukuri (田作り) – dried sardines cooked in soy sauce. Tazukuri means “rice paddy worker” meaning an abundant harvest.
Zoni (雑煮) – A soup of moch rice cakes in clear broth (in eastern parts of Japan) or miso broth (in western parts of Japan).
Ebi (海老) – Skewered prawns cooked with sake and soy sauce. Generally prawns have a festive meaning.
Not many people these days do not cook Osechi ryori which is a sad fact.
Moreover, there are many interesting New Year tradition in Japan.
There are some toys and games that are played by kids around New Years.
Fukuwarai (福笑い) – Means “lucky laugh”. The game is quite similar to Pin the Tail on the Donkey, whereby the players pin different parts of the face (such as the eyes,eyebrows, nose and mouth) onto a blank face and laugh at the humorous results.
Kakizome (書き初め) – Literally means “first writing”. It is is a Japanese term for the first calligraphy written at the beginning of a year, traditionally on January 2.
So, do you like New Year “Japanese Style”?