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[Japanese culture] Japanese cooking


Haven’t been in tiptop condition as I’ve been sick for these 2 days. Still today, I actually made myself dinner (YAY!) I LOVE cooking though I don’t really have time to do it often. And since my brother didn’t have to work as well, I decided to drop by the supermarket and make both of us dinner. In SG, it makes absolutely no sense to make yourself food since it’s cheap and convenient to get cooked meals. Yet the thing is, I don’t fancy eating out cos most of the food that I can get outside is mainly oily and very meat-based.

Anyway. I love trips to supermarket though I still have to say that I still love Japanese supermarkets the best as there are SO many things to see. Made a trip to the supermarket and ended up buying a good number of things and spent around $40. I’m not going to show you what I bought but I did make a simple dinner for 2 and a cake. LOL~

Hahaha, you might think why cake? I had been thinking of making a cake since I had watched Jun make a cake using a rice cooker. And a couple of months, a colleague of mine made a cake using her rice cooker as well. So I’m extremely tempted to make one.

So I finally made one today. Ta-da! My first matcha cake! Haha, I was too anxious and cut the cake before I took a pic ;P

rice cooker cake

 

It didn’t taste as good cos I didn’t put enough matcha powder. Didn’t realize that the matcha powder ain’t that strong so the cake didn’t have much of a matcha taste. On top of that, I think unlike the newer models of rice cookers which allow the users to input the time to cook things, mine doesn’t have this function. As a result, I had to come up and check on the cake to make sure it turns out fine. Still, I’m quite happy with how it turned out.

If you are interested, I would suggest you take a look at Jun’s video on how to make a cake using a rice cooker. It’s really fuss-free and you don’t have to worry about so much cleaning after your baking.

Other than this, I attempted to make a salmon teriyaki with mixed vegetables over rice today. I got the recipe from Zojirushi. Zojirushi is a Japanese company which sells household products like vacuum bottles, air pots, rice cookers and so on. Anyway, Zojirushi has some of the most awesome rice cookers, check out the rice cookers on the page if you can.

Oh yes, I was talking about my attempt to make the below simple dish.

 

 

Salmon teriyaki with mixed vegetables over rice

 

Turned out that my supermarket didn’t have the mixed vegetable pack so in the end, I bought corn from the frozen section instead. Due to this, I made some slight changes to how I cooked the corn. I used butter instead of vegetable oil to cook the corn as corn tastes better with butter. On top of that I don’t have sake, and sesame seeds and dried chilli flakes so I made do without these. I also added butter mushrooms to my rice cos I really love mushrooms.

teriyaki salmon

 

YAY! It tasted better than I thought it would be~! Actually, it tasted good, all thanks to the fantastic recipe. I made slight changes to the recipe like I sliced the salmon to slices so it’s easier to cook since I had to cook them in a pot. A pot, can you imagine? I need to get a frying pan to cook. It’s ridiculous? Who cooks with pots? Maybe just me. HAHAHA.

Anyway, I feel extremely accomplished today cos of these two things I made. So proud of myself, especially the salmon. I think I managed to cook it in a way that it’s not overcooked, so it tasted just right. If I’ve made you interested in making this easy meal, you can check out this page.

I heavily recommend the rice cooker recipes from Zojirushi. Do check it out for some good recipes that you can do with rice cookers. The salmon dish was really easy to do. Took me less than 30 mins to do it. I’m assuming the other dishes will probably take around the same period of time.

 

Zojirushi rice cooker recipes

 

HAHA, this post has almost nothing to do with Japanese language. Still I hope you enjoyed reading it. And if you do cook,  do give out Jun’s Kitchen channel and the Zojirushi website a go and try out the recipes mentioned. Have a great weekend!

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[Randoms] An ambitious essay


Last essay for the semester. Since it’s the last semester, I had opted to do something very ambitious and that is to do something related to Japanese linguistics and sociolinguistics and literacy. I’m quite glad that I managed to get clearance to do this and the thing is, I WANT to do this. Honestly, I’ve been extraordinarily lucky. I’ve met up with some awesome mentors, and they are not only patient and dedicated (definitely some of the best teachers I’ve met in my life), they are also extremely open to the research topics that I had/have chosen. These are the guys who go through every single sentence I wrote and gave me comment on each on them. Well, it’s not as if mentoring is the only thing they had to do, they have to do many other things as well. Since I’ve encountered this amazing group of mentors, my interest in linguistics have exploded exponentially.

3 years ago, I was someone who knew almost nothing about linguistics. The only thing I knew was only 1 aspect of applied linguistics, and that is, contrastive linguistics and the only linguistics guy I knew then was Michael Halliday. I didn’t have a background in linguistics and this really make it especially hard for me to even think about pursuing a postgraduate in it. Really, I’ve been lucky and was given the opportunity to learn from scratch and still be able to be exposed to thinking about it at the postgraduate level.

Since then, I’ve not looked back. I think being exposed to studying linguistics has trained me to be a better independent learner. I have become a lot more inquisitive and will make the effort to read and understand everything I am reading and I will also make the attempt to read up on things related to it. I find reading journals the most interesting thing ever and can spend hours reading them. I love commentaries as well though I have to say that I’m not brilliant enough to understand some ideas sometimes but I do get a lot of satisfaction once I understood everything. I’m not some smart gal, rather I am the sort who makes up the lack by working much harder. I think doing linguistics has trained me to be all these. It has also trained me to very clear about what I want to say. Though ideas can be complicated sometimes, I have learned from my mentors that there is no need to write in a manner where not everyone will understand you. Chances are, if you know what you are talking about, you can explain them in very simple terms.

Well, I’m grateful that I’ve met some of the best mentors. I know I am really going to miss reading the journals, understanding the ideas, discussing the concepts once I’m done with this semester. Yet, I also learned that I enjoy applying all that I’ve learned to my work and that is probably one of the things I enjoy. Doing work that I enjoy. Well, honestly, if it’s not for linguistics, I probably would have come to learn so much about myself and be at this stage, this path of life right now. I’m a great believer of “you will figure out your life somehow if you listen to your heart and live in the moment”. It’s amazing how one thing leads to another and another. Well, quitting my job and deciding to study linguistics and do the things I believe in and love is one of the best things ever. I just want to say that, don’t stop believing in yourself. It’s only when you stop believing in yourself that you stop doing things and stop moving forward in your life. Thinking back, I received my confirmation for my application to postgraduate linguistics studies in 2012.

confirmation

It was a difficult move on my part, it was just starting everything from scratch. And I’m happy I made the choice as this choice opened my eyes to so many things and made me learn so many things about myself. It wasn’t easy but I’ve come (somewhat) a long way. And really, I want to end this semester with a blast so I opted for something totally out of my comfort zone, and deciding to do it.

Life is constantly about stepping out of one’s comfort zone and that’s what I learned from an amazing person I met in Korea and since that encounter, I’ve never looked back and decided to live my life the way my heart tells me to. Too many times we worry too much, thinking that we can never be that person we aspire to be. Well, really, we can be that person if we try hard enough and stick around long enough. Life is really what you make out of it. Don’t let your life be defined by others, you deserve to be the person you dream of. Step out, make that 1st move and then, you will be able to continue in that path you chose. It can be hard sometimes but really, if you work hard enough, things WILL get better in the end. Just believe in yourself and do it. Believe in yourself, really, you can do it if you believe and work hard enough.

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[Japanese Language] Nikkei Woman Nov issue


Hi people, it’s a lazy weekend afternoon, and I should be getting proper things done. Instead, I am here, with a post blogging . I was out last night shopping at Kinokuniya (like again). And I bought a magazine with 2 Japanese books.

Came across the latest issue of 日経 Woman and knew immediately I was going to be getting it since it contains 2 features that I really wanted to read.

Nikkei Woman cover

The main feature’s on 手帳, or planner, diary, or schedule (whatever you call it). I was never much of a 手帳 person but since some years back, I was “forced” to keep one due to the many deadlines I had, meetings to attend, scheduled stuff which I need to be present for and many more. And since my job involves me to be everywhere most of the time, having a 手帳 really helps. I mean, although I keep a digital one as well, but I’m those super untidy sort of person, so sometimes I missed out a certain date for a certain important thing. As a result, I have to have 2, in case, I miss out writing it down or updating it on my laptop.

手帳 is kinda a big thing in Japan, now its common to find a good variety of 手帳 in various stationery sections or stationery shops in Japan. I like to think it’s a Japanese thing to keep to deadlines and be on time? Anyway, I got my 2015 手帳 from Muji yesterday.

schedules

monthly

I love the simplicity of this 手帳 as it gives me ample space to write and as a result, I had decided to stick to buying the 2015 from Muji again. Adding on, I’m not the sort who fancies those weekly or daily 手帳 as they are usually very thick, and since I have to carry my laptop around for work sometimes, I prefer everything to be lightweight, so the monthly 手帳 is the right thing for me. Also, I like to see how my month is like for the whole month as I find that it’s easier for me to plan things in advance. And did I say, this Muji 手帳 is less than $10? It’s really a great buy.

Anyway, let’s come back to the magazine. I love the way Japanese come up with amazing contents for their magazines. I mean, it’s so unlike those English magazines (which I have stopped reading since ages ago) where contents are so much lacking. There are about 50 pages on this 手帳 feature, from interviews with various people on how they write on their 手帳 to tips on how to write, how to select the right 手帳 and many more.

Schedule 1

Schedule 2

Schedule 3

I also enjoy that the features are so colorful and easy to read. It’s quite an educational read and I learned a few things after reading it. I’m not including all the pages, but only some pages, and I do recommend you to buy the magazine to read it if you are interested in this feature.

Well, the next feature that I’m interested in is the one on diet. I’m not fat or anything but having been exposed to the Japanese culture for a good period of time, I have to say that I am “conditioned” to be conscious about my weight. Japanese people are conscious about their weight, and I was just talking about this with my colleague the other day about this weight thing. I don’t exactly think it’s a bad thing to be weight conscious, for myself, I think I’ve become a lot of conscious about eating healthily as compared to those days before I was exposed to the Japanese culture.

Anyway, this feature is about how to eat in such a way that you’ll feel lighter in a week.

diet

The feature contains a mini quiz for you to find out your eating habits and how you can improve yourself from there.

diet 1

It also contains a writeup on how to eat in such a way where you won’t gain weight. 
diet 3

There’re also some tips on how to select the right kind of snacks for those who want to lose weight.

diet 2

Of course, there are a lot more other writeups like recipes, and interviews with different individuals on they maintain their weight, on their lifestyles and what they eat and what they don’t.

And did I say that I also bought these from Kinokuniya?

books

Not too sure if I’ll talk about them in my future posts, but they seem like pretty interesting books. The one in green is a non-fiction book on living life simply, or living life the Zen way and the other is a novel, and the story is probably what the title suggests.

Well, that’s more or less for this post. I’m going to go do some constructive things. Till the next post, take care, people!

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[Randoms] Some thoughts about linguistics


I have been hesitating to blog about this. This has nothing to do learning languages or anything. Well, I mean I dunno. Just a couple of days ago, I got my results back for 1 of my assignments and turned out that I had gotten a distinction for it. To be honest, I didn’t even put it that much of an effort to get the grade I deserve. Then, it dawned on me that thought about not spending a lot of effort on something and being able to do well in something. During university, I had worked hard to get good grades but I dun recall having it this easy. And now, things for linguistics at the postgraduate level seems easy, or is something wrong with me? I dunno, but maybe I do. I realized one thing about myself after l’ve started learning at the postgraduate level. Perhaps in some ways, I did spend a lot of effort on my work. I made sure I understood everything I was reading and traced what I didn’t to the original source and read everything from scratch.

Honestly, thinking back, there were so many things to worry about at the undergraduate level, ie, working and studying, I spent most of my time working to pay the fees, so perhaps I should pat myself on my back that I’m those rare few who graduated with no debt, and still ended up being an above average student. Right now, at the postgraduate level, money is no longer a concern, though time still is, since I’m juggling it with my work. Honestly, I think having been through what I had been when I was doing undergraduate studies, studying at the postgraduate level pales in comparison. Well, I’m in that mood when I’m feeling grateful for a lot of things now. My friends were amazed at how I was able to have no sleep, go on a holiday during semester or having no sleep finishing up my assignment and turning up at work the next day as if nothing happened. Well, sometimes, these are the moments when I feel like telling them, I’m able to do that cos I had it worse when I was much younger. So, why shouldn’t I feel grateful for things? I’m a lucky idiot who has the good fortune to do the things I want and that I somehow am able to choose what I want to do.

Adding on, I also wonder when it was the last time I thoroughly enjoyed myself learning Japanese. I’ve been enjoying myself in the language but I feel I am hardly been learning it seriously. I know there are many things that still need a lot of work. And that’s just not limited to learning Japanese as well but other things too. I think I need to keep this attitude about being in the moment.

This is my last semester, and I’m feeling a lot of things. I’ve enjoyed myself SO much learning linguistics at this level, but I’m going to finish this very soon, in less than 2 months. It’s that kind of time again, when it’s time to move on. I had learned a lot of things during this period of time, almost 3 years, doing this part-time. It also means that it’s time to move on, I have decided not to pursue linguistics at a PhD level as during this period of time, I have learned that I gain lot of satisfaction from doing things on the ground. Maybe when I’m old and have all the time in the world, I would do a PhD but really right now, this is not what I want to do. I’m going to continue with what I’m doing now and continue to learn more about myself by trying a lot of other things and find out for myself what life is and means to me. Seems like it was just yesterday when I started on linguistics and pondering if I could do things at a postgraduate level.

Time really flies. Just less than 2 months to finishing the semester, I just want to say I’m going to immerse in linguistics and enjoy all I can.

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[Learning languages] Updates on reading materials


Honestly, I slacked when it comes to coming up with a new post. That’s cos I’ve really not making it a habit to update myself here. Anyway,  I’ve just signed up for Tadoku last week. It’s been the longest time since I’ve registered for it. Have started reading some Japanese books but I have to admit that I am TOO lazy to update Tadoku for my speed. I think after being so used to doing things my own pace for the past 3 months or so, I’ve been conditioned to not updating myself anywhere, be it here and now, on Tadoku. But I have to be more disciplined and start doing all the updates. Oh, I mentioned it’s the Tadoku and that Kinokuniya is going to move to a small space soon (this month), so I have decided to go there constantly till it moves and what this means is that I have decided to spend more money on Japanese books this month. Here’s my recent hoot (or almost)~ I’m still reading Nikkei’s Woman. I enjoy this magazine loads though I didn’t find the recent months’ features recently. magazines

 Manga purchase. I’ve finished reading the first three. Now that we are at manga~ 今日は会社は休みます’s being made into a drama. Can’t wait for the drama middle of this month. I hope the details stay. Looking extremely forward to this.

manga Last but not least, here are the books that I’ve bought recently. I’ve not really have time to read all of them. Have only started on one, ie, the cat book. I’ve been really into cats recently so that’s the one I really want to read. novels Am looking extremely forward to reading all of them. Let’s see how I’ll make time to read them. Anyway, I feel like I’m having fun with the language, spent LOADS of time watching anime, listening to voice actors, reading manga and hanging out with my language partner during this period of time when I am missing in action here. And am looking forward to flooding myself with even more Japanese anime, manga, radio shows, and a lot more things after this semester ends. Am going to talk about the anime I’ve been watching during this period of time in the next post. And my plans for next year, in terms of learning languages since I’ll be finishing my course of study end of this year. And this means I will have almost all the time in the world, or almost, though I have plans for other things as well. Till the next post. Take care!

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