Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Road

Chicken asparagus rollsIMG_0226

The distance frustrates me sometimes. I desperately tried to get to the hospital where my father was admitted yet he was gone before I could say good-bye…my only consolation was that I made it to his funeral._DSC1365

My father led a simple life. As the oldest of 8 children, he and my mother practically raised his two 20 and 22 years younger siblings even though they were newly-weds. He was a hard working man and frugal though he often loaned money generously without expecting repayment. Once when I was probably 8 years old he made me and my brothers sit squarely on a tatami mat and was ready to strike us with a yard stick for something we did wrong but he could not carry it out. That’s the only time that he showed his frustration that I can remember. He was glued to the television to watch sumo wrestling every season and pretended not to hear my cry of wanting to see some other channel. Oh how I missed cartoon shows during that time._DSC1374

Family outings were rare while growing up but when we did, he always bought makunouchi (幕の内) bento at the train station to have it on the train ride. He hated to waste anything and ate every last bit of rice. This hand crafted bento box I bought at Senganen (仙巌園) in Kagoshima city where I took a lone trip after the funeral. I packed the bento with my father in mind…Japanese style omelet, boiled spinach, pumpkin tempura, chicken asparagus rolls and radish pickle…not quite makunouchi style but he would eat the whole thing I’m sure._DSC1360

Ingredients and how to – This is modified version of Harumi Kurihara’s recipe

  • Boneless and skinless chicken breast ( I made 4 rolls with 1/4 pound of meat).
  • Asparagus 1-2 stalks. Peel and cut off the hard end of the stem._DSC1340
  • Soy sauce 1 Tablespoon
  • Mirin 1 Tablespoon
  • Sake 1 Tablespoon
  • Seven spices
  • Oil 1 Tablespoon
  1. Place asparagus in a shallow microwave safe dish with 1 tablespoon water and microwave for 30 seconds. Set aside.
  2. Remove the white sinew from the breast. If the thickness is more than inch, slice it in half. Sandwich meat between two sheets of plastic wrap.
  3. Pound meat with wooden roller to flatten.
  4. With the meat still between the plastic sheets, roll out the meat to thin it even further to about 1/4 inch thick._DSC1347
  5. Put asparagus at the edge of approximately 5 inches length of meat and start rolling as tight as possible. Cut the asparagus sticks out from meat._DSC1349_DSC1350
  6. Mix soy sauce, mirin and sake in small bowl. Heat oil in nonstick skillet at medium heat. Brown the meat all over. Pour the sauce in the skillet and coat meat with sauce. Note: soy sauce mixture burns quickly so pay attention here. Other flavor suggestion; tentsuyu, sweet chili sauce and teriyaki sauce are also good.
  7. Sprinkle seven spice chill powder over it if you like._DSC1352_DSC1369

After the service and taking care of a few family matters, I don’t know what to do with the rest of my time in Japan. I decided to go to Kagoshima because of easy access now that the new bullet train can take us there from Fukuoka in about 2 hours. I wanted to be alone and needed time to think. Enormous Senganen was serene. I walked the compound aimlessly for three hours ignoring the arrows that marked the route. It took me an another 30 minutes just to hike up to the top of Senganen. The view of the active volcanic Sakurajima from there was worth the effort I must say. IMG_0225IMG_0228 The road my father took was ordinary, even insignificant perhaps. I don’t think God loved him less however. He is now reunited with my mother in the next life, embracing his brothers and sisters who had gone before him. I truly believe that. IMG_0214The butterfly graced my head and rested at my feet for a second.IMG_0212IMG_0211IMG_0196IMG_0216Some area of the property was used for the shooting of NHK’s epic drama ’AtsuhimeIMG_0202IMG_0203IMG_0208Exhausted I took a break at tea house. The warabi mochi set was 500 yen but  the kind waitress charged me 150 yen less because I declined green tea and brought me a glass of water instead. IMG_0220This photo is not focused but I wanted to include it. I thought it’s really neat. IMG_0236IMG_0213IMG_0207Shift in wind caused volcanic ashes to fall heavily at this point.  Time to wear the mask which was provided at the gate.IMG_0290

I took cover in ‘Kiriko cut glass store’. Although they were intricate and beautiful, very expensive. A lady at the store explained the whole process of making Kiriko and its history. I started to feel sorry for her but who could afford a 300 dollar glass cup? Definitely not me.IMG_0238 My legs are hurting by the time I got back to the hotel. I relaxed at the hotel’s hot spring. In fact, all of Kagoshima city has access to hot springs, it is possible to  to go any hotel or inn to use their hot spring facility for anywhere from 300 yen to 3000 yen ($3 to $30).

After three days in Kagoshima, I headed back to Fukuoka. I started to get melancholy that my trip is ending. My cousin and her boyfriend picked me at the hotel near Hakata station and drove me to the Fukuoka International Airport after treating me to dinner (for the 3rd time) and shaved ice. It was actually better than Matsumoto. My cousin is a really good listener.IMG_0316

 

My husband’s birthday was yesterday. Still suffering from the jet lag, I didn’t feel up to the celebration for which I totally felt bad…luckily my good husband was very forgiving. Our neighbors baked cookies for him. Nice presentation!_DSC1356

I baked him a carrot cake – new recipe, wrong size cake pan. The taste was good though. No time for marzipan carrots deco. which was good thing, he is anti marzipan person. Happy Birthday!_DSC1383_DSC1384

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

26 comments:

  1. Great post, awesome pictures. But better than Matsumotos? :P

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    1. It was! The restaurant have a special machine that shave ice in high speed. It's fluffy and weightless. Thank you for the comment Kegan. Love you!

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  2. lovely post so sorry about your Dad such a stunning place I bet he was super proud of you

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  3. My condolence to you and your family. May your father rest in peace.
    We will always remember our father and mother. Take care.

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  4. Very nice tribute to your father. Loved everything you posted this week.
    Leanne

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    1. Thank you Leanne. Understanding that he is in better place now but I still miss him.

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  5. This post really touched my heart!
    Your home country is so beautiful!
    I love that birthday cake...certainly looks so special:)
    Glad you're back:)

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    1. Thank you very much for you kind words.

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  6. I enjoyed going on the lovely walk with you. Thank you for sharing. I send you loving and healing thoughts to help mend your broken heart.

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  7. I am so sorry for your loss. You wrote a beautiful, moving tribute to your father.
    The bento and the birthday cake look both delicious! I have just come back from holidays in Japan actually and I had there warabi mochi for the first time, but they were covered in matcha instead. Insanely good! Actually so good, I didn't want to drink anything for hours afterwards just to keep the astringent matcha taste... Take care!

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    1. Thank you Sissi. I'm so glad you like Japanese culture and foods. I love warabi mochi!

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  8. Sounds a great idea wrapping veggies with chicken fillet,
    i guess it's healtier version of bacon wrapped....
    btw, i think imporded asparagus here in Indonesia is tender enought, no need to peel it of prior to cooking...
    Dedy@Dentist Chef

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    1. Thank you for your comment. It is healthier with chicken and it was good, I like bacon version better.

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  9. This is a beautiful post. You still surprise me sometimes. :) Can't wait to eat your cooking and talk more.

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    1. Thank you Mariko. I hope your place is warmer and not raining.

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  10. great post i love Harumi Kurihara’s must try it... it looks so good. jet lag will recover after a few days then you and your hubby will have a wonderful walk .. take care and thanks for the wonderful post.

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    1. Thank you so much. I agree Harumi Kurihara is great.

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  11. Wonderful rolls! They are so original and must taste really good. Oh, I'd love to visit Japan.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Thank you Rosa. I hope you do visit Japan - mid October through early November is the best time I think. Kyoto's autumn is spectacular!

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  12. I'm so sorry for your loss! Is this why you disappeared suddenly and your husband was holding down the fort on your blog with his lovely cookies? It's so sad you couldn't make it there in time to say goodbye - the world has become so "small" these days, and yet it's still as big as ever in those times you don't want it to be! This was a lovely post - I think if he was anything like my own father he must have been so proud of you, and the best way to remember him is through your beautiful memories... remembering every day the "little things" which made him "him"!

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  13. i am so so sorry for the loss of your father...you were so blessed to be given a good life by him...that all we as parents want, to give our kids a good life. i love your stories from your childhood and the photos are great!! Although we are not japanese, KIKU (japanese programming channel) is very popular here in hawaii, so we grew up watching Atsuhime!
    glad you are back safely!

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  14. 明美さん、忙しくて明美さんのブログのアップデートメールがたまるままで、今朝までポストを読んでませんでした。とてもビックリしました。お父様の様態が悪くなって帰国してるとは知りませんでした。大変だったでしょう・・・。最後に会えなくて残念でしたね。私も両親がだんだんと老いていくにつれて、健康のことや将来の事が非常に心配です。海外に住んでいると、こういう時に困りますね。明美さん、大変でしたね。このポストを読んでとても感動しました。

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  15. I'm so so sorry about your lost. But as you said, I'm sure he's in a better place reunited with the rest of the family that were gone before him. May him rest in piece. Thanks for sharing the pictures to the beautiful scene. That is a nice and quiet place for deep thinking. Last but not least, happy belated birthday to your hubby. :) Please take care.

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