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More Local Flavor

August 22, 2015


After we announced our move to Japan we got a pleasant surprise. Melanie’s godparents, Chika and Will, would also be moving to Tokyo for the next year. Chika and I went to high school together at ASIJ and she and Will lived in Southern California at the same time we did back when Melanie was born. Looking back we didn’t hang out with them enough.  We’ve seen them a few times over the years, usually when someone is driving long distances. Getting to spend time with them here in Tokyo is definitely a bonus on top of our adventure.

Their family arrived less than a week ago, but right away Kira and Chika figured out a night to get together and they came over for dinner last night. My spices hadn’t arrived yet and I thought about trying to cook something for ten people; I decided to just keep it simple and made spaghetti. We had a great dinner and even though we had to ask anyone under 16 to sit on the floor there was room for us all to eat. There was a lot of talk and laughter among the adults and some of the kids played a very long game of Munchkin. I hope for many more such evenings over the next year.

After they left I found a small bag containing some food items. After contacting Chika to verify that this was a omiyage for our family we broke them open. She explained that these were some of her family’s favorite items that they can’t get back in the states.

Going left to right the first one in the picture is Noritama Furikake. It is a rice topper that has lots of yummy things in it including dried egg and seaweed. I’ve had it a couple of times before (I think the last time was when we visited Chika in Washington D.C.) , but it took a little for me to remember what it was. It is very tasty and after we had rice with our dinner last night I am surprised there is any left. I looked it up and nori means seaweed (which I knew, but forgot) and tama is short for tamago (egg).

The second is Calpis Candy. Calpis is an odd yogurt soft drink that has been around for almost 100 years and is very popular in Japan. I’ve never really acquired a taste for the soda, but I liked these candies. I’ve enjoyed other Calpis flavored things (like donuts), but the soda doesn’t really do it for me.

And the last is a senbei (rice cracker) with nori (seaweed) wrapped around it. I’ll have to ask her if she picked this kind for a reason.

We are planning on going over to their place next time. I’ll have to remember to bring a bag of peanut M&M’s.



One Comment leave one →
  1. Mike Donnelly, Pere permalink
    August 22, 2015 6:43 am

    I wasn’t going to comment after reading this post but after wandering away to do some dinner prep I realized that you used a word that is easily understood by most of the folks in the family–on both sides–but might not be familiar to some of your other readers–omiyage!
    Omiyage, for those unfamiliar, is usually a gift someone brings you after returning from a trip. The traditionalist would insist the gift should be a product of the region just visited. Many westerners have started using omiyage to mean almost any gift that is brought into their homes so Chika and Will might simply have been thinking that they were bringing a house warming gift! お土産 might also simply be thought of as a souvenir!

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