One of my first jobs in LA upon arrival from Tokyo was a seating hostess at a prestigious Japanese restaurant. I stood at the front with the cashier. My nimble with coins and credit cards colleague was a native Californian. Her parents were born and raised in Japan. As assimilation into America was important, speaking, reading and writing English were encouraged. My cashier friend did pick up snippets of Japanese phrases at home. Her mates and work at school, however, required English. When Japanese customers walked into the restaurant, they’d ask my colleague a question. She’d turn to me and I’d answer. The situation did produce some comical moments.
June brought anxiety about exam scores (from elementary to high school) at the American School in Japan. The last month of school also brought great anticipation of vacation in America, the land of I Love Lucy, M & Ms and pink lemonade.
Sultry temps in Japan are combatted with cold barley tea. I love the soothing Japanese summertime drink. Pink lemonade, however, is prettier. And back in the Age of the Dinosaur (okay, the 70s), pink lemonade was a foreign drink. (Don’t fret if you’re heading to Tokyo today: Japanese markets now carry pink lemonade.)
A colorful quilt covers fields harvested by the Idaho Potato Commission. Purple Passions, Ida Roses, Yukon Golds and Classic Russets are but a few of the potatoes, which weave a patchwork of Idaho beauty. Besides the deliciousness delivered via Idaho® potatoes, the Idaho Potato Commission is one of the generous sponsors of the Sunshine State’s Food & Wine Conference. FamilyFoodie aka Isabel Laessig always arranges a splendid array of speakers and surprise, surprise fantabulous food and wine for the conference.
What do you stress about the most when traveling overseas?
Japanese females apparently fret most about How To Eat An American Hamburger. Makes sense. Most burgers in Japan are skinny patties on skimpy buns. Sooo, I’ve created a short How To Eat An American Hamburger guide for YouTube. The video is in Japanese but I’ve added English subtitles.
Delighted if you’d share your tips and recommendations on How To Eat An American Hamburger. Love it, too, if you’d share the NinjaBakerOfficial YouTube with your Japanese friends.
Merry music floats across the playground and children scamper to catch the ice cream man. Sunshine kisses the faces of students as graduation caps fly into the air. Cheery red raspberries ripe with sweet juice pop up in supermarkets. Summertime!!! What signs let you know summer is in session?
In Japan, June brings in humidity and torrents of rain. July and August are just plain hot! Refuge is taken in air-conditioned movie theaters, malls and pastry shops. In the Parisian influenced patisseries, raspberries dance in tarts and cream filled cakes. Matcha green tea sweets are also prevalent and popular.
I’m a huge fan of desserts but doctors insist I watch my sweets intake….So, I combined two patisserie favorites from my hometown of Tokyo and created Gluten-Free Raspberry Surprise Matcha Mini Cakes. The good news is that raspberries are low in calories and high on fiber and heart healthy!
Some things like chocolate and Hello Kitty are worth the price tag, don’t you think? Seriously, after a visit today to the Japanese American National Museum, I am in awe of how the universe rewards those who strive to bring goodness into our world.
Shintaro Tsuji, the man responsible for the worldwide explosion of Hello Kitty, drew me to his photo with his kind smile. His expression was one of sweet contentment. (Of course, life would be wonderful as a billionaire!)
Celebrations call for cakes, right? To celebrate my third Glutino Giveaway, I created 3 Gluten-Free and Divinely Decadent Cakes. The recipes are simple and the results are splendid. While friends admire your cakes, you may even find yourself saying, “It was nothing.” You will be telling the truth! For a minimum of effort, you’ll get maximum dessert excellence. Warning: Be prepared to assure your friends and family, “Yes! The cakes are really gluten-free!”
Plump, pretty strawberries sway me to their side every time. Japan, my home country, is the world’s biggest consumer of dessert strawberries. This Ninja Baker couldn’t fathom saying no to those gorgeous fruit gems. (Childhood influences are indelible, aren’t they?) So, I plucked the Strawberry Mousse Cake option for this month’s Cake Slice Bakers presentation. Time, however, slipped through my hands. Resigned to my fate, I chose the Chocolate Marble Cake recipe. However, I stole the fresh strawberry frosting from the Strawberry Mousse Cake to top off my Pink Chocolate Marble Cake.
“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Abraham Lincoln
Who is the biggest influence in your life today?
As Mother’s Day approaches, memories from days past pop into my mind. My birth mother, the Wimbledon tennis star, was more focused on smashing balls over the net than perfecting her potatoes. Yet, on my summer visits to her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she managed to scramble the best eggs in the world. I swore it was the sour cream that made the eggs extra delicious. Today I think the breakfast-for-dinner meal was satisfying because Mom made it.
The banana bread made by my stepmother, Barbara, was spectacular, too. I grew up with Barbara, an actress (with an eye for exquisite antiques) in Tokyo. As she was constantly booking jobs, her baking time in the kitchen was curtailed. However, I have fond memories of Barbara slicing cheese and nibbling on crackers as she regaled Dad and me with tales from her glamorous day. I don’t think Barbara would describe her work as glamorous. But it sure beat trying to solve algebra problems!
Kisses and Hugs to you! As a thank you to new and longtime NinjaBaker.com readers, I’m giving away popular Japanese snacks: Chocolate Pejoy, Matcha Pejoy and Strawberry Pocky. (Thank you to the makers of Pejoy and Pocky for making this giveaway possible.) Scroll down for the giveaway details…But, stop! See the easy Pocky and Pejoy tips and recipes below so you’ll know exactly how to use your scrumptious prizes.