stress buster: experimenting in the kitchen!

Stressed and frazzled over things you really can’t do anything about but to wait and hope (oh please Fr. Dong)?

I vent it out on cooking and experimenting on food. Lately, i’ve been experimenting on some side dishes. Really, it helps.

Tomato tuna sandwich. It’s best with a vinaigratte.

I just can’t get enough of yellow bell pepper. Toss in tomato and brocolli. The bunch is best with roasted sesame dressing.

This afternoon, I had to buy a new pack of the Vit. E globules since we ran out of stock already. Goodness, 50 globules costs 1380yen!!! I just had to buy though, Hubby’s request. These globules better have some effect on my skin considering how expensive they are.

1 month!!

Was jolted to being fully awake (even after reading more than 10 wedding-related emails and replying to a number or so) when I saw the date on my computer screen – March 30!!

Alarm bells went screeching in my head. We’ve only one month to go!!! Ahhhh!!!!!!!! I should calm down, i should calm down. Ugh, if only our choice priest is not being difficult on us, I wouldn’t panic like this. 😦  

In any case, I had to wait for another bookshelf delivery hopefully this morning (yes, another bookshelf! hopefully the last one. Two were delivered yesterday) and then i’ll be off on an adventure to find the Foreign Ministry Office somewhere in Shin-Sugita for my re-entry permit. I probably wouldn’t rest until I have that on my passport. Should have went there yesterday right after I claimed my alien card (i deem it’s required when i apply for re-entry) but Hubby and I doesn’t want to risk me going farther than Maita since I have just only recovered from a very very bad sinusitis (cigarette smoke thank you very much).

Lots to do today. Hope I can manage to tick eveything off on my to-do list.

modified paksiw

I wanted to cook Tuna Paksiw (Paksiw –  a traditional Filipino vinegar-based food), Papa’s way. But I wasn’t able to go to Asian Store hence I don’t have any Filipino vinegar at hand. What I have is Hubby’s apple vinegar.

Realizing I need to ask Papa how a real paksiw should be cooked, I ventured on concocting a revised paksiw menu. I didn’t have the confidence to experiment on the traditional paksiw, this time.

I had two slabs of tuna (forgot to take a picture).

Mushroom, sold at 98 yen in Yokohamaya, somewhere in between Maita and Gumyoji. To be cut in halves.

Medium-sized yellow bell pepper. I SO love yellow bell peppers. I can eat them as is.

Cherry-tomatoes, to be cut in halves.

Tsada! Care to suggest a name for this?

yes i know, i need a NEW pan

It was good, especially since the bell peppers and cherry tomatoes weren’t overcooked. Lessons learned though:

  • need to simmer it a bit longer so the sauce could sip into the tuna and mushroom a bit more
  • measure the amount of vinegar – i always cook by feel, no measuring. So i have to learn to measure
  • don’t use apple vinegar if you don’t want a fruity sour taste

6th month

We’ve been married for six months now, and living together for 2.5 weeks in our apato. In exactly 38 days, we’ll have our Church wedding. Although it’s becoming quite a trend lately (and it’s also quite the norm here in Japan), still, I find that it’s quite unconventional, living together and prepping up your new home and at the same time preparing for your wedding. But I ain’t complaining. In fact, I love the novelty of it.

I miss my work, terribly. But I love keeping home and arranging home as well. I love cooking for Atsushi, although it’s just in the evenings. I am ashamed to admit that I still am asleep when Atsushi goes out to work.

But I love how he wakes me up to kiss and hug me goodbye and wish me  a good day, as I in turn wish him the same thing. And I love how he allows me to go back to sleep. And I love how he puts the blanket back on me, in the middle of the night. Those, and other things besides.

There are a lot of adjustments to be made, that’s for sure, especially since we both have different nationalities; grew up in different cultures and backgrounds. But considering all the good things we have and are experiencing, getting married is indeed the best decision I ever made.

And of course, this comes with a prayer: That I hope we continue to be the loving couple that we are now, even after 50 years.

Haha, call it fate, but Journey’s “Faithfully” is playing in Accuradio as I wrote this blog.

Yep, Atsushi, i’m forever yours, faithfully and i’m sure you’re mine as well. And I can’t wait for us to finally make our vows this time, in the Church.

music corner

It truly was a productive long weekend, mostly with home prepping. Dining table delivered at last by Watanabe Furniture Shop, the friendly neighborhood shop although i’m yet to decorate it. As expected, dining table came in pieces. Watanabe-san and his apprentice set it all up and gave us, as part of their service, the Indonesian malong that they used in their display. Yay!

The two DIY bookshelves (each as tall as Atsushi and twice his width) were also delivered and it’s already 95% filled as of last night. Yet, we’re barely 1/4 done in arranging the books. Some books may have to be sold/donated/thrown away. We ordered for 2 more bookshelves and thankfully, they’re not DIY so it’ll be easier. Yes, it’ll be a home cum library and I am not complaining. A lot of Atsushi’s books are really interesting with a WIDE selection of topics, making me want to learn Japanese and fast. Mine are more on fantasy and novels. 😀

Anyways, we also DIY-ed the shelf for the mini-music corner. Bought it at Tokyu Hands and since we want to get immediately started on organizing the mini-corner, we opted to carry it home instead of having it delivered. See how truly thoughtful the Japanese customer service is. They put a foam on the bag handle to protect our hands. How thoughful!

Japan is probably the DIY-country, where you can DIY a lot of stuff. Found the perfect corner stand I had in mind albeit we have to DIY it. But it was pretty easy to assemble so it was just perfect.

Behold, the stand adjuster – just in case you have uneven flooring.

BEFORE: Music corner with a boxful of music scores.

AFTER: Tada! 🙂

The music scores kept piling up after this shot as we “unearthed” more scores in the other boxes. We’re yet to look for four (yes, four!) guitar stands for Atsushi’s guitars but as Hubbie said, maybe we’ll just display two, for now. Atsushi told me to try and learn playing his base guitar – I have never been as pressured…HELP!!!

Oh, just now, we had another earthquake. Thankfully, the music corner held.

white day

March 14, Japan’s supposed White Day**, found me and Hubbie apprehensive. He has to go to the office and considering the tremors over the weekend and the ensuing  radiation scare, we were both apprehensive to be apart from each other. Still though, he has to go, especially that there really is no visible major effect the quake had in Yokohama except for the fact that there were shelves in the groceries with missing supplies (probably because of panic buying by people and most probably by gaijins, sorry to say this) and of course our nerves in jangles what with one tremor after another and what with keeping ourselves posted, with bated breath, on the latest updates on the nuclear plants.

I keep myself posted mostly by reading updates on Kyodo News Network. It’s so Japanese, balanced, reporting what needs to be reported, without too much flair. CNN is just too filled with drama for me. Not-so Japanese. I do try to venture other news networks every now and then but mostly, i’m for Kyodo News. As Hubbie pointed out, media has the tendency to over-commercialize what is happening, because indeed, they earn out of the news they share. I do hope media will do their own share as well in keeping people at bay and to not cause more people to panic.

So okay, I digress. Jagged nerves in place, receiving a package first thing in the morning with a cheerful “yubin desu!!” (you have a package!) in the intercom was certainly heartwarming. I had to pool in some of my EQ to wait for Hubbie before opening our package.

Dhonna addressed it to both me and Hubbie hence it was just but right to wait for Atsushi. And am glad I did. It felt good opening our package together.

It contained our cord and it’s container and a hardbound book about marriage and a heartwarming card. Certainly a good thing to receive at a time when we are most fearful.

We just love the cord. Workmanship is really good!! And the materials used was certainly of good quality.

We just love the container. It’s so cute! See the size of the container in comparison to Hubbie’s thumb?

We just love the detail that Ghepoi and Dhonna put into packaging our cord. They put a cute-designed crepe paper to lay the cord on on the container. They also put a sticker of our logo on the inside of the container cover – I think they got it from the save-the-date envelope that I gave them before.

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Thank you Dhonna and Ghepoi!! 🙂

———

**White Day is the equivalent of Valentines Day that’s designated for women. See, on the Japanese Valentines Day, the women give their husbands/lovers/boyfriends/crushes/officemates chocolates,cakes, etc etc. White Day is in turn the day when the men reciprocate the women’s initiative. For this year’s White Day though, there were no extravagant and elegant displays of gifts as there were in the previous years.

energy!

I am most happy with our kitchen. Right now, I have nothing to ask for that’s kitchen-related (well, except for new pots and pans 😀 ). It’s a happy place for me. Especially since we also eat in the kitchen haha. Dining table will only be delivered this weekend hence, we’ve been eating in the kitchen. It’s fine though. We already have lots of kitchen memories. 😀

As for the dishes I cook, well, mostly, they’re experiments. I think i’m on Marj Special # 9 or so already. Maybe I should start taking notes about them. At one point last week, when Hubbie peeped in the boiling pot, he asked me if our dish for the night was Chinese. I laughed and said I actually don’t know what nationality it is. Nor any of the dishes i’ve cooked. They certainly aren’t Filipino since I’ve been using some ingredients that aren’t Filipino. Thankfully though, Hubbie likes ’em all and eats ’em all, even when I estimated we’d have plenty of leftovers.

Will share some pictures next time. For now though, here’s some healthy goodness to share. A medium-sized carrot and a big apple when pulped can produce about 300ml drink. Add in 5ml honey (yes, see the path the honey made? took this before we did some stirring) and you’d have a healthy and delicious drink to cap your meal. Laughed when Hubbie exclaimed “energy!” after drinking his share (it’s a pun for the FM radio station in the Philippines).

By the side of the (energy) drink is an asparagus-tuna omelette. Yum! 🙂

———-

had another earthquake just now…. 😦

idea

Had some idea in mind. I know I’d be pushing too much what with my hands being too full with home organizing and our wedding in a month’s time. But I want to do this. I hope though the idea would come to fruition.

earthquake stricken

Atsushi and I were woken up by an earthquake early this morning around 5am. Hubbie’s phone said this had a magnitude of around 4 with epicenter at Tokyo Bay – closer to home. This is the first time that we’re having an earthquake from another epicenter after having had experienced a hundred or so aftershocks from Friday’s 9.0 magnitude earthquake  with the epicenter in Tohoku region.

It made me and Hubbie cling to each other more, the both of us getting fearful each time we had to get separated because he has to go to the office. Except for when he has to go to the office, we go everywhere together now; even when we just have to buy some items in the konbini or buy our dinner supplies.

Was alone in our apartment when the quake hit last Friday. Thankfully, our building is quite new (hence more “earthquake-proofed”) and our unit is on the 2nd floor hence I felt the shaking more from the ground and that it was not amplified because of height. Not unlike Hubbie and the rest of our officemates who are in our 36-floor office building (Hubbie’s department is located on the 27th so they definitely had their fill of the amplified swaying). Still though, the first major earthquake was vertical and took almost 4 minutes so whether you are on the ground or elevated, the vertical movement can be fully felt. I was in front of my laptop then when the shaking started and after a minute passed and the ground was still shaking quite vigorously, I was already thinking if I was able to fully make my loved ones feel how much i loved them.

After the 4 minute-big one, there were a series of strong aftershocks, making me doubt the stability of the buildings already. Hubbie told me to go to the nearby park which is considered as the safe place to be during earthquakes, it being an open area. But mobile phone is not working anymore and I would rather stay connected with Hubbie so I decided to stay rooted in front of my laptop to keep connected with him. I really don’t have to worry about any furniture in our house falling on me as we don’t have any furnitures yet. We are still in the process of cleaning/organizing our house that’s why everything is actually still on the floor. So I just have to brace myself for the shaking and, well, the roof caving in on me.

Yes, we had the greatest scare of our lives last Friday and over the weekend as hundreds of aftershock tremors still continued well into Sunday. And again, we had another scare early this morning. But we’re still thankful that what we experienced was only the tip of the iceberg. We only had a “scare”. Whereas the others in Tohoku region had to live the nightmare, had to experience the full blunt of the earthquake, the Giant Tsunami, and now the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant problems.

We think of the people getting washed back to the shore now, after days of floating in the open sea. The tides are bringing them back in, like driftwoods and plastics. Only, they had lives they led before, they loved and were loved, they had dreams, they had joys. And even for those who survived, yes we are thankful, but they have to be provided with the basic amenities ASAP, especially now that it’s still freezing temperature up there in the northeast area.

We’re still in the process of organizing our home hence we still don’t have a TV. We updated ourselves using the radio (oh what era we live in! hehe) and the internet. But the images we see are more than enough to break our hearts. And nowadays, I keep myself updated on the news for the Fukushima Nuclear Plants albeit a Chernobyl-like case is near impossible, thankfully and hopefully. At the time of writing, units 1 and 3 of the Dai-ichi plant were almost stable after depressuring steam. Operators are now in full attention on Unit 2 though, which seems to be in a worse state than the other 2 units aforementioned. Please, let them be able to keep the reactors cool. Spray it with seawater directly, albeit it may have repercussions later on power supply as the reactors would then be unrecoverable after being sprayed with seawater. I have good faith in the Japanese being good engineers. The precautions they had on using a container housing for the reactors and not using graphite helped a lot for this case not to become like the Chernobyl disaster. Still though, it’s a race against time. And unless it will be cooled down and stabilized, we worry.

That reminds me though of the absolute idiocy of the Malacanang order(??) to check the supplies coming from Japan for any radioactive material. Seriously?? Any scientist/engineer would really laugh at this purely nonsense order.

Anyways, please do visit this blog for photos and videos of the debacle and on how you can make your donations:

http://supporttohoku.blogspot.com/

——-

PRV (pressure relief valve) didn’t work that’s why unit 2 reactor was in worse case than the other two reactors (wherein they were able to reduce the pressure by venting steam to the atmosphere. The blasts previously reported on units 1 and 3 were inevitable result of this venting out of steam by the way, since the hydrogen from the steam reacted with the oxygen in the atmosphere). This news about the 2nd reactor is really quite alarming…

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/15/world/asia/15nuclear.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&hp

cooking Vitamin E-enriched rice

In my previous 4-year intermittent stint here in Japan, I really did make sure to maximize my stay here as much as possible; opting to explore new places and trying out new stuff rather than save and hibernate in my apartment. However, being an illiterate with the Japanese language still made me unable to truly live the Japanese way of life.

Until now. Lived with Atsushi for almost six days only and he taught me quite a lot about normal Japanese way of life already. Including making your rice Vitamin E enriched. Being a bride-to-be, Vitamin C and E are like magic words hence Hubbie certainly had my attention when he was explaining this certain packet to me.

Apparently, you can have your rice Vitamin E-enriched by dropping a globule or two of Vitamin E into your uncooked rice just before shutting close your rice cooker.

Vitamin E globules!

A close up.

I can only hope that having a globule or two everyday can have some visible effects in a month’s time, enough to help prep us up for our wedding. 😛

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