My Top 5 Japanese Based Blogs

And the top 5 Japanese blogs are… In no particular order…

1) Tofugu 

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Tofugu is ideal for anything really. They offer travel guides, reviews, and a bunch of videos and interviews related to Japan and its culture.

www.tofugu.com

2) Off The Block Site

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This blog is generally reviews on anything from films to video games. I found these anime reviews very interesting as I discovered new film I had never heard of before. They blogger also posts some of their own short stories which are definitely worth a read.

www.offtheblocksite.wordpress.com

3) Daiyamanga

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Daiyamanga is perfect if you’re intrigued to know that little bit more about Japanese manga. Offering reviews on manga series and not just individual manga, AND reviews on anime. Fabulous blog!

www.daiyamanga.wordpress.com/

4) Funny Anime Pics

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The title is pretty self explanatory. If you’re in the mood for some homemade hilarious gifs/memes check out this blog. The author even writes adult fantasy novels which you can view on his author website (www.cassidycornblatt.wordpress.com)

www.funnyanimepics.wordpress.com/

5) Tokyo Fox

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This blog is written by an English teacher in Tokyo and freelance journalist. It’s an extremely insightful blog. He posts about his travels, food & drink, action and adventure, reviews all around Japan, and so much more!

www.tokyofox.wordpress.com

My First Time Cooking a 3 Course Japanese Meal

For the first time in my life I made a 3 course Japanese meal… and it turned out SO delicious. Thanks to www.japanesecooking101.com I managed to cook Karaage (Japanese fried chicken), Salmon Teriyaki, and Dorayaki (the fluffiest pancakes).

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Starter:

1) KARAAGE (Japanese Fried Chicken) 

Karaage is essentially a traditionally Japanese meat or fish dish. Anything fried is tasty to me so i decided to make a ton load. This dish is usually cooked with chicken thigh but I decided to make chicken wings instead which took slightly longer than thighs would.

Prep: 30 min – 1 hour
Cook time: 10-20 minutes
Servings: 6 people          

Ingredients: 

750g of chicken wings (equivalent to around 6 chicken thighs)
2 1/2 tbsp of Sake
2 tbsp of Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp of Salt
3-4 tsp grated garlic
3-4 tsp grated ginger
1 cup of all purpose flower
1 cup of corn starch/flour
oil for cooking
salt and pepper

Method:

– In a bowl, mix Sake, Soy Sauce, salt, garlic and ginger. Then place the chicken in and mix together. Leave for around 30 minutes to 1 hour to marinate.
– In a different bowl, mix together the corn starch/flour and the salt and pepper and sieve into the marinated chicken bowl and mix it all together.
– Heat around 5 cm of oil (enough to cover the chicken at least half way) at a medium/high heat
– Deep fry for 15-20 minutes, or till its golden brown and crispy.

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Recipe and method courtesy of: http://www.japanesecooking101.com/karaage-recipe/

Main: 

2) SALMON TERIYAKI 

Salmon Teriyaki is pretty much loved by everyone. The teriyaki sauce is sweet and salty making it one of my favourite dishes ever.

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients: 

4 tbsp of Soy Sauce
2 Salmon fillets, sliced in half long ways
2 tbsp of Sake
1 tbsp of sugar
1 tsp of grated ginger root
1 tsp of vegetable oil

Method:

– Mix the Soy Sauce, Sake and ginger in a small bowl
– Heat the oil in a frying pan at a medium, once hot place salmon in the pan skin side down.
– Cook the salmon for around 3-4 minutes on each side
– Once pretty much cooked, reduce the heat and add the sauce. Wait until the sauce starts to thicken and after around 4-5 minutes remove from pan, ready to serve.

I ended up adding more teriyaki sauce from the packet because unfortunately I didn’t make enough. But this home made sauce beats the packeted one any day.

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Recipe and Method courtesy of: http://www.japanesecooking101.com/salmon-teriyaki-recipe/

Dessert: 

3) DORAYAKI 

Prep: 5-10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4/5

Ingredients: 

1 1/4 cup of all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3 eggs
1/2-1 cup of sugar
1 tbsp of honey
1/2 cup of milk

Method: 

– In a bowl mix the baking soda and flour
– In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and honey and add milk. Mix well.
– Pour in the flour and baking soda mix into the egg mixture and whisk until the batter becomes smooth.
– Heat a non stick frying pan with a tiny piece of butter but rub around the pan with a tissue to make sure there isn’t too much on. On a medium to low hear, pour in some mixture onto the pan so it looks thick and circular like ny other pancake.
– Cook for around 2 minutes until the top of the pancake starts to slightly bubble and then flip over to cook for a further 1 minute.
– Usually you’d place a tablespoon of Anko red beans and cover it with another pancake, wrap it up with plastic and press down the edges. But I just made two separate pancakes, spread my jam on one side with the maple syrup and placed another pancake on top.

My photo isn’t that great because I started to eat it all forgetting I needed to take a photo and by the time I realised I had eaten all the mixture…

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Recipe and Method courtesy of: http://www.japanesecooking101.com/dorayaki-recipe/

It’s a pretty daunting thought a 3 course meal that you’ve never cooked before but it was surprisingly really easy! And so yummy I’m even making Dorayaki instead of American pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.

AKIRA KUROSAWA (1910-1998) and his influence in film

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©Film4

Born in Japan 1910 Kurosawa always knew he wanted to be a filmmaker. At the age of 26 after his brother died he was recruited by Japanese film studio PCL. Film became his life, making more than 30 films, working as an Assistant Director, and writing many screenplays.

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Rashomon (1950) ©Daiei Film

Rashomon (1950) winning the Golden Lion award became one of the biggest moments in Japanese film history. With an enormous amount of press worldwide it was the first time Japan had been viewed internationally in a great light after WWII. Startled by their success, Daiei Film Co. produced many subtitled versions for American and European countries and rereleased it worldwide. This meant that Rashomon was the first Japanese film to be seen and loved worldwide.

Seven Samurai (1954) and Yojimbo (1961) being his most influential works in Hollywood sees films such as The Magnificent Seven and A Fistful of Dollars deriving most of it’s style from them. Kurosawa was the most successful director to first use telephoto lenses for photography and the first to use slow motion in action sequences.

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Seven Samurai (1954) ©Toho

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Yojimbo (1961) ©Toho Studio

 

Kurosawa’s film generally follow 4 characteristics which make his films so unique:

1.Repetition:

In order to emphasise the dynamic nature of some scenes, Kurosawa will repeat various narrative elements.

2. Narrative Pauses:

For the audience to take time and reflect on the previous scene to be able to follow what happens next, Kurosawa uses the simple technique of long narrative pauses.

3. Other Influences:

As a fan of European and American film Kurosawa has adapted literature such as Shakespeare’s Macbeth for his film Throne of Blood (1957). John Ford being his greatest inspiration, Kurosawa is rumoured to draw upon many of Ford’s great westerns.

4. Humanism

His work is based on the goodness and dignity of human beings. The human spirit is often the main notion around Kurosawa’s films.

“Kurosawa was one of film’s true greats. His ability to transform a vision into a powerful work of art is unparalleled” – George Lucas