I think all of us know about the terrible events that have been and are still going on in Japan this moment. As little as I can do to help the people there, I can at least send thoughts and prayers to them and use my blog as a platform for non-material support.
So, during the next time, all my posts will be related to Japan in one way or another. This means that you will find Japanese music and art on here, writing about Japanese culture, and pictures from Japan. I will also cook and post Japanese recipes, and make some drawings and put them on here. My two previous posts – about what facing chaos does to us psychologically and my recreation of a Japanese dish I enjoyed at a sushi restaurant last Friday – turned out to already be a prelude to this project, although I had not planned them to be when I wrote them.
~ beautiful and very touching piece by Japanese composer Yoko Kanno ~
And I would love you to join in! It will cost you nothing but a bit of time, but please use your blogs as well to express your solidarity with Japan. Cook a Japanese dish and make a post about it (you can find a page with recipes from Japan here, or have a look at this wonderful blog), or write about your favorite anime movie (if you have one), or visit a Japanese restaurant and blog about it, or celebrate a little tea ceremony at home – whatever you want to do. Then link back to this post to let me know that you are partaking in this little project. I would love to have little lights of support all over the world via blogging.
What upsets me so much about the calamity that has struck Japan is not only the incredible suffering of the people and the ecological and cultural aftermaths that are not at all assessable yet – it is also that fact that it has hit a country for which I feel a deep love since I was very, very small. When I was a child, I loved to draw (I think I have spent most of my childhood drawing), and my drawing was influenced a lot by Japanese manga and anime art that I learned to love at about that time. During the past years, though, drawing has moved to the periphery of my life – despite a few sketches I made in lectures that I visited at university, I hardly drew at all anymore. However, I have missed it recently, and I think it is time to get drawing back into my life. So, I went to the city yesterday and bought a sketch block, a set of pens in different sizes, a penholder, and drawing ink.
I also noticed that I do not have any Japanese smileys at all – how can that happen to me?! – so it also is time for a little smiley research. Do you have any? Then please put them on your blog!
Yesterday night, I made a lovely little dinner which, although it was not based on an actual Japanese recipe, at least can be called “Japanese style”.
This is because it not only involved some ingredients that are common in Japanese cuisine, but also was seasoned in a way to be a tribute to my favorite (and also Japanese) spice mix, shichimi togarashi. This spice mix consists of chili pepper, ginger, black and white sesame seed, roasted mandarin or orange cest, and seaweed, amongst other ingredients (the exact composition can vary a little). The name means “seven flavor chili pepper”, and I used some of those flavors for the dish I made.
GINGER AND MANDARIN FLAVORED SHRIMP AND PUMPKIN STIR FRY
- butter or oil
- 1 tsp fresh gingerroot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 red onion, peeled and cut into slices
- 2 spring onions, cut into slices
- 1 big handful winter squash, cut into dices (I used butternut)
- 150 g (5 oz) shrimp
- 1/4 tsp dried chili flakes
- 1-2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 mandarin, juiced
- 1 handful fresh (flat-leaf) parsley
Heat fat in a pan and fry ginger, onions, and squash for a few minutes, then add shrimp and fry until shrimp are done. Add chili, soy sauce, and mandarin juice and stir fry openly until the liquid is reduced to the wished degree. Mix in the parsley, serve, and enjoy.
I am off to the Asia store now, to pick up a couple of ingredients for some real Japanese cooking tonight. Meanwhile, please support my little project, post a sign of solidarity with Japan on your own blog, and link it back to this post. And please ask your own readers as well to be part of this little solidarity project! Every little light that is lit may help to make these dark days of sadness a little brighter.
~ thank you ~