Category Archives: What the Heck is That?
Sashimi sides: field-guide to raw fish garnishes
In my Nov. 29 column in The Japan Times, I wrote about what a reader described as the “the stringy piles of daikon radish” that come with sashimi. As I explained, the daikon is called “tsuma,” written with this character: … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized, What the Heck is That? Tagged alice gordenker, garnishes, Japan, sashimi, seaweed, The Japan Times, tsuma, what the heck is that? 2 Comments
Japanese police: don’t they have something better to do?
You’ve seen them in front of police stations. And outside neighborhood police boxes. Maybe you’ve seen them in busy train stations up on a box looking fierce. Don’t you wonder why Japanese police always seem to be standing around? That … Continue reading
Posted in Life in Japan, What the Heck is That? Tagged alice gordenker, Japan, Japan Times, keijo, koban, police, police guard, ritsuban, standing 2 Comments
Is the banner better? You vote!
Those of you with eagle eyes may have already noticed I’ve got a new photo at the top of my blog. (If you hadn’t before, you have now.) Let’s call this #1. To refresh your memory, this is the original … Continue reading
Posted in What the Heck is That? Tagged alice gordenker, japan blog, Jeffrey Friedl, vote for the photo 7 Comments
How to sink your teeth into genuine Kobe beef
In my Dec. 17 column in The Japan Times, I wrote about Kobe beef 神戸ビーフ, focusing on the myths associated with this top-of-the-market Japanese meat. With this blog post, I’d like to help readers who wish to try it for … Continue reading
Posted in What the Heck is That? Tagged alice gordenker, good steak in Tokyo, Japanese beef, Kobe beef, Tajima cow, wagyu Leave a comment
Look, then look again: fender mirrors
In my November 19 column in The Japan Times, I wrote about the rather special rear-view mirrors you see on the front of Japanese taxi cabs. I promised to post some photos of vehicles equipped with fender mirrors, including a … Continue reading
Getting rid of stuff in Japan
In my Sept. 17 column in the Japan Times, I explained why it’s both illegal and unkind to help yourself to something that’s been put out for 粗大ゴミ sodai gomi (over-size trash) collection. Bummer, right? I mean, Japanese throw out the … Continue reading
Mosquitoes bugging you? 蚊取り線香
In my July 16 column in The Japan Times, I wrote about mosquito coils, which were actually invented in Japan, and promised to show you some of the holders used when burning them. I couldn’t resist the photo above, not … Continue reading
How the heck is nori made?
Let’s talk about nori, which I once heard described as “that black stuff wrapped around sushi.” You’ve eaten it. You probably know it’s seaweed. But do you have any idea where it comes from? Whether it’s wild or grown? Or … Continue reading
The making of a Japanese candle 和蝋燭
(Updated Aug. 2022.) Many years ago, writing for the The Japan Times, I wrote a column about the differences between Japanese and Western candles. As I explained in that article, which is now behind a paywall (but accessible if you … Continue reading
Posted in Life in Japan, What the Heck is That? Tagged alice gordenker, candlemaking, Japan wax, Japanese candle, Jeffrey Friedl, mokuro, warosoku Leave a comment
Womb with a view: Ernesto Neto in Omotesando
Omotesando is not my favorite place in Tokyo — too much emphasis on shopping and international luxury brands. And I certainly never had reason to enter the Louis Vuitton store there until today, when I was lured in by word … Continue reading
Posted in Life in Japan, What the Heck is That? Tagged Espace Louis Vuitton Leave a comment