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Hokkaido food

    • November 16, 2022
    • November 17, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: Snow and Ice Igloo Hotels in Hokkaido

    Do you know a Japanese elementary school bag? It’s common in color, design, size, and everything, a symbol of Japanese elementary school students. The bag is called “Randoseru” in Japanese which originates from the Dutch word “Ransel” meaning a bag in English. Let’s call it Ransel here in this article for your pronunciation convenience. Can you believe it? All the elementary school students use it across Japan. In my childhood like more than 30 years ago, only two colors were available: black for boys; red for girls, though any color seems to be available now as shown in the above image. A Ransel was very expensive. As I remember, it was about 500 USD at that time. However, elementary students are supposed to use it for the whole elementary school period of six years. Considering the promised quality to survive long-term super-rough usage by kids, I’m sure the price was […]

    • November 9, 2022
    • November 9, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: A Hokkaido Restaurant (Curry Rice)

    Do you think you can tell good rice from not-so-good one? If you think “Rice is just a foil to the main dish. There is not much of a difference,” that’s completely wrong. Today, I’m going to introduce a restaurant famous for good rice in Hokkaido. More than 30 years ago, when I was a kid, rice made in Hokkaido (our home prefecture) was not so good, but most of the Hokkaido people ate it because it was much cheaper. The times have changed, and proudly enough, Hokkaido rice has become a brand in Japan. Now, due to the breed improvements made repeatedly over time, I think it’s almost impossible to judge good or bad rice, but there’s only one way: Try it after rice gets cold. Really good rice is delicious even after it has cooled down. Some of you may think “What’s the point for the difference? A […]

    • October 25, 2022
    • October 25, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: Hokkaido Is the Kingdom of Bread

    Many good bakeries in Hokkaido “How old are you?” “How old do I look?” Humans have made progress and finally landed on the Moon in 1969, but we continue to return a stupid question to a stupid question as above. When are we matured enough? Is this only in Japan? There are still more stupid questions very often exchanging between Japanese people including me like “Are you a cat person or a dog person?” “Which do you prefer for breakfast, bread or rice?” As some people may be surprised to hear the last question, Japan is not a rice country any more. The annual purchase volume of bread and rice becomes roughly even. Especially among other prefectures, our hometown Hokkaido is famous for bread because here is the kingdom of the agricultural (wheat) and dairy (milk) industries in Japan. There are many well-known bakeries, and one of the major groups […]

    • October 18, 2022
    • October 24, 2022

    How to Deal with Methane Emissions from Cows in Dairy Farms in Hokkaido

    Japan Customs and Coast Guard are different and separate organizations, but they very often work together especially at a sea port. For that reason, when working as a Customs official, I sometimes went for a drink with Coast Guard officials. One day when we were at some Japanese-style bar and I ate mantis shrimps, one of them said with a grin “Be careful to check if there’s human hair in it. When finding a drowned body in the sea, we always see them swam the body.” After hearing that, I can’t eat mantis shrimps. What decides our likes and dislikes is genetic and environmental factors, and negative memories as above are one of the major environmental factors. I believe you, too, have had that kind of experience. We can see how unstable and sensitive our sense of likes and dislikes is. Sorry in advance if I make you feel bad, […]

    • September 21, 2022
    • October 25, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: What You Need to Know before Eating Salmon Roe in Hokkaido

    Hokkaido is the home of salmon fishing in Japan I’ve been wanting to do fly fishing since I watched the movie “A River Runs Through It.” Unfortunately, I hardly remember any of the content, but the fishing scenes left a strong impression on me. A fishing rod whipping to and fro smoothly, a line describing an arc in the air, etc. It’s beautiful and completely different from what I always do. It’s ordinary bait fishing: just wandering along rivers and casting bait. Why don’t I do fly fishing? That’s because bait fishing is easier and can catch more fish. In the past article, I knowingly quoted Hemingway “When you can’t catch fish, think it gave you time to think about life.” To tell the truth, I hate to get skunked (go home empty-handed). Today, I’m introducing the charm of Hokkaido through the story of fish. Among river fish in Japan, […]

    • April 8, 2022
    • October 13, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: A Hokkaido Restaurant (Soba Noodle)

    Do you know Japanese buckwheat noodles “Soba?” I think there are so many kinds of wheat-based foods across the world. What about buckwheat? The most famous food may be gallette originated in Bretagne, France. In Japan, we call buckwheat noodles “Soba,” and it’s very popular. Ramen, Udon, and Soba are the three major Japanese noodles. For your information, Hokkaido is the kindgom of ramen as I wrote before. The former two are made from wheat. The difference between the two is if alkaline brine solution is included or not when noodles are kneaded. Based on my understanding, many Japanese people see Soba noodles more elegant than Ramen and Udon noodles. Yes, that’s true. If you take someone to a Ramen or Udon restaurant for a first date, your date will doubt your nerves. If it’s a Soba restaurant, your date will think you have good taste on the contrary. It’s […]

    • March 29, 2022
    • October 13, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: A Hokkaido Restaurant (Japanese Soup Curry)

    Ramen and curry are national dishes for the Japanese people If you can only eat just one food, which would it be, ramen (noodle) or curry? I ‘m sure we all the Japanese people have asked and answered this stupid question at least once in our life. In other words, ramen and curry are the top two popular foods in Japan. As I looked up the number of restaurants, ramen is about 24000; curry about 4700, respectively. I think the above difference in number well expresses the difference in character. Ramen is something to eat out; curry is one of home-cooked meals. In fact, when I was a kid, my mother made it at least two times a month. She always made a lot, and I had to eat it for three days in a row. I’m 100% sure this kind of ordeal still occurs in many Japanese homes. Have […]

    • March 21, 2022
    • October 13, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: A Hokkaido Restaurant (Dairy Sweets)

    Hokkaido is No.1 in salmon roe The Japanese people like to eat fish eggs. The roe of salmon and cod (pollack, to be more precise) is the top two. Salmon roe is one of special marine products of Hokkaido. It comes into season in the autumn, and we local people buy and pickle it ourselves. It’s well-known that many tourists come here with the aim of eating salmon roe. In addition, Hokkaido is also a top production area of pollack roe, but it’s little known. Most of the Japanese people believe the home of pickled pollack roe is Kyushu area. It’s located far opposite to Hokkaido, in the southern part of Japan. Of course, most of them are made of pollack roe caught in Hokkaido. Our ex-chairman often lamented over the big loss in local profits, saying it’s a good example of failure in branding. Hokkaido is No.1 in most […]

    • March 14, 2022
    • October 13, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: A Hokkaido Restaurant (Genghis Khan)

    It’s not about the emperor of the Mongel Empire Genghis Khan is a barbecue of mutton, lamb, and vegetables. It’s one of Hokkaido specialties. Mutton and lamb are not so generally eaten in Japan. There are many Japanese people who don’t like the smell. It’s very difficult to find a Genghis Khan restaurant outside Hokkaido. In fact, there were not so many even here in Hokkaido when I was a kid, like 30 years ago. Genghis Khan was just one of home-cooked meals at that time. It appeared on the dinner table at least twice a month in my home, not a special treat at all for us. To be honest, I still have a little difficulty paying and eating it outside at a restaurant but must admit there are some good ones. The truth about Genghis Khan, a Hokkaido specialty On the outskirts of Sapporo, the capital city of […]

    • March 4, 2022
    • November 25, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: Hokkaido Ramen Noodle

    Ramen is the expression of Japanese people’s local pride The most popular Japanese noodle dish is “Ramen.” Nobody would argue against it. These days, Japanese Ramen restaurants open even in Manhattan. For your information, “Ramen Santouka” originates in Asahikawa (our hometown), though their NY shop is located a little outside of Manhattan. I saw on the news that New Yorkers ate it over drinks and chat, like enjoying elegant Italian pasta dinner. It’s totally different from the one I’m writing here about. In Japan, Ramen is a fast food. Some consumer research says the average time to finish Ramen is only 14 minutes. Funnily enough, Ramen is closely related to Japanese people’s local pride. It’s probably because Ramen is reasonably priced and popular especially among the common people. You can see many Japanese people brag about their local Ramen even on the Internet, like I’m doing right now. Hokkaido is […]