Learning to Cook Japanese Food: Shabu-shabu (Part 2)

by Ben Mirin, CIR

There are countless recipes for Shabu-shabu from throughout Japan.  Like Sukiyaki, Oden, and other iconic Nabemono dishes, it is so popular that many prefectures proudly offer their own variations.  I have yet to learn of a specific Shabu-shabu recipe from Nanae’s Kameda Prefecture, so this one is taken from Hiroko Urakami’s cookbook, “Japanese Family-Style Recipes.”

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10 Things I Didn’t Think I Would Need in Nanae, Japan (Part 3)

By Ben Mirin, CIR

3. Photographs of my family and of Concord, MA

Recently, I prepared a PowerPoint presentation about myself for all of the English classes I will start teaching in the coming months. The presentation is framed almost entirely around the most common questions I’ve received from locals during my first week in Nanae.  They are, in no particular order:

  • Who is in your family? How old are they and what are their names?
  • Where does your last name come from?  (I half-expected this question because of my name’s convenient overlap with a popular Japanese cooking wine, but in reality, it has more to do with my distinct position as a foreigner in Nanae.)
  • Do you have friends back home?  What are they like?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What is your favorite food? (Best to pick a Japanese dish, and doing so isn’t hard.  Japanese food is generally delicious.)
  • Where have you traveled?
  • Where did you go to university?  What did you study?
  • What is your favorite color?
  • Have you ever studied Japanese? (This one’s easy: Hai demo sukosidakedesu.  Mada jozuja arimasenn.)

Obviously the content of my slides will change somewhat depending on my audience, but the basic idea will be the same.  These are some sample slides from my first presentation at Nanae High School:
CIR Presentation Continue reading “10 Things I Didn’t Think I Would Need in Nanae, Japan (Part 3)”

Christmas in Hakodate

By Ben Mirin, CIR

Happy Holidays from ConcordNanae.org!

The following video showcases one of the many performances at the center of Hakodate Christmas Fantasy, a holiday festival that draws crowds from around Hokkaido for a full month of public events and spectacles.  The stage shown here is set in front of the city’s tremendous Christmas tree, which was transplanted from Hakodate’s Canadian sister city, Halifax.

After braving whipping winter winds to watch these performances, I would recommend that any visitor to Hakodate Christmas Fantasy head straight for the nearest Ramen shop.  These restaurants will likely be less crowded than places like the Hakodate Beer Hall, where I chose to eat my meal.  The food (and beer) was delicious, but if you’re not content waiting up to 1 hour for your table then roadside Ramen is the way to go (most places will have some form of indoor seating, whether in the shop or in a retrofitted truck trailer).

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