I was asked to review a friend of a friend’s blog (who also happens to be one of our writers!). To be honest, it’s a little terrifying. It’s a difficult task, but even so, I’d like to introduce you to I’ll Make It Myself!, an exploration of food, particularly food and how to cook it in Japan.
Leah found herself outside her comfort zone for the first time when, after six years of formal Japanese studies, she landed in the middle of rural Japan as a JET CIR. Without the familiarity of shopping in a rural Japanese grocery store, her usual foods, or the comforts of a crock pot or full-sized oven, Leah decided that instead of eating out every night, she’d just have to cook it herself. You should check out her journey into food here.
As someone that (briefly) lived in Japan, I can honestly say that I was terrified of going to the grocery store on my own and figuring out what items were. I would think that I purchased an item that looked like a green squash only to discover it was actually bitter melon. I can only imagine that there are others who move to a foreign country may possibly have the same problems.
With that in mind, I poured through some of her popular posts such as the Guide to Flour (see a clip from it above). It is incredibly insightful. Not only does she give me the kanji, but she provides the romanji and description of what each flour is. Seriously, I avoided baking for 6 months because I had no idea what flour was what when I was at the grocery store. This is by far the most detailed and helpful list I’ve come across. The guide is helpful, especially for the guy that rarely asks someone for assistance at the grocery store, much less ask for directions when I’m lost.
In terms of navigation and searching, there is a search bar in which you can type something and see what comes up. For example, I typed okonomiyaki and discovered the obligatory recipe. I like the notes added at the end since I’m never certain about the brand to purchase nor am I certain about how many calories I’ve just consumed.
Using the Categories drop down, I discovered something awesome, “Adapted Recipes for Japan”. Living in Japan, I recall fondly missing several comfort foods. As Leah develops her blog, I’m sure that she’ll add some great additional recipes that she adapts to the available resources in Japan. I missed brownies, and definitely see it being a topic of conversation and a need to bake batch at 3am.
Other useful articles for expats are reviews of local breweries and eateries from Leah’s travels and food challenges. The food challenges are especially great- when you find an incredible deal on an entire crate of apples in Japan, what in heavens do you do? I know some of you or your friends have had local Japanese give you giant batches of free food that make you wonder how you’re going to use something like five eggplants before they go bad.
Check out I’ll Make It Myself and explore a foodie’s blog in Japan. It shows a lot of promise for more great recipes in the future and I look forward to reading her food adventures.