Happy Belated 4th!

After all of the grill outs, beers, and fireworks, do any of you feel like this today?  This picture makes me smile thinking about the BBQs and fun back home this weekend.  Living abroad, there’s many reminders of how glad I am to be an American.  (I’m not going to break out in song.. promise!)

Happy long weekend, folks!

[image via]

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Fat Matt’s Rib Shack

DSC_1035Happy belated new year, folks!  I’ve been away on holiday travel + more, and I can’t wait to update you all on my great finds and projects.  First, I went back home to revisit my roots down south in Atlanta, and boy – the city’s changed.  I’d actually love to live somewhere downtown now, and it’s caught up with so many of the fads that I couldn’t live without when I was in LA.  (I’m sure there’s new fads in LA that I’m just unaware of being in Japan now.)  Despite all of the newness, my brother made sure that Fat Matt’s Rib Shack was my first pit stop – a place that oozes the soul of the south.

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Does anything say the ‘south’ more than BBQ ribs, mac & cheese, baked beans, and super sweet iced tea?  I think not.  Add in a few extra sides of BBQ sauce with thick white bread to sop it all up.  Yup definitely a southerner.

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And if all of that wasn’t enough, Fat Matt’s is famous for their lives blues bands.  They have a pretty impressive resume of bands, and that night was no exception.  My heart felt whole when I heard them sing, “Georgia… Georgia…”

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Foil Foul Footwear

Get rid of smelly shoes and boots using aluminum foil

In this cold weather, I make sure to keep my feet nice and toasty with boots.  But when I go indoors or walk a long time, I’ll admit – my feet sometimes get too toasty.  One of my worst fears is smelly boots.  Luckily, here’s a great, easy solution using something you definitely have in your house – aluminum foil!  Here’s how:

Remove your ‘humid’ boots.  Tear off 6 pieces of foil about 1ft x 1ft and roll each into a loose ball.  Drop the balls of foil into your boots – 3 in each.  Leave the boots alone for at least 30 minutes and voila!  Perfectly un-smelly boots!

Get rid of smelly shoes and boots using aluminum foil

Helpful hint: I keep a bin of new foil balls, ready to be dropped in right when I take off my shoes.

Get rid of smelly shoes and boots using aluminum foil

A little toilet humor

I used to think that any toilet paper more elaborate than 2-ply was just frivolous.  I mean, it’s just going to go down the drain, right?  I’m a bit ashamed to say that I’ve gotten spoiled in Japan with all of the fun toilet paper offerings that allow you to enjoy the few seconds before and after your wipe.

Herb Garden Lavender Toilet Paper

First, there’s perfumed toilet paper.  Every time the roll turns, whatever scent you choose lightly fills the room.  I like the lavender toilet paper from Herb Garden, but I’ve also seen many other floral and herbal scents like chamomile, sandlewood, mint, and rose.

Then, there’s the patterns to choose from.  Floral is the most common, but if you’re decking out your kids’ bathroom, how could you resist these character-printed toilet paper rolls?

And just in time for the holidays, Christmas-themed toilet paper!  Frivolous? Yes. But fun? Definitely!

Tamago Kake Gohan: Japan’s National Dish

Tamago Kake Gohan: Japan's National Dish

Ok I might be stretching it a bit calling Tamago Kake Gohan Japan’s national dish, but it’s definitely a classic that has endured the test of time, and it’s the most prevalent dish across the country.  Tamago Kake Gohan is basically a raw egg mixed with soy sauce, served over steaming hot, fresh white rice. It’s often eaten for breakfast (as in asa teishoku), but you’ll see raw egg served over rice at gyudon restaurants all day.  Japanese eggs are extremely fresh, and there’s little hesitation about eating them raw here.

Tamago Kake Gohan: Form a Rice Well to Increase Surface Contact with the Egg

There’s many variations on this dish.  Some people add dashi, green onions, and other Japanese toppings.  You can beat the egg with the toppings and add it to the rice, or you can add the egg unbeaten.  You can serve the egg mixture sitting on top of rice, but others swear by pouring the rice into a little well dug into the middle of the rice.  The latter is supposed to maximize the contact of the egg to the hot rice, allowing the egg to cook a bit.

Tamago Kake Gohan Recipe and Directions

Personally, I like my tamago kake gohan simple with just a teaspoon of soy sauce to really highlight the quality of the egg and the rice.  The secret is to make sure that the rice is piping hot right out of the cooker.  Have you ever tried tamago kake gohan?  Or do you eat dishes with raw eggs?