One year after 3/11

Today marks the one year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which led to the tsunami that took the lives of over 19.000 people and caused the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986. I arrived in Japan about a month after the earthquake and stayed in this fascinating country for this whole year and even in these times I always felt welcome. In the face of all the hospitality that I received this is not much, but I give my deepest condolences to everyone, who lost loved ones due to this disaster, who lost their homes and who lost everything they possessed. Do not give up in living your life and rebuilding what you love. 頑張れ日本!

And to everyone else I can only try to raise some awareness that the problems are far from over and there is much to be done. Despite the Fukushima-centered media coverage around the world, the damage from the tsunami has probably more direct influence on the people from East Japan. If you have the time I can recommend the following two videos. One is a documentary of a Japanese, who’s coming back to his tsunami-struck hometown, while the second one is a trailer for a documentary that also deals with the life after the tsunami and has already received some international reputation.

After the Wave:

http://www.after-the-wave.com/

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom:

http://www.thetsunamiandthecherryblossom.com/

Thank you, Japan!

Nishin Soba

Nishin Soba is a typical dish from Kyoto, which consists of a soba noodle soup with sweet marinated dried herring added. As Kyoto is far from the seaside, it was hard to bring in fresh seafood from the coast, so dried herring established itself as one of the easier to transport fishes and became one of the important sources of proteine in the past.

As you can guess from this description, I ate this dish when I was in Kyoto in December, but I still wanted to put it up here, because it remained in my head. The taste of sweet herring together with a traditional Japanese soup flavour was completely new to me in that situation and at first I was a bit at a loss as to how I should judge it. But I grew to like the taste very fast and appreciate its difference to the other dishes I’ve eaten in Japan and also back in Europe (Yannik didn’t, btw. :P). For me, the subtle sweetness did fit very well with the broth and made for a well rounded meal together with the soba.

If you want to try it yourself, the following recipe might be helpful. I found it under this link and translated it for you (hopefully without mistakes :D). Enjoy your cooking!

http://www.rakuten.ne.jp/gold/suginoki/c0312.html

You will need (for 4 persons):

  • 400g soba noodles
  • 1 sweetly cooked herring (you can either buy it or prepare it this way(scroll down))
  • 1 leek
  • 4 sheets of dried laver / seaweed
  • 7 cups of dashi broth
  • 120ml of mirin (sweet soy sauce)
  • 120ml of soy sauce

Preparation:

  1. Mix the dashi broth, mirin and soy sauce in a pot and let it boil up to prepare the soup.
  2. Boil the soba in plenty of water until they are boiled thoroughly. Pour the water and put the soba in 4 bowls. Add the soup to each bowl.
  3. Add the finely cut leek, the dried laver and the herring on top. Enjoy your meal! :)