Tuesday, July 19, 2011

So I filled up the truck with gas...

Gas prices here in Japan have been going down a bit, so I thought I would take the K-truck in and fill it up. Sure enough, 141 yen/L. Not too bad.
For you Americans out there: 141 yen is $1.78.
One liter is .26 gallons.
So the price in USD was  $6.73/Gal.

What's the price like for you guys?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Tree Frog

I went out to check on my satsuma mikan trees today, and there was this little buddy sitting on a leaf catching some rays. It is a Japanese tree frog (Hyla japonica). Keep up the good work little buddy, the aphids are on the march!

Japanese tree frog (Hyla japonica)

Elephant Ears Are Coming Along

Taro, or Colocasia esculenta
The taro I planted last February are finally making a showing. I am really looking forward to eating them this winter. My favorite dish with them is a simple nimono that my wife makes. Some taro, shiitake, konyaku, carrots, and konbu are simmered in a sweet soy sauce and some other secret ingredients. Alright, not so secret, but she is asleep and waking her up to ask her how to make nimono when the taro are still just sprouting is a bad idea to say the least. I will give another post about it around New Years if I can remember. 

At any rate, to plant them, prepare a bed with compost and lime. Dig a shallow trench and put the corms about 40cm apart. In late June and mid July hill them up- about 10cm each time. Then, when the plant yellows, carefully dig up the corms. 

Not so hard, and pretty tasty.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Call them Cattails, Bullrush, or Raupo, they are Delicious

Typha latifolia or common cattail
Finally, The cattails near our house are starting to send up their flower stalks. So I got my good sandals wet (don't tell my wife) and harvested two of them and decided to give it a try, ala Euell Gibbons and his book- Stalking the Wild Asparagus. I harvested them when they were still quite young, about the thickness of my little finger  (that would be most people's middle finger size). The stalks are fibrous and tough as could be. It took a few minutes of twisting and tugging to finally get them off. Next time I'll bring a scissors or blade of some kind.

At home, I peeled off the husk, and tossed them in a pot of lightly salted water for 3 minutes. Then I fished them out, put just a little butter on them, and enjoyed them like corn on the cob. It was really good. Reminded me of avocado, but with a slightly grainy texture. The inside of the bright green immature flower was a very pretty yellow. Towards the bottom of the flower it was almost all stalk with just the tiniest bit of flower, but near the top it was wonderful and thick. I wonder if that wasn't the immature pollen up there... I offered some to my wife, and she took a bite but the texture disagreed with her. 

I will definitely be doing that again (but I'll leave the good sandals at home). 

The flowers in their husks

Boiled up and ready to eat.