♫Our first bento box? #nosushithistime #bonusmisosoup #foodfunwithfriends #Edinburghadventures #TBT

Several years ago, before we set off on our Japan adventure, the duck and I shared this delicious bento box (possibly our first one). We were spending a most memorable weekend with our favorite Edinburgh pals, J and Al, had just watched one of our absolute favorite movies for the first time the previous night, and were now in the middle of a city exploration session. When we decided to take a lunch break at Tang’s (Hataka-ya), the duck and I were excited to try the bento box we had ordered: vegetable tempura, Edamame, seaweed salad, and rice, served with miso soup. I vaguely recall liking the food and vividly remember excessively enjoying sitting at this little Old Town restaurant nearby Greyfriars Bobby,* eating a meal I had passed up on in my profoundly parsimonious past, with friends who never judged me too harshly in those dark days of overly finite funds. The duck was happy to have found new buddies to pepper with questions about my obscure past (ha! I wish I were that mysterious) over a lovely lunch. Easily 5/5 deep fried vegetables for the food and the great company that welcomed the duck with open arms and, fortunately, held on to my darkest, deepest secrets! · ✧ · ✧ ·

Well, this took a turn. One that I’m not sorry for! While the duck spent this summer’s heat waves peacefully floating among a crowd of cold companions in the bathtub, I nostalgically floated in an ocean of (delicious) memories. I hope the duck and I can revisit Edinburgh some time.

*Unfortunately, that location has since closed down.


🍁Maple sweet potato rice cake🍁 #seasonaltreat #autumninjapan #fallinforsweetpotatoes #TBT

Kawagoe sweet potato ohagi
Fall has come once again, and the duck and I miss our beloved Japanese seasonal autumn snacks even more this year. Just look at this beautiful treat that we got to devour four years ago, sitting on a canopied bench under a pretty autumn afternoon sun after a fun exploration tour of an area we had never been to. Even though we got it at a local grocery store, we felt truly fancy when we ate this maple syrup sweet potato rice cake (at least that’s what our translator app told us this is)! 5/5 sweet potato stuffed ducks for the sweetness of Japanese autumn in a bite (and many more after that)! 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

The duck and I still aren’t eating out a lot, especially since we don’t really like it all that much if catching up with a friend is not involved. So, there might be even more solitary or inside snack reports in the near future of this blog. What about you? Do you like eating out? Are there any foods that you miss?

Lazy rice

I know it’s hard to tell by all those super personal blog entries attesting to our vigor and diligence, but, surprisingly, the duck and l are indeed pretty lazy (say whaaat?!). Once our all-encompassing laziness is joined by a slight feeling of hunger the duck and I are a lost cause. Let me correct that: we were a lost cause until we found our new recipe for ultimate laziness: furikake, a.k.a. the perfect seasoning for your favorite kind of rice (or other non-sprinkle-resistant food).

Rice duckThose little magical packages were our savior for those evenings when we just couldn’t be bothered to prepare something to eat that took longer than five minutes (and we didn’t feel particularly fussy about eating just rice for dinner). Since almost all furnished Japanese places come with a rice cooker – those nifty blocks of grain-transformative wizardry – this is one of the easiest foods you can possibly prepare if you’re lazy like us… provided, of course, that, from a previous bout of non-laziness, you still have a portion of cooked rice in the freezer that you can pop in the microwave for a few minutes (I can’t believe the duck and I didn’t know the cling film trick before coming to Japan: if you cook a big portion of rice, let it cool, portion it out, wrap those portions with heat- and cold-resistant cling film and finally store them in a freezer bag inside your freezer; you can live a life of ultimate laziness afterward – and your rice doesn’t lose any moisture when you reheat it). Add some of the rice seasoning of your choosing (the duck and I love plum flavor) and voilà: you have a lazy dinner to complement your lazy evening.
So, why are we telling you this? Well, if you ever see any of those little packets of seasoning in your local supermarket or Asian grocery store, give them a try 😉

This shall be the end of our lazy post about how our lazy selves make lazy food.

Until next ti



Attentive readers of this blog or those who are familiar with traditional Japanese food might already know about wagashi, those lovely traditional Japanese confections that are usually enjoyed with a tasty cup of green tea. For all others, here’s a picture (of the duck trying to eat them all):

Blog Shots-159

Wagashi come in many shapes, textures and flavors, as this selection from a wagashi shop suggests. Because they are traditionally served as an accompaniment to green tea, wagashi are often incredibly sweet in order to counter the tea’s bitterness.
And, I have to admit, even though the duck and I love sweets, some wagashi are too much for us – even with a cup of extra-strong green tea (= tea that we have forgotten about so that the tea bag had a nice, cozy 15 minute soak).
Others, however, taste like a grandiose festivity in fairy land and a beautiful sunset united in a compact ball of sweet joy to us.
The duck and I warmly recommend trying one of those beautiful confections together with a wonderful cup of green tea (ideally in a traditional Japanese tea room) if you ever have the chance!

(Wow, so much detailed information! If you are interested in knowing more about wagashi – there are lots of great online sources, like this one or this one, for finding out more about them. Because I often end up writing long essays on how we’re bad puzzle solvers or trains when it’s not necessarily necessary, I decided to keep this post rather short.)

Snacks: Double Chocolate?! Count us in!

While autumn means sweet potato and chestnut flavors, Christmas, at least for the duck and me, means chocolate! Winter is the perfect season for chocolate because in the cold temperatures there is no risk of accidental liquefaction; Choco Choco Duckinstead, it’s more acceptable to enjoy the purposefully liquid variety, called ‘hot chocolate‘, that warms you up on top of being chocolate in drinkable form (perfect if accompanied by a chocolate chip cookie… or ten).
Seeing some new limited edition winter(?) snacks could make us forget the impending end of our favorite season at least a bit. Also, they made us excited for our favorite holiday. Yay! So, today we’ll give you a review of the first chocolaty winter treat we could not help but try:

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Anmitsu ♪ #Japanesedessert #Shinjukustation #surpriseice #friendstime #TBT

Of course there had to be another overly cute post about all the sugar the duck and I consume! This food picture was taken just days after our last #ThrowbackThursday when Tokyo was still hot and humid (as opposed to the current temperatures that occasionally come close to the dreaded zero).

Blog Shots-10About four months ago we met our friends and went to a busy cafe at one of the shopping malls inside Shinjuku station. It’s called Cafe Amati. The duck and I ordered anmitsu, a typical Japanese dessert with agar-jelly, anko, some other sweet components and surprise ice cream! Since the duck and I aren’t really friends with ice cream, we had some reservations. But there was no way we would let anything matcha flavored go to waste, so we ate up! And, it was pretty good – even the ice cream was friendly ♥
Recommended if you love ice cream and busy places. 4/5 Ducks for variety and matcha ♪

That was fun! Catching up with our friends was also lots of fun. Oh, how I miss the good old ‘we’re new to Japan and want to try out everything’-days! The duck and I are still having fun, though – even without surprise-ice.

Sweet greetings from the past!


Soy sauce

So, during our first or second grocery shop the duck and I had soy sauce on our list. Knowing that we’d usually go through about two 300ml (or however much a normal small bottle holds) bottles in a year we were a bit hesitant to buy any of the Japanese sized ones ranging around 750ml to 1 liter. In the end we did settle on a big one, thinking that we could always just give the half-empty bottle away if we could not finish it… seriously, who needs so much soy sauce?!

soy sauce duck

3 months later…
Actually, never mind…

OK, see you, bye.

Natto the toughest challenge

Natto. Whenever the topic of Japanese food comes up in a conversation (which is pretty much all the time because the duck and I love to talk about food), especially with a Japanese person, the talk usually unerringly navigates toward the stinky food that starts with the letter ‘n’ (that’s how the topic was introduced in the latest instance of natto-questioning) eventually. In fact, with fruit being so expensive in Tokyo, the duck and I had started doing research on this smelly and sticky but incredibly healthy fermented soybean delicacy even before we set off on our big journey to Japan. Inspired by this blog post from several years ago (with lots of info on natto, too – check it out!), we initially planned to try 30 days of natto ourselves. But we did not end up doing that because ① we are lazy and ② (spoiler alert!) it did not take us that long to get used to it because it was not as bad as we had expected after my first encounter with natto maki three years ago. Still, our initial fear of preparing natto was pretty intense.


You’re not convinced that I don’t think it’s the toughest challenge? Well, I do still have a vivid memory of the soy milk tasting gone wrong. In fact, I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat because my taste buds had a nightmare of this sweet sake soy milk. But, back in text, here is a summary of our short journey to appreciating natto: Continue reading

The duck and I are going on a spree: S-H-O-P-P-I-N-G!

The duck and I love shopping for groceries (maybe even a little too much, but to each their own, right?), and grocery shopping in Japan is no exception. Once we have managed to get our lazy behinds out of the house (and mentally prepared ourselves for a journey beyond the extensions of our home that are Konbini), there is no stopping us!
Let’s go back a few weeks. We had just moved into our new place and were excited to fill that empty refrigerator of ours. So, we quickly compiled a shopping list (= we added one more item to the list that we had started before even moving in – that’s how much we love grocery shopping), memorized the way to a more or less nearby grocery store, and set off on our first grocery shopping adventure – dreaming of bags filled with beautiful and nutritious food.

grocery duck

And we did return with something that would at least guarantee us to not starve for the next few hours. But shopping for proper food in Japan (for the first time) turned out to be quite a bit of a challenge. Let me explain why:

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