Sushi Rice!

Hey everyone! I am so excited! I found sushi rice available at a local store that I frequent and it’s grown in the USA! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ I know that sushi rice is available at Trader Joes or online, however I am not willing to drive a half hour away to buy this one item or pay someone online to use their fuel to cart it to me. Therefore by buying locally available items I am reducing waste and pollution by supporting local stores. ๐Ÿ™‚

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The visual difference between the widely available long grain rice and the sushi rice is quite apparent….
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The long grain rice on the left is long and skinny and whiter in color while the sushi rice on the right is a short fat grain with a creamy tint. I haven’t had a chance to cook with it yet so I cannot say anything about flavor or texture. I am hoping to have my sisters over soon to make some more Japanese dishes from my cookbook. We had done that early last year and it was a lot of fun!

My other find is Oolong tea! None of the stores in my area have carried this type of tea in any brand and I found this at the same place I bought my rice. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also haven’t brewed a cup of this yet to compare to my regular green tea…

 

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Diet conscious people online have touted it to be the ultimate green tea and really helps with weight loss. I don’t believe those claims -however I am looking forward to trying a new tea.

That’s all for tonight!

Thanks for reading!

-Anna Sanโ™ฅ

 

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Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland – Frankenmuth, MI

Happy December everyone! Time to get into the Christmas spirit by blasting Trans Siberian Orchestra’s Carol of the Bells and assemble the artificial tree!

My brother and I went to Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth back in October for our bi-yearly buying o’the ornaments and had a really nice time. ๐Ÿ™‚ No one else could make the trip with us so the only other participant was Domo who chilled in the back seat during our outing.

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Giant Domo Plush

It’s an hour and 45 minute drive away from our hometown and as it is mostly expressway it can be quite boring. Tree tree tree tree tree ooo… bush! We didn’t see any wildlife on our trek upstate, however the trees were quite lovely at that time.

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Before we reached our destination we stopped at Halo Burger…

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Halo Burger sign

They are one of the only burger joints that we know of that offer burgers with olives and that is always a yummy must. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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MY Halo Burger ๐Ÿ™‚

A patron of the establishment noticed my brother and I snapping pictures of each other and offered to take a picture of us together. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Me and my brother Bob

No too long after, we arrived at Bronners. I was busy annoying my brother at the time and missed out on the opportunity to capture a shot of the whole building. XD

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A sign on the wall of the store

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The main Nativity display

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Garbage can. I believe it says “trash” in various languages… :p

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Large overhang over the entrance . Buses use this area to drop off tourists. The signs up top are also written in different languages. ๐Ÿ™‚

Once inside I saw this sign and just couldn’t resist. >:}

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*poke*

I know that people come to visit Bronner’s from all over the world but I didn’t feel comfortable with snapping pictures… however I did get a pic of two interesting items.

Cute Carrot Bunnies

Cute Carrot Bunnies

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$30 Glass Green House Ornament

We had a lot of fun exploring the store and bought a variety of ornaments.

Here is my Bronner ornament collection:

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Neon Pink Ornaments! XD

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I was reminded of Peter Pan with this next ornament….

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So magical… *o*

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Sparkly sushi platter :3 It is actually quite heavy. o.o;

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and my total fave – Merry Christmas (Meri Kurisumasu) in Katakana. :>

Afterwards we strolled around town and visited a number of shops such as the General Store, Zender’s Gift Shop, the Taffy shop and… the Cheese Haus.

Cheese Haus Mascot

Cheese Haus Mascot

Inside we sampled various cheese products and saw a rather *cough* interesting food item…

A** Blaster Hot Sauce at Cheese Haus

A** Blaster Hot Sauce at Cheese Haus

Tired but happy, Bob and I packed up our heels and made the journey home. We really enjoyed the trip and look forward to our next Bronner’s outing ย in 2015!

Thanks for reading!

-Anna Sanโ™ฅ

Tako the Octopus: Deep Fried Live!

I forget when I first came across the home website for this humorous and somewhat disturbing cartoon. Featuring Tako, an orange octopus who looks vaguely like a Veggie Tale character, and hosts his own cooking show called Deep Fried Live. Tako has a number of amusing mishaps in the kitchen many of which are caused by him. Sadly 8Legged.com is no longer online, though you can view all the videos on the TakoTheOctopus‘s YouTube channel

***Btw, my sister Nina named her orange Tako-san “Tako” after Tako the octopus! xD***

Briarwood, Sushi Cafe and Teavana

Yesterday morning I tagged along with my younger sister Maru to Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor where she works. Ooh the mall – how exciting right? So many shops, so many people, so many things to see and buy… But that wasn’t why I was there. Nope. I was there strictly for two things, a change of scenery and sushi at lunchtime.

Once Maru and I parted ways, I sat myself at a table by the kids play area and pulled out *dun dunn duh dunn* my favorite book for learning Japanese kana, Kana Pict-o-Graphix by Michael Rowley.ย I have owned this book for about 7-8 years and would recommend it to any (English speaking) person who is trying to learn hiragana and katakana. It’s funny, it’s memorable and only six bucks which is amazing for an invaluable learning resource.

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So while I was brushing up on my kana I noticed some Japanese women walk by. How did I know they were Japanese and not something else? I used my ears. Besides that Ann Arbor is one of two areas of Michigan that I personally know of that has a substantial Japanese population. Anyways one of the women was exhibiting precisely what I had just learned about Japanese socially acceptable dress standards from MyHusbandisJapanese and Gimmeaflakeman on YouTube. Showing as much leg as possible while fully covering her top half. ย Knowledge validated.

After awhile I got bored with kana and switched over to the other book I brought along; Nihongo Notes 1. Nihongo Notes is actually a reprinted column from The Japanese Times from 1976-77 which was written to help demystify the language for Japanese learners. Some of the stories of the protagonist Mr. Lerner are quite humorous and I couldn’t help but chuckle at his misuses of the language. Several things that really stood out as I read was that there’s so many easy slip-ups it’s going to be impossible to not offend while I’m learning the language and that I’m going to need to start learning grammar ASAP. I guess perfection for my trip next year is out of the question, eh?

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So it was nearly noon and tired of sitting I wandered over to the Mall Directory. The listing for Sushi Cafe was easy to locate and I discovered an interesting shop name a couple lines below it. Teavana. My interest immediately piqued, I made my trek across the mall to take a look. Once I drew near I chickened out and retreated to a nearby couch. The shop looked amazing (and expensive) with it’s drool worthy Japanese tea kettles in the window and a guy handing out samples of tea… I realized I would need back up if I wanted to check it out.

Shortly after that Maru and I met up for lunch at Sushi Cafe where we actually didn’t order sushi. Instead we ordered the Teriyaki chicken on a bed of rice served with seaweed salad, edamame, a salad with a grated ginger dressing and a bowl of miso soup. The Asians running the shop were friendly and fast and once again using our ears Maru and I quickly determined they were Korean. The food was good and while we were eating Maru and I were sounding out the available types of fishy items written mostly in hiragana with the occasional help of my Kana Picto-Graphix. Maguro (tuna), Ebi (shrimp), Tako(octopus), Ika(squid) and some that I can’t remember. Good times… ^u^

After lunch we went to Teavana. Immediately we were lured into the shop by a good looking and fast talking man who ย had several teas for us to sample and then quickly handed us off to his female coworker who knew all the details of the teas we were trying out. Further and further in we were lead with each sample station getting closer and closer to the back of the shop until we arrived at the cash register and had to decide what we were interested in purchasing. The decision was put off momentarily by me seeing the display of Imperial Grade Matcha (squee!) and the bamboo whisks(double squee!) that are used for the Japanese Tea Ceremony. But I put the matcha back and decided to purchase a scoop of Peach Tranquility, which was one of the teas Maru and I had tried earlier, and of course a pretty container to put it in.

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Overall it was a great day and I hope to have more “change of scenery” days soon!