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Old 2006-11-13, 23:10   Link #121
NightWish
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mit7059 View Post
Maybe my teenage tastes aren't that refined but I can't tell that much difference between different types of rice, the main difference i see is based on how much water you put in the rice cooker determining how sticky the rice will be
You'd be surprised... I'm no expert but just thinking back to the few types I've tried (from some generic long grain varieties, to region specific ones like the Indian Basmati, and some of the Japanese varieties) I've noticed some distinct differences in flavor, texture and smell.

The generic ones being, well, generic... lack strong taste or smell. Basmati on the other hand has a very strong smell and noticeably different taste (when cooked right), but similar texture to the generic ones. Which is where the Japanese rices stands out... they're more sticky. Though they do have their own distinct smell and taste too if my memory serves. It seems hard to find the so-called "Japonica" rice varieties in the UK though (and even harder to get real imports from Japan) so I've not had any in a long time.

I guess it depends how many different types you've tried yourself though, you need a big enough difference in the type of rice to be able to compare. With 1000s of different types on record the differences can be subtle... I couldn't tell one Japanese rice from another, for example.
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Last edited by NightWish; 2006-11-13 at 23:22.
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Old 2006-11-14, 10:17   Link #122
Spectacular_Insanity
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I prefer long grain Jasmine rice. It's the best. If I could eat it everyday, I would. But unfortunately I ran out, and I'm not going shopping for a while...
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Old 2006-11-15, 13:09   Link #123
Zu Ra
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I have a question to kj1980 .

How does the tradional Japanese new year coincide with Western New Year. I mean we follow the Gregorian calender which is a lunar calender . While Tradional Japanese follow the solar calender with shinto being the principle religions ( influenced by Budhism )
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Old 2006-11-15, 13:50   Link #124
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geta Boshi View Post
I have a question to kj1980 .

How does the tradional Japanese new year coincide with Western New Year. I mean we follow the Gregorian calender which is a lunar calender . While Tradional Japanese follow the solar calender with shinto being the principle religions ( influenced by Budhism )
I didn't major in tradition or culture, so I wouldn't know, nor would I care. We celebrate New Years on January 1st as everyone else. I believe the old new year followed the Chinese Lunar Calendar, but then again, I wouldn't know. Try wikipedia. By the way, the Gregorian system is a solar calendar.

As for religion, religion isn't a major issue here. Like I said many times, our country is as closest to being a "polytheistic-atheism." In many ways, we are Christian (capitalistic St. Valentines and Christmas), pagantry (Halloween is gaining popularity these days), New Years rites (Shinto), obon (Buddhism), funerals (Buddhism), weddings (Western = "Christian" or Traditional = Shinto), etc. etc. But quite frankly, no one gives a damn about religion.

We don't celebrate Christmas because it's Christian, we celebrate it because it is a day of lovers, presents, and cakes.

We don't celebrate St. Valentine's Day in order to honor St. Valentinus, we do it because of capitalistic drive of chocolate companies forcing us that "girls should give to men they like," and the like.

We aren't Buddhists because we do most of our funerals that way, we do it because it's the way it has been all this time.

And we don't go to New Year's festivals because we are Shintoist, we do it because it's part of our culture.

Last edited by kj1980; 2006-11-15 at 16:02.
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Old 2006-11-15, 14:46   Link #125
Zu Ra
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I found this info after I wiki-ed it

Actually Traditional Japanese New Year coincides with the Chinese New Year (solar calendar). From 1873 during Meiji restoration Gregorian calendar (lunar) came into practice and became a standard Calendar . January 1st became the official New Year since 1873.

The reason I asked you this is it is impossible for Lunar and Solar calendar system to be in conjunction

Japanese New Year

Edit: The reason I brought Shinto into the picture is , Shinto though the oldest religion in Japan, has strong influences of Buddhism . Buddhism follows the Solar Calendar which does not necessarily last 365/366 days. It takes the earth revolution around the sun as a measure rather than taking Lunar Cycles.

As you stated it followed on first of January has to do more with Meiji restoration which enforced Shinto as a principle religion as the Emperor could be elevated to the status of a demi God / descendant of the sun. Meiji restoration was responsible for unification of Japan . Also centralizing power to the Emperor as opposed to decentralized Shogun system of governance in practice .

During that period Japan became industrialized and westernized hence Gregorian calendar came into practice


EDIT : Yeah You are correct I interchanged the calenders in question . What I was looking for is Sidereal Calender . As I said the two resp calenders are never in conjuction hence the query arised
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Old 2006-11-23, 01:44   Link #126
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http://www.janet.org/~livingja/essays/shoyu_mn.html
"But before you ruin the very last traditional symbol of Japanese Americana, before you go the last step and tilt that little bottle over a bowl of pure, unadulterated white steaming rice, consider what you are about to do! Thousands of years of tradition, all going down in brown (liquid) smoke. Centuries of sacred rituals to the rice gods now being thrown out!"

There's like thousands of other things you can mix into rice, and he's complaining about soy sauce?
For Christmas, someone should give that poor guy one of those big cookbooks centered around rice meals.
Old geezer would die of a heart attack, it would probably be the ultimate tome of blasphemy to him.
I want to see that happen!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaiarth View Post
I believe that it's the way rice is symbolically offered to the dead, and you don't want anything to do with death at the dinner table.
Quote:
Originally Posted by raikage View Post
In Chinese culture, the appearance of chopsticks pointing directly out of the bowl is similar to that of incense sticks pointing directly out of the grave.
I guess that's good to know if you are having guests visiting.
But it's not like I ground the chopsticks vertical to the rice. I usually do is at an angle, resting on the edge of the bowl or plate, same thing with spoon and fork too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mit7059 View Post
Adding soy sauce to your rice sometimes is considered an insult to the person who made it, something like, "your rice isn't good enough on its own so I have to add soy sauce to make it taste good."
And this would mean no soy sauce for you when you visit others
Still good to know I guess.
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Old 2007-07-11, 21:36   Link #127
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Is this how Japan actually is?

Now there are many things that are bad in this world, but one of the worst things is to be ignorant of something. I am pretty ignorant of specifics about the Japanese culture/society. Now I know a lot of stuff, but I do not know specifics of for example how the job atmosphere is, or dating, or male/female teenage relationship etc.

I lurked around the internet a bit and I found out this one very cool website. It was a very interesting read that was very informative. However I am not sure exactly how accurate it is.

I have recently read up some on Japanese culture/society. Now what I read really shocked me, interested me, and sometimes even disgusted me. There were some very interesting and good things to learn about Japan and the society, but there were also some nasty things to come into realization with and accept that the country I have up until recently looked at with a lot of admiration is EXTREMELY different from what I imagined it to be.


Read what the website says or just add your own about Japanese society/culture, so that I can hopefully learn a bit more.

Website: http://www.thejapanfaq.com/FAQ-Primer.html

Some excerpts from the website:

This is one of the first things you will notice about the Japanese. The Japanese have been raised to think of themselves as part of a group, and their group is always dealing with other groups. This is viewed on many angles -- internationally it is "We Japanese" vs. everyone else (more on that later), but in schools, companies, sections of companies etc. there are many groups and sub-groups -- and not always in perfect harmony and cooperation as it may look on the surface. Dealing with Japanese on a one-to-one basis usually comes very easy to non-Japanese, but dealing with Japanese as a group can be a different matter altogether. And no matter how nice you are, or how good your Japanese becomes, you will always be treated as an outsider. In fact the literal meaning of "gaijin" is outsider. Many westerners see Japanese as aloof, shy, and always walking on eggshells. There is a lot of truth in that -- Japanese are extremely sensitive to what others might think of them (or worse -- what they say behind their backs, and Japanese really do engage in gossip) and are very hesitant to do something new, different, or independent. Being ostracized is one of the worst things that can happen to a Japanese, who is raised to be part of a group and depend on others. Therefore, when making requests, it often takes more time since the person asked usually consults others in the group to reach a consensus. It also might interfere with what your goals are -- when teaching an English class a teacher gave some subjects for the students to debate. Of course the goal was for the students to use as much English as possible and improve their abilities. But what happened was the students reverted to their old habits and tried to compromise and reach a consensus -- in which case, the debate promptly ended. In short, however, while the westerner starts so many sentences with "I", the Japanese "I" usually means "with the approval of the group". This is not to pass judgement on this trait, as in many things there are both positive and negative aspects. For the westerner, it can be good in that you are often not subject to what sometimes becomes excessive, even oppressive methodologies. On the negative side, even if you do find a group or niche that you want to be in, you may be frozen out or the last one to find out about many decisions that profoundly affect your schedule and work.

Uchi-soto has one other important trait -- there are next to no strikes in Japan. Ever. Because Japanese labour-management relations are better? Partly, yes. But in Japan there are almost no unions like the Teamsters or AFL-CIO. But each large corporation has its own union, and they feel no bond with other company unions even if they're doing the same work. In one sense, the company union is almost a puppet, led by a management executive. But in another, everyone in a Japanese company knows that to succeed they need to act together, and being profitable in the long run is the only way to guarantee employment. You don't see a lot of the friction between labour and management in Japanese firms -- one reason is that the workers often cave in since they know a profitable company eventually benefits them. Another is that they know the CEO and execs don't make 100 times the money the workers do, or $2500-$5000 per hour (That's no exaggeration either -- you do the math.)



Osekkai! -- Mind Your Own Business!

Japanese society has two concurrent streams that frequently bump heads and the result as you can guess is tension and stress. One current is protecting your own privacy, following your dream, and doing things your own way at your own pace. Facing this is the overwhelming social pressure to conform, follow the rules, and make sure everyone else is in the same boat as you. With big Japanese cities having extemely high population densities, personal space is scarce, and with little space in front of you many Japanese retreat to the only space they can; inside their heads. Becoming introverted, shy and withdrawn is not atypical. There are exceptions to this of course; some young people love to associate with westerners because of this and they can more freely express themselves and not have to worry about being looked down as too gregarious. Liquor consumption is also high in Japan and used as a social lubricant to loosen up. But privacy in Japan is a precious commodity, more for cultural than demographic reasons, and nobody likes someone to butt into your life.

Unfortunately pushing everyone to conform often does just that, and many Japanese take it upon themselves to make sure everyone is in lock-step with one another. Most often, like many things in Japan it is done indirectly, such as through gossiping, backbiting and meddling. Hence in Japanese there's a plethora of terms referring to a nosy busybody, such as osekkai, sewa yaki, kansho-zuki, yakkai na sewa, and deshabari. This is viewed in different ways of course. In the ivory tower books on Japan there is the company superior who is also your counselor, paving your way to a better future, getting that reservation at a popular place or bank loan for you, etc. But there may also be the company autocrat who tries to know everything about you to manipulate you or run your social life, and for women can even cross the line into sexual harassment (seku hara).

Last edited by Joka; 2007-07-11 at 22:25.
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Old 2007-07-11, 22:04   Link #128
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First of all, I'd like to point out something here that bugged me when I read it:

Quote:
In fact the literal meaning of "gaijin" is outsider.
In fact, the meaning of "foreigner" is exactly that. If you look down the Latin meaning of the word (in Spanish, it's "foraneo", so I suppose it has a Latin origin; and it doesn't mean exactly foreigner, but more like stranger, out of the ordinary, in the margins), it probably means the same. In Japanese it's more evident since there's the kanji system to the formation of words, but in truth, this works like this in a western society such as the American or the English one. Add in terms like "alien" (which is often applied to immigrants) and the association becomes much more blatant.

That small detail aside, I'd like to point out that views such as these, from a completely western point of view, usually fail to deliver the whole picture. I certainly can't comment on this matter because I haven't been to Japan myself, but my best friend is of Japanese descent (of direct Japanese descent) and they don't close themselves up that much. Granted, the society they live in is different.

And once again, even when in a single society you'll find a common trend, there will always be a gazillion of deviations from the norm. So I don't believe that the Japanese society can be completely summarized in a few paragraphs. Even less when it comes from a website named "Japanese Culture for Newcomers". I'd trust much more a serious, extensive paper on the matter.

And besides, I'd like to hear the opinion of some of the Japanese members of AS.
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Old 2007-07-11, 22:19   Link #129
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
First of all, I'd like to point out something here that bugged me when I read it:

[b]In fact, the meaning of "foreigner" is exactly that.[b] If you look down the Latin meaning of the word (in Spanish, it's "foraneo", so I suppose it has a Latin origin; and it doesn't mean exactly foreigner, but more like stranger, out of the ordinary, in the margins), it probably means the same. In Japanese it's more evident since there's the kanji system to the formation of words, but in truth, this works like this in a western society such as the American or the English one. Add in terms like "alien" (which is often applied to immigrants) and the association becomes much more blatant.

That small detail aside, I'd like to point out that views such as these, from a completely western point of view, usually fail to deliver the whole picture. I certainly can't comment on this matter because I haven't been to Japan myself, but my best friend is of Japanese descent (of direct Japanese descent) and they don't close themselves up that much. Granted, the society they live in is different.

And once again, even when in a single society you'll find a common trend, there will always be a gazillion of deviations from the norm. So I don't believe that the Japanese society can be completely summarized in a few paragraphs. Even less when it comes from a website named "Japanese Culture for Newcomers". I'd trust much more a serious, extensive paper on the matter.

And besides, I'd like to hear the opinion of some of the Japanese members of AS.
EDIT: This refers to to the bold part. I think you might be missing the point or I might be missing what you are saying, but I believe the author is referring to the following. I think when he says "literal meaning" he refers to the actual meaning and the meaning the society has weighted in on it. I think he also means that you are exactly an outsider in Japan and looked at one as such and treated as different, etc.

Of course the society/culture can not be summarized in such a short way. However I am sure there is some merit to what the author of the website was talking about.

I have spoken to Japanese and they do seem very "shy". They are extremely soft spoken and do not input a lot of personal opinion into a matter unless they have their friends around.

Now I am not sure if that is in direct correlation with the "need the group" to make a decision and the "shy" the author mentioned, but I can believe very well that what he said in his website is mostly true. However I of course never want to state with full certainty.

Asian culture is different than ours, so that is why I can accept anything when talking about this subject.

I have read in many other places and even watched documentaries on T.V how foreigners are seen as these mysterious outsiders, how it is EXTREMELY hard to fit in, how it is hell finding a place to live, getting a car, etc, and how there is a very "group" related mentality.
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Old 2007-07-11, 22:24   Link #130
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Quote:
Asian culture is different than ours, so that is why I can accept anything when talking about this subject.
Might as well be careful with what you accept Remember not to forget about thinking by yourself and not taking everything that people tell you for granted.
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Old 2007-07-11, 22:31   Link #131
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Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
Might as well be careful with what you accept Remember not to forget about thinking by yourself and not taking everything that people tell you for granted.
I know. I know.
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Old 2007-07-11, 22:46   Link #132
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Quote:
I think when he says "literal meaning" he refers to the actual meaning and the meaning the society has weighted in on it. I think he also means that you are exactly an outsider in Japan and looked at one as such and treated as different, etc.
Then he's using the term "literal" in a wrong fashion. He should use "acquired" meaning. "Literal" means that, "literal", something that comes up just by analyzing the word on isolation without any sort of contextual reference at all.
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Old 2007-07-11, 23:08   Link #133
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Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
Then he's using the term "literal" in a wrong fashion. He should use "acquired" meaning. "Literal" means that, "literal", something that comes up just by analyzing the word on isolation without any sort of contextual reference at all.
Yeah you are right. Acquired would be a better word.

However when I read it immediately my mind registered what "meaning of the word" and what the word "actually" means in society.

Maybe I am reading into this too much.
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Old 2007-07-11, 23:13   Link #134
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Quote:
However when I read it immediately my mind registered what "meaning of the word" and what the word "actually" means in society.
Don't worry, I was actually talking out of knowledge of the language. Gaijin: 外(outside)人(person).
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Old 2007-07-11, 23:58   Link #135
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Gaijin is like any other word... it can mean "not of the body" (Star Trek reference), can be a term of respect, fear, or a slur depending on the context. My wife and her family use the term "hagaijin" when discussing outsiders (hell, after 35 years of hanging around with them,*I* use it and I'm a tall scary white guy).

The biggest complaint I have about the text the OP found is that it is a summary... a sweeping generalization of the type you usually find in fantasy novels that describe races in such overly-generalistic terms (hobbits eat, dwarves are greedy, elves are snotty, etc).

Many asian societies simply value the "harmony" of the society over the needs of an individual. It is up to the individual to support the 'harmony' of the society. One could argue that over-value of individual desires drives the current mess the US is in, in large part because of the imbalance of societal needs versus the individual (in this case, very powerful and greedy individuals). Of course, one could also argue that the 'harmony' preferred by asian society is simply another way to enforce the status quo so that the powerful remain so .

Japan is a country with beauty and warts --- just like any other culture. If you've had a fantasy view of it til now, consider this a first step into a wider world. Like any culture, Japan is a complicated place and the assumptions you have as a member of a different culture do not apply.

Probably the most dangerous thing about Japan is that it often appears so Westernized that people make the mistake of assuming it *is* Western. Kind of an extreme version of assuming that Canadians are just another state in the USA.

Random personal notes:

When asking a question of a japanese student, they will often want to huddle and arrive at a consensus answer. They tend to do well or fail as a class rather than individuals. Individuals who make the class look bad are treated pretty horribly. There's too fine a line between innovation and standing out of the group (which is why japanese sometimes have trouble innovating rather than improving technology).

On the other hand, when I walk through a japanese school... its spotless because they all take pride in its appearance. Group work tends to actually be done by the group.
In American schools, its the rare kid who stops to pick up a piece of trash and improve the look of their school ("Its not MY trash!!!"). Group work is done by one or two who care and the rest who just freeload on them. On the other-other hand, an American student doesn't need "the group" to make their experience a success or failure.
In one sense America is the golf team, Japan is the soccer team.

I've rambled in a few directions now... but that's because its a lot more complicated than a few hundred words on a web page. I recommend you do some real research on the history and culture using actual books
If nothing else, it'll give you an understanding of why anime/manga characters make the choices they do as Japanese.
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Old 2007-07-12, 00:45   Link #136
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My number one complaint is that it's too generalized - ALL Japanese do this, ALL Japanese do that, etc. You can describe the culture and the overall Japanese view on certain things, but you can't say that every single Japanese person will feel certain ways.

Another reason to be wary is that the text is... I won't say written poorly, but it seems like the author's thoughts are all just kind of stuck right in there without much paragraph focus. I know it may seem trivial, but the way a person writes can tell a lot about them.

There is truth in what you pulled from the site, but take it with a grain of salt. And the best way to see if Japan's really like what you think is to go there yourself...

Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
Don't worry, I was actually talking out of knowledge of the language. Gaijin: ?(outside)?(person).
Where did I hear this quote before: "You're not from Gai-country, therefore you're not a 'gaijin'"... Was that from some anime? Manga? Hmm....
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Old 2007-07-12, 14:11   Link #137
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Found an interesting article in newscientist.com on studies done about self-centered versus collectivist societies -- and how it affects an *individual*'s perspective:

http://www.newscientist.com/article....ine-news_rss20

The intro paragraph:
"When it comes to putting yourself in the shoes of others, cultures that emphasise interdependence over individualism may have the upper hand. In a new psychological experiment, Chinese students outperformed their US counterparts when ask to infer another person's perspective. The researchers say the findings help explain how misunderstandings can occur in cross-cultural communication. .... "
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Old 2007-07-12, 15:09   Link #138
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Double posting because of the vast difference of subject item.... gomen.
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Originally Posted by mit7059 View Post
My mother would turn her nose up in disgust for you even comparing your rice to Japanese rice. She's a total purist, she'll compain about us running out of Japanese rice and then we'll be at costco and there'll be these huge 60 lbs bags of rice and I'll say "hey look rice," to which she'll respond, "please thats indian rice, not japanese rice, I guess I'll just have to drive across town to the Japanese grocery store *sigh*"

Maybe my teenage tastes aren't that refined but I can't tell that much difference between different types of rice, the main difference i see is based on how much water you put in the rice cooker determining how sticky the rice will be
yeah... your teenage tastes aren't that refined

The rice we've been using for years changed their variety and there was an instant "wtf?" taste response from everyone in my household. So we went on a rice tasting expedition, bringing home 5 different kinds of short grain japanese rice.

Medium grain and long grain rice have immediately obvious different textures but taste is more subtle (I know some people can't tell the taste difference between mushrooms either ).

When presented with the different rices all at the same time, even my 16 yr old could tell the difference. One of the losing rices tasted too "papery" he said. Each rice was prepared according to its instructions (the water/rice ratio varied.... depends on the ability of that particular variety of grain to soak up water).

We've looked at the costco rice (yeah, mostly indian varieties) but more its a problem because medium and long grain rice doesn't stick together as well as short grain (caveat: some medium grains are okay in that regard). The rice served in most chinese restaurants fails for us because it's almost sticky-free and difficult to maneuver with chopsticks (moreso because they don't offer ricebowls. Several of my chinese friends refuse to use chopsticks at chinese restaurants because they say "chopsticks and bowl are combined eating utensils ... don't offer one without the other")

If anyone thinks Uncle Ben's converted rice is rice.... well then I can't help them.

As far as rice toppings.... my wife likes powdered shiso leaves, I tend to like seaweed bits... but we use all sorts of things like:
kimchi, pickled spicy eggplant, umeboshi, daikon bits, random pickled veggies. My younger son does use a bit of soy sauce but we've gotten him to cut back as he ages.
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Old 2007-07-12, 15:29   Link #139
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
As far as rice toppings.... my wife likes powdered shiso leaves, I tend to like seaweed bits... but we use all sorts of things like:
kimchi, pickled spicy eggplant, umeboshi, daikon bits, random pickled veggies. My younger son does use a bit of soy sauce but we've gotten him to cut back as he ages.
This paragraph makes me so absurdly happy. Maybe you can eat at my place and be the first not to look weirdly at the rice.

My rice is cooked with a variety of little beans... Unfortunately I don't know the names of them, but one of the beans makes all the rice turn a deep, vibrant shade of purple. My mom is fond of putting in little nut-like beans (is it a big bean, or a soft little nut? I don't know), but I don't care for them. The beans are cooked with the rice in the rice cooker, not added once the rice is done. I guess I could get pictures of all the beans and the purple rice, if anyone's interested.

For toppings, I particularly like kimchi and all its cousins (other veggies made the same way kimchi is; my favorite is kimchi made with daikon instead of cabbage), daikon, random pickled veggies (pickled daikon is my favorite, again.. is there anything daikon can't do?), many varieties of mushrooms, potato, water bean-sprouts (I'm not sure of the name in English; kong na-mul in Korean), cooked and spiced anchovies, tofu, seaweed (both dried and non-dried variety), spiced leaves (don't know the English name... I'm aware I just made it sound as if I go in the backyard and pick leaves from the tree T_T), fishcake... I know I'm forgetting a bunch.

I don't use any sauce with my rice (love to dip it in kimchi soup though), but one of my apartment-mates last year used to put BBQ sauce over it. XD

[*puts umeboshi in mouth*]... "SUPPAIII!" >x<
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Old 2007-07-12, 15:46   Link #140
Vexx
Obey the Darkly Cute ...
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: On the whole, I'd rather be in Kyoto ...
Age: 57
It took me literally decades to develop a taste for daikon (I actually learned to tolerate natto faster).. but now I reach for it without hesitation.

I'll have to research the "cook bean with rice" thing.... I've heard of certain recipes that call for putting things in with the rice as it cooks but this is new to me.

O yeah, I forgot about the powdered anchovie/fishy bits and bonito flakes. I like them but my wife doesn't use them (she sarcastically calls it fish food... which it really is mostly).

The main brakestop on using shoyu (soy sauce) on rice is that people tend to use too much (it ain't ketchup). Soy sauce is like injecting sodium into your veins if over-used. Instant high blood pressure and secondary problems. It also can easily swamp other tastes in the food (like oversalting does). So if you're going to put soy sauce on your rice... measure it out, really only a few drops (1/4 teaspoon/max) are needed.

Most cultures revolve around their food in some way but its funny how fast asian culture discussions devolve into food chatter
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