Thursday, 27 November 2008

My name is Pamela and I'm a cookbook whore

We still have a bunch of posts waiting to be finished (sorry for the delay). Hopefully, I'll be having some more time at work to finish them.

Anyway, to tie you all over, I thought I'd post picture of my cookbook collection. I've sort of turned into a cookbook whore since becoming vegan and I use any chance to get books sent over here. I used some birthday money awhile back to make a large increase in my collection. It no longer fits on the shelf, which is mostly ok, because I usually have at least one of them out all the time. I don't think hardly a day goes by without me at least flipping through them. I love just looking at them and reading and dreaming.

This is my tiny shelf. A few of them aren't vegan. The Japanese ones (except the one on the far right) are all omni. Recently, cookbooks geared for people with allergies have become popular (like the one Sarah gave me for my birthday), the ones I have are just regular omni ones. One is a macrobiotic book, two are diet cookbooks (which tend to have more veggie options), and one is a book of vegetable side dishes (most of which include meat). I think most of you can read the English ones.

These are the books on top. Most of these are part of the new editions to my collection (thus why they are on top). Glad I finally got Yellow Rose, especially after all the talk. Veganomicon is just too tall for my shelf.All of these zines were part of my new birthday money (I totally spent over what I got).

Show your collections! Let's see how about I add a few survey type questions to this...

1. What are your top three? (You know I couldn't choose just 1.)

My top three would have to be Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan, Vegan with a Vengeance, and Vive Le Vegan.

2. Which one gets the most use?

Probably Vegan with a Vengeance or Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan. I think I pick up E, D, and BV everyday, but I don't necessarily make things from it. I just fantasize about it. I always seem to be out of a key ingredient. Vegan with a Vengeance was the first vegan cookbook I bought and I've made a lot and tend to go back to some old favorites. I keep meaning to flip through it again to discover a recipe I've probably forgotten about.

3. Which one do you wish you used more?

I wish I used the zines more, but some of them are hard to use in Japan. Also, they don't have indices and I like to look up an ingredient I want to use or need to use up and then work from there when I'm cooking. Also, Asian Vegan Kitchen. Everything I've made from there has been amazing! Seriously, the tonkatsu is one of my favorite foods. But the book calls for lots of spices and things that are either a little difficult for me to get here or just intimidate me.

4. Is there one you regret buying?

Heart of the Home (middle picture). I bought it on a whim since I was buying other books, but it has honey in it and just a weird layout that annoys me, so I haven't opened it since I first got it. I should try and make myself.

5. What are the most important elements of a good cookbook (besides the recipes)?

I really like a good and well labeled index. I also like the table of contents to include the names of all the recipes. Good photos are also nice. I appreciate cookbooks that have lots of helpful tips and notes too.

6. What cookbook do you have your eyes on next?

Just the Burgers coming soon from Joni Newman. I have her Cozy Inside book and really like that.

Feel free to take on the challenge. Let us know if you do!


Thursday, 20 November 2008

Let's Start the Revolution, Ladies!

We live in the 98th ranked country in terms of the gender gap. Out of 130 countries! Japan is the only country most people would refer to as 'developed' outside of the top 30. While I know women's rights and equality in Japan are bismal at best. I was still sort of shocked by the actual number. Japan's overall score and ranking from 2007 also dropped.

I think between Sarah and I we could surprise lots of our readers about the discrimination that we have either witnessed first hand or have had happen to us.

I was talking to my boyfriend (who is Japanese) about this list and he told me about a still common way for men to propose marriage to women. They say 'Will you please make miso soup for me everyday?' I mean WTF!?!? My boyfriend knows he'd get a straight punch to the face if he ever said that to me. However, I can't even tell you the number of times I've heard 'oh, Ume's so lucky you like to cook, you'll make a great wife'! And I've heard this by people my age and younger. When his sister said that to me, I laughed and she was like 'don't American people say things like that?' I responded, 'yeah, 30 years ago'.

Granted I know the US is still far behind where it should be and is nowhere near perfect, I'm not meaning to imply that. I just want to give you some examples.

About 2 years ago, while at a school function in the gym (of all Japanese people, except 2 of us) we were sitting on the floor. My coworker next to me (the only other non-Japanese person) was sitting with her legs straight out in front of her like several of the male coworkers around us. Our boss came up to her and told her she had to sit holding her knees or with her knees under her (seiza). He said nothing to the other teachers. Then when we go back to the staff room, he announced to the whole staff that the women teacher's have to be careful how they sit and that only those 2 positions are acceptable. My friend was mortified.

At several of the school's I've taught at, all the boys are listed alphabetically first. Then all the girls are listed.

Not to mention the now famous 'maid' cafes where girls dress like maids and refer to the all male clientele as 'master'. I've also recently heard about cafes where the girls where short skirts and the customers are encouraged to look up their skirts!

There are lots of other small examples I could give you like: my coworker who laughed at another coworker when she said her husband makes her lunch, or the girl I know who allowed her breasts to be grabbed by the 'winner' of a game she wasn't even playing, or how pretty much the only jobs women get to do are secretarial, or the blatant and laughed about sexual harassment that goes on in the work place, or dear god the porn industry, goes on and on...

I didn't really have anywhere I wanted to go with this, I just needed to rant. I may be back for more.

Sorry there are a lot of run-on sentences in this that I'm not going to fix.


Tuesday, 4 November 2008


Yesterday, since it was Culture Day, me and Pam both had the day off work. So we decided to hang out, do some shopping and eating and we finally got a new picture for the blog!

Hope you like it!

-- Sarah