Friday, June 30, 2017

Mao Kobayashi's Blog Being Translated into English

        In my yesterday's entry, I mentioned about Mao Kobayashi (小林 麻央), who was named one of the BBC's 100 Women in 2016 and died from breast cancer on June 22.   Yesterday, her husband, Ebizo Ichikawa, a famous Kabuki actor, announced that her blog would be translated into English because he noticed that her blog inspired many people all over the world and hoped it would help people who are facing similar situation. He said that he thought this might be one of the things she had wanted to do through her blog. This morning, I found that her first post was already translated into English! You can check out their blogs from here.

       Kokoro. - Mao Kobayashi Official Blog

       ABKAI Ebizo Ichikawa Official Blog





    My entries related to Japan can be seen here.

    My entries related to cooking can be seen here.

    My entries related to Japan Haul can be seen here.
 

    My entries related to beauty can be seen here.

    My entries related to Best Japanese Beauty Products can be seen here.
 
    You can find my beauty entries by categories from here.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Yumi Arai - Hikoukigumo


     Today, I listened to this song, Hikoukigumo (ひこうき雲) by Yumi Arai (荒井 由美), whose name is now Yumi Matsutoya (松任谷 由美). Did you know that this song was released in Japan in 1973? I have known this song because it is the theme song of The Wind Rises (風たちぬ), which is one of Hayao Miyazaki's animation films. I haven't watched this movie yet, but I would like to watch it someday because this movie is about old Japan (Taisho through early Showa era). My grandparents who I lived with in Japan until my age 18 were born in Taisho era. I really loved my grandparents, but I don't really know how Japan was like when they were very young.



       The song, Hikoukigumo, also reminded me of Mao Kobayashi. Last week, Mao Kobayashi, who was a Japanese newscaster and was named one of the BBC's 100 Women in 2016, died at age 34.
       She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, and her husband, Ebizo Ichikawa, the heir to the prestigious Ichikawa clan of kabuki actors, announced her condition at a press conference last summer. It was very shocking new to me because I used to watch her TV show in Japan many years ago. After the announcement, I started reading her husband's blog. (I didn't use to read Japanese celebrities' blogs before that.) Soon after, Mao Kobayashi also started her own blog and shared her thoughts and conditions through the blog. I've checked her blog almost every day for a year. When her husband announced that she had passed away on June 22, I was very sad. Because I read her blog every day, I think I felt like as if I were her family member or a very close friend. I think so many Japanese people felt the same way. When I listened to Hikoukigumo, I remembered that she sometimes shared photos of sky through her blog. I miss her so much.




     My entries related to Japan can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/Japan

    This is my entries related to my favorite songs.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/songs


      

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

My Best Cash Back Credit Cards with No Annual Fee

      Last year, I read Robert Kiyosaki's best selling books, Rich Dad And Poor Dad and Rich Dad's Cashflow Quadrant, and I realized that it's very important to increase my financial literacy. After reading the books, I subscribed Money magazine and started reading financial articles on a daily basis. You know there are many helpful finance blogs. Yet I think I am still a beginner when it comes to finance, but I learned a lot in the past year, so I will share with you some of my financial tips through my blog sometimes.

     In the past year, I reviewed all my credit cards. Before that, my husband and I used to pay most of our purchases with my Costco American Express Credit Card, which is now Costco Citi Visa Card. It's because using one credit card was easy to track our purchases, and I didn't think about credit card cash back reward back then. That's why most our purchase earned only 1 % cash back.    However, since last year, we've tried to use the best cash back credit cards to maximize cash back rewards. We used to get about $200 to $400 cash back a year from Costco credit card, but now total cash back reward is about five times with using these credit cards. :) Today, I'm going to share with you the best cash back credit cards I applied last year.




2% Cash Back Credit Card for Everyday Purchase
      First, you want to get a credit card with at least 2% cash back for all purchase.

  ■Citi Double Cash Master Card (2% cash back for all purchase)






5% Cash Back Credit Card for Rotating Categories
     Then, you want to get credit cards which offer 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories.

     ■Discover It (2 to 10% cash back for the first year, then 1 to 5% cash back for the following years)

Discover It 5% Bonus Cash back Calendar 2017
      I like the fact that Discover It offers no foreign transaction fee. However, some stores in Japan don't accept Discover credit card. :( That's why I would like to find a Visa credit card with no foreign transaction fee.
      Because Discover It offers double cash back for the first year, 5% bonus cash back will be 10%. It's the best credit card for your first year! 



Chase Freedom Visa (1 to 5% cash back)

Chase Freedom 5% Bonus Cash back Calendar 2017
        When wholesale club purchase was 5% bonus cash back category, I paid my laminate floor purchase with this Chase Freedom Visa Card at Costco. :)




Cash Back Credit Card for Grocery Purchase
    ■American Express Blue Cash Everyday (3% for grocery purchase)

   I pay my grocery bills with this American Express Everyday Card unless Discover It or Chase Freedom offer 5% cash back for grocery store purchase.  




     There are so many credit cards you can choose from, and I am not sure these cash back credit cards are perfect for you. It depends on how you spend your money, life style, credit score and more. I actually still look for the best credit cards which have no foreign transaction fee and good for traveling.





     These are my entries you might like.
■Why Couldn't You Save Money?

■Finished Reading the Book, Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money - That The Poor And Middle Class Do Not! 

■Finished Reading the Book, Rich Dad's CASHFLOW Quadrant: Rich Dad's Guide to Financial Freedom

■Real Estate in Japan vs U.S.




     My entries related to books I read can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/Books

     My entries related to money can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/money

      My entries related to Best Japanese Beauty Products can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/Best%20Japanese%20Beauty%20Products

      My entries related to Japan can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/Japan

      My entries related to beauty can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/beauty

      My entries related to Japan Haul can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/Japan%20Haul

     You can find my beauty entries by categories from here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/2017/06/my-blog-labels-related-to-japanese.html



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Starbucks You Are Here Collection Mug - Maryland

       My husband and I have been collecting Starbucks You Are Here Collection Mugs which are only released locally. When he was on his business trip last month, he purchased this Starbucks You Are Here Collection Maryland Mug at Starbucks branch located in Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
      Anyway, I'm going to share this Maryland mug with you. :)
Starbucks You Are Here Collection Mug - Maryland

     I think it's the Baltimore cityscape. There are high-rise buildings.
Starbucks You Are Here Collection Mug - Maryland

     There are rare wild horses on Assateague Island. According to Wikipedia, they are believed to be descended from horses who escaped from shipwrecks.[35] Every year during the last week of July, they are captured and waded across a shallow bay for sale at Chincoteague, Virginia, a conservation technique which ensures the tiny island is not overrun by the horses.
Starbucks You Are Here Collection Mug - Maryland

     Maryland is a large producer of seafood such as blue crab and oyster. The Blue Crab is the state crustacean of Maryland.
Starbucks You Are Here Collection Mug - Maryland

     The place with the U.S. flag is probably Fort McHenry National Monument.
Starbucks You Are Here Collection Mug - Maryland

Starbucks You Are Here Collection Mug - Maryland

Starbucks You Are Here Collection Mug - Maryland



       It's our 26th You Are Here Collection mug!
Starbucks You Are Here Collection Mugs


These are my entries related to You Are Here Collection Mugs.

Hawaii

Waikiki

Las Vegas

Los Angeles

California

Orange County

San Diego

Chicago

Dallas

San Francisco

Utah

Vancouver

Arizona

Phoenix

Lake Tahoe

Houston

Ohio

Pike Place Market

Seattle

Illinois

Texas

New Mexico

Twin Cities

Washington, D.C.

Virginia

Maryland



      This is my entries related to our Starbucks collections.
 http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/Starbucks%20mugs

      My entries related to Starbucks Japan can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/Starbucks%20Japan

      My entries related to Starbucks can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/Starbucks 




Monday, June 26, 2017

How to Prepare Amazake, A Japanese Healthy Drink

     As I mentioned in my yesterday's entry, I had amazake last night. Amazake (甘酒) is a traditional Japanese healthy drink made from fermented rice, koji. Ama (甘) means sweet and sake (酒) means alcohol in Japanese. However, amazake which made from koji usually doesn't contain alcohol. In contrast, amazake made from sake kasu (sake lees) contains subtle alcohol. Even though amazake which is made from koji doesn't contain sugar, it has slightly sweet tastes comes from fermented rice. It looks similar to rice porridge, but it tastes sweet and is more like dessert. :) Indeed, I was really surprised at how delicious it was when I had it last night!

      Amazake is a very healthy drink that is high in Vitamin B, folic acid and fiber. Since some famous Japanese fashion models said on TV show that they have been drinking amazake as a supplement drink to maintain their health and keep their skin beautiful, it has been a pretty popular drink in Japan these years.

      I purchased this Zen Amazake (禅 あま酒) made by Kanejyu (カネジュウ食品), which is a Japanese company makes koji products such as miso, amazake and moromi, at my local Japanese supermarket in the U.S. If you live in Japan, you can find this at many supermarkets. I'm going to share how to prepare this Zen Amazake with you.
Amazake


Ingredients (5 to 6 Servings)
One Pack (400g) of Zen Amazake
350 ml (11.8 fl oz) of Water
1 Tablespoon of grated ginger



1. Put all ingredients into a sauce pan, and heat it up.


2. Serve and enjoy.





      These are my entries you might like.
■How to Cook Teriyaki Chicken with Ama Koji

■How to Make Sauteed Nukazuke Chicken

■Top 10 Most Popular Japanese Foods

■My Top 15 Must Eat Foods in Japan - My Favorite Japanese Foods

■How to Make Tamago Kake Gohan - Raw Egg on Rice

■Top 10 Products You Should Buy at Japanese Supermarkets (for Beginners!)

■8 Interesting Japanese Kitchen Gadgets!

■My Top 10 Favorite Japanese Snacks

■My Top 10 Favorite Japanese Sweets


■How to Make Japanese Deep Fried Chicken, Kara-Age

■How to Cook Japanese Curry

■Top 5 Most Popular Japanese Curry Sauce Mix

■How to Cook Miso Soup

■How to Make Tamagoyaki, Japanese Omelette

■Top 10 Products You Should Buy at Daiso 


    My entries related to Japan can be seen here.

    My entries related to cooking can be seen here.

    My entries related to my favorite recipes can be seen here.

    My entries related to foods my husband cooked can be seen here.

    My entries related to Japanese instant ramen can be seen here.

    My entries related to Japanese noodles can be seen here.

    My entries related to Japan Haul can be seen here.
 

    My entries related to Best Japanese Beauty Products can be seen here.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Amazake, A Japanese Healthy Drink

Amazake
    I've had a sore throat since this morning. Tonight, I started having joint pain. :( My husband remembered that we purchased amazake at a Japanese supermarket a while ago. That's why he served this amazake for me! :) Amazake is a traditional sweet and non-alcohol Japanese drink made from fermented rice, koji. It is a healthy nutrient-rich drink. I'll write about it next time. :) Tonight, I need to sleep earlier to recover from a cold.


       These are my entries you might like.
■How to Prepare Amazake, A Healthy Japanese Drink

■How to Cook Teriyaki Chicken with Ama Koji

■How to Make Sauteed Nukazuke Chicken

■Top 10 Most Popular Japanese Foods

■My Top 15 Must Eat Foods in Japan - My Favorite Japanese Foods

■How to Make Tamago Kake Gohan - Raw Egg on Rice

■Top 10 Products You Should Buy at Japanese Supermarkets (for Beginners!)

■8 Interesting Japanese Kitchen Gadgets!

■My Top 10 Favorite Japanese Snacks

■My Top 10 Favorite Japanese Sweets


■How to Make Japanese Deep Fried Chicken, Kara-Age

■How to Cook Japanese Curry

■Top 5 Most Popular Japanese Curry Sauce Mix

■How to Cook Miso Soup

■How to Make Tamagoyaki, Japanese Omelette

■Top 10 Products You Should Buy at Daiso 


    My entries related to Japan can be seen here.

    My entries related to cooking can be seen here.

    My entries related to my favorite recipes can be seen here.

    My entries related to foods my husband cooked can be seen here.

    My entries related to Japanese instant ramen can be seen here.

    My entries related to Japanese noodles can be seen here.

    My entries related to Japan Haul can be seen here.
 

    My entries related to Best Japanese Beauty Products can be seen here.







Saturday, June 24, 2017

How to Use Panasonic NanoCare Hair Dryer - Instruction Manual for EH-NA97 and EH-CNA97

       I really love my Panasonic Nanocare Hiar Dryer! It's because it allows me to blow dry my hair faster, and it truly improves my hair texture. It moisturizes your hair while blow drying it with this hair dryer. This is the best Japanese hair dryer I've ever used! :) 
Panasonic NanoCare Hair Dryer EH-NA97


Instruction Manual for Panasonic EH-NA97
        However, when I used this hair dryer for my first time, it confused me a little. It has some switches! I opened its instruction manual, and I checked how to blow dry hair with this Panasonic hair dryer. Nonetheless to say, it's written in Japanese only. Because my first language is Japanese, I didn't have any problem with reading the Japanese instruction manual and figured out how to use this dryer. However, I thought that if you cannot read Japanese, it might be difficult for you to understand how to use this hair dryer.
Panasonic Nanocare Hair Dryer Instruction Manual for EH-NA97 and EH-CNA97
     Today, I'm going to write about this Panasonic NanoCare Hair Dryer Instruction Manual for people who cannot read Japanese. I think that Panasonic NanoCare hair dryer is way beyond standard, but if you have tried this hair dryer and thought it's not as good as you expected, read this entry and check if you are using it properly.




How to Blow Dry Your Hair 

 Prepare
1. Pat your hair gently with a towel.
2. Comb your hair with a comb or your fingers.
3. Plug in the hair dryer.



How to Blow Dry Hair
1. Choose the intensity of airflow from TURBO and DRY.
Turbo

Dry

Hot




2. Blow dry your hair. 
Start blow drying at the roots in order to dry your hair faster.





3.  When your hair is 90% dry, change the switch to "Hot ⇔ Cold" mode for shinny beautiful hair.
This step is very important to improves your hair texture. "Hot ⇔ Cold" mode automatically alternates hot and cold air setting.
Hot ⇔ Cold Mode

Hot ⇔ Cold Mode




4. Turn it off.





5. Pull the plug out.
Comb your hair.








Intelligent Warm Airflow Mode
       Panasonic NanoCare Hair Dryer has the intelligent warm airflow mode. When the room temperature is high, you don't want to blow dry your hair with hot airflow. The intelligent warm airflow mode automatically changes the temperature of airflow according to your room temperature. 
・When the room temperature is 18℃ (64.4℉), the airflow temperature is about 110℃ (230℉).
・When the room temperature is 30℃ (86℉), the airflow temperature is about 60℃ (140℉).
・When the room temperature is between 18℃ and 30℃, it automatically changes the temperature of airflow according to your room temperature.


How to Set Intelligent Warm Airflow Mode
 1. When it's TURBO or DRY mode with HOT, press the button for more than one second. The red HOT light starts blinking.
Intelligent Warm Airflow Mode

Intelligent Warm Airflow Mode

2. Blow dry your hair.




I'll write the rest of mode of this hair dryer next time.





     These are my entries you might like.
Review : Shiseido Tsubaki Damage Care Hair Water - It's the Best Japanese Hair Care Product!

The Best Japanese Hair Dryer, Panasonic Nano Care Hair Dryer
 

2 Best Japanese Hair Dryers
 

The Best Japanese Shampoo & Conditioner

5 Best Japanese Deep Conditioning Hair Masks

What He Got at Drugstore in Japan - Haul

Japanese Drugstore Shopping List - 6 Best Japanese Products You Can Purchase at Drugstore in Japan!

What He Got at Haneda Airport, Tokyo International Airport - Japan Haul

What My Husband Purchased in Japan in 2014 & What He Will Do This Year
  

Top 5 Life-Changing Japanese Beauty Products  

Top 5 Japanese Sunscreen Products
 

Top 5 Most Popular Japanese Charcoal Soap

4 Reasons Why I Love Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil


Two Important Things You Should Know to Wash Your Face - Japanese Beauty Secrets!

Top 3 Daiso Beauty Products


Popular Japanese Facial Cleansing Products - What I Want to Buy in Japan

5 Best Japanese Facial Lotion (Toner), Kesyou-sui


     My entries related to Best Japanese Beauty Products can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/Best%20Japanese%20Beauty%20Products

      My entries related to Japan can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/Japan

      My entries related to beauty can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/beauty

     My entries related to Japan Haul can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/Japan%20Haul


     You can find my beauty entries by categories from here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/2017/06/my-blog-labels-related-to-japanese.html


Friday, June 23, 2017

How to Cook Sekihan, Traditional Japanese Red Steamed Rice with Azuki Beans

     Today, I cooked sekihan (赤飯), traditional Japanese red steamed rice with azuki beans, for my first time, and it turned out good! It had delicious azuki aroma. :) 
      When I was a child, my grandmother sometimes cooked sekihan in honor of some occasion such as our family members' birthdays and New Year's Days. :) Last week, when my husband and I went to our local Japanese supermarket, I found this pack of red beans, azuki, so I finally decided to make sekihan for my first time. Actually, it was easy than I thought. :) Today, I'm going to share how to cook sekihan with you.
Japanese Red Beans, Azuki
Ingredients (8 Servings)
4 Go of Sweet Rice
2 oz of Japanese Red Beans, Azuki
30 fl oz of Water
Nip of Baking Soda
Nip of Salt
Black Sesame Seeds (Optional)
Japanese Red Beans, Azuki

1. Rinse sweet rice. Then put it in the bowl of your rice cooker.



2. Rinse red beans. Pour water into a sauce pan and bring it to a boil. Add baking soda and red beans in it. Simmer it for 30 minutes.




3. Take out the beans. (You will also use red bean water for the next step.)

Put a damp paper towel over beans to prevent water evaporation.



4. Chill the red bean water.



5. Add red bean water to the sweet rice water level in the bowl of the rice cooker. (It might be around 24 fl oz). 



6. Select "Sweet Rice" and start cooking.



7. When rice is cooked, finally add the boiled red beans. Then, toss steamed rice and red beans.




8. Serve in a bowl. Sprinkle salt and black sesame seeds according to your taste.



9. Enjoy!


       These are my entries you might like.

■How to Cook Okowa, Japanese Sticky Rice

■How to Make Whole Tomato Rice with Using A Rice Cooker 

■Top 10 Most Popular Japanese Foods

■My Top 15 Must Eat Foods in Japan - My Favorite Japanese Foods

■How to Make Tamago Kake Gohan - Raw Egg on Rice

■Top 10 Products You Should Buy at Japanese Supermarkets (for Beginners!)

■8 Interesting Japanese Kitchen Gadgets!

■My Top 10 Favorite Japanese Snacks

■My Top 10 Favorite Japanese Sweets


■How to Make Japanese Deep Fried Chicken, Kara-Age

■How to Cook Japanese Curry

■Top 5 Most Popular Japanese Curry Sauce Mix

■How to Cook Miso Soup

■How to Make Tamagoyaki, Japanese Omelette

■Top 10 Products You Should Buy at Daiso 


    My entries related to Japan can be seen here.

    My entries related to cooking can be seen here.

    My entries related to my favorite recipes can be seen here.

    My entries related to foods my husband cooked can be seen here.

    My entries related to Japanese instant ramen can be seen here.

    My entries related to Japanese noodles can be seen here.

    My entries related to Japan Haul can be seen here.
 

    My entries related to Best Japanese Beauty Products can be seen here.