some thoughts on life in Japan

This is a page which I use for collating thoughts about my current home Tokyo and Japan as a whole. These thoughts could be anything related to Japanese culture and everyday life that I find of interest.

Some thoughts on Japanese house plants

8 April – I don’t have a green thumb, however, when I moved to Japan and discovered the Japanese’s love for indoor plants and greenery in general, I couldn’t resist and started purchasing my own, little collection of plants. In the following, I’m listing some of the most popular indoor plants that I got to know here in Tokyo as well as my favourite plant shop so far. I’m also adding a few pictures and thoughts about the small front of house greenery that I have come across, walking through little side lanes.

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A very common and my favourite indoor plant – tropical Everfresh tree
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Ficus Altissima – a popular floor plant that reminds me of holidays in Southeast Asia
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Semi-succulent peperomia plant
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My favourite plant shop – Biotop Nurseries in Shirokanedai, Minato-ku

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When I arrived in Tokyo three years ago and was on my way into town from the airport I was shocked looking outside the car window. All I could think of was: concrete jungle. It didn’t took me long though to discover the Japanese’s love for adding green touches to a very urban environment. A lot of old houses I’ve come across don’t have a balcony, patio area or small front garden. The entrance door opens straight onto the street. To add a green touch it is common to have some shelves lined along the front wall with bonsai trees and potted plants placed on those. I love that there are often little, quirky figurines living between all the greenery.

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Some thoughts on Kinkan

26 February – I thought by now I knew the fruits that are special to Japan but a friend recently showed me otherwise. She brought kinkan to my house, planning to make a recipe taught to her by her mum (more about this later). She explained that kinkan are a type of citrus fruit – same as kumquat. They look like tiny oranges but their taste is quite different. 

The way of eating this fruit is also different. You don’t peel them as the skin is actually the tastier part. It is sweet and has a slight perfumed taste to it. The flesh is sour, even a bit bitter. I guess this is why some people discard of the flesh. I, personally, rather like it. Being a fan of grapefruits, I enjoy both bitter and sour tastes. In case of the kinkan, the sour- and bitterness is matched with the unique sweetness of the peel – it is a perfect combination and, I think, I might have discovered my new favourite Japanese winter fruit.

My friend’s recipe, by the way, was very simple yet delicious. All you need to do is cut  a fair amount of kinkan in half, place those on a baking tray and sprinkle with shredded cheese. You then bake it in an oven toaster for 10 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is starting to brown slightly. Drop me a line if you’d like to receive further details about this recipe.

 

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