Why Japan?

Will chose Japan, but I’m not sure why. I must remember to ask him one day.

My experience of Japan

I have never been to Japan, but would love to see it. The Japanese food I have had has always been delicious, and you always feel quite healthy after eating it – there’s nothing stodgy about Japanese food.


Konnichiwa, Japan. I can’t wait to meet you!

It seems so long since we have had an international lunch, and I suppose it is. We were all so busy in November that we couldn’t find a free Sunday, so here we are having lunch in Japan in December.

Our menu comprises prawn and vegetable tempura, smoked salmon and cream cheese rolls, oysters with teriyaki dressing, Japanese pancakes, nasu dengaku, beef with miso mash, black sesame ice-cream and a toffee apple roll. It all sounds yum!

I’m also looking forward to enjoying our Japanese tipples. The internet tells me that Sapporo beer is better than Asahi, so I’ve got some Sapporo in. And how could I resist buying sake while I was at Uncle Dan’s?

I am really, really looking forward to the cocktail. What else would we have but Japanese Gumboots. This is a drink I used to have years ago with a friend of mine (hello, Peter!). Cointreau, Midori and lemon juice. Could there be a better combination? It is officially called a Japanese Slipper but, really! Who wants a slipper-size drink when they can have a gumboot-size drink? Japanese Gumboots, here we come!!!

Getting the factsheet together has been interesting. If we can blindly believe everything we read on the internet (we can trust the internet, can’t we?), Japan has more McDonalds restaurants than any country outside the US. This cannot be a good thing. And the birth rate is so low that there are more adult diapers sold than baby diapers. This also cannot be a good thing. Japan comprises 6,852 islands and, unsurprisingly, sumo wrestling is the national sport, although the most popular spectator sport is baseball.

Our guests this time will be friends of mine from way back. Jenny is a retired school teacher who has been to Japan quite a few times, and Robert is just an all-round nice guy. Lauren, Will and the kids will be there, as will Jan. Lauren is going to write the quiz. Jan, we have to crunch Will somehow!

I have to admit to being a little worried about the weather. I have finally bought an outdoor setting, and Melbourne has just recorded its longest spring period of days with temperatures above 30 degrees (13, I think). I was worried it would be too hot to be outside. But the Weather Bureau announced today that Melbourne can expect three times the average December rain to fall on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, along with “unprecedented” thunderstorms. Ya gotta love Melbourne’s weather!!

We’ll either be very hot or very wet, or maybe both. But we will have lots of food, lots of fun, and lots of Japanese Gumboots. We might need those gumboots!

The menu

Our menu is:

  • Oysters with teriyaki dressing
  • Beef with miso mash and daikon salad
  • Mini okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes)
  • Sticky miso and tahini aubergine wedges
  • Prawn and vegetable tempura
  • Smoked salmon and cream-cheese rolls
  • Toffee apple roll
  • Black sesame ice-cream
  • Japanese gumboots
  • Sapporo beer

Here are the recipes for our faves – Japan best recipes

Click here to see all our favourite recipes.

 Lunch in Japan, Sunday 3 December

Oh. My. God. Japan, how wonderful you are! It doesn’t matter what language we say it in, you are magnificent!!

Japan has definitely given us the best lunch yet. We have had some great food so far (Yassou, Greece. Ssalamu lekum, Morocco) but, Japan, you have set the bar seriously high.

We didn’t really talk about which was the hero dish today – there was not an unpopular dish. The teriyaki oysters were very popular with those who eat oysters, the beef with miso mash was delicious and the nasu dengaku was scrumptious (thank you, Karma, for the recipe!). The Japanese pancakes were great, and the toffee apple roll with black sesame ice-cream was yummy. Who could not love black sesame ice-cream?

The Sapporo beer went down well, but not nearly as well as the Japanese Gumboots. This is a seriously nice cocktail, and we enjoyed quite a few. The sake was not to anyone’s liking. We all tried it, but most of it went down the sink.

Jenny brought some lovely Japanese paper, and Elysia made an origami crane. We meant to make some more after our meal, but didn’t get around to it.

Will won the quiz. Again! This is getting more than a little boring.

A decision to eat inside was justified. The sky cleared up a couple of times but not enough to think about eating outside. We would have been very, very wet.

Thanks Elysia, again, for being the official photographer.

Here’s the factsheet – Factsheet_Japan

Here’s the place-mat – Place-mat_Japan

Where to next?


Sadly for now, it is Sayonara, Japan (and thanks for the memories!), and Guten Tag, Germany.

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