Did you know that every station in Tokyo has its own jingle? Whenever a train enters a station, an individually composed Tokyo train station jingle plays. Great Big Story made a short video about the artist who composed these melodies.
I especially love how he adapts them to the context of the stations: for stations that are frequented by students, he picked melodies that speak to young people, where as stations in the more traditional parts of Tokyo have melodies reminiscent of old Japanese music. Some jingles from subsequent stations even make up to longer melodies. See the full story here:
I thought it was time for a little sign of life here on the blog. I have not forgotten about this place and you guys. I am just laying low in the spheres of social media and blogging. The sun is out and the days are long, so I am dedicating more of my free time to the outdoors, friends and the lake. And, I have to tell you, it feels really good, so I will keep on doing this for a little bit longer.
Fresh lemons are one of my favorite ingredients. Their fresh, tangy taste is the epitome of summer. After finding a particularly lovely batch of organic lemons at the market, I decided to try and make some preserved lemons in order to store the taste and smell some for autumn and winter.
After browsing some recipes on the web, I realized that it is super easy to preserve lemons. The methods generally don’t vary that much and while many add spices like clover or cinnamon, I decided to try a very simple version using sea salt only. Learn how to make preserved lemons in this post.
How to make a Jar of Preserved Lemons
What you Need
For one jar of preserved lemons, you’ll only need these three things:
A bunch of very fresh, organic, unwaxed lemons (depending on size 4-5 should be enough)
Coarse or fine sea salt (approx 1/3 cup)
A clean, sterilized and sealable jar
How it’s done
Scrub the lemons under warm water and dry them off. Using a sharp knife, cut them into quarters. Fill some salt at the bottom of your jar and start adding the lemon quarters. Here you’ll want to work in layers, one layer lemons, one layer salt. Squeeze the lemons tightly into the jar so that they lose some of their juice.
When the jar is completely filled with lemons, add some more salt on top and seal the jar. Leave the jar at room temperature for about 2-3 weeks. You might want to shake the jar from time to time to dissolve the salt and lemon juice evenly. Afterward, store the lemons in your fridge. They will stay good for up to a year!
How to Use Preserved Lemons
There are many ways to use preserved lemons. You can take a quarter from the jar, slice it into tiny nubs and add them to a salad dressing, vinaigrette or a simple yogurt dip – they will add a tangy and salty taste at the same time. Or, you can make a simple pasta dish by just adding some olive oil, garlic and a couple of slices of preserved lemons. They also taste great in a marinade for grilled chicken, as an addition to home-made french fries and other roasted vegetables. Hell, you even put them on pizza, especially when you make one using feta instead of mozzarella.
Today I compiled a little playlist in anticipation of our upcoming trip to Pantelleria. It’s filled with summery tunes that I believe will fit perfectly well to days spent looking out onto the sea. I will be back with more posts from the trip, I promise. Until then, happy listening!
Did you know that in Japan hydrangeas are almost as beloved as the cherry blossoms? While the cherry blossoms represent the beginning of spring, hydrangeas are inextricably connected to the rainy season in June. To celebrate the beginning of the new season, people venture to temples and parks to see the hydrangea flowers. If you find yourself in Tokyo in June, do it like the locals and keep your eyes open for these gorgeous flowers. Or, better yet, visit a hydrangea festival or Ajisai Matsuri as they are called in Japan.
Impressions from the Hydrangea Festival at Hakusan Shrine
One popular Ajisai Matsuri happens at Hakusan Shrine in Bunkyo every June. Thousands of hydrangea plants are on display and there are stalls selling drinks and food, as well as a couple of other festivities. I went there with a friend on a sunny Saturday in 2017. As you can see in the pictures below, we were in for a blissful sight. The huge bushes on the grounds of the shrine were in full bloom and many people were out and about, marveling at their beauty and trying to ban it on camera – just like me.