Koufuku Graffiti and Convenience Store Meals

There’s a different type of joy to be had from peeling away plastic wrappers from ready-to-eat foods and savoring the blend of tastes that have been melding for who know how long. The covering falls away, and what is left is a meal that requires nothing of the eater but the act of eating itself–no cooking, little to no cleaning beforehand, no dishes to wash. The luxury is a refreshing change from daily routines as long as you don’t look too closely at the nutrition labels.

A couple weeks ago, the ever-delicious Koufuku Grafitti sent me on a trip to the local Asian grocery store in search of my preferred to-go meals. It’s not often that I step away from slow cooker dinners and sit down restaurants, but there are times when nothing else beats the convenience and unique taste of prepared foods. And while my favorites don’t evoke specific memories like Ryou’s, I look fondly upon them as treats I never indulged in until I moved to Seattle back in 2013.

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Rice Cooker Takenoko Gohan and Koufuku Graffiti

Koufuku Graffiti is this season’s scrumdiddlyumptious offering for food anime. Our main girl, Machiko Ryou, lives alone with the memories of her grandmother’s meals and their time together. Her lessons learned in the kitchen and love for the company of others compels her to continually cook favorites and experiment with new dishes to eat together with her friends.

Episode three, titled “Jinwari, Bariri,” features takenoko gohan. Requested by Ryou’s cousin, Kirin, the bamboo shoot rice dish has a comforting, yet refreshing, taste and texture reminiscent of spring. Along with their friend, they savor the freshly cooked rice along with a side of clear, hot soup. The result is healthy fullness that leaves the mouth and stomach satisfied.

There are many variations to making takenoko gohan, and I went with one of the easiest methods using my rice cooker. Follow along and let me know how yours turns out!

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Winter 2015 Set Menu

We’re about three weeks into the 2015 winter season, and I’m still undecided on quite a few shows. I thought I wouldn’t be adding in too many this time around since the line-up didn’t impress me at a glance, but I’ve got a surprising amount clinging on to my continuations from the fall. I’ve broken my shows into three categories: watching, undecided, and ongoing. Fuller thoughts on new shows are given first, with quick summaries of my feelings on the shows still airing from previous seasons following at the end. Let me know what you think is missing from my list (any why) and I’ll give it a try!

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Oishi Fun Review – Monthly Japanese Snack Box

I recently received a complimentary snack box from the Japanese online snack service, Oishi Fun. The box arrived about a month after they had first made contact with me, and was packed full of curious treats and candies. I’ve experienced similar services through U.S. companies like NatureBox and JewelMint, but this is my first time trying out an International option.

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Fall 2014 Season Wrap

HAPPY NEW YEAR☆ | gummy bear [pixiv] http://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=47989204
Happy New Year! I had an awesome little intro written out for this, but being as WordPress screwed me over in my attempt to publish and erased everything from my most recent revision, we’re going to be short and sweet and jump straight into my thoughts into the fast fall season. Hang on for the good, the bad, and the downright ugly!

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On the 1st Day of Anime — A Hunt Worth Undertaking

Three years, 148 episodes, and seven arcs have given us a show that leaps far and beyond the story that was introduced in that first episode, an adventure spurred by a young boy’s wish to simply meet his father. This is not only a story about a boy growing up, but about life in general, the darkness and difficulties in it, and what exactly makes it worth living. We laugh when Gon smiles, grimace when he clenches his fists, cheer when he succeeds, and cry out with his frustration.  Hunter x Hunter has burned itself into my heart with stunning force and deserves my final slot for the year of 2014.

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On the 2nd Day of Anime — A Talking Hand and a Prettier Face

Fall was probably one of my least researched seasons of the year, largely due to my busy life schedule and struggle to keep up with the summer shows. I ended up very quickly scanning through what the new season had to offer and choosing a handful, relying later on my friend’s initial reviews and tweets about shows worth watching. Kiseiijuu happened to be one I chose from my first grouping, not because of the art or studio or premise. It was actually KWoo who wanted to try it out. So imagine my surprise when the sci-fi turned out to not only be gripping, but to also have horror elements right up my alley. I was immediately reminded of an old favorite of mine, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, where plant-like aliens invade a town and take over the bodies of its residents without many people noticing until it’s too late. Similarly, Kiseiijuu features spore-like parasites bent on overtaking humans’ brains to survive and consume on Earth. The image of a small, drill-like blob fighting to enter Shinichi’s body through any orifice was terrifying but fascinating. Like a slow motion disaster headed your way, you can’t help but stare and wait for the consequences. The unexpected result of Shinichi’s luck and determination in turn gives us one of the most successful adaptations to anime in 2014.

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On the 3rd Day of Anime — #1 Survival Girl, Momoka-sama

Momoka is girl of the year. Any girl who can get away with wrapping natto in a sushi roll and slapping her club mate in “assistance” of her natto prejudice is worthy of my vote ;) Momoka’s initial introduction, revealed competence and brutality, and promising future have all earned her a warm place in my heart…at least until the day we clash and I out shoot her in a match!

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On the 4th Day of Anime — A Flame-haired Dragon of Legends Old

I am a sucker for high fantasy stories that include journeys, a gathering of group members, and strong female characters. Some shows that immediately spring to mind include Juuni Kokuki, Saiunkoku Monogatari, and to a lesser extent, Fushigi Yuugi. The last two are considered reverse harems, though the latter is more so than the former. Similarly to SaiunkokuAkatsuki no Yona has overtones of otome romance though largely avoids it in preference of a more competent female lead and a greater purpose. Princess Yona may be royalty, but her mental maturity is stunted by her sheltered upbringing and quick trust for those around her. When disaster strikes and she sets forth into the world in pursuit of a legend, we see her grow both psychically and psychologically at a rapid rate. In ignorance, she fulfills the whispering of reborn heroes from the nation’s birth. Hers is a terrifying, yet thrilling, destiny that I must witness.

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On the 5th Day of Anime — The Antithesis of Shoujo Romance

The confession of love in a shoujo romance usually doesn’t occur until partway through the show after the girl or boy has undergone sufficient agonizing and courage-building. So when Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun started with a face-to-face confession, I knew that this anime was going to have a completely different pacing and direction than most of its genre. I had no idea just how short I was falling from the actuality of the matter. Not only did Nozaki-kun start off in an uncharacteristic scene, it also threw back its shoujo wrapping and emerged as a shounen comedy. Now, I love fluffy romance shows–think Kimi ni Todoke, Bokura ga Ita, and Hana Yori Dango. I also happen to love series that poke fun at genre stereotypes and character archetypes, like NichijouDanshi Koukousei no Nichijou, and Minami-ke. This particular anime mostly stands in the second camp, though there are the occasional overtones from the first that make characters like Sakura and Mikoshiba so endearing.

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