Over X-mas the shops are normally closed for 2 days... this time even 3 days, because the 27st was a Sunday. So before X-mas we bought a lot of food and, of course too much, but you never know your appetite...
Deeply inspired by the japanese movie "The Chef of South Polar" (a wonderful movie I saw on the flight to Germany), I decided to cook something with the leftovers on Sunday.
Here is Scallop with mushrooms, Morzarella-Tomato Salad, Mango with Serano-ham and Cambozola with fresh figs.
I prepare the X-mas dinner. We always eat little cold fish- and seafood-snacks together with bread and pickles, olives and cheese.
It was the first time without my Mom, so I felt very melancholic, but I also wanted to give my best.
Here is what I cooked and after the kids opened their presents, we all had a wonderful dinner together and a very harmonic and silent X-mas... just like my Mom would have wanted it and I bet, she was watching...
Every year we spend X-mas and New year in Germany with my family. So I want to share our journey with everybody here.
When we flew from Hakodate to Tokyo this year we were lucky to see such a beautiful view of Fuji-san. I'm always overwhelmed by the view of this amazing mountain. Somday I want to go hiking there.
After a loooong flight we arrived at my Dads house and had a German dinner with bread, roll, cheese and saussages... and beer, of course...
The kids are always looking forward to this...
Here is one of my favorites... self-made "Schweinemett".
My Dad always prepares it, when we arrive. It is minced raw pork meat with onion, oil, salt, pepper and nutmeg and it tastes like Negitoro. In Japan, people can't imagine to eat raw pork meat at all, but in Germany it's safe and tastes really wonderful.
Because of the jet-lag we were so tired, that we fell asleep instantly after the meal.
Whenever my husband goes to Taiwan, he buys "Karasumi" (Mullet Roe) there. The taste and quality are outstanding and the price is very cheap. We normally eat Karasumi (Mullet Roe) as a delicious snack with beer or a good wine or Sake, but this time, I thought I try some pasta with it, too.
Here are all the ingrediences I used... Crab-meat, sour-cream, Champignon-mushrooms, Ruccola, Nutmeg, pepper, Salt, pine-seeds and pistazias and, of course Karasumi.
Here is the result and I really was surprised, how good it tasted
(it was my first try, so I was a little nervous ^^" )
In Italy Karasumi is also a speciality, known as "Bottarga di Muggine" and people eat it with pasta.
Today it snows over here... and I want to share that shot out of my window with you. Actually, those are the days I want to stay inside my warm room, have a hot cup of coffee and light some candles, but when the kids come home from school I must drive them to their afternoon-class at "Kumon" and go for shopping. Well... so I have to dig out my car o_O but that way I can post my first 50 bunch of X-mas cards and some letters.
I'm also close to finish my painting for the contest... YAY !!! Painting it again really was a good idea. I'm much more pleased with this one.
What else?! I'm very busy, because we will go to Germany next week for 2 weeks to visit my Dad, so I need to pack and prepare everything, but I'm looking forward to it.
Yesterday we went to the X-mas market here and I always love it so much. The atmosphere is unique and it's not so crowded like the markets in Germany, but really as beautiful.
When you walk home in the evening and the streets are empty, you have the beautiful decoration all for yourself and feel like it's already the December 24st.
We come there every year to enjoy it...and have some delicious food, of course.
At first, we went to an Izakaya at the habor. They always have wonderful and fresh sea-food, together with Hefeweizen, Altbier and Ale. The local brewery won many international awards and the beer tastes great!!!
In the end we always go to our fave Italian/French restaurant, Brasserie Carillon, where the Chef cooks the best Carpaccio and Tapas, I have ever eaten. His Kani-pasta is also best !!!
Often, when people hear I'm housewife and artist, they think it's like paradise. They often imagine me to sit at home the whole day, painting because I'm bored and painting is "just fun". Nope, this is not true at all. First of all, my main-job is being housewife and this is as challenging as any other job... sometimes I have 10 professions at the same time... if you clean, cook, do laundry, iron, for other people, if you are a nurse, a tailor, a teacher, a mediator, a secretary, a psychologist, a driver for them 7 days per week, 24 hours on "standby", you are a workaholic... but if you do this for your own family, some (especially Western people) look down on you or judge you as "too lazy or too stupid to work".
I just recently dropped a German penpal about this, who told me after just two letters, that a "woman under 40 being at home is nothing!" Quite rude, but this is just one of the examples I always heared, when I lived in Germany. Here in Japan I really enjoy that I can be what I want and my job is still respected and honored as "real work".
For my art, some people think the same. Often people think painting is "just fun" and very easy for me. Yes, I do it to relax... but it's also always a big challenge and... if you have a deadline to keep, it can be very tough, because you need to paint quickly, but need to hold up the quality.
For example, right now I work on that painting for the contest. I finished it, but I totally hated it, because I felt, I could have done so much better... on the canvas I can be my worst enemy sometimes. So I decided to paint it completely new... will be another week of hard work and self-struggle, but otherwise I won't feel satisfied. Worst for me is always, when I feel I could have done better. This goes for art and family alike... so I will go once more for it, after making the laundry the dishes and the cleaning... tough work, but I really would not want to miss it anymore.
I love my 10 jobs and I love my family ^___^
Here is another older work from me... I exhibited this last year at the Minoya wine-shop.
Done with acrylics, watercolor and airbrush on paper, size is B3 original available...
Right now the weather is very cold and so it's always the right season to have delicious Ramen here in Hakodate. One of my fave Ramen-restaurants is Ichimonji. If you ever go there, I recommend you to try Tonshio-Ramen and Gyoza, which is very crispy outside and wonderfully juicy inside.
This week started quite turbulent and the weekend will be busy for my husband as well, but we hope that we can go at least fishing on Saturday...
Yesterday I got the forms for the Hakodate Fuyu artcontest, which will be held next January. Now I'm fighting with a big wooden board I want to paint on. At first, I wanted to paint another forest, but the size of the canvas is not so good for this... so I will go for another Koipond instead, I think.
In the meantime, here is some old art from me, showing a winterscene at Onuma lake. Done with acrylics, pens and airbrush on paper (Format is B4, original available).
This weekend was very exciting. We went fishing again at Todohokke and my husband was lucky and caught 2 Kajika (a fish similiar to Monkfish or Seadevil)
When we came home, a parcel of our friend Masaki-san arrived. He sent us some wonderful Japanese cheese from the Kyodogakusha Shintoku Farm in Hokkaido, which won many national and international awards for it's fantastic products. Please read his wonderful and interesting article about it at http://www.ocada.jp/izu/kyodo.htm
and I also recomend his interesting and unique website to read about Japan, how it really is:
Actually, when I started this Blog, I only wanted to write about my art, but I realize more and more, that I should also write so much more about live in Japan as it REALLY is, because I feel that we Western people have sometimes a very different view of it.
For example, whenever I talk with my friends in Germany, USA, Canada or other "Western Countries" their first question is always "how can you life in Japan with JUST Sushi and Soysauce ?!?!?"
To me this is always so puzzeling and sometimes even annoying, because I can get here ALL western products and also western products made in Japan and honestly, most of them taste totally equally, if not even much better than in Germany and Europe.
As a proof I took a photo of Japanese camenbert, Masaki-san sent, and also a package of Hokkaido ham, which won the German DLG prize. All is very delicious and in the meantime, I think people in my own country should finally respect and realize that Japan produces the very same products they do, along with the wonderful Japanes cuisine.
Well, since we caught the fish and I got the wonderful Hokkaido cheese, I thought I cook European today, using ONLY Japanese vegetables, ham, our caught fish and the cheese of course.
Here I started with a Ciche/Chawanmushi (Eierstich in German) using the fish-fond (dashi) of the devilfish... good Hokkaido-cream and egg.
onto the second dish, with fish, crabs, tomato, balsamico (made in Japan !!!), paprika and herbs from our own garden...
...to seadevil a la saltimbocca with asparagus, shrimp, mushrooms, Hokkaido camenbert and Hokkaido cream...
and here is a the final mix of it on my plate. ^____^
It was wonderful... the only not-Japanese thing I added was one great dry white-wine from Frankonia.
Well, so all of you can see, I live and eat great here... I have great sushi, delicious ramen, tasty soba and Konbu and other wonderful Japanese dishes, but also the most wonderful Italian, French, German and other Western flavours here, and all is made in Japan and really, really wonderful, tasty and safe!!!!
Just finished another painting before the weekend. This time I painted a Japanese Maple-tree. Done with watercolor, acrylics, fineliner-pen and airbrush on paper. In a private collection in Luxembourg.
Finally finished this painting !!! I always wanted to paint those adorable Koi in a pond. The thing which was most difficult though were not the koi, but the textures of the lotos-leaves. Yet, it was a lot of fun to paint. Done with watercolor, acrylics and airbrush on paper. Format is B3 original available.
Today, the road to the mountains at Akagawa opened again finally, so we eagerly went picking Mukitake. The Latin name is Panella serotinus. Serotinus means "late" and indeed it's the last mushroom we can pick there before the snow.
Finally we found some. Those mushrooms grow always near the river, at old trees... but you need to be careful not to pick the poisenous Tsukiyotake. So please, if you are not sure, DON'T pick them at all...
After a long drive through the forest and rivers, we picked enough for a nice meal. I'm always amazed when I check German books and they tell, that Mukitake is not a delicious mushroom. This is absolutelly not true. You can cook it even European style and it is very delicious !!!
So here is what I cooked from it today. Omlette rolled with "Hokke" (a mackerel famous in this area), cheese, shrimp and Mukitake... and Penne with pork, papirka, Mukitake and sour-cream sauce and some salad with our own smoked bacon together with white wine from Tirol *yummy* :p
My name is Julia Takagi (高木ユリア) I'm actually from Germany, my husband is Japanese and we live in Japan since 2005. One of my greatest passions is painting. I had several exhibitions (solo- and groupshows) in Germany (Wiesbaden, Hofheim), Japan (Hakodate, Fukuoka, Tokyo, Nagoya, Makurazaki), Korea (Seoul and Cheong Ju at the ICA 2010) and two in the USA (LaGrange, Georgia). The beautiful nature of Japan inspires me and I paint almost every day.
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For more of my artworks, please check also my paintings at