Vocabulary (Review)

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Lesson Transcript

Natsuko: おはよう東京。Natsukoです。
Yoshi: Yoshiです。
Peter: Peter here. End of the Year Special #3. As always, brought to you by Erklaren, the translation and interpretation specialists. Now, as it’s a end of the year and there is so much going on in Japan, we are taking this last week of the year to get you up to date, tell you about customs, events, other things going on in Japan so that if you are on your way here, if you are here or if you just want to know, you will know. Joining in the studio today is Natsuko san and Yoshi san here to help us out with today’s topic.
Natsuko: こんにちは。
Yoshi: よろしくお願いします。

Lesson focus

Peter: Yoshi san, what are we talking about today?
Yoshi: 季節の食べ物
Peter: Seasonal food.
Natsuko: いいですね。
Peter: Very nice. Seasonal foods is probably better, seasonal food. Now Yoshi san, what season is it here in Japan?
Yoshi: 冬、 Winter.
Peter: So it’s cold and throughout Japan, it’s pretty cold. Yeah so we are going to have a lot of hot foods whether you are – ah that’s right. Yoshi san again, joining us from Nagasaki umm, whether you are down in Kyushu or up in Hokkaido, now there is probably a big difference but it’s still pretty much cold throughout Japan with the exception of Okinawa. I could feel that some people out there are getting ready to get hit the comments, “Okinawa is warm” but we covered ourselves there. So what we are going to do today is we are going to talk about seasonal foods, main for seasonal foods on the islands of Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and the Hokkaido. We are not going to get too regional but kind of general seasonal foods. Natsuko san, why don’t you hit us off with the first food? Give us something good, yep.
Natsuko: かき
Peter: Oysters. Now Natsuko san, are we eating these raw? How are we preparing them, how are we eating them? What’s good, where is good? Let us know everything you can.
Natsuko: I think we eat it raw of course.
Peter: Aha!
Natsuko: But we also put them in Nabe, right?
Peter: Natsuko san, can you elaborate a little bit here. What’s Nabe?
Natsuko: Well how about Japanese style stew?
Peter: Yeah I think that works. Yoshi san?
Yoshi: Umm bunch of stuff in the pot.
Peter: Yeah now we should kind of explain the situation a little bit better. I think stew is pretty good but I think it’s the way that you eat it and everything, the atmosphere surrounding it that makes Nabe, Nabe.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: Because Nabe literally translated, it is just pot.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: But when we say Nabe, it’s not just a pot, it’s kind of an event.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: So Natsuko san, tell us all about it?
Natsuko: So we prepare broth in of course a pot.
Peter: Yeah.
Natsuko: Yes Nabe. And we prepare broth, we prepare vegetables and meat, fish, well whatever you like to put in. You can actually put anything in Nabe.
Peter: Anything good.
Natsuko: Anything, yes. Anything good.
Peter: And I know Yoshi is going to have some good stories for us in just one minute. He is really going to test the bounds of put anything in the Nabe but okay, so you get all the vegetables, you get all the ingredients. Then you have the pot?
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: Then you have the broth?
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: Where do we go from here?
Natsuko: You heat the broth.
Peter: Wait, one second.
Natsuko: Oh!
Peter: Now if I had never experienced Nabe, I would think that this nabe is sitting on a stove.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: In the kitchen.
Natsuko: Uhoo.
Peter: With one person cooking it and everybody waiting. Is this how we usually eat it?
Natsuko: No.
Peter: No.
Natsuko: The pot is placed on the center of the table and here in Japan, we have a special stove. It’s a really small one used for Nabe. So you can place it on the table and put the Nabe on to the stove.
Peter: Yeah it’s a little gas burner, about a foot by a foot. About a foot by a foot and inside that, this horrified me the first time I saw it being in America, one really paranoid of gas. You put the gas into it right in front of your eyes, you close it. You turn the gas on, everybody is sitting eye level. If this thing – oh, we won’t even talk about that but like you light it, then you put the Nabe on top and then the broth starts to boil.
Natsuko: Uhoo…
Peter: And at this time, everybody is drinking something and chitchatting. Then once the broth boils
Natsuko: You put in the ingredients.
Peter: Yep.
Natsuko: In the broth.
Peter: Then Yoshi san, how does everybody eat it?
Yoshi: Everyone can just reach their hands into Nabe and take whatever they want.
Peter: Very hands?
Yoshi: With chopsticks.
Peter: I told you Yoshi would have some really good story.
Yoshi: Also like if you have someone like your mom or someone in charge, the person can also serve you, you know into your plate.
Natsuko: So it’s fairly freestyle. You can serve yourself or you can be served by someone.
Peter: Freestyle eating.
Natsuko: Freestyle eating.
Peter: There is a term we have to coin Natsuko. I am going to see if there is a trademark on that, Freestyle eating. Would you like to come up with some freestyle eating?
Natsuko: Doesn’t it sound good?
Peter: Sounds very good. So there is this atmosphere around it and then Natsuko san, here is the million dollar question. How long does the nabe dinner go on?
Natsuko: Forever.
Peter: Yeah. Pretty much till you run out of gas ingredients or pass out.
Natsuko: Pass out.
Peter: Yeah maybe we will strike that last one off the record. So pretty much, it lasts until you run out of gas, food or other ingredients. It can go on for hours. Just eating, talking, drinking, having a good time.
Natsuko: I am not sure whether you noticed or not but actually すき焼き is a kind of a Nabe.
Peter: Really?
Natsuko: Yes that’s one type of Nabe.
Peter: Okay I get where you are coming from but what about the rest and everybody else. What’s すき焼き?
Yoshi: Didn’t you have a すき焼き recently, Peter san? The 食べ放題すき焼き.
Peter: All You Can Eat すき焼き yes I did. Yes right.
Natsuko: Really?
Peter: Yeah and my wife was very, very disappointed in the amount we ate.
Natsuko: Why?
Peter: Actually Marvin, the intern also came and feeding time. So we went to All You Can Eat and Marvin also doesn’t eat as much and my wife really likes to eat. And she actually made a comment. She is like, I can’t believe you guys. You know, it’s too bad, Yoshi wasn’t here.
Yoshi: Hah I don’t know what she meant.
Peter: Yoshi’s All You Can Eat reputation precedes himself.
Natsuko: I didn’t know that.
Peter: Yeah, Yoshi looks umm…doesn’t look like he can eat too much but yeah, he is 赤字 Yoshi. He causes severe loss to the store. That’s foolish enough to let him in for an All You Can Eat. Okay we will get back on track here. So すき焼き is similar to a Nabe but with the Nabe, there is a large amount of broth. So things are kind of boiled. With すき焼き you have a sauce and you have raw meat and you take the raw meat, raw beef or pork and you put it into the fried pan or kind of like a Nabe but the sauce is very thin. So this Nabe experience, we really winded up talking about this for a long time but there is just so much around it. Nabe – it’s good. Now there is one word. I think if I say, we will really turn this Nabe into a 100% Japanese experience.
Natsuko: What?
Peter: こたつ。
Natsuko: Oh yes.
Peter: Now a こたつ is a small table. When I say small, I guess that’s hard to understand. It’s a low table, very low to the ground, about 2 to 3 feet off the ground and the bottom of the こたつ is actually a heater. So you heat your legs….
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: With the こたつ
Natsuko: And there is a blanket covered over.
Peter: Yeah.
Natsuko: The table.
Peter: So usually you have the table, the こたつ then on top you put a blanket, then on top, you put another table which you actually serve the food off of.
Natsuko: Yeah tabletop.
Peter: Yeah thank you Natsuko san, tabletop. So before you start eating, you get under the こたつ and it keeps your legs very warm.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: And as your legs are warm, your body is warm. Now the only thing about the こたつ is, you have to keep your legs under the table for a long period of time in the same position and you are sitting actually on the ground, on the tatami.
Natsuko: Uhoo…
Peter: So the whole thing kind of takes place in a span of 2 to 3 feet.
Natsuko: That’s the usual living style in Japan.
Peter: Yeah I still can’t understand how four people’s legs go under there and it’s like the Bermuda Triangle. The legs just don’t hit each other or…
Yoshi: They hit…
Natsuko: They do.
Peter: But there is still enough room. I don’t know how all the legs get in there.
Yoshi: Japanese people have short legs just for that.
Peter: Oh Yoshi, we should have a こたつcamera to actually see what’s going on down there. Like the legs are all…
Yoshi: It would be fun but there is also like a old style 掘りごたつ
Peter: What’s that?
Yoshi: Like if you go to like old houses still have them or like old style, the Japanese restaurants maybe.
Natsuko: Or hotels, Japanese style does. The space under こたつ is kind of carved downwards. So you can sit like sitting on the chair.
Peter: As opposed to when you sit on a こたつ in a tatami room and there is nothing – there is no space underneath. Your legs are straightforward or folded.
Natsuko: But using 掘りごたつ you can just sit on the rim.
Peter: I like that. That sounds nice.
Natsuko: Yes it’s – you can sit longer inside.
Peter: All right. So Nabe, こたつ these are two things that kind of bring up the image of winter at least for me in Japan.
Natsuko: Me too!
Peter: Yoshi san, are you with us?
Yoshi: Uhoo!
Peter: All right. So getting back to where we started かき
Natsuko: It was a long way.
Peter: A long way because かき鍋 is actually quite popular.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: Oyster Nabe. You put the oysters in with the vegetables, very, very nice.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: Yoshi san, do you have a particular favorite kind of nabe?
Yoshi: Oh I like everything like there are so many different styles.
Peter: See, this is why my wife said it was regrettable that you weren’t there. Your reputation, the joy in your voice.
Yoshi: Umm…
Natsuko: Is there any special Nabe in Nagasaki?
Yoshi: I can’t think of any special Nabe from Nagasaki but right now, the Salmon Nabe しゃけ鍋って言うんですかね?sounds good right now.
Peter: Ah!
Natsuko: Is that the Hokkaido style Nabe 石狩(いしかり)鍋.
Yoshi: 石狩鍋。 Ah!
Natsuko: Yeah with Salmon and I think potato.
Peter: Oh it sounds very good.
Natsuko: Yes and in Misos.
Yoshi: Umm…
Peter: The broth is Miso.
Natsuko: Yeah Miso taste.
Peter: The soybean base. Oh that does sound very good.
Natsuko: It is.
Peter: I like Kimchi.
Natsuko: Oh yes.
Peter: A little spicy.
Natsuko: Uhoo that’s really popular, isn’t it?
Peter: Yeah with some pork oh, and that long green onions ねぎ
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: Sounds very nice.
Natsuko: Very nice.
Peter: Natsuko san, how about you?
Natsuko: I like Nabe using chicken, 鳥鍋 chicken 白菜 that’s the vegetable…
Peter: Chinese cabbage.
Natsuko: Like yeah Chinese cabbage and also ねぎ or maybe 水菜
Peter: What’s 水菜?
Natsuko: That’s – I think that’s originally vegetable in Kyoto. It looks like a really delicate spinach.
Peter: All right. We are going to have to check that one out.
Natsuko: Let’s have the picture of 水菜 on the website.
Peter: Yeah that’s what we will do because right now, I am drawing a blank. Okay so we spent all this time on Nabe. Actually we are way over but there is one more thing related to Nabe that we should probably squeeze into this episode to kind of cover the soup base, seasonal foods. Yoshi san, I will give you hint. It’s the first thing you smell when you walk into a convenient store.
Yoshi: おでん。
Peter: How do we make this into English?
Yoshi: The great winter food in Japan.
Peter: Works for now. Again, we will have the English on our website. Now, who can tell us about おでん?
Natsuko: This is also a type of Nabe right?
Peter: Yes. Is that the right answer?
Natsuko: Umm…
Yoshi: So they boil lots of different things in the broth.
Peter: For example, eggs.
Natsuko: Japanese Radish 大根
Peter: Means chicken, cabbage, vegetables.
Yoshi: Tofu.
Peter: Ho!
Natsuko: ちくわ。
Peter: Uh!
Natsuko: はんぺん。
Peter: Yeah what is はんぺん like a sponge?
Natsuko: Yeah it’s fish meat.
Peter: Fish meat?
Natsuko: Uhoo but very delicate and fluffy.
Peter: Yeah.
Natsuko: Yeah fish meat, I think it’s mixed with egg yolk or something.
Peter: Umm some good chemicals in there to get that fluff.
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: And this is all available at almost any – okay we will start with the bottom of the barrel. It’s available at almost any convenient store in the winter season.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: 7-Eleven, Lawson, walk in, you will know right away from the smell. You can smell the おでん. You can walk up, you can pick what you want. One of these, one of these, one of these, they will put it in a little Styrofoam cup for you. Eat it outside.
Natsuko: It’s really good.
Peter: I really strongly recommend. If you are in Japan, if you are visiting, definitely get some of this. Yoshi san, in a regular winter season, how often do you eat this?
Yoshi: Quite often. I also recommend you to go to 屋台.
Natsuko: Umm.
Peter: Which is?
Yoshi: Night market.
Peter: Or a nightstand or like nightstand like a shop, just open at night.
Yoshi: Like on the street.
Peter: Yeah.
Yoshi: And おでん is popular food for this season. You see lots of Japanese businessmen like on the way home, they stop by, drink Sake and eat おでん.
Peter: Yeah. It can be a snack or a full meal.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: Depending on the place you eat it at.
Natsuko: Uhoo and depending on what you eat.
Peter: Good point. So the convenient store and the nightstands or night market, probably just a quick snack but there are specialized restaurants for this.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: I haven’t been to one but…Natsuko, have you?
Natsuko: Yeah. There is one in Akasaka.
Peter: Really?
Natsuko: Uhoo I think more than one but I went one in Akasaka.
Peter: How big is the difference between the tastes, pretty big?
Natsuko: Oh yes because it was western style, Kyoto style.
Peter: Oh wow!
Natsuko: It was good.
Peter: Yoshi san, have you ever been to this kind of store?
Yoshi: Not yet.
Peter: What about homemade おでん like at your house, have you ever made it?
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: Well that sounds good too.
Natsuko: Very good.
Yoshi: Yeah it’s a fun meal that brings you a great atmosphere at home like everyone can join in…
Natsuko: Yeah.
Yoshi: And like come around the table.
Peter: Yeah it’s very – it’s a great experience. You know, you are actually cooking together, eating together. It’s – the whole atmosphere that these – that eating a Nabe creates. You know, everyone starts from the same place.
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: A lot of times, if someone is making the food, they have to run around and get everything and then they sit down. Everyone starts. This is an ongoing thing.
Natsuko: Uhoo yeah.
Peter: Okay more about this on the website. Ah great time of the year in Japan.
Natsuko: Yes.


Peter: Okay we are back tomorrow with more about this. Things going on in Japan in this season. That’s going to do it for today.
Natsuko: じゃ、また明日ね。
Yoshi: またね。


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