lunch bowl. itadakimasu. prep. basil + somen + shiso garlic + sprouts.

This may come as a surprise, my little angel cakes, but my much-loved acerbic wit does not spring from my endless love of humanity and ability to look on the bright side of life. Oh no: I am an inexorable black hole of rage, from which no light or hope can escape (I also consume vast amounts of energy yet move extremely slowly). I've actually reached the point of annoying myself with my own irrational fury; this week, I got mad at people writing their job titles in their twitter biographies. I even have justification for it! (In case you're interested: I periodically get angry with people when I think they're being too boring. If you're using twitter with the awareness of it as a job networking tool at the forefront of your mind, instead of as a means of making terrible time travel jokes, I get mad)(and come on, if forty people follow you on twitter, we know what your job is! Why define yourself by your job - not even the thing you're most passionate about; your actual formal job title - instead of by something MORE AWESOME?)(Is your boss following you? Are you showing off?? I DON'T GET IT). As you can probably see, it is exhausting to be me.

Other things I rage against make slightly more sense. It's true that I rally against the government like a fourteen year old discovering the Dead Kennedys for the first time, and I do try my best to be a political, queer, vegan misandrist. Unfortunately Jensen Ackles continues to exist, and thereby singlehandedly thwart my man-hating ways; damn men being so attractive.

But honestly? And don't tell the men this, but - I think the real problem is just frustration. It's now official that I'm leaving my current job this summer, but trying to make plans, to find something new, to make headway into the kind of creative path I really need right now - it's horribly uncertain. I want, so much, to stay in Japan, but since I had a lightbulb moment a few weeks ago and suddenly found a word for all those ambitions I've been saving up for years, I'm also desperate to chase after that. I guess there are worse ways of dealing with your worries than irrational anger, but man, I'm pretty sure they don't recommend walking into job interviews and just screeching, 'EMPLOY ME!'

Anyway, since it's Golden Week here in Japan right now, I'm taking the time to chill out. 'Do some yoga,' ma mama tells me, mentally patting me on the head over Skype. Oh, would that I could mama, but Ryoma keeps catching lizards and bringing them home to keep them as pets (??? maybe??? It's not like he's killing them, he's just so proud to make friends), and I cannot at present unroll my yoga mat without tiny lizards wriggling out of it. 'Have some wine,' my friends suggest merrily, but this just makes me aggressively friendly (I shout at people, and then I kiss them; it's like a terrible romcom). Blogging, as you can see, quickly degenerates into lists of Things I Hate, with little or no relation to the noodles at hand, unless you count the way I ate enough for three people while glaring at literally everyone who walked past me. 
No, my coping strategy at present is just 'Being Really Mad About Stuff'. And that's kind of working for me.

Somen Noodles with Sesame Tofu & Avocado
serves 2-3
60ml (1/4c.) rice vinegar
1 Tbsp caster sugar
1/4 tsp (sakura) salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
250g somen (mine are pretty, ume-flavoured ones that I bought in Kyoto, but regular is fine)
1 small Japanese cucumber (or half a Western one, deseeded), chopped
1/2c. shelled edamame beans - guess who didn't weigh this?
a handful of fresh basil, shredded
a handful of sprouted greens
1 ripe avocado, sliced
optional: I used these awesome pink pickled shiso garlic things, but I suggest pink radishes finely sliced as a substitute.

150-250g firm pressed tofu, depending on how many people you're feeding
a whole bunch of black or white sesame seeds

Cook somen in a pan of boiling water for 1-2 minutes; they're very fine noodles and don't need longer than that. Drain in a sieve and run cold water over them until they're cool. Place aside, then reuse your pan for the dressing; warm the rice vinegar and sugar until it's all dissolved, then turn off the heat to add the salt and lemon juice.

Either chuck everything all into a serving dish together and toss it up, or prepare a pretty bowl like I did; either way it's all going in there. You're going to do the tofu last; slice it into a few thin-ish pieces and coat both sides in sesame seeds. Heat a drizzle of olive or sesame oil in a pan and just pan-fry it for a couple of minutes, then serve on the top of your noodle salad. 

Eat in a furious, resentful way, and do not offer to share with anyone at all.


  1. Gorgeous pictures and gorgeous variety of foods! I just absolutely love this!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Hey i was wondering what camera you used and if you had a photo editor. All of your pictures are perfect and makes me miss Japan haha

    1. Hey! As of a couple of months ago I've upgraded to a Nikon D5100, but most of the photos on this site are taken with a Nikon D40, which is a pretty old model now. I use Photoshop, but I've only got CS2, and in the past I've used Gimp which you can download for free and to be honest is equally good for the level I use it it. My film photos are taken with a Sigma F90X, and I don't post-process those. :)

      Thank you <3. I hope this helps!

  4. Those ume noodles are beautiful! I wish I could find some like that in the US.

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