Time to Get Cooking

Our furniture finally got delivered (yay!) last week and the first room I began to unpack was the kitchen. James and I had “remodeled” our kitchen cabinets a couple months ago, meaning we covered them in contact paper, and once I put a few things on the counter and got things set up it went from looking like this:

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Do these cupboards look familiar? It’s because you have probably seen them in every hospital or school you have ever been in… 

To this:

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What a difference contact paper and a rug makes!
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Reunited and it feels so good…

Not only was it nice to be with my beloved kitchen goods again, it was nice to not have to rely on eating out or grabbing food at the base food court for all of my meals. After living out of a suitcase all summer I was really looking forward to being able to cook! I made a few simple meals the first few days (paninis, scrambled eggs) but when I saw that Sunday night we were in for some bad weather, I decided that was a good opportunity to stay in and try some Japanese cooking.

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Umm, this was not part of the deal…

There is a Commissary on base where you can get American dry goods and pantry staples, but it is not the best for meat or produce. Fortunately, there are lots of markets in town, many of them within walking distance of the base gate. I saw a recipe in my Facebook feed for shrimp fried rice, so I decided that would be the meal I would try to make. Now I just needed to go find the needed ingredients at the market.

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The market I went to happens to be next to my favorite sushi-go-round, so I stopped in to have a little snack. 

The grocery stores I have seen here (so far) are very well organized and products are displayed beautifully. You know how you walk into Whole Foods and the produce is usually very appealing looking? Well Japan is like that but even more so. Produce also tends to be very expensive.

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Want a gift wrapped cantaloupe for $38? 
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How about some grapes for $10?
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Or apples for $3 each? I hope I don’t develop scurvy while I live here…

This market also has lots of prepared food, which is nice because take-out isn’t very common from restaurants here.

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Multiple types of fried chicken with samples? Yes please!
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Nom nom nom

As you would imagine for a port city in Japan, there is obviously a big fish counter. I needed shrimp but there were so many to choose from!

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Which one to choose? I was feeling lazy so opted for deveined shrimp ready to cook. 

I did have trouble finding some of the ingredients, but lucky for me I had Google translate on my phone and everyone that works there is super friendly, so I was able to find what I wanted.

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How do you find things you need when they are written in another language? Google it and try to match up the characters. When all else fails just say “sumimasen (excuse me)” and show a store worker what you are looking for on your phone. 

Finally I had gathered all the things I needed and I checked out.

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Time for dinner!

The recipe I followed went together very quickly and my meal was ready within about 20 minutes. It made enough for leftovers and would have been even better next to some sort of grilled meat.

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Itadakimasu
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Now the meal is complete!

If you are curious about the recipe I used, I based it on this recipe from Just One CookbookI added a few other things that I like, and a bit more seasoning as I went, but it was tasty and I suggest checking out this food blogger if you enjoy Asian cooking.