I went to Japan and all I got was…

Wrapping up our Japan series, here’s some of the stuff we brought back with us to Kuching.



This pack of boxed sake was very convenient to take  home. We’re gonna use it for cooking mostly, but first you gotta make sure that the sake is not too sweet, not too rancid, but just right! 😉

Unfiltered Sake and Choya Umeshu

wine and choya umeshu

Now this stuff is all for drinking!  I’m not a big sake drinker, but sometimes I imbibe (usually at a good sushi restaurant like Sushi-Man).  We drank Choya umeshu (honey plum wine) often in San Jose, where it was easy and cheap to get at the Asian grocery. Here in Kuching you don’t see it so much, so we brought a bottle of it home.  We’ve already cracked it open – it’s gooooood!

Kombu, Bonito Flakes, Fresh Wakame

kombu bonito wakame

The kids love drinking miso soup, which calls for us to first make the basic dashi broth. We can get kombu (dried seaweed) and bonito flakes here in Kuching but the products available in Japan are much higher quality. You can actually taste the difference between a dashi made with the locally available ingredients vs. a dashi made with the ingredients from Japan.

Furikake, Senbei and Tarako

furikake senbei tarako

We brought home packets of different flavored furikake to sprinkle on top of the kids’ lunches when we are in a hurry to prepare a tasty bento meal for them. Senbei are sweet or savory rice cracker snacks, usually flavored with soy sauce or sugar. Besides the tarako (cod roe) sauce for spaghetti, we also bought a pack of squid ink pasta sauce and a mushroom-flavored sauce.

Soba and Menmi Sauce

soba and sauce

Sometimes you want to make a quick meal of noodles but you don’t want to resort to instant ramen. Here’s where soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles) and menmi sauce come in to play.  We’ve already cooked up a batch of soba, which we will cover in another post.

Coke in Real Glass Bottles

coke bottles

Not everything we brought back was for our own consumption.  Our good friend Mike is a collector of glass-bottled Coke. As we were walking around in Japan, we were on the lookout for him. We were lucky enough to find this Coke vending machine on one of the streets in Machida.

That’s Not All

Food is not all we brought back from Japan, of course. There were the little gifts for our friends and relatives. But we also brought back a lot of fond memories, an appreciation for the Japanese culture (they’re so polite!), a familiarity of how their train and subway system works, and a deep desire to return.

I do hope we make it back someday.

Aloha, Nate

What would you bring back from Japan? Leave us a comment!

20 thoughts on “I went to Japan and all I got was…”

  1. Wow alot of nice goodies. “”the sake is not too sweet, not too rancid, but just right! “” LOL Raplinger???

    1. PutuPiring –

      heheh – you caught the Aunty Marialani / Rap Reiplinger reference! I’m surprised. I didn’t think many people would know this Hawaiian comedian.

  2. Whenever I travel I bring back a lot of food items, too!

    Had a good chuckle at your first photo. Those small boxes of sake reminded me of juice boxes and I toyed with the idea of sticking a straw in there and drinking it directly. Hmmm … maybe a new invention? 😉

    Thanks for sharing your Japan adventures with us.

    1. Jenny –

      the boxes actually do come with straws, and I had to sternly jerk the box out of the hands of little Esther, who thought it was a box of juice.

      1. How funny — I was just joking about the straws. Do people really drink the sake out of those boxes with straws? I wonder if that would be for picnics or other mobile get-togethers?

  3. So glad you and Annie had a great time! I lived in Japan a couple years and then did an M.A. in Japanese History at Columbia University in NYC because I was so enamored. Love Japan!

  4. Hubby and I love Choya Umeshu and we savor the plums after the sake is gone. Looks like you brought home a nice assortment of goodies. Looking at them makes me want to prepare some soba for lunch 😉

  5. One of my favorite things about traveling is bring back food stuffs. Saki is a favorite. It’s rare to find one that is neither overly sweet nor too biting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *