The FooDorama Challenge: I Watch It, I Try It!

✈✈YOSH━━━- d(゚∀゚)b-━━━SHA!! ✈✈

Jdorama Inspiration: Attention Please

Attention Please is an 11 episode drama shown from April to June, 2006 on FujiTV. It’s about Misaki Yoko (Ueto Aya), a tomboyish, happy-go-lucky girl who suddenly finds herself training for the job of a cabin attendant just so she could wear the uniform for the man she cares for.  She later finds out that being a flight attendant is more than just the uniform, safety demonstrations, and serving airline food. It was an experience that ultimately changes her from a flighty (pun intended) punk girl to a happier and mature young woman.

Attention Please is one of my favorite drama/comedies.  It’s funny and entertaining, and Ueto Aya is always a delight to watch.  It also had 2 SPs: one in 2006 which took place in Hawaii while the 2008 SP happened in Sydney, Australia.

It also stars Ryo Nishikido; but too bad that he wasn’t in the last SP so his supposedly love angle with Aya’s character didn’t anymore materialize.

More on Attention Please ✈ click here.

Jdorama Food: Zaru Soba

Zaru Soba is a simple noodle dish served cold on a zaru (basket) and dipped in a sauce called mentsuyu or tsuyu before eating. The noodles used for this is called soba which is made from buckwheat flour. It is topped with dried nori flakes (if not, then it is just simply called mori soba).

It is a recipe ideally served during hot days of the summer. So what better time to have this dish than now when our current weather is so mercilessly hot!

The Jdorama Connection: In Episode 2, Yoko and her co-trainees, Yayoi and Yuki eat zaru soba at the noodle shop that belongs to Yayoi’s dad.

Yoko (Ueto Aya) teaches Yuki the ‘proper’ way to eat zaru soba: “Take a lot of noodles with your chopsticks. Dip it in the sauce and then…. SSSLLLUUURRRPP!!!

The girls’ zaru soba served on a flat bamboo basket plate along with bowls of mentsuyu. This meal is called ten zaru soba if accompanied with tempura.

The FooDorama Challenge: Cooling down with Zaru Soba

Looking at pictures of this dish had me thinking to just order it in a resto. I initially thought it would be complicated with the interesting presentation and all but as I read the recipes, it wasn’t really hard at all.

The last time I checked, there were ready-made dipping sauces (mentsuyu) available in the Asian section of a regular supermarket (left pic).  However, I did not buy one because I was set on making it myself.

What to buy: I bought soba noodles (Iwate brand), mirin, and Kikkoman soy sauce which are all available in supermarkets. Ajinomoto granulated dashi is also available in SM supermarkets but it is very expensive (nevertheless, one pack can be used for many other dishes and can last a long time anyway).  Dried nori is also essential to this dish.

To make the tsuyu: make your base first which is the dashi by adding 1 tablespoon of dashi powder to 2 cups of boiling water (you don’t have to use all of the dashi; just store it in the ref for future use). When done, heat 2 tablespoons of mirin in a separate sauce pan for a few minutes, then add half a cup of the pre-made dashi and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.  Let it cool or refrigerate it before serving.

Or you can make 2 cups worth of tsuyu which you can use some other time.  You can store it in a jar and refrigerate it like I did (Right Pic).

For the noodles, cook it like any other noodle dish: boil it for 4 to 5 minutes. When it was done, I placed it in a colander and rinsed it in running water. I then place it in iced water.

Why use a basket for zaru soba? I at first thought that it was just for presentation but actually it has a function. Since the noodles come straight from the iced water, the basket is used to let the water drip away from the cold noodles when serving.

For the basket plate, any old small bilao (like the ones used for pancit malabon or palabok) can do the job.  I rummaged thru my stuff and found an old handwoven plate! Perfect! I cleaned it up and placed the wet, cold noodles on it, making sure to put a plate underneath it to catch the moisture.

Zaru Soba for FDC#7 is done: I topped the noodles with dried nori flakes. Tsuyu is served with wasabi, chopped spring onions and sesame seeds. I ate this wonderful dish with shrimp and vegetable tempura which I dipped in the tsuyu, too.

It was my first time to eat cold noodles. And, oh my! It was a revelation! It was a minimalistic dish yet refreshingly delightful! I was really amazed at how simple it was and at the same time so satisfying. Eat it the way Yoko would slurp it or just quietly savor each noodle, it doesn’t matter. It was a superb meal indeed.

Tips to enjoy zaru soba: ✈It’s best to use those commercially-made, rough bamboo chopsticks for a better grip on those slippery noodles. ✈ And to fully appreciate this meal, it would be ideal to eat it on a really hot day (lunchtime or afternoon snack). ✈ It must be a quiet day (with birds chirping or wind chimes tinkling in the background) so turn the radio or TV off.  ✈ If you have a low table or a coffee table, use it and sit on the floor while eating. ✈ And also, take a refreshing bath first before eating.  …I’m telling you, for me, eating it this way was like a peaceful, Zen-like experience.  I kid you not.

Try it and happy ssslllluuurrrping to you, too! b (゚∀゚) d

My Other FooDorama Challenge Links
Next: FDC#7 – Kareh Raisu or Curry Rice (Jdorama Inspiration: Kaibutsu-kun)
FDC#6: Samgyeopsal (Movie Inspiration: Sikgaek or Le Grande Chef)
FDC#5: Natto (Jdorama Inspiration: Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge)
FDC#4: Okonomiyaki (Jdorama Inspiration: Hana Kimi)

—————————————– fodocha

Jdorama info source: dramawiki
Recipe sources: japanesefood.about, closetcooking

I was expecting that my May 17 post, “Crying Time with 1 Liter of Tears” would generate plenty of hits.  Not because I wrote an awesome post (wha-?) but rather, I presume, the ‘sing-along’ part of it (lyrics with song video) would make fans of the jdorama want to come back and… well,  sing along with it.  There are a lot of you out there who like to sing, admit it!  Ok. Ok, fine. I do it, too.  (*.*)

Another reason other than  singing along with the song? Apparently it was because of Nishikido Ryo. Recently, I just finished watching Ryusei no Kizuna (Meteor’s Bond) that stars him and Arashi’s Ninomiya Kazunari.  Be talking about that soon!

When I told myself that if it does get a lot of hits remioromen(100 so far and still climbing), I will post another song from 1LoT: this time it’s the other song from Remioromen, “Konayuki (Powdered Snow),” the theme of Aya and Haruto and my most fave of all the songs from the show.

Remioromen (left) is a rock band formed in 2000, featuring Fujimaki Ryota on lead vocals.  With a voice like that, who needs an English translator?

So here are the lyrics (from lyricsmode) of Konayuki, and the video link.  For those who still insist on reading the English translation, (hay naku!) click hereKanta na! ♯ρ(^∇^*)♭_♪ラン♪♪ララン♪♪

Konayuki by Remioromen

Konayuki mau kisetsu wa itsumo sure chigai
Hitogomi ni magirete mo onaji sora miteru no ni
Kaze ni fukarete nita you ni kogoeru no ni

Boku wa kimi no subete nado shitte wa inai darou
Soredemo ichi oku nin kara kimi wo mitsuketa yo
Konkyo wa naikedo honki de omotterunda

Sasaina ii aimo nakute
Onaji jikan wo ikite nado ike nai
Sunao ni nare nai nara
Yorokobi mo kanashimi mo munashii dake

Konayuki nee kokoro made shiroku somerareta nara
Futari no kodoku wo wake au koto ga dekita no kai

Boku wa kimi no kokoro ni mimi wo oshi atete
Sono koe no suru hou he sutto fukaku made
Orite yukitai soko de mou ichi do aou

Wakari aitai nante
Uwabe wo nadete itano wa boku no hou
Kimi no kajikanda te mo nigirishimeru
Koto dakede tsunagatteta no ni

Konayuki nee eien wo mae ni amari ni moroku
Zara tsuku ASUFARUTO no ue shimi ni natte yuku yo

Konayuki nee toki ni tayori naku kokoro wa yureru
Soredemo boku wa kimi no koto mamori tsuduketai

Konayuki nee kokoro made shiroku somerareta nara
Futari no kodoku wo tsutsunde sora ni kaesu kara

1 liter of tears tv drama posterAnother jdorama to be shown on GMA (starting tonight May 25) is the 2005 mini-series, 1 Liter of Tears (Icchi Rittoro no Namida).  It is based on the inspiring 1986 book that contains diary entries of Kito Aya whose youthful dreams and happiness were shattered by a cruel degenerative disease, putting a slow and tragic end to what could have been a bright and promising life.  The jdorama version (there was also a 2004 movie on this) starred Sawajiri Erika as Ikeuchi Aya and Nishikido Ryou as Asou Haruto.  It differs from the book and movie by adding a love angle to it in the form real-aya-kito-1-liter-of-tearsof Ryou.  It was a nice touch–resembling that other tear-jerker “A Walk to Remember.”

The real Aya (right): “I write because writing is evidence that I’m still alive.”

If you’re going to follow the drama on TV, better prepare your tissue box and hankies for the rest of the coming weeks.  I was crying my eyes out as the story unfolded, giving me a good dose of badly-needed catharsis (the last time was when I watched–for the nth time–Full House! *blush* don’t ask me why…it’s such a long story).  We all need a good cry once in a while. Besides, according to research, crying is a natural process and a great form of stress reliever. But for me, when I have a good cry, I get in touch with my human side. Sometimes when you steel yourself up for work and life’s challenges (especially when you are expected to be objective and uncompromising), you tend to be stoic and unemotionally absent. Watching tearjerkers like 1 Liter can help me do a Spock–to channel my inner human hidden inside my otherwise Vulcan demeanor.  (^.^)

Gryo nishikido oing back to 1 Liter, I could relate with it since I went through a similar crisis– losing a loved one who happened to be my mom. She suffered a stroke at age 51, became paralyzed and was bed-ridden for several months before she passed away a year later (around the same time as the real Aya). It is a difficult ordeal that you wish and pray that no family would ever have to go through.

And I cry most easily when I see grown men weep.  My heart just breaks watching the lovable dad (played well by Jinnai Takanori) shed tears watching his daughter go through the ordeal, knowing there is little that he can do.

Ryou (left) is such a terrific actor, too.  His crying scenes were real and heartfelt.  With his dark looks and emoesque charm, he is one talented actor that will definitely go a long way.

The songs play an important role in the series, too.   We may not know the language but they give the emotional scenes more power to pull even the most stubborn of all heartstrings: Only Human by K (ending theme), Konayuki (Powdered Snow) by Remioromen (Aya and Haruto’s love theme); and March 9, also by Remioromen.  Since it is my LSS of the week, the latter is what I want to share with you, along with the lyrics (English translation can be found here) and song for your sing-along pleasure.  Have a good Catharsis! \(T‿T)/~sniffles~

Sangatsu Kokonoka (March 9)

Nagareru kisetsu no mannaka de
Futo hi no nagasa wo kanjimasu
Sewashiku sugiru hibi no naka ni
Watashi to anata de yume wo egaku
Sangatsu no kaze ni omoi wo nosete
Sakura no tsubomi wa haru he to tsudzukimasu
Afuredasu hikari no tsubu ga
Sukoshizutsu asa wo atatamemasu
Ookina akubi wo shita ato ni
Sukoshi tereteru anata no yoko de
Arata na sekai no iriguchi ni tachi
Kidzuita koto wa hitori ja nai tte koto
Hitomi wo tojireba anata ga
Mabuta no ura ni iru koto de
Dore hodo tsuyoku nareta deshou
Anata ni totte watashi mo sou de aritai
Sunabokori hakobu tsumuji kaze
Sentaku mono ni karamarimasu ga
Hirumae no sora no shiroi tsuki wa
Nan daka kirei de mitoremashita
Umaku wa ikanu koto mo aru keredo
Ten wo aogeba sore sae chiisakute
Aoi sora wa rinto sunde
Hitsuji kumo wa shizuka ni yureru
Hanasaku wo matsu yorokobi wo
Wakachiaeru no de areba sore wa shiawase
Kono saki mo tonari de sotto hohoende
Hitomi wo tojireba anata ga
Mabuta no ura ni iru koto de
Dore hodo tsuyoku nareta deshou
Anata ni totte watashi mo sou de aritai