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Japan

 

The past few days I think everyone’s thoughts and prayers have been with the people of Japan.

Japan is no stranger to quakes since they sit on one of the most active areas for quakes, called the Ring of Fire. Japan is probably one of the best prepared nations for surviving earthquakes.

The videos out of Japan have unbelievable and compelling. At times they are  just over whelming. I don’t think I have cried so much since    9/11. I finally just had to stop watching and turned TV off for a day or two.

But among all of the devastation some are calling the worst disaster since World War II, what I saw was a country, a government, and a people with great stamina and true grit.

In the midst of devastation beyond comprehension they did what had to be done and began rescue efforts immediately. While the death toll may be high, it would have been much higher if there had not been such preparation for just such an event.

Japan is a great friend to the United States. Even so there is a lot we do not know about Japan and its culture.

To the rescue is a great website called Listverse. This site compiles lists on any and every subject you can think of. They did one on Japan yesterday. With written permission I am sharing that list with you. I found it fascinating, interesting, and I learned a lot too.

The list was  compiled by Greg Arden.

Introduction:

“This list was sent in to me yesterday. In light of the devastating earthquake that hit Japan shortly before, I thought it would be a good list to post.

“Over the years, Japan has become one of the most interesting countries in the world. Its unique culture, great food and technological edge has fascinated and inspired the rest of the world.

“However, some of Japan’s customs and tastes have been widely misunderstood, and have even baffled some. Nonetheless, these 20 interesting facts have given the world a chance to see Japan as it is: An intriguing, culturally rich and economically sturdy super-power.

“So, without further ado, here are 20 interesting facts about Japan (in no particular order). Please note, that while some of these facts are negative, they do not reflect any racist opinions held by me, or Listverse.”

The list is compiled from Number 20 down to Number 1. I encourage you to visit Listverse as it  also includes pictures and additional links and a video about Japan.  Also, Listverse is just a great place to fund all sort of great information on just about any and all topics.

The List:

20. Raw horse meat is a popular entree in Japan. Sliced thinly and eaten raw it is called basashi – it is pictured above.

19. Over 70% of Japan consists of mountains. The country also has over 200 volcanoes.

18. A musk melon (similar to a cantaloupe) can sell for over 31,473 yen ($300.00).

17. The literacy rate in Japan is almost 100%.

16. There are vending machines in Japan that dispense beer!

15. Japanese people have an average life-expectancy that is 4 years longer than Americans. Maybe American’s should eat more basashi!

14. Some men in Japan shave their heads as a form of apology.

13. Japan has the second lowest homicide rate in the world, but is also home to the extremely spooky suicide forest, aokigahara. One occupant of the forest is pictured above.

NOTE: There are pictures and links to the spooky suicide forest, and the aokugahara at Listverse Japan. Just click the link to see them.

12. Japan has produced 15 Nobel laureates (in chemistry, medicine and physics), 3 Fields medalists and one Gauss Prize laureate.

11. Younger sumo-wrestlers are traditionally required to clean and bathe the veteran sumo-wrestlers at their wrestling “stables”…including all the hard-to-reach places.

10. Japan’s unemployment rate is less than 4%.           

9. Japan consists of over 6,800 islands.

8. “Tetsuo: Iron Man” (no relation to the comic book, or Robert Downey, Jr. film), a relatively popular, extreme, “Cyberpunk” film (a “cyberpunk” film is a science fiction film that involves technology – and the abuse thereof – and social unrest), was based on a play the director Shinya Tsukamoto wrote and directed in college. It is an excellent film and you can buy it here.

The trailer can be seen by clicking this link to Listverse: Listverse Japan.

7. A Paleolithic culture from about 30,000 BC is the first known inhabitants of Japan.

6. Prolific Japanese film-maker Takahi Miike made up to 50 films in a decade during the peak of his career.

5. Animated Japanese films and television shows (.i.e.: Anime) account for 60% of the world’s animation-based entertainment. So successful is animation in Japan, that there are almost 130 voice-acting schools in the country.

4. 21% of the Japanese population is elderly, the highest proportion in the world.

3. In the past, the Japanese court system has had a conviction rate as high as 99%!

2. Japanese prisons (as of 2003) operated at an average of 117% capacity.

1. Raised floors help indicate when to take off slippers or shoes. At the entrance to a home in Japan, the floor will usually be raised about 6 inches (15.24 cm.) indicating you should take off your shoes and put on slippers. If the house has a tatami mat room, its floor may be raised 1-2 inches (2.54-5.08 cm.) indicating you should take off your slippers.

And there you have it; a tour and history lesson on Japan.

And thank you again to Listverse for granting me permission to post their list on Japan for MTTD readers.

I am sure in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead we will continue to keep Japan and her people in our prayers just as we will help in any way we can during their time of need as they begin the arduous task of rebuilding.

Featured Recipe   
Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Lemon, and Peas

I love dump and cook recipes. That is a recipe where I can put everything in one pot and let it cook. That pretty much sums up this recipe.

This is basically a Martha Stewart, Everyday Living magazine recipe. However, I changed things around a bit to make it even more delicious and to make it even less expensive.

The original recipe calls for asparagus, not peas. I saved over $1 right there. You could also use broccoli in place of either asparagus or peas.

The original recipe also calls for fresh thyme. I saved about $2.50 there. When I make the recipe with thyme, I can never taste it. I love thyme. But in this recipe it seemed to be more to make a pretty picture than to add any flavor to the dish. So I eliminated it. 

The recipe calls for 1 lemon. I use two. I like lemon flavor too, but I never tasted much lemon flavor in the finished meal. So I use a 2nd lemon and just squeeze the juice from it all over the dish fresh out of the oven. NOW I have a hint of lemon flavor which is just divine.

I also add garlic.

If you buy a whole chicken and cut it up yourself you will save even way more money.

This is what you will need for 4 people:

1-1½ pounds small or new potatoes (any variety or color)

3-4 tablespoons butter

1 package cut-up whole chicken (8 Pieces)

1 package frozen peas

2 lemons

4 cloves garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do:

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

Cut 2 tablespoons of the butter into squares.

Wash the potatoes and cut in half or into quarters.

Place the potatoes in a baking dish  with the butter squares. Season with salt and pepper.

Place in the oven and roast  tossing once until potatoes are golden, 15-20 minutes.

Pat excess moisture from the chicken.

Remove the potatoes from the oven. I turn the potatoes over onto their flat side to better hold the chicken.

Smash the garlic cloves  by gently hitting them with a flat side of a knife. They will peel easier. Then slice the garlic. 

Then place the chicken on top of the potatoes. Add some salt and pepper to the chicken. Then scatter the garlic pieces over the chicken.

Place in the oven and roast until the chicken begins to brown, about 20 minutes. 

While the chicken is roasting cut the lemon into eight wedges. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into squares.

Remove chicken from oven. Look how nice and golden that chicken is getting. I took some of the garlic off the chicken as it was starting to burn. Watch out for that.

If using asparagus or broccoli add it now. If using peas do not add yet. But do add the lemon. If the pan juices are a bit dry add 2 or 3 squares of the butter. U added a few squares of butter. Can you see them in the picture? Place back in the oven and roast for another 15-20 minutes.

Add the peas and the remaining butter and put back in the oven for about 5 minutes.

Cut the 2nd lemon in half.

Remove chicken from the oven and squeeze the juice of the lemon all over everything.

Let the chicken sit for 5 minutes or so to let the juices redistribute.

Then serve drizzled with some of the pan juices. Look at the color on those potatoes. They were nice and firm and crispy. And the chicken was nice and crisp on the outside and moist and juicy on the inside. Just the way a roast chicken is supposed to be.

Serve this with a salad and you may very well have a perfect meal even the Food Police would be happy with. But I better be careful. I do not speak for the Food Police.

Bon Appetit Friends!!!!

Cost

1-1½ pounds potatoes           $1.17                                                  

3-4 tablespoons butter           $0.60

1 package cut-up chicken       $6.78

1 package frozen peas           $1.09

2 lemons                              $1.00

4 cloves garlic                      $0.20

Salt and pepper to taste

Total Cost = $10.84
Cost per person = $2.71

Quote of the Day

The darkest night is often the bridge to the brightest tomorrow.

Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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1 comment to Japan

  • great recipe and fun facts on the amazing nation of Japan will keep them in my prayers, just added the stylish blogger award to my blog 🙂