In 1991 Mrs Hagiwara sent a note home to my parents suggesting that I discontinue Japanese lessons - it wasn't working out. Languages are not my strong suit and Mrs Hagiwara had a point. But telling a hot-headed teenage girl that she can't do something is like a red rag to a bull. So I promptly enrolled in elective Japanese lessons to spite her and spent the next two years proving her point with my average pronunciation, satisfactory comprehension and painful penmanship!
Ten years later, I packed my overweight bags, donned the heaviest jumpers and boots I owned and boarded a plane to Osaka, Japan. I'd scored a job teaching English for an enormous company, who incidentally were not only my employer but my travel agent, my landlord, my insurer and my banker. I didn't last long - I was home within five months. Turns out teaching is not for me, but my love affair with Japan continued. The food, the culture, the beer, the food, the people, their obsession with punctuality, the architecture, the whiskey shots at Joe's bar* - I love it all.
Early last year Bearhands and I got into the habit of Japanese night - we'd buy some sushi from a place on The Spit that we love, I'd make gyoza, we'd drink Sapporo and Asahi, pour each other's glasses of sake and shout KAMPAI! a little too loudly for parents with sleeping children.
We wrapped up 2012 celebrating New Years Eve on the roof at my
beach house Brother-in-law's place. We ate bite-sized bits throughout the night. Erin and Rachel (the sobriety thieves) made Vietnamese Rice Paper rolls and Pomegranate Mojitos. Bearhands manned the BBQ - cooking oysters kilpatrick, lamb cutlets and my first attempt at Filipino cooking - some BBQ pork belly skewers.
Me? I test-drove sushi! Late last year, Sunrice sent me a basket of Japanese goodies - including their new Fast and Easy Sushi Rice and a gorgeous sushi knife.
sushi at home (the fast and easy way)
- Nori rolls
- Fast and Easy Sunrice Sushi Rice
- 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoon mirin Bamboo rolling mat (makisu)
- Fancy pants Japanese sushi knife (hocho)
- Fillings - I used some sashimi-grade raw tuna, cooked prawns, cucumber, kewpie mayonnaise, avocado and honey-soy chicken.
Tear a small hole in the sushi rice bag and microwave for two minutes.
Empty the hot rice into a bowl and add the rice vinegar and mirin. I've experimented using just mirin, and just rice vinegar but half/half is my preference. Allow to cool.
Place a piece of nori onto your bamboo mat, spread cooled rice onto the nori sheet - getting the right amount takes a bit of experimenting.
I made some thin rolls with just one ingredient and some larger maki with a few flavour combinations. Getting the filling in the centre of the roll took me a few goes, but my first attempts were just as tasty.
I made combinations of tuna and wasabi, tuna and avocado, some wider rolls with prawn, kewpie mayo and avocado and for the non-piscivores - some plain cucumber and some chicken, mayonnaise and cucumber.
I wouldn't have made sushi at home without being able to prepare the rice so easily in the microwave. I had it assembled and in the fridge faster than I could have driven to The Spit, found a park, bought our normal order and come home. Plus, I enjoyed a tasty beverage while I worked! The lazy girl in me must admit that I loved how mess-free the whole process was. Was it as beautiful as the bought stuff? Not on your nelly - but the audience were just as appreciative of my efforts!
sushi pack giveaway
Sunrice have very kindly given me a beautiful sashimi knife and some packs of their Fast and Easy Sushi Rice to give away to one lucky reader. Regular blog visitors will know that this is the first ever giveaway for Cooker and a Looker. I'm rapt that this is the first one because I am totally enamoured with my knife and I'm sure the winner will be too!
To be in the running to win, leave a comment below answering this question:
have you ever done something, just because you were told you shouldn't?
- Competition closes at 11.59pm on Saturday 19 January 2013.
- This is a game of skill - best answer wins.
- Winner will be notified by email.
- If you'd like a copy of the full Ts & Cs
you've got too much time on your hands, email me and I'll send you a copy.
- As stated above, Sunrice gave me some sushi goodies last year. They're also supplying the prize for this give away. I was not paid for this post. All opinions, witty anecdotes and bad analogue photography are my own - stories about my high school Japanese prowess are not for sale!
* Joe loved Aussie bands (Powderfinger were regulars back then!!) Being from Brisbane meant I was cool by association and often made for a very unsteady push-bike ride home!
Primrose Press says
I was once with my husband & children at 'A Maze n Things' on Phillip Island. There is a big drop slide there which is quite scary. My husband climbed up and grabbed the pole and hung down but just couldn't let go. He climbed back off and did it about 3 times but never let go and went down the slide! I said I would have a go. The kids and my husband all said 'no, no, no, you can't do it'. Well!
So I marched up those stairs in the attractive boiler suit and socks you have to wear. Climbed up and held on to the bar at the top of the drop (absolutely shaking and crapping myself - sshh, don't tell anyone). And let go! It was BRILLIANT! I loved it and did it 2 more times!
My poor husband - I have never let him forget it. Because I am good like that.
I too recollect my story of proving that I could do something when I was told that I couldn't at school. I had worked hard with some classmates to put together a yearbook whilst I was in Year 12. We had organised the collecting of images and information, design and formatting, collecting money, printing and distribution.
On the second last day of school we were told that we couldn't distribute the yearbook as the year co-ordinator didn't like it. Well ...I distributed the yearbooks from my home - but was court out when a fellow student got upset that her picture didn't appear as many times throughout the book as she felt appropriate and therefore took the book to our year co-ordinator.
The year co-ordinator stated that I had to write a letter of apology to my year group or I wouldn't receive my HSC. I refused, but my Mum wrote the letter so that I could get into uni. Mrs Ong - you still suck!
Eleise @ A very blended family says
No, I am usually the one suggesting other people just do it because someone said they can't! That knife looks excellent but of course you can only tell by using it.
It's gorgeous Eleise - but I'm being especially careful because it's crazy-sharp!
Annaleis from Teapots and Tractors says
lol I think that's how my Mum actually got me to do anything. Tell you I couldn't run a cross country - I did it. Told me I was too lazy and couldn't get into uni - well damn right I did! (worked out later that I wasn't lazy!) I think it may be the competitive streak I have a mile wide.
Thanks for linking up with Blogs and PR #TUST
Annaleis - Blogs and PR Team Member
I think we may be kindred competitive spirits Annaleis! Loving the new TUST link up.
Rebecca Mugridge says
Found you through FYBF
(I love making sushi-YUM!) and I love that you had a huge adventure in your life because of your great spirit and reaction to what one teacher said! That's wonderful.
I remember a math teacher telling me in high school that it was pointless teaching girls maths in high school as they would never use it!
Yvette @ Little Bento Blog says
Yes! My dad told me I couldn't be a computer technician because its a man's world (back in the 90's) but I proved him wrong. And he actually apologised for me years later when I told him how much I was earning when living in the UK working computer geek (as I liked to refer it as!)
Monique (@writenote1) says
I'm not going to try to compete with all these fantastic answers, much as I love the look of that sushi knife.
I made sushi at home last weekend. I use sushi rice bought in bulk from an oriental supermarket and cook it in the rice cooker. I crumbed chicken strips with panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) - this, with egg and Kewpie mayo, was the filling. Delish! Try it if you can.
Have a laugh on me says
I always find that my rice ends up too sticky - that's my only problem. I haven't made sushi at home since before I had kids, thanks for inspiration to try again! Emily
I hope you do Emily. I've found wet hands helps the cause. I'm hopeful that making sushi at home might help the Big Sister get over her current food aversion to food that is brown!
Nee Say (@NeeSayer) says
My family love it when I make sushi at home but I prefer it when the pros do it 😉 I was told I couldn't jump out of a plane at 14 000ft. So I did. With a parachute of course!!
Tracey @ Bliss Amongst Chaos says
I've never made sushi. As I'm almost hopeless in the kitchen, it always looked just too hard for me.
I can't really think of anything I've done when told I shouldn't. Maybe I should make sushi because I'm telling myself I shouldn't? 🙂
I'm sure you can Tracey! Or perhaps I should say you'll never manage it Tracey! 😉
One outspoken friend of mine gave me a big row for trying to have a third child when I already had two high maintainence boys already. Maybe she did have a point, I ended up having a fourth as well as a third. Twins aged 42.
Ah well, I would never be told!
I would like to try (nervously) to make sushi. How do you use the rolling mat??
Twins!?! You sure showed her Seana! You use the rolling mat to tuck and roll the nori tightly. It's easier that it sounds!
Danya Banya says
We make our own gyoza too. But I haven't tried pomegranate mojitos! Yum!
I'm constantly telling my brother that he can't do things just so that he will go out and do them to spite me. He's 37, but reverse psychology still works a charm. 🙂
Ha! I remember using reverse psychology on my brothers too, Danya. Unfortunately they outgrew it, but I still give it a regular workout on the girls.
Who's ready for some serious baking and cooking? Welcome to a new Linky Party --Weekend Kitchen Creations at http://www.weekendkitchencreations.blogspot.com. Please join us, share your delicious creations and sign up for reminders for the next WKC.
I jumped from a limestone rock off Koh Phi Phi in Thailand when told I couldn't and followed that by eating a fish eyeball! Hooray for travel in my 20's!
Sounds like a beaut day Bron! I was pregnant with the Big Sister when we visited the Phi Phi islands - I was too busy throwing up to throw myself off anything! 🙂
Mary Preston says
I asked a senior I had a crush on to a school dance when I was told I shouldn't. He turned me down, but was sweet about it & always said Hi when he saw me around. Unrequited love is not just for teen novels!!
Ugh. Mary, you've just reminded me of asking a bloke to my formal. His reply was "What, with you?" Turns out the memory still makes me groan!
Jay N Tania Millard says
Yes.. But if I told you I would have to kill you lol
Best you keep your career in the CIA to yourself then Ms Millard!
My entire dating history! One bad boy after another all because my parents told me I shouldn't go there, time and time again!
Too funny Egghead!
Diana O says
Tattoo on my backside after being told I should not & would be kicked out of home if I did it. Well I did, and they didn't kick me out!
I think our parents were reading out of the same song book Diana!
Brenda Kapsley says
i got a tattoo because my dad had always said i wasnt to ever get when it was my way of saying its my body (as he used to abuse me as a child) so i took my body back did what i wasnt allowed to do and now have 4 tattoos
I've heard it's addictive Brenda.
kerry santillo says
Told not to cut my own hair,
now get looks and a stare!
Told to always finish my dinner,
now if I dont, am I a sinner.
Told to never talk to strangers,
that was the best, too many dangers.
I think everything my parents told me not to do, I did.
I had to see for myself or I wasnt a kid lol
Great poem Kerry - I see myself in my kids when they can't be told and just have to see for themselves!
I was told not to date a guy, I dated him (for 1 year!). I was told not to smoke, I smoked (I've quitted since!). I was told not to get a piercing, I got my belly button pierced (I was 19). I was told to never get married (a waste of time and money in my parents opinion) and I'm engaged.
I'm guilty of a bit of sneaky smoking Cyndie. In hindsight, I was crazy to think my parents didn't know!
Kathy B says
I'm not a competitive, go do it type of person, in fact for years I've suffered from agoraphobia and Post Trumatic Stress Disorder. With a lot of help from mental health profession I was feeling particularly brave and applied for a job working with people, everyone including family and my psychologist said you can't do that, your panic attacks will get you, whatever....it was one of the most empowering things I've ever done.
What a sweet victory Kathy. I can only imagine how proud you must have felt.
Brad Iversen says
I was told 'Do not make Sushi, it's too hard and tastes bad.' So I did make it, it was challenging but super tasty and is now one of my favourite dishes to make. Atlantic Salmon, Thai Beef or Teryaki Chicken with cucumber, carrot and avocado! Yum!
Sounds like you'd make great use of this pack Brad!
Glenda Booth says
My needlework teacher always told me I was hopeless at sewing and even accused me of getting my mother to sew for me. I went on to make and design beautiful wedding dresses for people!
High five to you Glenda. I think it would greatly amuse my home economics teacher that I have a food blog! 🙂
Yes, all the time! After a running injury, I was told not to do long distance runs again. The following year I did the 14kms City 2 Surf and this year, I'm going to do it again...after I've done a half marathon!
I spent 7 and a half years in Japan and loved every minute of it! Osaka's an amazing city, isn't it? I love how it's so close to Kyoto (I lived there for a year) and Nara. Beautiful cities!
Wow Grace - these dodgy knees and ankles salute you!
Japan is wonderful. I'd love to take my family back for a holiday and see more of it. My finances were a bit limiting back then, but I would have loved to make it to Tokyo (preferably by shinkansen!) 🙂
Kim maxwell says
Sure have, I helped build a dence when I was 8 months pregnant, and I was huge! But I loved it! I would have looked a sight, that's for sure!!!
Good on you Kim. I ran with the "I'm not sick, I'm pregnant" approach with both the girls. I must admit, I was pretty pleased when I finally got off the harvester though.
Rebecca Senyard says
Finishing my plumbing apprenticeship. To be honest, I suprised myself that I stuck it out but 6 years later I work part-time on the tools with my dad and write a plumbing blog. Sometimes you just have to follow your heart and gut-feeling and never give up!
Renee Ballantyne says
I was told that i couldn't find any one better by an ex boyfriend..... i did as i now have a great hubby and two beautiful kids
Shari Brewer says
Oh yum! Poohbah to your Japanese teacher - bet she's be jelly-jealous of these! I love making sushi at home but loathe boiling that rice. Ta-ding - off to the supermarket I'm going xx
Karina W says
We booked our honeymoon as soon as the mother in law suggested we stay behind after the wedding to hang out with the relos. Too late now!
Good thinking Karina.
PS. Best of luck for the big day!
Angela Vearing says
Whilst having my first child my hubby jokingly said 'Bet you won't have it by 1:00am', quickly backed up by the midwife saying I'd be at it for awhile... well, well don't me and Mr Bubba (now 4) love a challenge. Born 1:00 on the dot!!!
Nice work Angela! A quick birth's a good birth in my book!
Where do I start...
Senior certificate (mind you I was 21 by the time I got there!)
Uni, well I have a degree and successful career!
Underage drinking ( I ended up at the watch house, but I did it!)
You'll never jump- well I did, 2 bungy jumps and 2 solo skydives!
Now, may someone tell me I will never lose the extra 10kgs that have appeared from nowhere???? Please, I beg of you! Sushi is a healthy option right?
You'll never manage it Loz! 😉
Mercifully, my under age drinking only landed me in a garden bed. The same can't be said for my husband!
Kaz Purtill-Wright says
Your photo above jogged my memory. I was told I shouldn't do something once but being the 'know it all, my parents are stupid' teenager I didn't listen. I should have listened because I still have the scar...... My grandparents moved to a farm and the house was right on the Murrumbidgee river. One day we all went Yabbying and it was my first time. After catching some I was determined to pick one up. My parents said 'Don't do it, you will get bitten" Sooooo what did I do? Tried to pick up the biggest one in the net and SNAP.....it got me, right on the end of my pointer finger. By golly it hurt and it drew blood and I screamed........and my parents laughed and said "Told you so"!
Too funny Kaz. A similar thing happened to a friend of mine with a sand crab she was determined not to lose. She has legendary status over that brave (and painful) move to this day!
Jennifer B. says
Have l ever done something, just because l was told l shouldn’t?... Of course! I was a teenager! Aged 13-23 was one long decade of defiance!!!
Got to say, I'm worried about the Little Sister's teenage years - her already fiery temperament does not bode well!
We love a bit of sushi here too ... I just cook the rice in my microwave rice cooker and add the sushi vinegar. Miller loves it if I make 'kid' sushi ... which is normally teriyaki chicken, carrot and cucumber but I have to cut it up really small as she finds it a bit hard to chew through the nori otherwise. We use that Kewpie mayo with everything though .. I'm sure its not good for us but tastes awesome.
Yes I tried to strat a weber with metholated spirits because I had no firelighters-should've listened and gone and bought some
Kimberley Belford says
All the time !! hahahaha
Anything from dont look down when climbing the mountain (everyone looks down right ) to dont paint my toenails bright weird colours(as hubby says lol) he likes them nice and natural hmmmm - who's the weird one I would ask hahahaha
Jody Jamieson says
yes i have and boy did i make some mistakes doing this mum always argued with me and said your so pig headed and stubborn which i now know i am i think the worst thing i did when i was warned was to leave Melbourne at 17 and marry a man i had known for 3 months i was told not to do it and to get to know this person but being a leo would not be told well it was a different thing and ended 5 years later as he turned out to be someone that i didn't really want to be with and i think a part of it all was to defy my mum now im a mum and grown i see my big mistakes at doing these silly things and tell my kids how stupid i was and all i ended up doing was hurting myself
Amanda Elizabeth from Amanda's Mummy Jeans says
I had children! All my workmates told me how much childbirth hurt, and how annoying they would be, how tiresome leaving work was, how hard it was to drive them to their activities- we were all high school teachers and used to draw straws over who HAD to teach the youngest, babyish classes!
But I'm glad I didnt listen to them all and went on to have 3 beautiful little baby girls, all at different times lol, but being a Mum is more rewarding than teaching other people's feral teenagers, even though there is no pay or holidays xxx
Yep, we lived the same life. I worked for Nova, lived in Nara, drank at the gaijin bars, and lasted 9 months. Teaching wasn't for me either but we've been back for holidays in Japan since.
I've done lots of things I've been told I shouldn't. Just in spite of being told I shouldn't. I'm Sagittarius. And female. And stubborn.
Fantastic story! We love sushi at our place and you have just inspired me to start making it at home 🙂 Maybe little mini ones will impress the boys in their school lunches too.
As for doing things, I was told I shouldn't do. The list is endless. I grew up in Pakistan. I was raised progressively but told not to dream big dreams. I did.
Michelle Gray says
Mum told be not to move 3000kms away to be with a guy I'd known for 6 months, I did anyway. 13 years later, married with 2 kids, I guess it was worth it 😉 By the way, Mum loves him 🙂
Kate Ryan says
Probably not ENTIRELY because I was told not to, but I am pretty stubborn, so if someone tells me I can't do something it does make me want to do it more. 😛 The biggest thing is going to uni for my degree, I had several people telling me I couldn't do it (because of my health) but I made it work and six years later, I've finally finished!
Lesley Fisher says
Me too Jennifer B,especially at school.My teacher picked out four of us to go to a local play but we HAD to wear our uniforms but did I? no,I changed on the way into lary tights and bright top,I wasn't going to look like a schoolgirl when there were goodlooking young actors around,was I?
We were told we couldn't survive away from our family when we moved. We did.
Unfortunately, my Italian parents were very strict and there was lots of things I was told not to do. I obeyed most of their rules except the no sex before marriage bit. Thank goodness I didn't obey that one - I didn't marry til I was 34!
I was always told, "Don't push any of the buttons on my computer!" by my father. One day, I just couldn't resist the urge and I clicked on a button. Nothing exciting happened... or so I thought! I had accidentally closed one of my father's projects. Needless to say, he was furious!
Belinda Bonello says
When someone says to me don't look, I automatically look!
I was a fairly rebellious kid - I got told not to climb a fence and did and unfortunately somehow got stuck, dangling upside down 1m off the ground. I got the fright of my life and (mostly) listened to my parents from then on!