January 16, 2016


For 20 years at least, the Japanese words or sentence or phrase was in my head – etched in my brain for life by someone I don’t remember who, or in what circumstances.   I do recall my cousin who was living in Japan visiting our home when I was ten years old.   

I knew every syllable, though neither the spelling nor the Japanese characters.  


But no Japanese I met through those decades recognized the words or sounds.  Until this January 15th, 2016 my friend Yuki Watanabe (from Kazo, Saitama, Japan) took the time to unravel what I was uttering.  He said the phrase differently.  Yuki pointed out my intonation was misplaced, and I was pronouncing Su in Shisuka with an S when it should be a Z as in ShiZuka

He wrote in Japanese the characters

辺りは静かで音もありません。 (in Kanji and Hiragana to read)

あたりはしずかでおともありません。 (in Hiragana to pronounce)

Yuki said the phrase meant  “It is silent around here.”

Yuki said:
ATARI means “around here”  
WA is a pronoun like I or he or it
SHISUKA  means silent  or quiet
DE OTOMO  refers to sound
ARI  is the “be” verb
MASEN is  “not”

So my take on translation is “Around here it is very quiet , no sound at all.”

Now say it the right way:   

Atariwa Shee zu (long like zoo)  ka De Oto mo Ari masen

I repeated the phrase to Saki Hagato and guess what: she can’t understand what I was saying …

K-Café at Keremeos British Columbia Canada

A week earlier on my way to Penticton, I walked into the café realizing it holds more promise for breakfast than dinner.

So on my way back to Vancouver, I wasn’t sure it will be open that early, i.e. before 9 am because in most BC small towns, life takes a snooze on Sundays mornings.

But Keremeos is the Fruit Stand Capital of Canada.  People do drive along Highway 3 between Vancouver and the wineries of the Okanagan Valley on Sundays, and the fruit stands were ready just as flowers are to bees.  So was K-Café.  The K actually stands for somewhat of a K-shaped clearing on the mountain overlooking the town.  Look south for it.
After a tipsy week of sophistication (at least I want to think it was), that is wine tastings, cheese, pate, and petite baguettes in the Okanagan Valley, I was looking for comfort food in a no-snobbery cafe.   

My Breakfast Special order at K-Cafe was CAD$ 7.25 plus tax.  It arrived within 10 minutes in spite of four other tables waiting.  The key here is to order what you think is the most popular – the basics – because the kitchen will cook them en masse – hence you will get it quicker.

Janet with a smile served me the substantial plate of golden hash browns (potatoes), bacon, two eggs and buttered toasts.  It was good, diner-style filling breakfast – translation: all that tasty fat and grease in acceptable amounts.

Later I had a chat with the cook Violet who warmly showed me her frying tasks in the sizzling hot plate griddle.  

Everyone was friendly even John the cashier .  The place is open 7 days a week 8 am to 6:45 pm.  Closed on Christmas.  Located on the only main street, 7th  Avenue (which is Highway 3) at Keremeos – you won’t miss it with a big K sign on its roof.  Tel. 250 486 1324.

No need for reservations.

K- Café gets my vote as genuine Canadiana.

Across K- Café is a (the only) Thai Restaurant in town.  People in Osoyoos (also part of the Okanagan) were raving about Benja Thai.  I tried their Pad Thai sometime in the middle of my trip when I drove a circle route late afternoon – but the noodle dish was not outstanding.

January 13, 2016

The Genuine Panettone

My second Panettone was more expensive CAD$12.50 (at 50% sale) partly due to it coming in a nice round Christmas tin. It had also more fruit: candied orange, orange/citrus peels, and sultanas.  The brand name was Borsari – a Classico style – from Italy of course.

True Panettone – the ones made in Italy, particularly in the city of Milan must be made by law from butter and beer yeast.  But the rules do not apply for those shipped outside Italy, like the two I got were made from butter and natural yeast (wheat flour).

Do not confuse Panettone (also spelled Panettoni) with another Italian Christmas sweet bread Pandoro (also spelled Pandori) – see Panettone or Pandoro: An Italian Christmas Dilemma