Sake Gumi
When I first got my own apartment in Tokyo, I could barely cover the moving expenses with my measly wage and couldn’t even afford a fridge. Luckily, it was mid-winter and I was able to make an impromptu fridge out on my balcony. Just in time for spring, I became a proud owner of this small but fabulous modern marvel.

What I will be consuming in the next week or two. And yes, that is my nail polish in the corner.

My cooking necessities in the coldest corner: clarified butter, roux, tarragon butter, lard, pickled plums.

Marron (chestnut) flavored soy milk which tastes exactly like a Mont Blanc...but in liquid form. They also make a sweet potato flavor which is to die for.

Various types of vinegar for my experiments: apple, kurosu (unpolished rice), balsamic, white wine.

All you need on a hungover Saturday morning: a bottle of Ukon-no-chikara and a refreshing tub of fat free blueberry yogurt with chunks of aloe.

Shirasu (boiled young sardines). Rather intimidating to look at, or to be looked at, but this stuff with grated daikon radish, chives, and a drop of soy sauce makes a great accompaniment to sake.

Otokomae (translation: manly/handsome) brand tofu with a big kanji character for MAN on the label. Creamy and dreamy as ice cream, it’s the only man I need.

My arch-nemesis Japanese mayo-nai-zu. Everything is covered in this stuff in Japan, even pizza. Don’t know what it’s doing in my fridge.

DARK chocolate Pocky for MEN. I guess Japanese men could never be caught dead nibbling on a MILK chocolate covered cookie stick. God forbid, no.

Meiji brand Oishii Gyunyu (literal translation: Delicious Milk). As the name says, it is tasty and perfect for my late night Oreo cravings. The carton was designed by Taku Satoh.

Star shaped Japanese cucumber I bought out of curiosity.

Must everything be cute in this country?

Tara no me, the shoot of the tara plant. This spring delicacy is slightly bitter and makes a bankin’ tempura.

Yukari- salted shiso leaf (perilla leaves) seasoning. These brilliant purple specs are oh so tasty sprinkled on a warm bowl of rice.

And up north...

Chicken broth, udon, green tea ice cream, a ginormous block of mushroom duxelle, and lots and lots of ice for my shochu.

Overnight dried mackerel. Most people buy them but I’ve seen some old folks drying them on their balcony.

Garigari kun -soda flavored popsicles with a crunchy ice center. As a chronic anemic, I always enjoy my Garigari kun, even in sub-zero weather. It’s a staple of summer for Japanese kids. The techno pop group Denki Groove has even written a song about this stuff.

My chilled passport, bank books, and identification stamps. I keep all my necessities in one place in case Mt. Fuji erupts.

My glasses disappeared one day and I found them months later in here. A spare pair for the summer.
Column: Fridgin Out


  • Very smart: if Mt. Fuji erupts, your man, your means to escape this country, your femininity and sight will be saved.

    yoko on

  • excellent fridge!

    ayagwa on

  • Very funny and interesting post. I love Japanese product branding. And I’ve never seen a cucumber so cute. Why is your passport and such in the fridge though?

    Paystyle on

  • Denki Groove is my new favorite band.

    kayoko on

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published