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Chocolate covered bacon is an indication of intense chocolate love. But the U.S. does not come close to matching Japan’s love affair with the cacao bean.

In Japan, chocolate fans enjoy chocolate with azuki red beans, chestnuts, green tea, shrimp chips, sour plum soda, soy beans, ...And an array of fruits including strawberries.

Japan is in fact the world’s greatest consumer of dessert strawberries... 


Courtesy of the Internet, current news appears with lightening speed. Images and information whoosh into our computers in nanoseconds. But nature needs time when nurturing true learning. When mastering the cuisine of another culture or a new baking technique, permission to make baby step progress is crucial.


Once upon a sunshiny Easter day in Tokyo this fledgling Ninja Baker was invited to an Easter egg hunt for the first (and last) time. The party was held at the home of a rich American man whose garden luxuriously stretched in all directions. (On an island such as Japan, property is a premium.) 


Whether I’m strolling with my 88-year-old mother in a quiet Northern California neighborhood or whether I’m striding down Main Street in Southern California, birds are singing! My fine-feathered friends won’t let me forget to celebrate this season of rebirth. Japanese haiku poetry master, Bashō expresses with elegance the lighthearted hopefulness that accompanies spring:

“April’s air stirs in Willow-leaves…a butterfly Floats and balances”

~Matsuo Bashō


Have you tasted Korean bee-bim bop?  As Korean food (and TV dramas) are popular in Japan, I’d heard the term but wasn’t quite sure of the ingredients. After flipping through the pages of Linda Sue Park's picture book Bee-bim Bop!, I learned the traditional Korean dish is basically rice with mix-ins. (Instead of sweet mix-ins for ice cream, savory items are combined with rice.)

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