Spring in a Bowl 

I made negitoro don for dinner the other night. Negitoro don is a donburi, meaning a rice bowl. It's made by topping the rice with julienned omelet, chopped raw tuna, sliced green onions, and strips of nori.

It's not a spring specialty per se, but the colors are very beautiful and springlike.
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Sakura on the Temple Grounds 

Sakura trees blooming amidst a grove of evergreen trees on the Chusonji temple grounds in Hiraizumi.

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Blossoms in the City 

Sakura blossoms at the entrance to the Kitakami Poem Park, located in the middle of Kitakami City.

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Tunnel Vision 

Looking down the sakura road in Tenshochi.

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Nothing but Love 

In 1974, Kitakami and Concord, California became sister cities. Here in Kitakami, the relationship is commemorated in a small section of the Kitakami Poem Park.

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Pink on Pink 

Contrasting colors on neighboring sakura trees in Tenshochi.

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Cherry Blossom Time 

The sakura trees are blooming everywhere in Kitakami. These trees are in Tenshochi, the park that runs alongside the Kitakami River.

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When Good Pickle Beds Go Bad 

Oh, the horror. We've discovered the worst-tasting thing in Japan: pickles from a nuka-zuke bed that's gone off.

As we mentioned in the April Fool's Day post, life around Let's Sharing HQ has gotten quite hectic. I haven't had as much time to attend to the house as I did before, so certain things have gotten neglected. Among them was the pickle bed. According to (in my opinion) the best English-language Japanese cookbook, nuka-zuke beds should be turned every day to prevent harmful bacteria from developing. Also, if the bed goes off, you should be able to tell because the bed will smell sour. My pickle bed didn't get turned for a couple of days, but when I got back to it, it smelled like it always had. It did have a thin layer of white funk on top, which I scraped off before turning the bed. I put in some daikon and let them ferment for a day or so, like usual, and they came out shrunken and softer, like usual. Then I tried to serve them.

What daikon pickles should taste like: still radishy, but earthy and a little salty.
What daikon pickles should not taste like: radishy spoiled milk.

*sigh* Five months of cultivation down the drain.
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Back in early March, I was out walking the dogs when I spotted a train I'd never seen before.

It's Joyful Train Kogane, a special-service train that doesn't usually run on the Tohoku mainline through Kitakami.
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Sendai Utility Panel 

It's not really a manhole cover, but Sendai also has decorative access panels for their underground utilities.

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