I lived in Japan for a year in my mid-twenties. I had recently graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Some friends of mine, had just returned from a year of teaching in Osaka. As an English speaker, if you had a college degree, you could teach conversational English. It paid well and allowed for an amazing opportunity to live abroad. I loved everything about my experience in Japan. It was exhilarating to get on a plane with a backpack and step off into the unknown. Japan is a very easy place for a foreigner to navigate. Not only is it an extremely safe country for a woman to travel solo, but the people are eager to practice their English and very proud to show off their country. In addition to the elegance of the culture, cohesive nature of the people and rich history, the food is stand-alone brilliant! Japanese cuisine is an art, in how it pleases the palette, and impresses with it’s presentation.
I was fortunate to have several homestays, many of which had complex extended families. Some of the elders I met experienced my country’s nuclear assault on their civilian population. Just as we never forget 911, these elders never forget two horrible days- August 6th and 9th, 1945.
Living in Japan has left deep impressions on me two decades later. Some experiences were profound, like traveling with my Taiko drumming band, homestay family, to their performances. Some moments were simple, like how an egg can be an exciting center piece to a meal.
In this dish, I harkened back to my homestay days, where my host mom, Yoshiko San would kindly cook me breakfast. Tamago, means egg in Japanese. It can have many iterations. I learned from her, that a properly hot pan with a little oil can make a lovely Asian omelette. As the egg begins to cook, you drizzle a little soy sauce and stir it in. Cover it. Let it become golden brown on one side. Flip it over. Brown the the other side. Slide it out of the pan onto a cutting board. Roll it like a tortilla. Slice it into rounds. In this version, I put it over left over brown rice that had been cooked with wakame seaweed. Top it with scallions and an artful drizzle of sriracha.
I enjoyed it with jasmine green tea and smiled as I thought of Yoshiko San on the other side of the world.