Have you ever found yourself watching an anime and wishing that you could reach your hand into the screen and taste the food? Well if you have, you’re not alone.
After too many late night food cravings from excessive anime binging, I wanted to try it! However, living in the Southern US, there is a lack of authentic Japanese cuisine. So in order to experience real Japanese food, I had to learn how to make it myself.
I soon found out that doing so was not that easy. A quick search for Japanese recipes resulted in the Americanization of the cuisine, mainly chicken teriyaki and California rolls. While delicious, it was stuff I was already familiar with. To find the food I was really interested in, I had to search deeper.
I found there weren’t many quality Japanese cooking websites or blogs in English: most of the recipes were in Japanese, or the ingredients were completely foreign to me. My basic knowledge of Japanese was not enough to translate everything. Google translate quickly became my best friend, but even that wasn’t enough to really understand the recipes. When I finally understood the recipes, the international markets in my neighborhood have very slim pickings, so I had even more trouble finding all the ingredients!
After exploring Japanese food for several years with my husband, we realized we probably weren’t the only non Japanese people out there that wanted to know more about the cuisine. So, in an attempt to help make Japanese food more accessible to people, I created Otaku Food to help others explore Japanese cuisine too.
I do my best to break down each recipe to make it as easy as possible, and use as many readily available ingredients as I can. I try to write the recipes in a way that anyone can follow to be able to make something truly amazing.
My goal is to show you that while the food might appear foreign, anyone can learn to cook fun and delicious Japanese cuisine even if they aren’t living in Japan!
I learned to cook at a very young age by watching and helping my mother in the kitchen. Looking back, I don’t know if I was always helpful, but I really enjoyed being a part of the process whenever she was cooking. Once I went to college, I found myself on my own and having to create my own food.
I started to explore the foods that I was interested in, expanding my culinary skills however I could. I had the amazing opportunity to study Japanese and Japanese culture during that time, and my life has never been the same.
After college I founded Shonen Swag, an online anime retailer, with my husband, and along with Otaku Food, we’ve worked to promote Japanese culture abroad. While Shonen Swag is no more, Otaku Food is going strong, and we are continually striving to find ways to share Japanese culture with the world.
Otaku is a Japanese word that roughly translates to nerd. It’s used to refer to someone who has an excessive interest in something. While it can refer to any type of person, in Japan it usually refers to an anime or computer nerd.
I chose Otaku for two reasons. One, I consider myself an Japan otaku, as do I hope many of my readers are. No, I’m not such a nerd that it interferes with my social skills and daily life, but I do truly enjoy Japan and learning about their unique culture. Two, I also consider myself a food otaku, or a “foodie”. I love cooking, eating, watching food shows, reading cook books, and experiencing new foods. I am at peace in the kitchen, and I see cooking as an art that I want to perfect.
Otaku Food allows me to share my two loves with the world, so I hope that my recipes will make you an otaku too!