Day after day, she stayed in the village and entertained her family and friends with her beautiful voice. But soon, she grew bored and longed for new experiences. Although the other turtles begged her to stay, and warned her of possible dangers, she made the difficult decision to go on a journey.
So she began her trek- slowly, yet deliberately, until she finally reached the edge of her village and crossed the line into the unknown world. For days she pushed forward with her clumsy flipper-feet, alone along a sandy dirt road, passing tall wispy red pines, and stopping to munch on some tasty wild ninjin (carrots). She sang to keep herself company, and often wondered what she might discover. The sun beat down upon her, and soon turned her pure white shell to a golden hue.
On the third day, she noticed a faint sound in the distance. "Boom, swish, boom, swish!" it repeated. And, it became louder and louder as she walked towards it. "What could that be?" Keiko wondered with nervous excitement.
Suddenly, the road opened up before her. She saw a vast sky, that was crystal blue with puffy clouds, and directly below- an enormous emerald sparkling sea, with waves gently crashing onto the rocks at the water's edge. "Oh, I've never seen anything so beautiful!" she remarked aloud.
To her surprise, the sea (named Kai) answered back in a booming voice, "Why, thank you! I've been admiring your wonderful singing voice." And so for hours they chatted, and quickly became good friends. Then, Keiko had a most glorious idea. "Why don't you use your waves to make a rhythm, and I'll sing along?" "What a lovely idea," said Kai. After some practice, the pair finally made the most incredible music together. Kai would even make different rhythms for the young turtle to sing to, as she gleefully swam and floated in the sea's waters. The beautiful songs that resulted can still be heard to this day... if you listen carefully.
When Keiko returned to her village, she spread the news of the wonderful Kai, and all the turtles decided to follow suit and venture outside of their comfy village. Soon, all the turtles lived in the sea, and only returned to their village to lay their eggs, so the next generation could make the same trek that Keiko did.
This post is dedicated to my host daughter, Keiko from Japan. She left us to go back to her home country a few years ago, and we are thrilled that she will be coming back to visit us next month! On top of that, the story symbolizes her brave journey to the United States, back when she barely spoke any English... Plus, she loves turtles! :)
About This Dish:
This curry dish (called karē) is very popular in Japan. My host daughter didn't cook much, so she never made us this dish, but she did show us the instant curry mix (comes in blocks) that so many Japanese people use to make it. I would describe it as a milder curry (as compared to Indian curries), and is thick like a gravy with a unique sweetness. It almost always has potatoes, carrots, and onion, and is usually served over rice.
A Little History:
From Wiki: Curry was introduced to Japan during the Meiji era (1869–1913) by the British, at a time when India was under the administration of the British. The dish became popular and available for purchase in supermarkets and restaurants in the late 1960s. It has been adapted since its introduction to Japan, and is so widely consumed that it can be called a national dish.
Instead of using the instant mix which usually contains MSG, I made this from scratch. It is essentially a sauce made from a seasoned roux as its base, which is unusual to me. I also wanted to try making my own garam masala spice mix, which was a lot easier than I expected! I borrowed instructions from this site.
For the Roux:
4 T. Earth Balance margarine
1 T. garam masala
1/4 C. all purpose flour
For the Rest:
1 C. finely chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C. carrots, chopped (size desired)
1 C. red or yukon potatoes, chopped (sized desired)
3 C. vegetable stock
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. brown sugar
salt to taste
Make the roux first by heating the margarine in a sauce pan. Stir garam masala into melted margarine for a minute or two. Add flour and stir until well combined. Take off heat and set aside.
In a large skillet or pot, saute the onions in a little vegetable oil until tender and golden. Add carrots, and saute for a few minutes before adding the potatoes and garlic and doing the same. Season with salt. Once a little browned, add the vegetable stock, sugar, and more salt (if needed), and simmer until carrots and potatoes are tender but still firm (al dente). Mix in the roux and let simmer to finish. Serve over Japanese short grain rice.
Story, illustrations, and food by DJ Karma