Memories, Old and New, in Japan

My recent trip to the southern islands of Japan, Okninawa, Shigata and Kiyushu Islands was soulful and nostalgic for me. My Father and Grandmother’s graves rest in Fukuoka, Kiyushu. Things have changed so much in that area that I didn’t recognize anything as how I remembered it.

The most memorable thing I learned was…

The Truth About Kamikaze Pilots

Kay in Japan standing beside WWII airplane

We visited the Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots in Kagoshima. It was  heart-breaking to hear the stories of young men, barely out of high school recruited to train and finally give their lives for Japan as they were sent off on a one way mission, a flight of death in World War II, 1945. I read the tear-stained letters that young men wrote to their Mothers on their last night, apologizing that when the sun rises, they will take a solo flight to use themselves as a weapon to crash into American ships. A total of 1,037 young men lost their lives in this way.

Kay at shrine

The most haunting exhibit was the actual bunks where they spent their last night before taking their final flight to death. It was an emotional day for me to realize that these horrific acts were taking place at the same time as I was dodging bomb attacks dropped by American planes further north in Kokura on the same island.

Dashi Master

On a happier note, I learned how to make a true Japanese dashi soup base from a man who called himself Dashi Master. He has dedicated his whole life mastering the art of making dashi and his sense of pride for this art was eminent with every stroke of his spatula as he stirred the steaming liquid. Watching him was helpful because I’ve never felt confident that I can make the perfect dashi soup stock that serves as the base for 90% of Japanese cuisine. Here is the video and the recipe for this simple recipe that can multiply into multitude of delicious Japanese dishes.

Dashi Recipe:

Pour 2 quarts of purified water into a pan. Place Kombu, dried seaweed, in the water and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Do not put a cover on the pan and do not let the water come to a full boil.

Turn off the heat, remove the kelp and place approximately 1 cup Katsuo Flakes in the hot water. Allow it to soak 3 minutes.

Using a colander lined with a paper towel, strain the broth into a container.

Enjoy using this nutritious and delicious broth to make many of your favorite Japanese dishes.





Hello Kay,
Thank you so much for a simple, delicious, healthy recipe. Love it!
Warm wishes for the season and a bright new year!


Hi Grace,
Let’s eat healthy and start energized to keep up with our art and craft projects!


Hi Kay,
Happy Holidays! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I can’t wait to try it because I cannot have the premade dashi due to the excessive amount of MSG.


Hi Marsha, I’m glad that you will be making the dashi. It is not extra salty like the ready-made dashi base. Merry Christmas to you!

Denise Inaba

Thanks Kay! I will try this. So used to using the Dashi no Moto powdered one. This one is easy and I am sure tastes much better!!!


Hi Denise, yes, I think you should try it. So easy and so healthy for our bodies!
I keep the broth in my refrigerator and the rest in my freezer. One of my favorite things to make is egg drop soup with nappa or any other vegetables + add what you have. I love to have it for breakfast or anytime I want a last minute hot meal.

Denise Inaba

Thanks Kay! Will look forward to more of your postings!!
Have a very Merry Christmas!!