The Kurashi Store of Hokkaido (in Okinawa)

北海道くらし百貨店: Hokkaido Kurashi Hyakkaten; basically the name of the shop translates something like “Hokkaido lifestyle and department store”

I heard a rumor that Sapporo Drug (サツドラ “satsudora”) on Kokusai-dori in Naha had Hokkaido craft beers. This sounded a bit odd, but it caught my interest, and honestly alcohol sold in a drugstore is not unusual. So I explored the next time I was in Naha.

Turns out, it is not the Sapporo Drug itself, but if you go inside the Sapporo Drug there is a staircase leading to a bright and clean second floor… this is where the Kurashi store is located!

I was surprised, but up we went to check it out. It is kinda like a big Hokkaido omiyage store! Apparently it is not nearly as big as the one in Hokkaido, but I was still impressed with all the variety it carried. There were lots of Hokkaido foods, drinks, and other goods to choose from. They even had huge frozen crabs! There was also a restaurant serving some various Hokkaido dishes.

What did we end up buying? Well, craft beer, apple cider, some miso ramen, and yogurt. I probably could have spent a lot more though.

If you live in Okinawa, you should definitely check out this store and try some of the great products from Hokkaido.


Mushrooms: きのこ

きのこ (hiragana), キノコ (katakana), as well as possible kanji 茸, 菌, or 蕈: all pronounced KINOKO… means mushroom!

There are many types of mushrooms you can find in the grocery stores and farmers markets of Okinawa… pretty much all of them are delicious. Here is a short list which I will update later with some pictures:

shiitake しいたけ, シイタケ, 椎茸: so versatile, you can use them for anything. I can’t begin to list all the uses.


maitake まいたけ, マイタケ, 舞茸: “dancing” mushrooms. These are probably my favorite– they make a delicious tempura.


eryngii えりんぎ, エリンギ: king trumpet, king oyster. These are great grilled, so add them in next time you do yakiniku.


enoki(take) えのき(たけ), エノキ: these little guys can be used some different ways; soup is popular, but so is sauté. A lot of people wrap in bacon cook for a fancy appetizer.


shimeji しめじ, シメジ: these are pretty good in stir-fry or sauté.

kikurage キクラゲ, 木耳: wood ear or Jew’s ear. Good in soups, simmered dishes, hotpot.

bunashimeji ぶなしめじ, ブナシメジ: just like shimeji, these are pretty good in stir-fry or sauté.

nameko なめこ, ナメコ: to be honest I don’t eat these guys much, but they are good for soups and nabe.


mushroom マシュルーム: these are your typical white button mushrooms… notice it is spelled in katakana.

crimini mushroom ブラウンマッシュルーム: similar to above, it is “brown mushroom” in katakana.

matsutake 松茸, マツタケ: you will probably never see these in Okinawa, or only rarely in high-end stores. This is due to the high cost here in Japan.

Recently, I have even seen some “portabello” type mushrooms in the stores, though there are usually just extra large shiitake mushrooms.

Another unusual mushroom that is recently popping up is the matsu-kinoko 松きのこ, a variety from Hiroshima that supposedly as the taste and fragrance of a matsutake but the texture of an eryngii… at a fraction of the cost of matsutake. I have yet to try this one.

Something else of note, here in Okinawa there are some local mushroom cultivators. Sometimes you may see them at the local farmers markets and industry product fairs, so be sure to give them a try. You can even purchase a mushroom block to take home and grow your own mushrooms… my husband did this a few years back.

Deciphering Rice Labels in Japan

Rice 米: There are so many types of rice in the Japanese grocery store, how do you know what you are getting? Well, to start with remember that Japanese rice is going to be short-grained, although some long or medium grain may also be imported.

Well let me touch on some basics on reading the rice labels in stores. I will update with some pictures in a bit, but I will try to get you started.

精米 polished (white) rice

玄米 unpolished (brown) rice

-産: where it is from

examples: 国内産 domestic (Japan), 福島県産 Fukushima Prefecture, 沖縄県産 Okinawa Prefecture, 新潟県産 Niigata Prefecture

精米年月日 date of rice polishing

産年 production year

新米 newly harvested rice

*** These years are in Japanese calendar, NOT western! So the year 2016 is 28年, 2015 is 27年, 2014 is 26年. Older rice tends to be discounted, so keep in mind you usually get what you pay for.

単一原料米 single-source rice (100% from 1 place)

複数原料米 multiple-source rice (from different places)

***  -割 indicates RATIOS (by 10’s). so 10割 is 100%, 6割 is 60%, 1割 is 10%, etc.

販売者 seller’s name (company)

内容量 contents volume

Some popular types of rice: (I will add some better descriptions later… gomennasai)

こしひかり (コシヒカリ) Koshihikari

ささにしき Sasanishiki

ひとめぼれ Hitomebore

もち米 Mochi-rice (glutinous rice, this is really more for sweets)

無洗米 no-wash rice

Later I will update this post with some of the mix-ins you can buy and which grains they contain… these are a great way to add nutrition to you average bowl of rice.