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A Billy Blanks Wii exergame is coming…to Japan

Joystiq announced that Billy Blanks, the creator of the Tae-Bo workout videos, is coming out with a Wii game, but so far it is due for a Japanese release only, next March.  Blanks was the last big household-name instructor in the US before Jillian Michaels came along, and within the last few years, he made another big marketing and personal splash in Japan, where he now lives.

While Japanese Wii games can be imported, you need a Japanese Wii console (or a specially modified console) to play them.  But there is hope for gaming Blanks fans in the states; Joystiq notes that this new Blanks game is a sequel to Shape Boxing, which was brought to our shores by Ubisoft as the excellent Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout.  So Billy’s game has a good chance of being a knockout, too.

Kidz Bop Dance Party: copy of a Japanese Wii dance game?

I saw that Amazon now has a trailer for the upcoming Kidz Bop Dance Party, and besides its gameplay resemblance to the We Cheer series, I thought it looked very much like a We Cheer-like game that was released only in Japan, Happy Dance Collection.  HDC came out at about the same time as the first We Cheer, but it featured Japanese pop songs and used only one Wiimote.  It wasn’t so much dancing, as the sort of star posing that pop idols often do on stage.

Here’s a screenshot of Kidz Bop, courtesy of Amazon:

And a video of Happy Dance Collection:

A bit of a resemblance?  (There’s also this cute video of a family playing HDC.)  The game is now out of print, but I recall that it got some good reviews from dance-game fans, so now I’m more interested in Kidz Bop than I was before.

Try some Japanese soul food: Oyako Donburi

It’s that time of year again for hot comfort food, and for me, growing up with a Japanese mom meant more than just spaghetti on the menu.  This is one of my favorite simple hearty dishes, with only a few “exotic” ingredients (my non-Asian husband and kids love it) and with holidays coming, a great way to use up small amounts of leftover turkey or chicken, and cooked vegetables.  The name literally means “parent and child in a bowl” – chicken and egg – get it?

Oyako Donburi

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp instant dashi (granulated fish broth)*
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp mirin (sweet sake), optional*
  • 1 quarter of an onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped chicken or turkey (can be raw or cooked)
  • 1 cup frozen peas or mixed veggies
  • 5 eggs
  • cooked rice (preferable Japanese short-grain rice) for serving
  • chopped nori (dried seaweed) for garnish*
  1. Combine the first five ingredients in a large flat skillet or omelet pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add chicken and onion, and cook for about 3 minutes, or until onion is softened and chicken is cooked (if raw).  Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add veggies to pan, spread everything around evenly, and swirl the beaten eggs over the top.
  4. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes – I like it to be slightly runny so the egg soaks into the hot rice, but you can cook it longer if you want the eggs harder (there will still be liquid in the pan).
  5. Put a scoop of hot rice in each serving bowl, and with a spatula or big spoon, put the juicy egg mixture on top.  Top with a big pinch of chopped nori and dig in!  Makes 2 dinner-size or 4 lunch-size servings.

*All of these can be found at most Asian food stores.  You can substitute 1 cup of chicken or veggie broth for the water+dashi.  Nori is that black paperlike seaweed used on sushi rolls; I like to buy jars of pre-shredded nori for easy garnishing (store it in the freezer to keep it fresh).

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