Product Inspirations – Travel Mug (SM-YAE48)

We’re excited to showcase our Travel Mug (SM-YAE48) as our first Product Inspiration of 2018!

This mug is a stylish and convenient way to take your favorite tea, coffee or other beverage with you whenever you’re commuting or on the go. We’ve designed it with travel-friendly features, like a generous 16-ounce capacity, a design that rests more securely in car cup holders and can fit beneath most single cup brewers, and superior vacuum insulation to keep drinks hot or cold for hours.

The exterior comes in four great colors—Lime Green, Cherry Red, Dark Cocoa and Stainless—while the interior features Zojirushi’s SlickSteel® electro-polished stainless steel, which uses an electrically charged polishing process to treat and finish the interior, without adding any nonstick coating. The result is a corrosion resistant surface that repels odors, foreign substances and stains. The wide mouth opening makes it easy to pour liquids into the mug and clean the inside, and the interior fill line markings help to prevent overfilling, which could cause leakage. Plus, all parts that come into contact with your beverage are BPA-free.

The Travel Mug also has an ingeniously crafted lid, with a safety lock that makes it leak-proof, a sipping area that comfortably fits the contours of your face, and an air vent design on the opening which allows for beverages to flow out smoothly. Best of all, the lid gaskets are removeable for easy cleaning!

Our customers love that the same trick that can be used with our insulated food jars can be used with this mug—pre-cool the interior with icy cold water before filling with a cold beverage, or pre-heat with boiling hot water before filling with a hot beverage and the temperature is kept even longer!

We’re so inspired by this travel mug and how our customers use it that we love to come up with great drinks for you. With cold winter weather upon us, we often like a warm drink, and our Cold Buster Smoothie is the best! And if you prefer something with a bit more kick to it, try out our Shake It and Take It Matcha. And of course, for those who love coffee drinks, try out our Oh So Soy Latte!

No matter what you drink, the Travel Mug (SM-YAE48) is ideal for enjoying your favorite drink when you’re on the go. And you know that the SM-YAE48 is our very own Jesse’s favorite! We hope you love it and our recipes as much as we do, and don’t forget to tell us how you use it!

Good Vibrations in 2018


Good, good, good, good vibrations!
—The Beach Boys

So this is my one resolution this year: stay positive! Each year my family asks me, “What’s your New Year’s Resolution this year, Dad?” And I try to come up with one, but only one, because I know how hard they are to keep. They’ve not always been successful, but I’ve got to set an example, right? I think I’ve grown more cynical as I get older, and that’s not good. As I get older, I figure I’ve earned the right to get crusty, but I don’t want to dry out and get crumbly…ha!

Too many haters out there today, and the problem is that everyone has a voice that can be heard everywhere, know what I mean? And this isn’t a positivity blog, so I’m not about to tell anyone what to do or offer suggestions. I will, however, tell you what I’m going to do to stay positive and invite good, good vibrations.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes:
“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so let us all be thankful.”
—Buddha

How utterly Zen is that?

More Good Music
Listening to great music always puts me in the right frame of mind. and I don’t care what anyone else is listening to, because I’m listening to classic rock—the way songs were written when they were called tunes. The best songwriters can compose catchy melodies that are memorable, and combine them with meaningful lyrics that aren’t pretentious or sappy. To be fair, there are many contemporary bands that I listen to as well—good music is good music, after all. But music preference is generational, and I prefer the songs that speak to me. From one of the greatest songwriters of all time:

I’m not the kind of man
Who tends to socialize
I seem to lean on
Old familiar ways
And I ain’t no fool for love songs
That whisper in my ears
Still crazy after all these years
Still crazy after all these years
—Paul Simon

More Good Food
We got ourselves a Gourmet Sizzler griddle this year for Christmas. My wife wanted one so she could do some tabletop cooking with the family, and I thought it was a good idea. I’ve noticed that whenever we eat at home, we each have our little places to go to inside the house, so we grab a plate and scatter to watch our own TV shows or sit at the computer while we eat. As much as I cringe at the thought of dining out and paying for the expense, I feel like it’s worth it because we’re all in one place together and we actually talk. Believe me, this gets harder as the kids get older.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to doing some teppanyaki or Korean BBQ or okonomiyaki at home this year. Who knows, maybe we can turn it into a regular family activity. If you decide to get one, there are some easy starter recipes on the Zojirushi site, so look them up. And if you’re interested, there’s some more information on griddle cooking here. I definitely wouldn’t have bought this if all I was going to do was make pancakes and grilled cheese sandwiches—that’s not enough to bring the family together!

More Good Moments
The trick to experiencing the good moments in life is to be able to recognize them. I am notoriously bad at it, so I resolve to be more sensitive to my surroundings from now on. I have an Instagram account, but I’m not all that active on it. When I think of the hundreds of funny or interesting images that I see all the time, I think if only I stopped to take a photo and just comment on my IG page, I’d probably have a decent collection of moments that I could have shared. These days we can do that so much easier than we used to—all we have to do is whip out our phones. It’s a matter of looking at things through our own unique lens, you know? Here’s an example of what I mean. This was taken when we went to go get breakfast at a local diner called Phanny’s. Excellent breakfast burritos, BTW.

A resolution to eat healthy—forgotten at the bus stop.

This year I’m going to see More Good Movies, write More Good Stories, read More Good Books and feel More Good Vibrations! What are you gonna do?

 

images: Good Vibes by P&J Productions, Buddha by Gaijin Pot, all others by Zojirushi and Bert Tanimoto

 

The Voices of Zojirushi – Jesse

2018 marks our 100th anniversary! Zojirushi started as the Ichikawa Brothers Trading Company in 1918 in Osaka, Japan, and since then, we haven’t stopped!

We were founded on the deep belief that we succeed when we work to improve our customer’s quality of life through the creation of innovative products. Our employees are such an important part of fulfilling our mission, and we’d love for you to get to know them!

Jesus is one of our friendly Customer Service Representatives based out of our offices in Torrance, California. He goes by Jesse, and has been with Zojirushi for a whopping 24 years! Jesse embodies our company’s mission, and we caught up with him to talk about what he likes about working with customers and what inspires him about Zojirushi.

Customer service always has a variety of Zojirushi products on hand nearby to help walk customers through the use and care of them

Zojirushi believes in putting their customers first, and as a Customer Service Representative, what motivates you to be customer-focused?

I enjoy assisting people, interacting with them and striving to make a positive difference in their day. I would say working at Zojirushi provides me with the opportunity to help new people, and that is something that motivates me. My children also inspire me. I see them doing their best in whatever they do—homework, sports—and that motivates me to do my best and provide the best customer service possible.

Our corporate philosophy is Creating a Quality of Life. How does your position at Zojirushi create a better quality of life for our customers?

Our customers have a better quality of life when I’m able to solve a problem they’re having with one of our products or just by answering their baking questions during the holidays. One less thing to worry about!

Much of our product design focuses on practicality, quality, craftsmanship, sustainability and stylishness. Do you have a favorite Zojirushi product that you believe embodies these qualities, and how do you believe we embody those qualities in our services?

Safety, usability, practicality, quality, craftsmanship and stylishness. That describes the Travel Mug (SM-YAE48) to me! Also, we really believe in self-improvement and honesty. We’re always trying to improve our products and when we have an issue with the product, we do our best to correct any problem. That shows that we really care.

Zojirushi Travel Mug SM-YAE48

What’s the best dish you’ve made using one of our products, and if you could dream up your own perfect Zojirushi product, what would it be?

I would like to see a Zojirushi waffle maker! It would be so much fun if it could make waffles in the shape of our elephant logo. I’d love it as much as I love to make pork chops with roasted vegetables in the Gourmet d’Expert® Electric Skillet (EP-PBC10). They turned out really good!

Zojirushi isn’t just about products. It’s about our company’s values and the wonderful Japanese culture that informs what we do. Have you been inspired by Japan during your tenure here?

I have never been to Japan, but I would love to see the cherry blossom trees and see people wearing kimonos, the ones made with beautiful silk colors.

Finally, if you could tell people one great thing about Zojirushi, what would it be?

I have been here for over 20 years so it’s hard to narrow it down to just one moment – let’s just say I have a few! Meeting Mr. Ichikawa, the President & CEO of Zojirushi, is definitely up there. I look forward to coming to work and I’m happy to be here at Zojirushi America. I feel appreciated, acknowledged and rewarded.

—-

Jesse is such a great team member, and we hope you enjoyed learning about his perspectives. Stay tuned next month to meet another Zojirushi star!

A Food Lover’s Tour of Japan – Hyogo and Akashiyaki

In the western part of Japan’s Honshu Island, Hyogo Prefecture encapsulates the beauty and grandeur of ancient and modern Japan, its natural beauty and its famous cuisine.

Hyogo Prefecture cuts across the Kansai region of the island, with its northern coastline bordering the Sea of Japan and its southern one the Seto Inland Sea. Mountains dot the central interior of the prefecture and contribute to the area’s natural hot springs and caves.

Kobe is the capital city of the prefecture, home to famous kobe beef, sake breweries, excellent seafood and the Luminarie Festival, held in December at the Higashi Yuenchi area to commemorate those who perished in the 1995 Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake. Kobe is Japan’s second largest trading port after Nagoya, and along with bustling shopping, is part of the Keihanshin District, a high-end resort and tourism area including Kobe, Osaka and Kyoto. The Arima Onsen, founded in the 8th century by Buddhist monks, is a major draw, as is Mt. Rokko, standing 3,054 feet high, where indigenous Kiso and Tokara horses pasture on the mountain’s plateaus.

South of Kobe, into the Seto Inland Sea, lies Awaji Island, connected to the mainland by the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge. This bridge is the world’s longest suspension bridge, measuring 12,832 feet long with two bracing towers located approximately 6,270 feet apart. The bridge is lit every night, affording amazing views from Mt. Rokko. Awaji Island is the largest island in the Seto Inland Sea, with beaches and hiking trails, along with a unique feature called the Uzushio. Here fast tides swirl near the coast, causing whirlpools of all sizes!

Traveling counter clockwise around Hyogo Prefecture, it’s easy to visit Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the premier examples of medieval Japanese fortified castles. The bright white castle resembles the shape of a heron with wings spread and is beautifully preserved. The castle architecture focuses on defensive strategies, showcasing multiple gates that create bottlenecks for advancing enemies, fortification walls with oval, rectangular and triangular holes from which specific weapons could be shot and skirt-like sashes at windows through which hot oil and sharp rocks could be thrown. For all of its warlike fortifications, Himeji Castle is now the site of the Himeji Castle Cherry Blossom Viewing Fair in spring, the Himeji Castle Festival in summer, the Moon Viewing festival in autumn and a famous Ceramics Market. Visitors also tour nearby Mt. Shosha, with its 1,000-year-old temple and the Kōko-en Garden, with its reproductions of Edo Period buildings.

Towards the northern part of Hyogo, the Kinosaki area boasts numerous ryokan and onsen, as well as a basalt mass 214 feet long with deep caves left over from cooled lava flows. Overlooking this picturesque area is the Onsen-ji Temple, founded by the Buddhist saint Dōchi Shōnin in the 8th century. From this temple, as numerous statues of Kan’non, the ancient Japanese Goddess of Mercy, look down over the area. Takarazuka in the southeastern part of prefecture is also famous for its Kiyoshikōjin Seichō-ji Temple, where legends of Kōjin-san, the God of Fire, abound and where visitors come to ensure good luck in their endeavors.

No matter where you are in Hyogo, small and large restaurants provide incredibly diverse Japanese food, from succulent kobe beef to the signature dish of the prefecture, akashiyaki. Akashiyaki are eggy octopus balls, similar to takoyaki, but served with a savory dashi broth and without sauce. Akashiyaki are made with eggs, green onions, ginger, a small amount of flour and pieces of diced octopus, often from the Futami area, where the species are known for their succulence. Akashiyaki are prepared similarly to takoyaki on a special molded pan heated over a wood fire, and are served slightly underdone on a sloped wooden cutting board. When eating akashiyaki, the dumplings are scooted from the cutting board into a warm umami-rich dashi broth. On a cold day, akashiyaki fill the belly and warm the soul!

And as always, be sure to share your comments below!

Product Inspirations – Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker & Warmer (NP-NVC10/18)

We are inspired every month by innovations that you, our fans, share with us. You inspire us to create small appliances that bring ease, convenience, versatility and style to your kitchen. And that ultimately help you cook delicious foods, simply and easily. It’s with these beliefs that we’ve created the Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker & Warmer (NP-NVC10/18)–our flagship rice cooker.

This rice cooker is engineered to cook perfect rice, every time. The advanced fuzzy logic with artificial intelligence technology used in this rice cooker “learns” from prior cooking experiences and makes minute adjustments to each batch of rice, so that it is cooked perfectly, every time. The microcomputer that controls the rice cooker also manages the multiple varied settings, which are accessed from the large, easy-to-read LCD panel. White rice can be cooked regular, harder or softer, and the rice cooker also has menu settings such as umami, mixed rice, sushi or sweet rice, porridge, brown rice, GABA brown rice as well as rinse-free and quick cooking. Exclusive to this model are the steam-reduce and scorch settings. The steam-reduce setting minimizes the amount of steam emitted from the rice cooker, so surrounding cabinets are protected, and the scorch setting scorches the bottom of the rice for a crunchy texture.

Pressurized cooking is a key feature in this rice cooker, as applying pressure during cooking converts the rigid beta starch in rice into alpha starch, which makes the rice sweeter, softer and easier to digest. Sushi rice, which needs to be harder in texture, is cooked at the same atmospheric pressure as sea level, while white rice and brown rice are cooked at higher pressures, which gives them a soft yet chewy consistency. No matter what type of rice you use, this machine selects from three pressure levels according to the menu selected–automatically!

The induction heating technology used in this pan creates instant and precise heat. The inner pan is heated, not the inside of the machine, so that cooking temperature is concentrated where the rice is. The inner pan is made with a platinum infused nonstick coating, making the water used to cook the rice more alkaline, enhancing the natural sweetness of the rice. Clear, bright markings make it easy to measure in the right amount of rice and water and the entire pan is easy to clean with mild dish detergent and warm water. And the stainless steel inner lid can be detached and easily cleaned in the same manner.

This machine uses the same great convenience features that our other rice cookers do: namely, the ability to select your favorite sound signal–a beep, a melody or silence–as well as Keep Warm, Extended Keep Warm, Reheat and Timer functions.

This rice cooker’s exterior is just as beautiful as the interior, featuring a clear coated stainless steel which coordinates any kitchen décor. It is available in 5.5 cup and 10 cup sizes.

Our top-of-the-line rice cooker is the ideal rice cooker for preparing a variety of dishes this season. Green Tea Rice is always a refreshing rice to serve with dishes like ginger pork and teriyaki yellow tail. Brown Rice and Black Bean Crisps are filling, look beautiful and are naturally gluten-free. And our delectable Deconstructed California Roll features sushi rice paired with crab meat, avocados, cucumbers and nori seaweed.

The rice cooker comes with a rice spatula, spatula holder and measuring cup.

No matter what you make, we know you’ll love our rice cooker as much as we do. Leave us a comment about your best experience and as always, be sure to share your favorite recipes with us!