Nami was born and raised in Yokohama, Japan and now lives in San Francisco with her husband and 2 young children.
Her website, Just One Cookbook, features quick & easy Japanese home cooking recipes with step-by-step pictorial directions. She shares not only traditional food, but also contemporary food that local Japanese restaurants in the US don’t offer, but are enjoyed by most households in Japan. She enjoys cooking and eating good food, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. You can also visit her online at Twitter & Facebook.
As a food blogger, where do you find your inspiration and expertise?
My inspiration comes from my husband and children.
Growing up my mom always made great home cooked meals and I want to provide the same for my children. I consider the time we spend together at the dinner table each day to be very important, and the key to keeping the family close and healthy. My mom always made sure that we ate well and the majority of the kitchen prep skills I learned was by helping her in the kitchen before dinner time.
I used to think as a chore because all my work was focused on prep and not actual fun part of cooking. However, since I left Japan I realized that I was learning how to cook at the same time from observing her in the kitchen through the years.
Though based on my own experience, when my children get a little older I will make sure to make the kitchen “chores” more entertaining so they would think it’s fun to be in the kitchen!
How long have you been blogging?
I started to blog from January 1st, 2011. But in 2010, I was sharing my recipes five days a week on my Facebook account for about a year. Facebook didn’t provide a good user experience for searching recipes so I migrated to blogging.
What are some life lessons you’ve learned through blogging?
My major learning lesson is time management and I’m still working on it.
I have two young children who need my attention all day and a household I still need to run outside of my blog world. I am extremely detailed oriented so tasks take me a bit longer to complete than others. It hasn’t been easy trying to manage everything that I have to do and often my blogging suffers.
I’m still learning to manage my time more efficiently so that I can complete everything that I want, without sacrificing the quality.
What inspires you?
When I dine in restaurants, I often taste the dish and then imagine what it would taste like with different flavoring, sauce, or method of cooking.
As new ideas flows into my head, I use my family as guinea pigs. I love the feeling when they reward me with a big smile while enjoying the food I cook and saying “oishii (tastes good)!”
Also, I get feedback from readers everyday about what they cooked and how much they liked it, and that’s been really a great inspiration and motivation to me.
How much time do you spend reading and commenting on blogs daily?
My English is not very good so I spend quite a bit more time reading other bloggers’ comments and posts. It varies a bit from day to day but I spend about 4 hours a day reading and commenting on my own blog as well as visiting other blogs.
What brings you the most traffic?
My number one traffic comes from visitors that come directly to my site. Besides direct visitors, I also receive quite a bit of referral traffic from Google search results.
What’s your favorite social network and why?
I like using Facebook. It’s worldwide and it allows me to connect with readers and fans easily and I often check from my iPhone.
To the beginning chef, what advice would you give?
Your cooking skills will come naturally after several trial and errors in the initial stage.
I spent my twenties learning various recipes by following cookbooks and magazine clippings.
If you are like me who’s more comfortable following directions than creating your own dish, then my advice to become a better cook is to stick with a cookbook or food blog that you trust after trying a few recipes. The cookbook doesn’t have to be by someone famous such as Thomas Keller, but needs to provide basic fundamentals for you to be comfortable in the kitchen.
Your cooking skills will come naturally after several trial and errors in the initial stage. The point here is to keep creating and making the food you really enjoy eating. I want my blog to be a great source for Japanese cuisine where people can trust my taste and directions are easy enough for beginners to follow.
What advice would you give to the beginning blogger?
For food bloggers, my advice is to spend time to learn your camera and take good pictures of the food. If you put a lot of effort into a dish that you know is delicious, make sure the picture does the dish justice.
For bloggers in general, I would say it’s critical to maintain good original content and keep the posting regularly. I know it’s hard to commit to publish on a regular basis, but readers spend their time to visit your blog and it’s a nice gesture for us blogger to make sure they don’t keep coming to the site and see stale content. I try to update my site regularly (Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays) so readers know when to expect new content when they visit.
Some of Nami’s beautiful food creations…