29 January, 2013

Answer to Photo Question #26

On Saturday I posted this photo and asked what you thought it was:

The award for the most creative answer goes to Ken:
From the shape and material it is obviously a pair of ex-military binoculars in a field case. You can use them at the wrestling when you sit right up the back doing something else, but still want to be able to comment later on close points of the encounter.
Several people got really close to the true answer, it is a cooking implement for camping. But specifically it is a Rice Cooker. Yes, a Japanese Rice Cooker! Check out this post to see photos of someone actually using one while camping. 

I think it is called a Hangou suisan (飯ごう 炊爨). The name in Japanese is very much related to the military (so there you go, Ken, you weren't so far off). It can also be used for cooking noodles, or anything, I imagine, that a saucepan could be used for. You can't see it in the photo, but there is an internal dish that sits just inside the rim. This is your "bowl" for eating. You remove it while cooking.

This is something we've been looking for, but haven't seen in the shops up till now, so I was surprised and very pleased when I found it last week. It cost me about $10. Unbelievably someone is selling a used one on ebay for US$45. The write-up on it there says: 
"Japanese camping cooker / pot is in a shape of a bean/eyemask, it is designed that way in order to give convection and cook rice thoroughly. 
The handle is designed that way because Japanese soldier used to hang it around waist."
We're getting prepared for the longest camping trip we've done yet. A tour around Hokkaido in June/July. The ability to cook rice while camping in such a compact piece of equipment as this is a great addition.


Judie said...

Wow, I was so close! Apart from the rice.

Gary and Barbara said...

It was the summer of 1985, and I was in Japan for the first time, teaching English for two months. We were at the end-of-the-summer English camp in the mountains. A barbecue was announced for dinner. After a summer of Japanese food, I was ready for a tasty slab of chicken or beef grilled over hot coals. Imagine my confusion when I arrived at the outdoor cooking spot and all I saw was a large fire, three poles tied together to make a tripod, and a giant kettle hanging over the flames. As I drew closer I learned that the concoction in the pot was curry! And that our promised "barbecue" was to be curry rice! But where was the rice? I soon learned it was in dozens of those interestingly shaped cooking tins, buried in the coals beneath the curry pot. It was a mystery to me how they knew when the rice was done and to take it out of the fire. But despite my disappointment at not getting what I expected, I must admit the curry rice was excellent. In fact, my wife's home cooked curry recipe with rice is still one of my favorite meals in Japan.

Ken Rolph said...

The reason I thought of binoculars is that I was recently handling some. We were minding the grandkids and they were helping me feed the birds. I sometimes look at them (the birds, that is) in neighbouring trees with the binoculars. Mister 4 had never seen such a thing, so I showed him how to look through them.

He thought the birds were interesting, but the most fun was to turn them around and make his little brother look very small, then chase him around.