“This is Japan” is a weekly blog post where I talk about what it’s like to live in Japan. It’s a place where I can share strange, funny, or interesting stories. Sometimes it is a bit personal or random, but I hope you will find it interesting to learn what it is like to live in Japan.


You’re in Japan. You want to make cookies. But…you don’t have an oven. What do you do?

You try and make them in your toaster oven! The old toaster oven you picked up for free from someone else who was leaving Japan. The toaster oven that they even bought second hand from a recycle shop. You make mediocre cookies and end up eating the rest of the dough raw because it’s easier.

How many times has this happened to you? What? Never? Only me?

I have posted several times about my lack of oven and my journeys in cake and cookie building without it. With my new rice cooker, I have been able to make a carrot cake and a lemon cake, but I don’t think I can make cookies in it. A toaster oven doesn’t quite cut it either, and while it’s not impossible to make cookies in a toaster oven, it is far too time-consuming. It feels like I’m babysitting the little dough balls.

Well, after five and half years without an oven or a microwave (and me almost ruining our toaster oven by spilling melted butter all over the bottom), my husband and I finally decided to buy one. So we went to the store, found a few that were too expensive, and then checked Amazon instead. We decided on a nice new microwave oven. Though I’m calling it an actual oven and not just a microwave. It can make everything that a regular oven can. And It can also heat up frozen butter to room temperature without melting it.

It arrived in the morning, and before even setting it up, I got to work making some more cookie dough. I wanted to be ready for my cookie making adventures.

I waited until my husband came home from work to let him read the instructions and set it up, so I wouldn’t break anything. We had originally thought to put it on top of the fridge, but that turned out to not be a great idea. So while we wait for a little stand to be delivered in the next few days, it is happily sitting on the cardboard box it came in.

And yes, I did pop some cookies in it as soon as we plugged it in. And yes, they turned out like normal cookies. Whereas before I could only make six cookies at a time, now I can make 24. I feel like we finally have a normal kitchen. *cries tears of joy*

It’s a bit small for an oven compared to the ones in Canada. But you know what, maybe ovens in Canada are too big. This one is nice and compact, fits in my little apartment, and doesn’t heat up a bunch of empty space inside the oven. It was only Y26,000. And it’s not like we need to cook any turkeys or anything like that.

I don’t know how to take pretty photos of ovens, so here is an average photo:

new oven

Isn’t it pretty?!

Leave a comment below telling me about some of your kitchen struggles. What appliances have you had to do without, and how did you improvise?

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Author

Jennifer has lived in Japan for a total of seven years. She has travelled, taught English, studied Japanese, completed a Master’s Degree, and travelled some more. She currently calls Nagoya her home, where she lives with her Japanese husband.

12 Comments

  1. Wah? No Micro? Or oven? I’d take the Micro over an oven first, more useful but how can you make cookies in an oven that cooks food at 2450mhz?

    That’s the operating frequency for all microwaves! I’m glad your all cookie-fied! The other day I was in a store purchasing some special wax for my truck, the nice Mexican lady said she had burned her cookies just before I came in.

    I asked to try one. They were delicious! And she thought it was funny that someone actually likes burnt food. I told her it’s something I got from my mum who loved food just a bit overcooked. Be well!

    • What? 240mhz? I don’t know. It’s both a microwave and an oven. It cooks things like an oven and heats things up a microwave.

      • It’s 2450 MHz, a darn high frequency that has been determined as the best frequency that food absorbs the RF energy. I’ve been a licensed Ham Radio person for decades so this sort of stuff is on my frequency!

          • RF means Radio Frequency. Tests showed that food best absorbs RF Energy at this specific frequency which makes the food get hot or cook.you have been edumicated! hehe

  2. How exciting! I do know the feeling. Our previous suite had a tiny kitchen which didn’t have room for an oven so we just had a small microwave oven. I could only bake 6 muffins at a time or one layer of a cake at a time or 6 cookies…..it took forever!
    Last year we bought our condo and I was sooo excited to finally have a full size oven! It makes life so much easier 🙂

    Enjoy your baking in your new oven!

    • I’m glad you understand the struggles of having an incomplete kitchen. I haven’t used it too much yet other than the first batch of cookies and to reheat pizza, but I’m sure it will be lots of joy to my tummy 🙂

    • Exactly! I just put a whole chicken in there right now. My first time roasting a chicken! It’s pretty exciting over in my house.

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