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Translating Japanese Cookbooks: Orange Tiramisu

Hi everyone, It’s Umi. I would first like to say thank you for all the positive feedback on my first post and I apologize for not writing more.

I have finally had the time to sit down and start translating cookbooks from Japanese to English. It just took a pandemic to free up my time.


Here starts an article series about my efforts in translating Japanese cookbooks and cooking what is translated. Now I know this is not the most exciting topic to choose to write about, but I hope someone enjoys it. I have taken a couple Japanese courses in college, though if asked to speak or write it, I fall flat. So, by doing this series I hope to better my Japanese language skills while also seeing how well I can make these recipes. Each article will be written as I am learning and translating the recipes As of right now there are only three books I have to choose from, which a friend got for me while in Japan. The first book I will be working on is all about sweets. Then the second book will be about udon noodles. Finally, the third book will be about the different ways to make Japanese eggplant (I am not a fan of eggplant). Depending on my ability to translate the recipes, the dishes will either turn out palatable or not. I am hoping to have these articles available once a week starting from right now, but I am still working and could have things come up that affect my schedule.

My first recipe comes from a cookbook called 10 Minutes Sweets ときめく十分スイーツ (flash 10 minutes sweets) by 若山曜子 (Wakayama Yoko).


Chapter 。1


Juubun de sugu ni oishii sui-tsu.

Ten minutes of delicious sweets, soon enough.


Orenji tiramisu

Orange tiramisu


Zairyou (naga 20cm no o-baru kokoto 1daibun)

Material (Length 20cm oval cocotte, one unit)


Finga-bisuketo yaku jyuunipon

Finger biscuits about 12 pieces


(Youki ni awaseru)

(Fit to container)



Orenji hateto 1 kabu

1 orange fruit juice


(matawa shihan no orenjijuosu 80mL)

(or commercially available orange juice, 80mL)


Guraniyu-to osaji 1

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

グラン. マルニエあれば大さじ1

Guran. Marunie areba osaji 1

1 tablespoon of Gran. Marnier

I knew that there was such a thing as an orange liquor, but I could not remember what it was called. Trying to translate Gran. Marnier from the japanese katakana to english proved tricky and was hard to figure out what the hell that ingredient was supposed to be.



Nama kuriimu (Chichi shibou-bun 35% ijou no mono)

Fresh Cream (Milk fat 35% or more)


½ kappu

½ cup

マスカルポーネチーズ 100g

Masukarupon chiizu 100g

Mascarpone Cheese 100g


Guranyu-to osaji 1

1 tablespoon granulated sugar


Hachimitsu osaji 1

1 tablespoon honey


Orenji 2-ko

2 oranges

After translating the ingredients, the next thing that needed to be done is grocery shopping. This proved to be an interesting task, because there is a quarantine going on right now and my husband and I are trying to follow the CDC recommendations the best we can. My husband is the designated household member to go out shopping as a way to limit contamination to others and ourselves. So I sent him to the store to grab all the needed ingredients for this dish. This means I had to make some substitutions. First one being that he had no idea where to find finger biscuits (lady fingers) and swore there were none, so animal crackers were grabbed instead. The other ingredient was the Gran. Marnier (a type of orange liquor). This one was my bad, I forgot to say it was liquor and as a result he had no clue what Gran. Marnier was and didn’t buy it. I do want to say that I very much appreciate having a husband that will go do this for me.

Illustration for article titled Translating Japanese Cookbooks: Orange Tiramisu

Now the time came to translate the rest of the recipe and stark cooking. I can cook pretty well, but baking is another story. All the recipes in this book should only take ten minutes to make, so I assume I should be able to handle making these.


1) 器にフィンガービビスケットを並べすれ(大きければ適当に割る)、混ぜたAをスプーンで全体に散らすようにかけてしみ込ませる。

Utsuwa ni finga-bisuketto o narabe sure (okikereba tekito ni waru), mazeta A o supun de zentai ni chira you ni kakete shimikomaseru.


Arrange finger biscuits in a bowl (if it is big, divide it appropriately), sprinkle the mixed A with a spoon so it spreads all over.

The first thing the recipe wants me to do is to lay out the biscuits in the cocotte. In my case I laid out a bunch of animal crackers. After the animal crackers were all set it was time to drown them with the mixture of ingredients in section A. I did add a little splash of sake to the orange juice so it had a tab bit of that alcohol note. So mixture A was made up of orange juice, sugar, and a tiny amount of sake that I am sure had no business being put in.

Illustration for article titled Translating Japanese Cookbooks: Orange Tiramisu

2) 生クリームをつのがぴンと立つまで泡立てる。

Nama kuriimu o tsunoga pin to tatsu made awadateru.

Whisk the fresh cream until it sticks.

One task in this recipe I did not pay attention to before making, was the fact I had to make whipped cream by hand. Since I do not own a mixer, I had to use a whisk and vigorously beat the heavy whipping cream until my arms felt like they were going to fall off.

Illustration for article titled Translating Japanese Cookbooks: Orange Tiramisu

3) マスカルポーネチーズ、グラニュー糖、はちみつを混ぜ、2を加えて泡立て器でさっくりと混ぜる。

Masukarupon chiizu, guranyu-mai-to, hachimitsu o maze, 2 o kuwaete awatateki de sakuri to maeru.


Mascarpone cheese, granulated sugar, mix honey, add 2 and mix thoroughly with a whisk.

I then mixed together the mascarpone cheese, sugar, and honey. That mixture was then whisked into the whipped cream. So, more whisking that would further beat up my poor arm.


4) オレンジは天地を切り落として、薄皮ごと縦に皮をそぎ落とす。厚さ7-8mmの輪切りにし、さらに食べやすい大きさにする。

Orenji wa tenchi o setsuri otoshite, usukawa go to tate ni kawa o sogi otosu. Atsusa 7-8mm no wagiri ni shi, sata ni tabe yasui okisa ni suru.


Cut the orange top to bottom, and peel the skin vertically along with the thin skin. Cut into slices of 7-8mm in thickness, to make them more enjoyable.

The last step before finishing up the recipe was to thinly slice some oranges. I do not know if it was my translation or just how the sentence was phrased, but that was the oddest way to be told to peel and cut and orange. Also, who holds an orange in their hand to cut it?


5) 1に3と4を順に重ねる。

1 ni 3 to 4 o juni kasaneru.

Layer 3 and 4 on 1 in order.

Lastly I slapped everything on top of the drowning soggy animal crackers. I tried to make the orange slices arrangement look more organized, but I failed at that.

Illustration for article titled Translating Japanese Cookbooks: Orange Tiramisu

I am a huge fan of traditional tiramisu, so I was excited to make an orange version. The recipe did not turn out as bad as I thought it would. I have no confidence in my ability to make sweets. Though, I am sure it would have been better without my substitutions. I do have one complaint about the recipe itself. Unless this was made for a single person, it is hard to serve tiramisu with oranges on top out of a cocotte.

Illustration for article titled Translating Japanese Cookbooks: Orange Tiramisu

This was my first attempt translating a Japanese recipe and yes I cheated a lot and used google translate, but I tried to use my text book as much as possible. The kanji makes things a tad difficult for me. I had a hard time remembering the few kanji we had to learn in school. The katakana was not too bad, I just used my textbook from college to help me remember what each symbol sounded like. Then I just put the sounds together till it sounded like a word I was familiar with in the English language (and for the past few days I have been saying orange as orenji, because it sounds cute). I am extremely rusty on my sentence structure in Japanese and needed lots of help with figuring out what the sentence was trying to say. I hope as I write these articles I will become more confident with my Japanese. I was considering putting all the kanji I had to translate in here, but I wanted to check if that would be something people would be interested in reading. let me know if you would like to see this or have suggestions for future translation articles.


I am happy I finally got myself to translate a recipe and make this dish. I had several first in my cooking department. Making whipped cream from scratch, using mascarpone cheese, and making tiramisu. I do not know if this will ever be a recipe I will make again, but who knows. I hope my readers enjoyed my first step into this journey and will stay with me as I keep going down this path.

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