A shady start leads to shining glory in the SoraKitchen.

Our Japanese-language reporter Go Hatori has been getting dozens of text messages from scammers every day, and he’s got a problem. Those are, however, two separate aspects of his life.

See, tangling with online scammers and trying to outsmart them is one of Go’s favorite hobbies, so he doesn’t really mind the junk mail. What has been bothering him recently, though, is that he just can’t seem to make a good batch of fried rice.

So when Go, out of the blue, received a text message from someone calling themselves Mizuho Ishikawa, and with a photo of an attractive, smartly dressed young lady as their profile picture, he thought that this might just be his lucky day (the texts below were originally in Japanese, but we’ve translated them into English)

Mizuho’s grammar was a little strange, leading Go to wonder if she was contacting him from outside Japan or may even be an AI bot. Ever-polite, though, he replied cordially, and Mizuho got right to the point.

This was obviously some sort of scam, and Go wasn’t about to fall for it. But he decided to keep the conversation with the scammer going until he got what he wanted.

And to Go’s surprise, Mizuho seemed willing to help!

However, maybe Go had expected too much of Mizuho, because her next messages were:

OK, so naturally the scammer was trying to steer Go back to the scam. However, at the risk of bragging about his vast financial resources, Go is, in fact, wealthy enough that he can already afford to buy restaurant fried rice. What he was after in this conversation was knowledge, not money, and he was quick to put the discussion back on his desired course.

It wouldn’t have been a shock if Mizuho broke things off right there. Instead, just one minute later she fired back with a complete recipe for fried rice!

Success! Sure, the grammar was a little rough, but Go felt like he could follow the gist, so he put down his phone, grabbed his apron, and got cooking.

● Ingredients
Cooked rice (1 large bowl)
Ham (3 slices)
Egg (1)
Cucumber (1/3)
Green peas (20 grams [0.7 ounces])
Green onions (5 grams [0.2 ounces])
Shrimp (2 large ones)
Salt (1 teaspoon)
Ajinomoto MSG (about 1/2 teaspoon)
Cooking oil

Step 1: Cut the cucumber, shrimp, and ham into small pieces.

Step 2: Pour a generous amount of cooking oil into the wok/frying pan and heat the pan. Add the egg and cook until about soft-boiled consistency.

Step 3: Wash out the pan (if you don’t have a spare), then re-add oil and heat the pan again. Add peas, shrimp, and ham and stir fry them.

Step 4: As soon as you notice the green peas starting to brown, add the rice. Press the rice lightly into the pan as it starts to cook.

Step 5: Once the rice is heated, add in the egg, green onion, cucumber, and salt and MSG, then stir fry it all together,

Step 6: Give the pan periodic shakes to release the steam and prevent everything from getting too soggy.

Step 7: Once the contents are looking like the picture below, it’s ready to eat!

Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?

But how did it taste?

Amazing! The combination of flavors and textures from these ingredients, in this ration, was absolutely outstanding. At first Go thought it was strange to slice the shrimp rather than leaving them whole, but this allows you to enjoy their taste throughout the entire meal, instead of in all-too-short moments of shrimply goodness.

Honestly, this is the best-tasting plate of fried rice Go has made in his entire life. Lest you think he’s a neophyte when it comes to this particular dish or cooking in general, Go previously spent several months living in China, eating fried rice whenever he had the chance, and also is a licensed cook who used to work in a restaurant before joining the SoraNews24 team. So he knows what he’s talking about when he says Mizuho’s fried rice recipe is seriously good.

After he was done eating, he sent a picture of the fried rice he’d cooked to Mizuho, and thanked her again for helping him out.

But then…

Mizuho had shifted tactics. Instead of highlighting the incentive that Go could earn enough money with her organization to go out and eat restaurant fried rice, she was now tempting Go with promises of further fried rice secrets if he’d join the group.

From there, it wasn’t long until Mizuho started sending Go links to suspicious looking apps she wanted him to install so he could get started in the nebulous business opportunity she was pitching. But Go honestly can’t imagine himself ever making, or needing to make, fried rice that tastes even better than the recipe Mizuho already gave him, so he’s not interested in the “job,” no matter how much she pleads. After all, he’s already got what he wants: a great fried rice recipe, and yet another win in his ongoing battle against online scammers.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]