As a child, my diet consisted mostly of Swiss and Italian dishes. Pasta, potatoes, gratin and such. We were fed the occasional Thai curry or sweet and sour pork, but not much else from the exotic department. And it is only in these two cuisines, those I know best, that I stay true to the original recipes and ingredient combinations.
I am not that familiar with Japanese food, my experience of it is limited to 2 or 3 restaurant visits in Switzerland or Germany. I also make sushi from time to time, but I would not consider myself a sushi expert. So when I tell you this dish is Japanese, I am probably wrong.
I cook soba and other Asian noodles like I cook Italian pasta, in salted water, on a rolling boil. I learnt to rinse them in cold water after cooking, but I usually reheat them with the sauce I want to serve them with. And it turns out fine, even great with this dish.
Buckwheat and mushrooms are to be considered close friends in the kitchen, at least in mine. Whenever I cook with buckwheat, I want to add mushrooms, these two earthy flavours complement each other so well. This dish was inspired by a recipe by Heidi Swanson, her Black Sesame Otsu, a recipe from her second book that you can also find on her blog. I made it as she wrote it, too, and I love it, but I also like to change things up. And I have to say, the mushrooms do more for the dish than the tofu in the original recipe. I actually quite like tofu, but it is does not add much flavor to a dish.