NICE TO HAVE TOOL: Pressure cooker
Pressure cooker is one of the nice kitchen tool to have. In Japan, it's quite popular - my mother had one as well.
She used the pressure cooker not only to cook beans, but also fish (if it's finger size fish, we could eat from head to tail!) or stew.
When I came to Norway, I searched desperately for pressure cooker, and my desperate attempt brought me to Germany, but it was quite expensive (and I wondered why...) In recent years, the "pressure cooker" culture has flooded in (or that's what I believe,) and a friend told me that I can get one from IKEA.
Sure enough. IKEA had it. It's quite simple and inexpensive, but it does the job.
Pressure cooker comes with airtight lid and a valve system to regulate internal pressure. The steam which builds up inside the pressurized pot cooks food at a very high temperature. Thus, it reduces the cooking time without destroying the nutritional value of the food.