It is very easy to get used to the food here. For a start, everything is delicious and it is usually so well presented. It looks as good as it tastes. It the past I have found a little difficulty in finding somewhere that will serve a salad, most light meals seem to involve rice, noodles or something deep-fried of some kind. However, on this trip I seem to have no problem finding straight salad on the menu. Is there some kind of change going on here now? Or am I slow to figure these things out?
My main way to obtain a salad has been to go to the 7/11 or Lawson and find a bag of shrink-wrapped, pre-shreded, cabbage salad in the fridge section. Cost $1 for what I think is a single serve, but may be intended for a family of 4? I have no problem putting it all away easily enough. Another favourite is sashimi, and this is always readily available in the supermarket fridge, fresh packed daily, at about $3 for 4 or 5 slices, or a larger tray costs $6 for 10 to 12 slices. All nicely arranged on a tray with a couple shiso leaves and some grated daikon and carrot. A healthy and nutritious light meal for $4.
When I eat out, which isn’t often, I always choose the cheaper places. Even so, the food is always so beautifully presented. While the interactions with the people are always so friendly, engaging and ever so polite.
I feel so inadequate and clumsy here. I don’t know all the rules and feel like a baby elephant crashing through sensitive cultural barriers without noticing and then shitting on the floor. But what can you do? I’m learning on the job as it were!
There isn’t much that I can about it either, except apologise. I do a lot of that these days. I’m enjoying myself, even if my hosts are finding me somewhat trying.
My supermarket supplied dinner for tonight. As I’m a ‘chunga’ here at the moment (bachelor). This kind of dinner is easily obtained, cheap, nutritious, fresh, and healthy. It’s just right for me at the moment in my unsettled circumstances.
The only processed food here is the natural yoghurt.
Lots of vegetables with some fish, is thought to be a very healthy diet. The Japanese are some of the healthiest and longest lived people on the planet, particularly the women. So something is right! Is it genetics, or is it the diet? Only time will tell, as younger people are adopting a more western diet and lifestyle.
This is pretty close to what I would be eating at home. Except that at home, all the fruit and vegetables would be home-grown in our extensive vegetable garden and orchards.
Best wishes from Steve in Arita
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