Sunday, June 14, 2009

Reputed to as a good taste

"Chocolate Chip Melon Pan is reputed to as a good taste"

Well, that was the best recommendation I had received so far in this supermarket, so I picked up the packet and dropped it into my basket. Shopping for food is non-trivial when you can't read the packaging. Is something already cooked? If not, how does one go about correcting this? If you get it wrong, do you die or live to try again? Raiding the chilled cabinets has become a favourite past-time since food in there is often bite-sized and clearly ready to be devoured. My favourite from there are onigiri; rice balls wrapped in seaweed with a surprise such as plum or salmon in the center. Admittedly, it would be less of a surprise if I could actually read the label, but as it is it's just as if my Mum made them for my lunchbox.

Eating out in Japan is much more communal than in the west. Dishes are designed to be shared and often some self-assembly is required. Yesterday, I had "shabu-shabu" where a pot of boiling water sits in the centre of the table and you add meat, vegetables and sometimes noodles to cook. Earlier in the week, I went to a similar set-up but where the central cooking technique was a grill over hot charcoals. Even where no cooking is required (such as with sushi), dishes tend to be shared rather than each person having their individual portion.

Growing up with a younger sibling who, once he hit his teens, ate everything in sight, made the concept of such free division of food was rather worrying. However, starvation at such meals would be a surprising occurrence and is more likely to be linked with an inability to fish for food with chopsticks than the (normally huge) quantity available. It also solves a common dilemma I had in the USA whereby I'd eat slightly too much of my meal to make it worth asking for a take-home box, and thereby be forced to finish the entire plate rather than waste the great food. Oddly, the concept that I might bring the food up again never occurred to me as wasting it.

Tomorrow's task: find way from new apartment to department. Shame there isn't a button for that, really.


  1. Oh my adorable source of remote entertainment...

  2. I get myself into these messes just for you Fabio, you know that ;-)