Archive for January 7th, 2009

07
Jan
09

Some MORE things I just LOVE about Japan: The Food!

4-Natto’s not-so good- And I could live my entire life without another morsel of Goya touching my palate. But everything else, so far, is delicious!

Yes, I came for the adventure and stayed for the food.  I talked about the Japanese obsession with calling everything Japanese to distinguish it. Well, when it comes to food, it’s just about accurate. Their food is exceptional.

“Do Americans eat rice?” my co-worker asked me.

“Ah, well, I can’t speak for all Americans, but I do…”

“Do you like Japanese rice?”

The question used to irk me. Yes, I’ve eaten rice from other countries but…maybe it was just the Japanese tag. But, now, hell…I can see what they mean. They should be proud of their whconoverpriced rice. It’s the best rice I’ve ever tasted. Sorry Mom…but I could eat Japanese Rice for the rest of my life. If I ever go home,  I’ll be shopping at the Mitsuwa Japanese super market in New Jersey cause they import it. No more converted/parboiled rice for me please. Uncle Ben’s ain’t never going in my mouth again, if I can help it. (I don’t care if he is Chairmen of the Board now and him and Aunt Jemima done jumped the broom) (-:  My mother was loyal to her Uncle Ben’s. She served it up for us 3 or 4 times a week since i can remember. And, though occasionally dry, it was generally pretty good.

Then, one day, you come to Japan and you get your first taste of real Japanese rice. There’s no pomp and circumstance. No one says, “Brace yourself for the experience of a lifetime.” If you’re like me, you went to your girlfriend’s house for dinner with her family, and Okaa-san does it up right, with a whole lot of other dishes, and a rice cooker full of rice. She serves you up a heaping bowlful and you thank her and impress her with your use of Nihongo and chopsticks. Then you place a heaping pair of chopsticks-ful of this insipid looking rice into your mouth, and the milky, silky, hearty smoothness of it just takes your breath away. Thank goodness for Uncle Ben’s. It I hadn’t been weened on it I don’t think I could have fully appreciated the exceptional taste of Japanese Rice.

Oh, and ramen. Forgetuhboutit! I thought I knew ramen. It was so cheap…and perfect for the munchies (-;

“Do Americans eat Ramen?”

“Ah, well, I can’t speak for all Americans, but I do…”

“Do you like Japanese Ramen?”

You grumble. Then, if you’re like me, You stop at the local Ramen shop in the station which is always crowded so you figure it must be good or cheap or hopefully both. And when you enter you see Salarymen and Office Ladies sitting around a long counter slurping it down. And when you hear the slurps you cringe and think, “Now, my mother would slap me into next week if I pulled that shit at home.”

A cute waitress comes and kneels before you with a pad and asks for your order. You point 10-ramento the picture and say, “this please.” It’s the set: Shoyu (soy sauce) Ramen, gyouza (dumplings) and fried rice, and a namabiiru (regular beer).  It arrives a few minutes later and looks something like this. →

And nothing like this ↓

nissin-top-ramen

Which is what passed for ramen back in your neck of the woods. You know, that Nissin Top Ramen? Anyway, there’s half an egg, and seaweed, and bamboo, and a healthy slice of pork and some pink and white stuff made out of fish paste and you say, “Well, I’m here now!” So, you dig in. And then you taste it and you exclaim: Whoa Nelly! So THIS is Japanese Ramen? And then you try to slurp it like your neighbors but you burn your lips, tongue and any other part of your mouth that comes in contact with it. So, for a while, you pick it up with the chopsticks and blow like you did back home to cool food off. But, not for long, because you wound up stopping at that station Ramen shop at least once or twice a week  and eventually learn how to do the proper way: The Japanese way.

Honorable mentions: Okonomiyaki, Nikutofu, Yakiudon, and Yakisoba. I never had any of these in America but I’m sure if I did I would still like the Japanese version much better.

natto-spoonful

Nope, natto’s not-so good.  →

“Do Americans eat natto (fermented beans)?”

“Ah, well, I can’t speak for all Americans, but…oh hell yeah I think I can on this one, NO!”  (-:

And I could live my entire life without another morsel of Goya touching my palate…

But everything else: delicious!

Loco




Copyright © 2010 Loco in Yokohama / All Rights Reserved

Please know that this blog is my original writing and may not be reproduced in any way without the expressed written permission of the author (that's me!) Thanks!

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