In an effort to write on an interesting topic….more food comes to mind. When I was a child i had MANY allergies. I could not eat corn based products. I am convinced that my mom gave me a taste of Japan at that time. When I was a child, and I went to the movies, my mom would give me a rice cake made by Quaker Oats. She would break it and season it with a flavor I could eat. In 1999 I tasted something similar…senbei (せんべい) or Japanese rice cracker.
Recently I went bowling with my Japanese friends and before the activity we had my favorite fast food. Mos Burger. If I were to put into words what it tastes like, the only thing that comes close to describing it is ‘delicious’. Sure, it looks like a simple set, but every taste is to die for. I don’t mean this literally, but in a way that romantics used to write about nature and their feelings. That is what Mos Burger tastes like. Pure heaven.
A few weeks later I went and performed two taiko (traditional drums) performances at a local hot spring. After the first performance I and the other members were treated to a traditional lunch, complete with tempura, rice, miso soup, a kind of egg and shrimp pudding, as well as pickled vegetables. If I had to choose between this and the aforementioned heaven, I would choose this one. it is more healthy and like heaven on earth, it needs to be enjoyed a little so as not to ruin the grandness of flavor.
That same night I had a full course meal. Appetizer. Rice. Meat. Vegetables. It was called shabu shabu. We had sashimi (raw, high-quality tuna) as an appetizer. I was taught Japanese table manners the same night. Like flipping the thin strips of steak, all one has to do is once the water boils is to flip once and once again, and the meat is done. Do NOT mix the meat like it is in a blender. Also, when sharing the same nabe (pot), take your chopsticks, flip them around, and grab the food you want, put it into your bowl, flip your chopsticks around, and then eat. In a word, it was so yummy that afterwords I was left very full. For dessert?
There is a taste that is found in many places in Japan that should be tasted every chance one gets during the summer (and more if I were here longer): green tea ice cream. come on, usa, get with the flavors. I mean is it so hard to make it available to everyone back home? Maybe…I am not a business man. I do know that the taste of green tea is so good, I wish I could bottle it up and let my friends and family enjoy it back home. Japan has adopted apple products into its mainstream culture, so why not a little taste outside of Japanese restaurants for the common folk?