I really appreciate how easy it is to eat mostly local food while living here in ruralish Japan. Our rice, vegies, tofu, fruit, and fish are all locally produced. Tonight we had Oita chicken, local oysters, and spinach, cabbage and broccoli all from area farms. We can also get soy sauce, cooking oil and miso from local producers. I have planted some things that are hard to find such as cilantro, basil, Thai basil, and beets, and plan to grow more once I have more time. However many of my cravings are often only available from very-far-away regions. I buy frozen blueberries from New Zealand (for some reason all frozen food is regularly 50% off and I keep a steady supply in the freezer here), cheese also from New Zealand, olive oil and organic tomato sauces from Europe, coffee from the States and I’ve got a stash of goodies(dried fruit, nuts) from Trader Joe’s. Many people have recommended Costco to me, but I don’t like to buy in such great quantities and it’s too far of a drive. We get a few items such as yoghurt through a delivery service (Green Coop), but the prices are high and the quality is mediocre.
With Thanksgiving coming, I decided to spend some time looking for other sources of hard-impossible-to-find-in-Oita food. I discovered three sites that look promising. Warabe Mura located in Gifu prefecture offers a wide variety of organic and natural foods mostly produced in Japan, but also some imported products. The Foreign Buyers’ Club is mail order business that specializes in imported products from the US. Most of their offerings are processed foods you’d typically find in the supermarket, but they also carry organic foods (listed under special diet) such as dried beans. While looking for a source for phyllo, I came across The Meat Guy, which offers all kinds of meats, including alligator. We don’t eat meat much, but after looking at the available foods I decided to order a turkey for Thanksgiving (I also ordered guacamole and cranberry sauce). The turkey is 3.4 kg and will fit in our small oven. When it arrived the label says that it is from Peru and is Halal certified. I am really excited to have a Thanksgiving dinner, and plan to make dressing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin(kabocha) pie. I am looking for brussel sprouts in our market- I know I’ve seen them here before. I have to work on Thursday and Friday, so we’ll have the dinner this weekend.
It has been awhile since I’ve written..lots going on and writing sometimes seems like a burden. I know I’ve written this before, but I think I need to work on writing more frequent, short posts. I’ll keep this one short and try to post again within a week.
Thanks everyone for your concern for my mother-in-law. She is doing much better and was discharged after only a week. She celebrated her 81st birthday last week. I continue to be annoyed with her attempts to be
helpful- it reminds me of how young children always want to help with “grown-up” work and how everything takes twice as long with their help. It was more fun doing things with the kids….and less irritating when a dish broke or when I came across a hidden treasure.
People here often ask me what is different between life in the US and in Japan. I wish I could answer in a few words, but I never know where to begin. It is so difficult to generalize and it often seems that people are not interested in a conversation, but rather they want a list of things. “You’re right, most Americans don’t eat miso soup for breakfast. But some Americans occasionally eat miso soup.” “Yes, many people in the US own guns, but I didn’t and most of the people I know don’t have guns.” I think the biggest difference I experience here is the lack of ethnic diversity and differing perspectives in the workplace and schools. I am sure that there is more diversity in large cities such as Tokyo, and I think I might feel the same if I lived in a more provincial region of the US. This will be a longer blog post someday
However, I do find pleasure discovering things that can be included on the things-in-Japan-that-are-different-than-in-the-US list. One recent discovery was the different Google logos. A couple
of weeks ago, I noticed this logo on the Japanese Google site, honoring Isamu Noguchi. I checked into what logos have been used on the Google Japan site and found that there have been logos to honor Doraemon, authors such as Edogawa Rampo and Miyazawa Kenji, and for commerating holidays and celebrations such as Tsukimi. The Google Logo Museum site lists all the logos from around the world.
Wanted to write more about persimmons, Miyazaki, food, my favorite Japan blogs, library/librarian musings, visit from American tour group….but will try to get to one of those topics within a week. What do you want to read about?