I’ve been in Japan for almost two weeks now, and I’m finally feeling like I’m actually here. One of the things that has helped me feel like I’m in Japan (you know, besides from the two million Japanese people who live in Sapporo) has been the food I’ve eaten.
I guess I’m a bit of a foodie, because lots of the key things that define Japan for me are foods. So let me share with you some of the foodstuffs that are making me feel at home in Japan.
Like most countries, some Japanese food is all-round amazing, some of it is not really tasty in itself but somehow is really good, and some of it should be eradicated from the face of the earth.
In other words, with Japanese food you have: the good, the bad, and the natto.
I guess one of the least well-known Japanese dishes is ‘curry rice’ (カレーライス). This is a shame, because it is almost incontestably tastier than the better known dishes such as sushi or even – dare I say it – ramen.
For me curry rice has a real home-made feel to it, even if it’s from a restaurant with a vending machine. But curry rice that is actually home-made is even more amazing. Especially when the person who makes your curry shapes the rice into a map of the island of Japan you’re staying in.
Check this out.
You have probably picked up on this by now, but one of my favourite things about Japan is canned coffee. I love it.
The thing is that canned coffee is, if I’m honest, not very good in terms of being coffee. And yet it is somehow amazing.
And like the curry rice, part of the great thing about canned coffee is the way it looks. By which I mean, the insane over statements that get printed on the cans.
Check this out.
In case you can’t read it the claim for this particular coffee is,
“Gold Is A Premium Coffee With A Radiant-like Beauty Perfected With Premium Beans.”
Not a single word of that is true. And yet somehow it’s still really good.
Again, you may have heard me talk – or rather rant – about natto in the past. I do not love it. For the simple reason that it is nothing more – or less – than condensed foulness.
I would post a photo to prove that point, but it’s hard to convey the depths of the horrendousness of natto through a photo. So I’ve made a video.
However, I haven’t edited it yet, so you’ll have to wait a few days for that.
But if you could watch the video, then you would have picked up that I have a cunning plan to get myself to like natto. Well, I say ‘cunning’ . . . stupid is probably a better word.
See I tend to be quite vocal in my hatred of natto (as with anything, really) and this has caused me to be reprimanded on several occasions by natto-lovers. I have been informed that natto is simply an acquired taste, and that to reach the necessary level of acquirement it is necessary to eat natto at least ten times.
Now I try to be a trusting, outgoing kind of person so I have decided that I will give this ten times natto thing a shot. By my count I have now clocked up five attempts at eating natto, leaving five more bowls of the slimy, smelly skunge before I am able to either eat natto with some degree of enjoyment or not eat it with a clear conscience.
And there you have it: Japanese cuisine making me feel at home in Sapporo.
What about you? Do you have foods that you love/hate about Japan, or anywhere else? Or foods that make you feel like, “Ah, now I am really here!”?