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The staple food
We Japanese people love eating rice. As western people can distinguish the details of the taste of bread, we are particular about the taste of the rice, such as which type of rice, whether it cooked well or not, or is it old or new.... In these days, we also enjoy eating many different kinds of western noodles and bread.
Cook the rice(okome,お米)
Japanese rice is very delicious. Why don't you try to cook by yourself!
Various kinds of noodles are available in Japan.
We love to eat this Buckwheat noodles; especially in Nagano where it is very popular.
Very fine noodles made of wheat. We prefer to eat in summer. (Nagashisoumen (流しそうめん) is a funny way to enjoy eating at festival.
Noodles made of wheat.
Yellow noodles which sometimes called Chinese noodles. Generally it is oily and salty.
There are many local noodles, Kishimen(きし麺) in Nagoya ,Kiritanpo(きりたんぽ) in Akita,Houtou(ほうとう) in Yamanashi, Soukisoba(ソーキ蕎麦) in Okinawa, ...
Soy bean sauce(Shoyu,醤油)
This is a black sauce for all purposes made of soy beans.
Soy bean paste(Miso,味噌)
This paste is usually used for make a soup, Miso soup(Misoshiru,味噌汁). It contains solid contents, so you may have to mix well before drinking the soup.
When you order Sliced raw fish(Sashimi,刺身), it comes with green paste,Wasabi. Wasabi is a grated horseradish and taste very pungent. You may also find it when you eat Buckwheat noodles(Soba,蕎麦) or Sushi(寿司).
We use chopsticks to eat Japanese food. You may find disposable chopsticks (Waribashi,割り箸) at restaurants. Some people do not like to use this kind disposable thing. But others say they are made of worthless small pieces of woods.
Mix it in your mouth(Kounai choumi,口内調味)
When I traveled with German cyclists, I found they usually mix the food on the plate before eating. Japanese people do not prefer mixing the food on the plate. Then how can we season it? We season it in our mouth. We call it Kounai Choumi which means "in the mouth seasoning". When I'm having my dinner, I first sip Miso soup and keep it in my mouth, then I take a bite of rice to taste them together!
This is a culture. Some like this way, and everyone has different taste. Some like taste of dry, salty, oily and others likes wet, light, or sweet.
To make us possible to enjoy Kounai Choumi, Japanese dishes are served all at the same time. Not like one by one as in French cuisine. Imagine, if each dish is served separately, Japanese cannot enjoy Kounai Choumi. We place many dishes on a table and think which order and what kind of combination is the best.
How to mix in your mouth
As you know, opening your mouth when you have some food still in there is not good manner. It is the same in Japan. Therefore, we put some piece of side dish on the rice, then put them in the mouth together.
In Japan, unlike in Korea, we should hold a rice bowl when we eat. I guess this helps to hide the opened mouth. (I enjoy trying to find a reason of the difference of the manner and the culture.) Well, what do you think? We wait for your opinion
Anyway, enjoy eating Japanese food.
Each country has their traditional foods. Natto is one of them in Japan. Try Natto, something very rich in nutrition.
Even if you can't read Japanese, please do not hesitate to visit Japanese restaurants.
The best way to find good restaurants is same in everywhere in the whole world. Always look for a busy one! Trying a restaurant with long queue gives you a better chance to come across a delicious plate. So, go ahead and challenge yourself. You will love it.
I regret to say, however, one portion in Japanese restaurant is very, very small, especially for cyclists, too....tiny.
There are convenience stores almost everywhere in Japan. They offer many kinds of things for 365 days, 24 hours.
Lunch box shops(bentouya,弁当屋)
Convenience stores are truly "convenience" place to buy lunch boxes. But I hope you are reluctant to fill your stomach with their lunch boxes. Personally I hate to eat these kind of junk lunch boxes with too much chemicals, such as preservations, MSG, artificial colors, and so on. Instead, you can find lunch box shops along the way. I find that in most of the case, they provide much better lunch boxes than convenience stores. You may also find lunch boxes at supermarket (suupaa, スーパー). It depends, but likely better than convenience store's ones....
Cooking by yourself
There are plenty supermarkets in Japan. You can also find small retails selling vegetables, meat and/or fish with better qualities. Delicatessen (Osouzai-ya, お総菜屋) helps you prepare your meals. Buy some side dishes from them so that you only have to cook rice yourself.
Whey you are riding in rural area, you may come across no clerk shop(mujin hanbaijo,無人販売所) with simple donation(honesty) box. They are owned by local farmer to sell their vegetable.
In the city it is very convenient to buy something to eat. During office hours you can go to a supermarket, and convenience stores operate 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
In small towns there is at least one or two supermarkets. Please be aware of closing date(Teikyu-bi,定休日), since it is vary from place to place. To avoid your disappointment, I recommend keep some foods for emergency.
Please visit "camping page" where inform you how to get the fuel for cooking.
uploaded:19, 07, 2009
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