Japan & Food

Japan, a well developed country advanced with modern technologies not only famous with their international branded cars like Toyota,Honda,Nissan,Suzuki; their popular Disney Theme Park , beautiful tourism destinations and large shopping markets, but they also have various delicious unique food and their special family customs . Nowadays, Japan foods are widely spread all around the world. Besides, Japanese are adhering to their family customs and disciplined groups.

The main dishes in Japanese daily life among various food is rice dishes .Japanese have a strong appetite for rice. The rice dishes of Japanese are included porridge (cogee), steamed rice with savory toppings (donburi ) and a well-known dish – Shushi .Moreover, the noodles is the substitution dish which can replaced the rice in daily meal. Traditional Japanese noodles typically served in chilled with dipping sauce. For example: Soba (thin brown buckwheat noodles) and Udon. Some of Japanese foods are influenced by other country-- Ramen is influenced by Chinese. Japanese cuisine containing a staple food (Shushoku) which is the rice or noodles serve with soup. The most famous and common Japanese soup is Miso soup. This soup containing the high nutrition ingredients like seaweed, tofu, vegetables and etc.

Nutritious ingredients like tofu, vegetables, seaweeds, meats and seafood are the main contents in Japanese food and almost all of the dishes consist of them. Normally the Japanese foods are cook in different ways: deep-fried, grilled, pan-fried, steam stewed and stir-fried. The combinations of unique cooking skills let the tasty Japanese food popular all around the world .Some of the common dishes at Japanese home are Tempura (deep-fried vegetables or seafood),Korokke (breaded and deep-fried patties with mashed potato or white sauce),Yakizakana (grilled fish),Teriyaki(grilled or pan-fried meats ,vegetables and etc with sweetened soy sauce),Unagi (grilled eel) ,Shabu-shabu(steamboat cooking) and Japanese curry. The Japanese are concern to their own healthy and always care about the quality of the food those they taken and it related to the long life of Japanese.

Japanese also prefer Sashimi -- like to eat the raw sliced fresh meats, seafood with a dipping sauce, soy sauce or wasabi. There are many type of Sashimi in Japanese food category. The most unique Sashimi is Fugu which is the sliced poisonous puffer fish (Lethal) and the chef who prepared it needs to have a license. Some of Sashimi like Shikasashi (deer meat Sashimi) may harm to people because it can causes acute Hepatitis E if the person taken the hunted wild deer. Japan also has various pickled or salted food as the side dishes beside the staple food. The most well-known salted food is Ikura (salted cured salmon caviar).

The non- alcohol beverages in Japan are usually naturally made and harmless to human body. The common drink in Japan is tea. Japanese prefer green tea and it is play important role in their daily life. In Japan, they even have a ceremony called “Japan Tea Ceremony”. Beside, one of the most popular healthy drinks in Japan is Yakult which is Japanese probiotic milk with high health benefits. Nowadays, Yakult are exported all around the world. In Japan famous with their Sake (rice wine) and ShoChu (wine made from barley /sweet potato/rice).Usually the wine drink with side the side dishes such as Sakana or Otsumami.

There are different customs in the Japanese family. The family customs reflect the lifestyle and lofty etiquettes of the people in the society. Japanese still adapting to some of the traditional family customs but some are been forgotten or have been change due to the changes of the environment.

In Japanese family, bowing is extremely important. The children in Japanese family are taught to bow properly since they were young. Bowing show the highly respective to the person. Greeting is one of the ways for Japanese to show their respects and act as their common interactive way. Bathing also act an important part in their daily routine as relaxing activity. Most of the house in Japan has a bathtub (Furo) and they have certain bathing customs to follow. In Japan, before entering Onsen (natural hot springs) or communal baths, the person compulsory to wash through his or her body to ensure the hygiene of the water and as the respect to other user. There have a unique custom of Japanese when they doing a payment. It is very common in Japan if the person do not pass the money directly to the cashiers but pay by putting the money on the tray provided at the counter. Besides, it is considered as impolite if the person received and gives the things by using only one hand.

Japanese emphasized on the well eating etiquette. They cherished the food and praised the people who prepared the food for them. In their principles, it is polite to clear the plate instead of pick out certain unlike ingredients and leave the rest in the plate. Japanese chew the food with closed mouth. Instead of pouring the sauce directly to the food, Japanese prefer to just dip the food in the sauce. One of special customs of Japanese which is different from others is they are no eating while they walking, in front of the public or in trains. They have a lot of taboo when using chopsticks. They are not passing the food directly from chopstick to other chopstick and not allowed to put the standing vertically chopsticks in bowl. In Japan, there is the customs that mother responsible to prepare Bento (boxed meal) for their children every day. The Bento consists of nutritious food with interesting appearance.

During Valentines' Day, Japanese ladies give the chocolate to the men for vindication. While Japanese men only give the flowers and chocolate to the ladies after one month and this day call “White Valentines' Day”. The single Japanese ladies and men will involve in Miai which is the activity for the unattached individuals to know each other to consider possibility marriage or arranged marriage. In Japanese wedding, the relatives or friends still remaining the traditional whishes by give the monetary gift and the amount usually in odd number.

Most of the family custom s of Japanese can be reflected by their festival ceremony. Japan have few important festivals regarding to their believes, religion and their family customs. Before New Year (1-3 January), their home must be cleaned and decorated, all debt been cleared and the food in lacquered trays (Osechi) were prepared or bought. Japanese celebrated New Year with the family gathering and have the formal calls to relatives and friends. A doll festival (Girls' festival) on 3 March is the day that the families pray for the happiness and prosperity to their girls in family. Celebration held at home and seashore .Each family with girl has to display the symbolic Hino Ningyo in their house. Besides, the Japanese girls will put on their best Kimono to visit their friends. There have a special festival for boys called Iris Festival on 5th of May .There are the custom to put the Iris leave in the boy's bath with the believe to give the boys martial spirit. For the families with boys will display the carp streamers (with the meaning success) outside and Musha Ningo (warrior doll) in their house. During festivals, Japanese customary visit to the Buddhist temple or Shinto shrines for pray.

Japanese are the hard working groups with less leisure time. They have high expectation to their careers and emphasize with the working ethics. Japanese normally will reach their workplace early to have a preparation before begin their work and ensure their works are efficiency and effectiveness. They will praise with the other workers' efforts .Although they have busy life style, but they always seek for entertainments wherever they are. For example, Japanese like to read, play electronic games and listen to the music when they are in the train. They also enjoy and spend their free time with family. For the youth in Japan, they tend to read comics, playing games and watching anime as their leisure activities. Now, it is customary for the young generation in Japan to involve in cosplay.

In conclusions, there are various food and family custom in Japan society. There may have some of unknown Japanese food and family customs together with different taboos. The Japanese foods have spread the unique culture of Japan all over the world and people can know Japan trough their delicious and healthy food .Besides, the world praise on the spirit of the Japanese to adhere their family customs and own principles.

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