4 Japanese foods I can’t eat! How about you?

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  • I do love Japanese food, but there are some dishes that I think I can never eat or will never eat again. I wonder how many of you think the same way as I do.

    1. Natto

    Natto (fermented soybean) is one of the foods, that can divide the people in Japan. One group for ‘likers’ and another for ‘dislikers’. Some like it very much and say that it increases their appetite. That when they eat natto they can eat more rice. Some dislike it and describe it as the stinkiest, foulest food they’ve ever known exist. Well, for me, I don’t really think it is that stinky. The odor is not that bad for me. It is not stinky, but, it is sticky. So sticky that it looks like something that comes out of our nose when we have a cold. I’m sorry. I can’t just digest it, or even put it in my mouth. One time, there was natto in the school lunch. And as a teacher, we should be role models, we should eat what is being served, but, guess what? I politely gave it to the teacher adviser, saying “Sorry, I can’t eat it.” And before I knew it, a few hours later, the news has spread in the teachers room. “The English teacher doesn’t eat natto.”

    2. Raw Squid and Raw Octopus

    I like sashimi. I like sushi. My favorite is salmon. Just salmon. If you give me squid or octopus, no, thank you. I remember my sister telling me how good raw squid is, that it is soft and sweet. That was when I first came to Japan and she was trying to introduce me to Japanese food. She took me to a real nice sushi restaurant. The one where the sushi chef will make the sushi in front of you, serve them nicely with their hands. It was a course style so the sushi maker had to serve the pieces one by one. And when it was time to eat the squid sushi, I was hit by a surprise. It was not soft at all for me. Every time I chew, the meat will just slide, and it seems it was still moving inside my mouth. I wanted to spit it out, but the chef was in front of us smiling and saying “Ikagadesuka?” (How is it?), so I had to pretend that I liked it and with all my strength tried to chew the slimy-kicking rubber inside my mouth and swallow it with all my might. I almost cried, but I still managed to smile. But, since that day, never ever will I eat raw squid. And just by then, I also dislike raw octopus. They’re relatives so I have to be careful.

    3. Basashi

    Do you know basashi? Well, at first I did not know about it at all. All I knew was that it is a name of a food. A kind of sashimi –raw food. So, back to my first days in Japan, my brother-in-law, a Japanese, brought home packs of sashimi. He was happily introducing to me the many kinds of sashimi. It was really good. I dipped it in wasabi and soy sauce, and wow! That was heaven. Then, there was this red sashimi he wanted me to try, so I tried it without asking. And after chewing that one piece of sushi, he asked me if I knew what it was, that it was horse meat! Gosh! Horse meat! How could you people eat horse meat –raw! How could I do that! But, I just did! I could almost not forgive myself. In our country, horse is a farm animal that is used for transportation. A vehicle in its own way. How could I eat a vehicle! A pet! Actually, the taste was not really bad, but I would never eat it again. I just don’t like the idea.

    4. Kujira

    And kujira. What’s kujira? It’s a whale. Yes. Whale meat. Eaten raw. I could never imagine myself eating that big swimming thing. Scary. It makes me think that some time the whales will just come to me in revenge and devour me in return. Sounds weird, but, I don’t know. It’s just that I don’t think whales are consumable. Even if they are, I still can’t change my mind.
    How about you? What are the foods in Japan that you don’t like?

    1. Johnnie says:

      Kujira is very good. I’ve had it as sashimi, cooked, and seared in a restaurant in Roppongi where they cook over burning rice straw. Mochi is just boring and tasteless.

    2. Johnnie says:

      Horse meat was disappointing, too chewy.

    3. Every time I arrive in Japan first thing I do is go to an Izakaya and order Takowasa (raw octopus with lots of wasabi and peppers) and basashi – delicious. I love nattou too, with traditional breakfast. Whale is a bit overrated I think, but not certainly bad.

    4. Ginny Le says:

      Ha ha I love what you wrote about natto. So funny. I haven’t tried the 3 other dishes. I couldn’t stand natto either. Lol. So you are the English teacher who cannot eat it. :D

    5. Ashwin Campbell says:

      The only one of the four I cannot eat is Kujira. I tried it ant the only way I can describe it is like eating a radial tire that’s been in the ocean for 50years. The taste was like the smell at low tide and the texture was steel-belted radial.

    6. Alex White says:

      I am a Christian, but I have decided to follow the Jewish diet as closely as possible. Right now, I am focusing on not eating unclean meats since I don’t know any Jews to ask about dietary restrictions. (If you didn’t know, Christianity is derived from Judaism.) What do I mean by “unclean meat”?

      The first rule is this: “Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is cloven-footed, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.” Leviticus 11:3 Both conditions have to be met in order to be considered clean. A common example of an unclean meet from a mammal (of which this verse is talking about) is the Pig. In anime, I have seen them mention pork quite often, so I know the Japanese eat pig meat. Furthermore, it is stated that we shouldn’t even touch it: “Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcass shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.” Leviticus 11:8

      The second rule is this: “These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.” Leviticus 11:9 As with above, both conditions have to be met. This means no shrimp, lobster, squid, octopus, oysters, clams, crabs, whale, seal, porpoise, dolphins, otters, scallop, shark, etc.

      Birds are named specifically. Eagle, ossifrage, osprey, vulture, kite, raven, owl, nighthawk, cuckow, hawk, little owl, cormorant, the great owl, swan, pelican, gier eagle, stork, heron, lapwing, and the bat. These are unclean.

      Even insects have a rule: Leviticus 11:20-23 “All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you. Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind. But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.”

      Then there is this: Leviticus 11:27-30
      And whatsoever goeth upon his paws, among all manner of beasts that go on all four, those are unclean unto you: whoso toucheth their carcass shall be unclean until the even.
      And he that beareth the carcass of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: they are unclean unto you.
      These also shall be unclean unto you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind,
      And the ferret, and the chameleon, and the lizard, and the snail, and the mole.

      As long as I follow these rules, I don’t have to worry about it tasting bad.
      Oh, I can’t forget that anything alcoholic (aka, fermented, aka rotten) is also not allowed. And I do have personal preferences for vegetables. I am a selective eater, especially with vegetables. Fruits, I don’t really have a problem with. I would have to taste it first to know.

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