You Know You`re In Japan When….

For those of you just tuning in, last post started the series, “You Know You`re In Japan When….” Welcome to this week`s photo flipping, page turning episode entitled:

“You know you`re in Japan when you start taking pictures of your food.”

There are several surprising reasons why one would take pictures of food.

1) When faced with the option of getting the special, make sure you know what it is, otherwise something extremely special will show up. In Japan it is considered rude to laugh at the waiter when he drops a tuna skeleton on the table.

Rather than picking it up and gnawing on the bones to get that juicy “next to the bone meat,” you scrape a spoon along the sides.


2) Often too much information regarding ingredients comes along with the item. I`m not  sure what “Fasty Placenta” is, but in general, I`d  prefer not getting bogged down in the  active ingredients listing.


3) The portion sizes leave one feeling like chipping off a chunk of the table to finish off the meal.


4) When “Cod Sperm” and “Gizzard Shad” are listed elsewhere on the menu as available items, it`s best not to ask when a complimentary delight of unknown origin shows up.


5) While you evaluate your food`s taste, it devises an escape route.

20130521-174138.jpgDSCN14496) It can kill you.


Puffer fish

7) Is it decoration or food? Sometimes it`s difficult to tell. Hint: if it`s on a plate, it`s edible.



I prefer my wheat cooked.


Deceptively cute. We force fed  let Offspring #1 eat it.

8) Things that should be served with Ranch Dressing, sugar or butter are served au naturel. And people buy it. And people eat it. And like it. Astonishing. And the reason the Japanese are skinny while the rest of us aren`t.


Yam anyone?

20130521-171322.jpg9) Pizza comes with squid and corn. (I can see your Head shaking and hand ringing) Try sneaking this past the picky toddler.

20130521-171228.jpg10) It`s always colorful.


11) Be careful with the snacks. They bite back.

20130521-175725.jpgHarm was done to all the food pictured in this post. We ate every last bite.

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25 Responses to You Know You`re In Japan When….

  1. kayvctx says:

    Fascinating. Beautiful pictures.


  2. Bob says:

    Great post! I always love when you combine thoughts on Japan for the uninitiated wren mind with Japan’s good culture. So foreign, yet so intriguing.


  3. Oh my. You have become very brave. I think you are going to miss Japan!


    • Oh yes Chris. We try- and eat- it all. There`s only one thing none of us will touch- out of the thousands of questionables- that is herring roe. Looks like a yellow piece of rubber, crunchy, weird tasting, and smells bad. A deadly trifecta of bad.


  4. ksbeth says:

    wow, these are stunning )


  5. m. eelio says:

    Awesome images. I wish to go to Japan SO bad. Since I was like 15. I hope you are having a good time living there!


  6. Paul says:

    It is good that you did “harm” to all that food. It looks good in pictures, sometimes nice on the plate.
    What food exactly, caused your stomach to allow it to exit before it was digested and do you think this was caused by taste or sight?. Some times the name was enough to cause problems in the digestive area. However your pictures are very good, if not totally enticing, and the commentary could be seen as graphic and necessary. Keep up the good work.


  7. Jean Alaba says:

    Hello, enjoyed your post. On a side note, we will be in Tokyo for about 2 days this June. It will be our 2nd time going there, any suggestions which places we should prioritize? We have only been to Tokyo Disney Sea. Cheers!


    • Hi Jean- Sorry it`s taken so long for me to respond. My Dad passed away last week and I was in the US.

      OK- with two days, here`s what I would do:

      Day 1- Omotesando, Meiji Shrine, Harajuku (If on a weekend, be at the shrine at 11- you`ll see the beautiful wedding processions. Amazing)
      Eat at Koh Men ramen across from the TGIFs.
      Nezu musuem for traditional Japanese tea and a walk around their fantastic garden
      Day 2- Asakusa Shrine, Sky Tree, Imperial Palace
      If you have time, you can walk around GInza (Eat at Andy`s isakaya or soba shop on floor 9 or 11 of Mitsukoshi department store) – at Mistsukoshi department store the employees open the store at 10:30 bowing for the shoppers. The food basement is unbelievable and a Japan tradition. Lots of interesting shops along the back streets.

      HOpe you have a great time!

      If ya`ll are outdoorsy, you can always hike at Mt Takao and pershaps see Mt Fuji in the distance. But it would take a full day to do that.

      Day 2


      • Dear Emily,
        I was revisiting your last blog and read about your Dad passing away. I am so sorry for your loss.
        I imagine you are preparing to leave Japan any time now for Canada. Please stay in touch and good luck with the move. Again, very sorry about your Dad.
        Best Regards,


      • Thanks so much Tar buns…. It’s been a really rough month. Movers are loading the truck today and we leave tomorrow. I’ll get back in the saddle as soon as I dust myself off! I appreciate your message.


  8. mamanne says:

    I’ve never thought of myself as a picky eater, but most of that food just plain scares me.


  9. Piper Bayard says:

    After growing up in New Mexico where the only sea food was a cheap fish stick, the bounty of the sea is something I have always shunned. In fact, it has long been my contention that the Japanese attacked America in WWII with the ultimate goal of obtaining our cattle. Your article confirms that if I ever go to Japan, I will take a sack lunch. But I seriously enjoy your pictures and hearing about life on the other side of the planet. 🙂


  10. Pingback: The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Bird Flavored Ice Cream « Bayard & Holmes

  11. Shantnu says:

    I guess if I vegetarian like me went to Japan, I’d starve in 2 days 🙂


  12. nice post ! 🙂


  13. JDrum says:

    The pizza picture made me laugh. We had that exact pizza at a place called Shakeys. Love the food shots. Nice job.


  14. That tuna skeleton doesn’t look appetising!

    My brother is in Japan at the moment (has been since Feb) and he keeps telling me that the food isn’t *that* interesting, obviously he is eating at all the wrong places!


  15. LOL, I was laughing hysterically throughout. Japan seems to be a picky eater’s ‘paradise’! But really, “Fasty Placenta”? Gizzards and sperm? Are a lot of these food items just mistranslated? (I saw bull’s balls on a menu in Spain once. Not a mistranslation, however. But apparently very tasty).


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