Eating in Japan

April 6, 2010 · 1 comment

Japanese Vending Machine

It's a good thing I have a few more days off until I start work on Thursday because I am not yet out of lazy vacation mode. Had a great time in Japan - we were in Tokyo for 9 days and took a daytrip one day to Hiroshima (4 hours each way on the Bullet Train - made for a long day!). I hope you enjoyed the variety of guest posts while I was gone. I've got some more I'll be teeing up this month too since I'll be out a lot on business. Really not a great time to trying to be focusing on eating and exercising. But is there ever a good time?

I had good intentions of photographing everything I ate while in Japan. As it turns out I didn't take a picture of a darned thing. A shame, really. No excuse either since I did have my cell phone with me, even though I knew it wouldn't work I was planning to use it for such pictures, but I just never pulled it out for some reason.

Even so, I thought I'd share some observations about eating in Japan.

For breakfast we ate at the hotel breakfast buffet every day. It was just a good way to get the kids fed every day with a minimum of fuss, plus gave us an easy way to get them eating some different food. While there was certainly a collection of "normal" American breakfast fare there was also a very nice selection of traditional Japanese breakfast food items like rice, grilled fish, pickled items, noodles, soups, etc. Both of my kids really like salmon so when they had grilled salmon available (about every other day) they were sure to have some of that. Most days they had rice, noodles, eggs, toast, cucumbers and fruit. I tended to eat a mix of Japanese and American, leaning more heavily toward Japanese.

We didn't really eat many lunches on the trip since we were usually so busy during the middle of the day. We did have a small lunch at the Denny's in Asakusa - the last time I was in Tokyo I ate at the Denny's in Shinjuku so I've been to two in Japan now. I had a small green salad that had a little scoop of tuna on it, a milk and tapioca ball drink and my daughter and I shared a mango for dessert. Didn't see a lot of street food, perhaps it was still too cold for the vendors - most days barely got into the 50s. One day in Ueno Park my daughter and I each had a sweet potato half from a street vendor, those were super tasty.

For dinner we did end up eating at more American places than I would have liked, but it just sort of worked out that way. I think we ate at McDonald's for dinner a few times and a KFC once. We would also do some nighttime grazing at AM/PM or Seven/Eleven where they always had a nice selection of foods including salads. There are plenty of small noodle or sushi bars available but they really don't cater to families coming in so we never ventured into one. We ate Italian one night.

We bought a lot of drinks from the never-ending amount of vending machines that dot the Tokyo landscape. I stuck to water, my son was the adventurous one who would buy drinks like the grape jello drink that was actually chunky like jello.

In all of the time we were in Japan, with all of the tens of thousands of peoples we walked by, around and at times, through (did you know Tokyo was crowded??), I can honestly say I only saw 4-5 overweight people. I don't mean obese, other than the Sumo on TV I only saw 2 people I would categorize as obese (not including the foreigners in the airport). It was really something. The crazy thing is there are certainly a lot of unhealthy options for people there to be eating. Every restaurant we went in was full, including the McDonald's and KFC, but they were filled with thin Japanese people. I have to think that over time the introduction of fast food meat into the Japanese diet will have to have a very bad effect on their waistlines but through observation it would seem it hasn't happened yet.

Just like I'm not yet ready for work it sort of feels like I'm not yet ready for blogging as I'm having a hard time structuring anything. Maybe you have a question about Tokyo I can answer? Maybe that will help me get re-engaged!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Greg April 6, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Wow! Sounds like an amazing trip, and the opportunity to sample genuine local cuisine is a rare option. Something tells me its nothing like what we see over here.

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