View Full Version : Fruits and Veges in Japan

28th March 2002, 06:46
Hello all,

I have been very lucky living in southern california where there is a farmers market every day of the week within 15 minutes that sells organic fruits and vegetables. There is a very active group of people and supporters of non-GMO products.

Now if I remember correctly from my year in Japan (about 7 years ago) the fruits were kind of scary, bland tasting genetically modified fruit, which was always recommended to peel. Vegetables had to be thouroughly washed (some even said with small amounts of bleach) and peeled before eaten.

I am possibly going to be coming back to Japan for a year and am wondering about the current state of food. I am happy about the tofu availablity (fresh!) and not so happy about the standard white rice (too glutinous), and down right scared of the fruit.

As I live a predominately vegan diet (I do occasionally eat meat/fish, no dairy), this is a concern of mine.

Anybody have their oown ideas about the food inJapan? experience? current scientific experiments(read disasters)? knowlege on healthy food?

thanks for any insight
Cory Leistikow

28th March 2002, 11:31

Been discussing your Post with my Wife who is a "Japanese Vegetarian", she eats Fish.

She never heard of a lot of things that you mentioned in your Post.

If you don't like Japanese Rice go for Thai Long grain rice or Jasmin Rice, it is fairly easiy available, but will cost more than standard Japanese rice.
We use both Jasmin & Japanese rice at my House.

There are a few macro-biotic Restaurants now around Tokyo, but prices tend too run quiet high.

Japanese don't really have a concept of "vegetarian" as such.

Fruits and Vegetables can be had direct from the Farmers if you happen to live in outlying Suburbs.

Hope this helps.

28th March 2002, 16:56
Thanks all for the reply,

Yeah, I was afraid of the "blasting" that goes on there in Japan. After all, japan is the creator of MSG. The ultimate flavor enhancer(read headache enhancer)

I would expect prices to be higher (they are considerably higher here in California as well) but I am suspecting something like the $30 melon but for "organic"

As for the rice, I am happy the hear about the jasmine, that is what I eat here, so that is good.

I remember readin a biography on Ueshiba sensei, and it mentioned the he was a big advocate of organic farming and farmed in such a manner while with Oomoto (I think I am remembering correctly, but please correct me if I am wrong)

I hope that not only his ideas on budo, but ideas on food flourish someday like Aikido has.

Thanks again... you all have been a great help

Cory Leistikow

p.s. are there any laws about food being shipped from other countries? (tax, quarantine, etc.)

p.p.s. red-fists... I actually love Japanese rice, but it kind of acts like glue in my body.... also, I see in your footer that you study ba-gua, I am very interested about ba-gua in japan (any internal arts actually) is the ba-gua style from the lineage of Kanichisawai?(or was he hsing-i?) feel free to pm me or we can start another thread! Very interested!!!

J. A. Crippen
28th March 2002, 20:26
Don't jump on MSG there. Japan didn't create MSG, they *discovered* it. Monosodium glutamate is a chemical naturally found in konbu, the giant kelp used in making dashi amongst other Japanese cuisine. It's part of what makes dashi taste so good. If you've had miso soup, any kind of tsukejiru or kakejiru used for noodles or tenpura, anything simmered in dashi, etc, etc, etc, then you've had MSG *naturally*.

One reason that people have problems with MSG is that when used apart from its natural setting, it's used *too much*. Id est, when you have a food that doesn't taste really great, like most snack foods, if you coat it with MSG your taste nerves are tricked into believing that it is more flavorful than it actually is. Instead of carefully calculating the amount of MSG needed, which should actually be fairly small, most food manufacturers just dump a whole bunch on and hope for the best. People with an MSG hypersensitivity then get headaches from the huge amount of MSG.

But you don't get headaches from misoshiru, do you? That's because there's not an unreasonable amount of MSG in it. Boiling konbu isn't exactly an efficient MSG extraction process (which is why it's synthetically produced nowadays).

Also, note that since MSG shows up in a large part of the average Japanese diet, the Japanese people as a whole have less of a tendency towards hypersensitivity in an environmental sense (rather than an evolutionary sense, which I won't touch; it's not known whether MSG-hs is genetic or not). Being raised with it included in nearly every meal (*everybody* drinks misoshiru), the tendency towards hypersensitivity is reduced by constant exposure.

I'd be interested to see a double-blind study where people with MSG-hs are given konbudashi-based foods and monitored for hs-reactions. It'd have to be double-blind because quite often hs-reactions are psychologically exacerbated (though this is not their essential cause).

Anyway, I'll stop ranting. I like MSG in small amounts. I can't stand it in large amounts, as it potentiates my migraines. That's why I don't eat Doritos(TM). But I have misoshiru nearly every day, homemade from my own katsuokonbudashi. Never had a problem yet. If I eat enough straight ajishio I'll get a headache though.

29th March 2002, 05:20

right on...great post... I had no idea about naturally found MSG.

It is true, no headaches from misoshiru. but definately with the snack chips...

thanks for the info!!!

Cory Leistikow

29th March 2002, 05:30
Hi Cory.

I know of a few places that teach internal MA, around Tokyo.
There are also a few other Board members here that are into Interna MA who might also be able to help you.

Not sure about Kanichisawai though.

Most of the Tai Chi over here appears to be health orientated stuff and not that martial inclined.

The style I study mixed the 3 Internal Arts , our style Founder studied MA in Taipei.

Hope this helps.