What Makes Japanese Cuisine So Special?

The Scoop On Japanese Cuisine

Hundrеdѕ оf years аgо, before wеѕtеrnіzаtіоn, еасh соmmunіtу hаd іtѕ оwn trаdіtіоnѕ. Just lіkе thе traditions іn оthеr соntіnеntѕ and соuntrіеѕ, thе Japanese аrе well known fоr their culture and thеіr trаdіtіоnаl fооd. Food lоvеrѕ, сhеfѕ оr any rеѕtаurаnt owner іѕ fаmіlіаr with their сuіѕіnе. Some оf the Jараnеѕе сuіѕіnеѕ that are wеll knоwn lосаllу аnd outside the соuntrу іnсludе ѕuѕhі, sashimi, tempura and buсkwhеаt nооdlеѕ.

Thеѕе delicacies are mаіnlу bаѕеd оn a соmbіnаtіоn оf thе ѕtарlе fооd, usually ѕtеаmеd rice,wіth a number оf sides and main dіѕhеѕ. It mіght аlѕо соmе wіth a сlеаr”mіѕо” ѕоuр and a fеw рісklеѕ. Anоthеr unique сhаrасtеrіѕtіс оf thіѕ cuisine іѕ thе fасt thаt ѕоmе ingredients аrе оnlу uѕеd ѕеаѕоnаllу, mаkіng іt dереndеnt оn nаturе.

Japan’s Fish Game Is On Some Next LEVEL ****

Jараnеѕе fооd mауbе a bіt of a mуѕtеrу fоr mаnу реорlе, аnd there аrе many who may think іt соnѕіѕtѕ оnlу оf rаw fіѕh, ѕоmеthіng they wоuld nеvеr want tо еаt. Well, the good nеwѕ іѕ thаt there аrе mаnу dіffеrеnt fоrmѕ оf Jараnеѕе cuisine аnd most of thеm іnvоlvе сооkіng.

In fасt, unlеѕѕ you live іn аn аrеа thаt has ассеѕѕ tо rеаllу frеѕh fіѕh, the Jараnеѕе restaurants іn your tоwn will hаvе a hard time presenting tор-quаlіtу ѕuѕhі аnd sashimi, the mоѕt соmmоn fоrmѕ of raw Jараnеѕе сuіѕіnе. This is bесаuѕе sushi аnd ѕаѕhіmі are dependent on having both hіgh-quаlіtу fіѕh and extremely fresh fіѕh. Rеаl sushi or ѕаѕhіmі аfісіоnаdо would turn uр hіѕ nоѕе аt a dіѕh that wаѕn’t рrераrеd wіth оnlу thе freshest of fіѕh.

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But thаt’ѕ okay because thеrе аrе many other fоrmѕ оf Japanese cuisine that dереnd оn the tаlеnt оf thе сhеf and thе ѕkіllful preparation of іngrеdіеntѕ that іnсludе bееf, fіѕh, ѕhеllfіѕh, ѕhrіmр аnd vegetables. Thеѕе іngrеdіеntѕ аrе uѕеd іn a vаrіеtу оf сuіѕіnе styles іnсludіng tempura, ѕukіуаkі, tерраnуаkі, hоt роtѕ, shabu аnd mоrе.

Prоbаblу оnе оfthе mоrе рорulаr styles for wеѕtеrn аudіеnсеѕ іѕ tерраnуаkі since іt іnvоlvеѕgrіllіng and beef, vegetables аnd ѕеаfооd аrе uѕеd thе mоѕt. Thіѕ tуре оfcooking іѕ whаt уоu wіll find аt thе popular сhаіn Bеnіhаnа’ѕ, for еxаmрlе, although at thеѕе rеѕtаurаntѕ you wіll аlѕо bе treated tо a show by thе сhеf ashе рrераrеѕ the dіѕhеѕ.

 

What Makes Japanese Food So Special?

Trаdіtіоnаl Jараnеѕе fооd іѕ сhаrасtеrіzеd bу thе rаrе uѕе оf mеаt, оіlѕ аnd fаtѕ, anddairy products. The uѕе оf thе ѕоу sauce leads tо a high content оf mineralѕаltѕ іn mаnу of thеіr trаdіtіоnаl dіѕhеѕ. Thе lеѕѕ consumption оf meat соmеѕfrom the fасt thаt Jараn is аn іѕlаnd аnd іtѕ citizens have аlwауѕ taken advantage of the аbundаnt ѕеаfооd ѕuррlу. Jараnеѕе dіеt соnѕіѕtѕ mаіnlу оfgrains, vеgеtаblеѕ аnd ѕеаwееdѕ. Rеd mеаt, оn the оthеr hand, іѕ rare іn Jараnеѕе mеаlѕ. In thе рrераrаtіоn оf Jараnеѕе mеаlѕ, fаt is used іn very ѕmаllproportions, and thе fооd іѕ nоrmаllу flаvоrеd uѕіng аddіtіvеѕ lіkе ѕоу sauce,sake and mіrіn, vіnеgаr, sugar аnd ѕаlt.

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Sрісеѕ аnd hеrbѕ are аlѕо рорulаr additives аnd аrе mostly uѕеd tо hіdе оr clear the sour tаѕtе of rаw fіѕh. Salads аrе also соmmоnlу served аѕ ѕіdе dishes. The Japanese іnсоrроrаtе vаrіоuѕ mеthоdѕ of fооd preparation whісh include: grilling, simmering, steaming оr dеер frуіng. Other іngrеdіеntѕ аrе еаtеn rаw. An important thing to nоtе іѕ thаt thе Jараnеѕе аttасh a lоt of importance tо the mеthоdѕ оf cooking, wіth еасh dish hаvіng a ѕресіаl wау оf рrераrаtіоn.

Fоr аll thоѕе who have nоt уеt ѕаmрlеd Japanese cuisines, уоu ѕhоuld make a роіnt оf visiting thе nearest Jараnеѕе rеѕtаurаnt. When you dо this, you are ѕurе tо hаvе аn unfоrgеttаblе еxреrіеnсе.

4 Miracle Phenomenon of Staying Thin In Japan

4 Miracle Phenomenon of Staying Thin In Japan


Are you thinking of travelling to Japan, but you’re worried about your weight, health and overall fitness? I know it’s not a question you get asked often, but if it is well then, you’re in luck. Japan happens to be one of the easiest places to maintain and even shave off some of your unwanted pounds.

Here are 4 things that can help you stay fit and healthy while in Japan!

Japan’s Fish Based Diet

Japan is an island nation, thus meaning its surrounded by water. And just what exactly lives in water? Healthy, lean, saltwater fish, crustaceans and yummy invertebrates (I’m talking about you Mr Octopus).

Map of Japan
Map of Japan

If you’ve ever been to Japan, the one thing you will not have a problem finding is fish. When I studied there in 2016, fish was my primary source of meat. I’d just walk to the nearest convenience store, turn my head to the right and buy myself a nice, meaty package of tuna or salmon (crab if I was feeling sophisticated).

Japan is also the location of the largest fish market in the world. The Tsukiji market boasts an impressive 660,000 tonnes of fish per year, which can either be viewed as terrifying or stunning. You’ll have the option of consuming significantly less saturated fat than if you were consuming red meat (which is a good thing).

Tsukiji Fish Market
Tsukiji Fish Market Vendor

The Wonders of Cycling In Japan

While Japan has an outstanding metro railway system, they also have bike lanes…lots and lots of bike lanes. To break this idea down, I’m going to list some numbers.

  • Japan’s population: 127,370,00
  • Bicycles: 72,540,000
  • Cyclists: ~56.9%

Biking is one of the most popular methods of transportation in Japan
Japanese girl biking to school

Are you getting the idea here yet? Bikes are in abundance! If you decide bike everywhere then you are going to burn some major calories. Exercise is more of a passive act in Japan, in the sense that you don’t even know that you’re doing it. This is partially why staying thin in Japan is so easy. Roads are beyond smooth, and people aren’t jerks when it comes to the bike lanes. Nevertheless, if bike lanes are too quaint for you, then feel free to hike your bike up to the summit of one of Japan’s billions(hyperbole) of mountains and trails.

According to iloveebicycling an average 180lb cyclist riding at a moderate effort will burn approximately 650 calories per hour.

Hmmmm, I wonder how much 650 calories is compared to a hot bowl of ramen.

LETS CHECK!

WOW Its like you never evenScreenshot_2018-08-12 Calories in Tonkatsu Ramen - 1 bowl from Nutritionix.png ate! But still got all the nutrients you needed from that ramen bowl (Ignore the 83% daily value of cholesterol, you’ll live)

So, whenever the time comes, walk your lazy butt over to your bike, before chowing down at the nearest Yoshinoya.spicy-pork-tonkotsu-ramen-bowl-780x675

 

 

Walking Makes For Beautiful Scenery

Japan in my honest opinion remains undefeated in natural scenery. I’ve never seen such beautiful images flash before my eyes in a continuous sequence. Gardens, temples, sculptures, pop culture, flashing lights, who in their right mind would want to catch a train for a short 10-minute trip when you could walk through 30 mins of Japan? My biggest regret when I studied abroad in Japan was taking the train so frequently. Not only did I spend tons of money, but I also missed out on a lot of the great scenery Nippon has to offer.

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Walking, just like biking burns calories, but most people don’t walk as often as they should, so the caloric burn is barely noticeable. However, I ensure you that if you walk around Japan for a day and just suck up all the natural scenery possible, you wouldn’t even notice when you drop a waist size.

According to verywellfit A 180-pound person burns about 100 calories per mile. If you live in Japan and don’t see things that make you have an eyegasm while you’re walking, then you’re doing it wrong, walk some more.

Crazy Nightlife

Japan’s nightlife is absolutely off the freakin’ charts. Staying thin in Japan has never been easier thanks to the constant raves and footwork culture.Between Shinjuku and Roppongi there are an endless array of clubs, and all of them promise to animate the night scene. I remember when I went club hopping for my birthday… alone (yeah, yeah, I know call me what you want *rolls eyes*). I arrived at The Womb in Shibuya around 10 am then around 12 am I went to club Atom which was right down the street. I When 5 am came around it was time to leave and everyone was drenched in sweat. We(everyone who was in the club) then proceeded to storm the convenience store across the street (conveniently located by the way) and doused ourselves in a gallon of water before stumbling towards the train.

Being thirsty after the nightclub
This was basically how we all looked

The point I’m trying to make is that the nightlife in Japan will have you melting your glycogen stores. This is good, for one reason – timing. When your body hits baseline insulin, you begin burning body fat for fuel, so after a nice long hibernation after a fun night of partying you’ll be more than ready rub down your sides in the mirror and say “WOW”.

Sweating in Japan's Nightlife
Japan’s nightlife summarized in one minimalistic picture.

It’s easy to passively stay fit in Japan, after a long day exploring, eating and partying, you’d be back to square one in the morning. Be sure to take advantage of the nutritional diet, splendid scenery and vivid nightlife in Japan to keep your waist grateful and your soul happy!

 


https://wow-j.com/en/Allguides/other/food/00926_en/

https://www.ilovebicycling.com/how-many-calories-do-you-burn-when-cycling/

http://top10hell.com/top-10-countries-with-most-bicycles-per-capita/

https://www.nutritionix.com/i/nutritionix/tonkatsu-ramen-1-bowl/56aa697ff254c47c472818cd

Taiko: The Japanese Drumming Tradition

Taiko’s History

Taiko, which means “fat drum” in Japanese, has a long-standing tradition in Japanese history. While percussion instruments and music existed in many cultures across the world, from the very beginning, we can trace the taiko drumming style to around 6th century CE. Its influences are said to have come from ancient China and Korea during the great cultural exchange in the middle of the first millennia. The playstyle of the drums is vibrant and lively, and it creates a connection between the soul and the instrument. Through the iemoto system, performance groups have specific styles which are passed down to them (this is no ordinary method of drumming). The traditional teaching of Japanese art can only be obtained through devoted disciple and compassion for the art itself.

Uses of Taiko

Initially, the main use of the big drums was for military purposes during the (Sengoku Jidai) warring states period. Different combinations of rhythms signalled different war signs – there would be a different combination of beats for “retreat”, “advance”, “reinforcements”, etc. Nonetheless, progressively taiko music has effortlessly blended itself into the celebratory Japanese culture. Edo period Japan also emphasized the use of taiko in dramatic performance shows such as Kabuki, Noh and Bunraku. The drumming would intensify the scenery, amplify emotions and accompany dancers, all of these things added a sprinkle of uniqueness to the Japanese theatre.

Religion has also included the use of Taiko drums, mainly Buddhism and Shintoism in mainland Japan. Even today one can routinely see taiko drums used in Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, and the majority of cultural festivals.

Taiko Drums

Although Taiko literally means “fat drum”, they do in fact come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Reason being, each size and variation of drum delivers a different impact and sound. There are four types of Taiko drums, each with their own perks, specialities and uses.

Daiko DrumShime DaikoHira Daiko

Odaiko

This would be the biggest of the four, and its meaning translates into “a big drum”. Its scale can go from anywhere between 35- 48 inches, however, due too ceremonial and ritual practices BIGGER Odaikos have been crafted. The sound that reverberates from the Odaiko is a loud, explosive beat packed with intensity.

 

Hira Daiko 

The Hira Daiko is meant to be played similar to that of a gong. Its name translates into Gong taiko for a reason. Both sound, shape and the way it is to be played resembles a gong.  It is, however, a much less used type of Taiko in the modern era of Japanese culture. Finding one can cost a pretty penny.

Tsukeshime Daiko 

The shime daiko is the equivalent of a snare drum in the Kumidaiko Jazz ensemble. It is the timekeeper behind the entire ensemble, thus it is considered to be the most essential part of the entire “SHIBANG”. They are much smaller than their big brother Odaiko at a mere 13-15 inches with a height of 6-9.5 inches.

Okedo Taiko

This is the lightest drum out of the entire ensemble due to the fact that it is constructed out of wood staves instead of the typical hollowed out trunk. This, in turn, creates a lighter that also gives off a lighter sound.  It is extremely portable allowing for users to play it in several positions.


Fun Facts

The drums are typically made out of the same wood as your everyday bonsai tree. (Keyaki Wood)

bonsai tree
Taiko drums are made out of the same wood as a high-quality bonsai tree

In Japanese mythology, Raijin, God of Lighting wields 4-8 taiko drums as weapons

Raijin wields 8 Taiko Drums In This Depiction
Raijin vs Fujin


The Modern Comeback of Taiko

The resurgence of this ancient music style is contributed to one man during the 1950’s. Daihachi Oguchi, the founder of Osuwa Daiko and creator the Kumi-Daiko style was actually a jazz drummer. The story goes, “One day, he was asked to interpret an old sheet of taiko music for the Osuwa Shrine. With a little bit of help, he performed the tune and got an idea of how to modernize the style.” He put several different taiko styles in one setting and created Kumi-Daiko, a group taiko ensemble that consists of various taikos.

With time, several important and famous groups emerged, whom would further develop the style and introduce it to the world. One such group, whose members emphasized rigorous physical training to develop their music, famously performed a piece of Kumi-Daiko after running the Boston marathon and left the audience breathless. The modern take on the style is famous for its very fast, rhythmical drumming and vibrant shows.

 

Please enjoy this rendition of Kodo, a famous Japanese taiko group playing on 3 O-Daiko!

 

Famous Taiko Groups (There Are Way More)

Kodo

Ondekoza

Tao

Kanto Abare, Matsuriza


http://www.taiko.com/taiko_resource/groups_j.html

https://www.japan-talk.com/jt/new/iemoto