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平成26年 (2014年) 9月 16日

国際課

ACCESS  October 2006

A Bimonthly Newsletter for International Residents of Yamaguchi Prefecture


feature1 refuse disposal YIEA language sister-cities Q&A

Food Safety and Precautions


Japan is famous worldwide for its healthy diet, with many countries in the West now looking to Japan for clues as to how to improve eating habits and lessen the occurrence of heart disease, cancer, strokes, diabetes, and obesity among their own populations. Japanese meals traditionally center around staples of rice, fish, soy bean products, and vegetables, although the cuisine is actually quite extensive. While fried foods and meats are often incorporated into the menu, they tend to appear in small portions. Conversely, some Japanese foods contain high amounts of salt and sugar, and high-fat diets are on the rise. In Japan, like anywhere, it is important to watch what you eat.


It can be particularly tricky (and in some cases quite simple) to get around Japan if your dietary options are limited, whether due to medical reasons or personal preference. Following is a brief rundown of what to look out for, what to avoid, and how to eat happily in Japan with a restricted diet.


Allergies アレルギー (arerugii)


If you have mild or severe food allergies, you should know what to look out for at restaurants, and how to ask about what you’re ordering:


”Does this have __ in it?” | “I am allergic to __”

__ が入っていますか? | __ にアレルギーがあります。

__ ga haitteimasu ka? | __ ni arerugii ga arimasu.


Here’s a list of common food allergies, and how to say them in Japanese or spot them on food labels and menu descriptions:

Peanuts……………ピーナツ/落花生………piinatsu / rakkasei

Walnuts……………くるみ……………………kurumi

Milk…………………牛乳/ミルク………………gyuunyuu / miruku

Egg…………………卵……………………………tamago

Fish…………………魚……………………………sakana*

Shellfish……………貝…………………………kai**

Soy…………………大豆………………………daizu***

Wheat………………小麦………………………komugi****


* Fish are listed on menus by the name of the variety; this is easy to spot, as most types of fish include the character 魚 in their name, for example salmon 鮭 (sake), mackerel 鯖 (saba), and yellowtail 鰤 (buri); others include squid いか/イカ (ika), octopus たこ/タコ (tako), and ”seafood” 海鮮 (kaisen)/シーフード (shiifuudo).


** Shellfish are also often listed by variety, for example: shrimp えび/エビ/海老 (ebi), crab かに/カニ (kani), oyster 牡蠣/かき/カキ (kaki), sea urchin 海胆/うに/ウニ (uni).


*** Soy is found in many products, such as miso 味噌/みそ, natto (fermented soy bean) 納豆, soy milk 豆乳 (tounyuu), soy sauce 醤油/しょうゆ (shouyu), and tofu 豆腐/とうふ.


**** Soba noodles (そば) are made mostly of buckwheat, but can contain up to 50% wheat.


Lactose Intolerance 乳糖不耐症 (nyuutou futaishou)


Lactose: ラクトース/乳糖 (lakutoosu / nyuutou)


As there is little dairy used in Japanese cooking, a lactose-free diet should not be too hard to achieve, and alternatives like soy milk 豆乳 (tounyuu) are sold in most supermarkets and convenience stores. Words to look out for include:


Milk………………………牛乳/ミルク………………gyuunyuu / miruku

Ice cream/soft serve……アイスクリーム/ソフト…aisu kuriimu / sofuto

Cheese……………………チーズ………………………chiizu

Butter……………………バッター……………………battaa

Yogurt……………………ヨーグルト…………………yooguruto


Diabetes 糖尿病 (tounyoubyou)


Items to look out for:

Sugar………………砂糖………………………satou

Glucose……………ぶどう糖/グルコース…budoutou / gurukoosu

Fructose……………果糖/フルクトース……katou / furukutoosu

Oil……………………油…………………………abura*

Fried food…………揚げ物/フライ…………agemono / furai**

Calories……………エネルギー/カロリー…enerugii / karorii***

Alcohol………………アルコール/酒…………arukooru / sake


* Cooking oil サラダ油 (sarada yu), olive oil オリーブ油 (oriibu yu), sesame oil 胡麻油 / ごま油 (goma abura), etc.


** Other common fried foods include tempura てんぷら/天ぷら, kara-age (fried chicken) から揚げ, and deep-fried breaded cutlets カツ (katsu)


*** Often listed as kcal on labels; sometimes calorie content is listed on menus as well


Dishes to avoid or limit intake:

Sushi 寿司/すし (contains high amounts of salt and sugar)

Hamburg steak ハンバーグ (hanbaagu) (high in calories)

Ramen ラーメン/らーめん (high in oil, salt and calories; the best option at a ramen

shop is 五目ラーメン (gomoku ramen), a vegetable ramen dish)

Yakisoba 焼きそば (high in calories)


Acid Reflux/Heartburn 胃酸の逆流 (isan no gyakuryuu) / 胸焼け (muneyake)


Japanese portions are not always small! Avoid menu items marked 大盛り (oomori) as these are served in particularly large portions. Many dishes contain large amounts of rice-if there is a choice in the rice size (usually small, medium, large 小、中、大 (shou, chuu, dai)), choose 小 or 中. At a restaurant, you may want to avoid meal sets 定食 (teishoku) which contain many dishes such as rice, pickles, soup, and other side dishes in addition to the main dish. On the other hand, while you may notice your Japanese counterparts finishing off everything on their plate and may feel pressured to do the same, remember that it is not rude to leave your dish(es) unfinished-note that there is, however, no custom of carry-away or doggy-bagging your leftovers. Here are a few polite ways to refrain from eating the entirety of your meal:


I’m full. | This is delicious, but I cannot eat any more.

おなかがいっぱいです。 | とてもおいしいけど、もうこれほど食べれないのです。

Onaka ga ippai desu. | Totemo oishii kedo, mou korehodo taberenai no desu.


Another to look out for is spicy items on the menu. If you want to avoid spicy, look for words such as 辛い karai (spicy) and激辛 gekikara (extra spicy). To avoid caffeine, look for non-caffeinated ノンカフェイン/カフェインレス (non-kafein / kafein-resu) options. Some teas, such as green tea, may carry larger amounts of caffeine than expected. Non-caffeine or low caffeine options include houji-cha ほうじ茶 (low), mugi-cha (roasted barley tea) 麦茶 (non), genmai-cha 玄米茶 (low) and herb tea ハーブティー (haabu tii) (non).


I can’t eat spicy foods.

辛いものは苦手なんです。

Karai mono wa nigate nan desu.


Do you have decaffeinated (coffee / tea)?

ノンカフェインの(コーヒー / 紅茶)がありますか?

Nonkafein no (koohii / koucha) ga arimasu ka?


Alcohol


For those who wish to limit or avoid alcoholic intake, there are several options:


I cannot drink alcohol.

酒は飲めません。

Sake wa nomemasen.


I have a very low tolerance. | I can’t drink very much.

私は酒がとても弱いです。 | 私はそんなに飲めないのです。

Watashi wa sake ga totemo yowai desu. | Watashi wa sonna ni nomenai no desu.


I’ve had my limit, I really can’t drink any more.

もうこれ以上は…本当にもうだめなんです。

Mou kore ijou ha… hontou ni mou dame nan desu.


If you are pressured to drink at parties or gatherings, but do not wish to drink hard alcohol, beer, sake, or cocktails with high alcoholic content, you can opt for a light cocktail, such as a cassis-based drink (ex: カシスオレンジ kashisu orenji) or milk-based drink (ex: バナナミルク banana miruku、抹茶ミルク maccha miruku), which contain a very low percentage of alcohol.


MSG


MSG was invented in Japan in 1907, by researcher Kikunae Ikeda. You can avoid the substance at the grocery store if you know what to look for. MSG is sold on its own in clear bottles with red caps, labeled 味の素 (aji no moto). It is also found in a brand of salt, アジシオ (aji shio), which comes in a clear bottle with a blue cap. Look for it on food labels by searching for グルタミン酸ナトリウム (gurutamin san natoriumu).


Vegetarianism ベジタリアン (bejitarian) / 菜食主義 (saishoku shugi)


If you eat fish but not meat, you shouldn’t have much trouble getting by in Japan. While many dishes contain meat, there are just as many that do not. Look out for:


Meat…………………肉………………………………………niku

Beef…………………牛肉……………………………………gyuuniku

Pork…………………豚肉……………………………………butaniku

Chicken………………鶏肉……………………………………toriniku

Duck…………………鴨………………………………………kamo

Liver…………………レバー…………………………………rebaa

Lamb / Mutton………ラム/マトン/ジンギスカン……ramu / maton / jingisukan

Bacon…………………ベーコン………………………………beekon

Sausage………………ソーセージ……………………………sooseeji

Chicken extract……チキンエキス…………………………chikin ekisu

Beef extract…………ビーフエキス…………………………biifu ekisu


Is there (meat) in this?*

(肉)が入っていますか?

(Niku) ga haitteimasu ka?


* As ”niku” often refers to only beef or pork, you may need to specify in certain situations.


I do not eat meat or fish of any kind

動物性、魚はいっさいだめです。

Doubutsusei, sakana wa issai dame desu.


For those who do not eat fish, eating out could get a little difficult. First off, in Japan fish is not considered “肉” so you cannot avoid fish by specifying that you do not eat 肉. Refer back to the allergies section for an easy way to spot fish on a menu or ingredients list. Also be careful when ordering noodle dishes (udon, soba, or ramen for example) or using dipping sauces that come with a meal (such as for tempura), as the broth used often contains fish, pork, or chicken stock. Miso soup and clear soups also usually contain fish stock, called dashi.*


Is there any fish stock in this dish?

だしが入っていますか?

Dashi ga haitteimasu ka?


* Dashi, a soup stock popularly made from fish, can also be made with kelp 昆布/こんぶ (konbu) or shiitake mushrooms しいたけ, as a vegetarian option. If you are interested in cooking Japanese dishes at home, you may want to try making a homemade dashi by boiling down kelp or mushrooms, or looking for instant kelp dashi powder (こんぶだし) sold at most grocery stores (be sure to check the ingredients for fish extract かつおエキス (katsuo ekisu)). For vegetarian dashi recipes, visit http://japanesefood.about.com/od/soup/a/aboutdashisoup.htm


There are many protein options available. Tofu is both abundant and very cheap; some sold for as little as \38! Try out different forms of tofu-sesame tofu ごま豆腐 (goma doufu), yuba ゆば (bean curd skins, made from skimming the top of boiled soy milk), or deep-fried tofu skins 油揚げ (abura-age). Another popular soy product is natto 納豆, a fermented soy bean often eaten for breakfast. Many non-Japanese find it difficult to eat, but knowing the right way to prepare it can make it easy. For a list of ideas on how to prepare natto, visit http://www.gaia21.net/natto/recipe.htm


If you have trouble explaining your vegetarianism, you may want to resort to using an excuse of religious reasons or allergies-vegetarians in Japan have often found that this is the easiest approach to repetitive, sometimes offensive questioning:


I am allergic. | My religion bands the eating of meat.

アレルギーがあります。 | 宗教で禁止されています。

Arerugii ga arimasu. | Shuukyou de kinshi sareteimasu.


Some helpful websites:

http://www.jpvs.org/ep/index.html Japan Vegetarian Society

http://www.vegietokyo.com/ Tokyo Vegetarian Guide


Veganism


For some helpful articles on eating vegan in Japan, as well as some useful links, visit:

http://www.vegietokyo.com/info4vegie/articles/article2.html


Foods to try out


Konnyaku -A firm jelly made from the konnyaku potato, konnyaku was originally introduced as a medicine in the 6th century, and has been eaten regularly since for 1500 years. An alkaline food, it is rich in minerals, low in calories (negligible amounts), rich in dietary fiber, and has been found to normalize cholesterol levels, prevent high blood pressure, normalize sugar level in blood, clean toxins, and help control weight. For recipes, visit http://www.konnyaku.com/e_data/recipe_e/index.html


Seaweed -An excellent source of minerals, seaweed is known to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and can prevent ulcers. Seaweed comes in a variety of forms, such as wakame わかめ (a soft kelp, found in miso soup and salads), nori のり (dried sheets of a type of red algae, used in sushi, onigiri, and noodles dishes such as ramen and soba), aonori 青のり (a green seaweed sold in powder form, used on dishes such as okonomiyaki, yakisoba, and takoyaki), and konbu 昆布 / こんぶ (a thick kelp sold dried, used to make soup stock and sometimes appearing in pickled or boiled form).


Miso -A paste made from ground fermented soy beans, miso reduces cholesterol, is said to prevent some cancers and ulcers, and promotes digestion. Miso can be salty or sweet, strong or mild, and comes in many varieties, each with its own distinct flavor, for example medium-bodied red 赤 (aka), light-tasting white 白 (shiro), mixed 合わせ (awase), and many others, some distinct to local regions. Miso is most often used in miso soup, but is also used in claypot cooking, as well as in braised, grilled, or simmered dishes-miso should not be cooked too long, as that destroys the nutritional value, and some say the taste as well.


Sato-imo1- Rich in Hyaluronic acid (HA)-substance which maintains healthy organs and skin, promotes healthy joints, vision, and the repair of wounds-this strain of potato is said to help with anti-aging. Sato-imo can be peeled and boiled like regular potatoes in water, or you can cook them in water with some soy sauce and mirin (sweet cooking sake).


Green tea -A powerful antioxidant, green tea stimulates metabolism, and has been found to help with weight loss. There are many varieties to choose from: sen-cha (very popular), gyokuro-cha (high quality and expensive), ban-cha (bitter taste), houji-cha (a mixture of tea and roasted grains), mugi-cha (barley tea, popular as a cold summer drink), maccha (powdered green tea, used in tea ceremony), etc.


Japanese vegetables -There are many vegetables which you may not have seen at home which are worth a try: daikon (long white radish), renkon (lotus root, found fresh or packaged), gobo (burdock root), kabocha (a small, green variety of pumpkin), satsuma-imo (a sweet potato with red skin and white flesh), hakusai (Chinese cabbage), takenoko (bamboo shoots), negi (varieties of leek and spring onion), horenso (Japanese spinach), kuri (chestnut), shiso (dark purple or green leaves, fresh or paste form).


Cut-it-yourself Sashimi -Fresh, sashimi-grade fish is sold at supermarkets (look for the word 刺身 on the label), so you can get more fish for your yen if you choose to cut-it-yourself instead of buying the pre-cut sashimi plates. Be sure to eat the fish right away, as fish that is still safe to eat, is not necessarily still safe to eat raw.


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