Japanese cuisine is very colorful and filled with some of the most amazing, mouthwatering dishes. The first food that probably comes to the mind of a Westerner when thinking of Japanese food is probably sushi. Sushi consists of special vinegared rice put together with seafood, vegetables, and possibly even some fruits. Sushi is often served with soy sauce, pickled ginger, and wasabi. Sushi in Japan is actually much simpler than the way Westerners portray it. “Sushi” rolls you may find in America don’t exist in Japan, so don’t go to Japan wanting a “California Roll.” Traditional sushi does not include avocados and the wasabi is not mixed into the soy sauce. However, many times, people mistaken sushi with sashimi. While both are popular Japanese dishes, they are quite different. Sushi may have raw fish wrapped around its special, vinegared rice. Sashimi, on the other hand, is basically the raw fish served alone. Ramen is a popular noodle soup in Japan that originally was imported from China. There are plenty of different types and flavors of ramen as well. Toppings also greatly vary. For example, you can choose from bamboo shoots (menma), seaweed, corn, and hard boiled eggs. Another popular noodle in Japan is Udon. Udon noodles are chewy and thicker than most noodles you will often see. Udon can be eaten while either cold or hot. Popularity of different types of udon dishes can vary from different places in Japan. However, these are only a few of the wonderful dishes of Japanese cuisine.
For about a century, the country of Japan had a diet of mostly seafood and vegetables. Throughout time, Japanese cuisine has been influenced and altered by new social and economic activities. However, traditional Japanese food can still be food today. You can see it in the streets, homes, and restaurants of Japan and even different parts of the world. Typical Japanese cuisine often revolves around rice and other added components and side dishes. Often times, side dishes can include pickled veggies, soups, and seafood. Today, many homes in Japan have Western tables and chairs. Traditionally, the people of Japan had low tables and cushions in tatami rooms. Men sat with feet crossed, while women sat with their feet pointing in one direction. Before digging in, it is a custom to say, “itadakimasu.” In English that is translated into “I humbly receive.” Being picky with your food choices is not very welcomed and you are often expected to eat every last grain of rice.