William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

54. Food

A lot of people have been asking food-related questions, and even more were making (sometimes informed) pronouncements before I came about the food experiences I would have here.

Due to my slavish budgeting, I don’t have a lot of room for experimentation (if things go wrong I could be left with the choice between staying roughly on budget and getting something to eat), so I tend to eat cup curry noodles a lot. I also occasionally eat instant ramen, and I cook rice in my rice cooker once or twice a week, eating the rice with packets of pre-made curry I buy for about 80 yen apiece at the store.

I used to eat a lot of bread, but I haven’t been eating any lately. The problems with bread are many: you can really only buy half a loaf at a time, and sometimes the kind that’s marked down is six slices, sometimes eight (!), or sometimes as thick as four. So the timing / quantity gets all random.

Then you have to have something to spread on the bread. Direx (a discount store chain) sold sizeable jars of strawberry jam for the very reasonable price of 299 yen, but the last time I went I could only find their blueberry for ¥399. I know the difference is only 100 yen, but my daily spending ceiling is 2000 yen, and that’s another packet and a bit of curry, or maybe a choice <ahem> beverage.

But even strawberry jam all the time, when I could get it, would have just been boring. I usually got peanut butter, too – Jupiter, everyone’s favourite imported-foodstuffs store, usually has Skippy or Peter Pan, usually at an okay price. PP was on sale at Jupiter the last time I was there, at only ¥399 for a decent little plastic tublet.

But have you ever cleaned out a container of peanut butter for recycling? It’s not my idea of fun, and that alone has made me stop buying the stuff and stop buying bread altogether.

I’ve never purchased regular butter either, nor milk. I’ve been very cautious about buying things that can spoil, so I buy only one item of fruit at a time (the last thing I bought was tomatoes), and if I buy meat I usually put it in the freezer right away.

In restaurants I can be similarly nonadventureous, especially given that I’m still illiterate. On Thursday night, we celebrated payday by going to a seafood restaurant. I was sceptical about it, but went along just to be social. It turned out to be a nice place, and we all ate way too much. I ordered French fries and fried fish (separately, as the “fish ‘n chips” was just for kids). After much delay and trepidation, I forced myself to try the squid that came in little complimentary cups before the main courses.

- what did you do today?
- I taught two classes, did a lot of correcting, went to the ATM, paid my power bill, and in the evening we went to a seafood / sushi place.
- I ate a fried flatfish, maybe a sole...
- yum... I love all seafood.
- so we left, and we saw that in the aquarium outside the entrance where there had been three flatfish, now had but two... =)
- and everyone was like, "You ate the baby!"
- did you eat the runt of the litter or the flattest flatfish of them all?
- I don't know, but it was a small, flat fish.
- There wasn't much meat on it.
- It was mostly just chewing batter off of bones.
- that doesn't sound delicious
- it was ok but not filling

Last night at kaiten, after the story had come up again, they told me that they were actually kidding; they didn’t take notice of how many fish there were when we’d come in, and besides that it was a decorative display tank, not the special kind of tank that’s used to keep live food (it has to be set up with special equipment because people are sticking their hands into it all the time, and if they were to do that with a regular tank it would get contaminated and the fish would die).

But in any case, I was left thinking I’d eaten a bony, only somewhat tasty little baby. The meatiest part was its brain, and that was only a spoonful.

Anyway, I’m definitely a fan of kaiten because there’s all kinds of good stuff there – there’s the sashimi that you see at places like that seafood restaurant (and they didn’t have much else), yes, but there’s also beef sushi, wiener sushi, fried chicken, corn, applesauce, cakes (sometimes tasty), ice cream, frosty beer, egg sushi… you name it. I’m a huge fan of the red-meat sushi, and I’ll usually eat several plates of that alone.

And now I have some rice in my fridge ready to be heated up, but I have nothing to go with it except salt and pepper. Time for a run to the convenience store to see if they have any curry packets!
Tags: food, japan

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