Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"You are what you eat"

Inspired by the Good Magazine Picture Show "You Are What You Eat", this is a picture of my fridge after going grocery shopping today:

English Assistant Language Teacher | Semi-Rural Northern Japan | 1-Person Household | Often skips meals | 2009

(The caption is also modeled after the article.)

So far I think I'm doing a decent job of buying local/domestic.

Top Shelf (left to right):
- Akita Prefecture milk (one of the prefectures directly below Aomori)
- bottle of Towada Tare sauce (one of our specialties!)
- lemon/peach/mango tea made in Miyagi Prefecture (Tohoku Region--i.e. the same region as Aomori Prefecture!).

Middle Shelf (left to right):
- Iwate Prefecture (the other prefecture directly below Aomori) tofu--in Ziploc container
- Yamagata Prefecture (again Tohoku Region) white peach jelly
- Chinese chestnuts (whoops! see note below)
- (Danone) Bio aloe yogurt made in Gunma (northern part of the Kanto region, at least)
- Meiji aloe yogurt (behind the Bio) made in Tokyo (a little further south)-- no aloe flavour available in the Bio brand today

[Note on the chestnuts: I was tricked/confused because there's Chuugoku Region (includes Hiroshima Prefecture) in Japan, but Chuugoku is also the Japanese name for China. Since the product was certified organic by the Japan Agricultural Standards (JAS), I thought maybe the chestnuts were from the Chugoku Region. But after a little research, I found out that there are indeed organic chestnuts from China certified by JAS, so... ^^;; Surely there must be Japanese chestnuts available somewhere?! But at least China is closer than America (previously purchased almonds).]

Fruit/Veggie "Drawer" (left to right):
- Aomori Prefecture (from Sannohe to be precise!) cherries
- Towada mini-tomatoes
- Aomori Prefecture carrots--behind tomatoes
- Ibaraki Prefecture (again, northern part of Kanto Region) green peppers
- Towada cucumbers

After grocery shopping, I decided I was hungry enough to put a little more effort than usual into making (note, not "cooking") dinner. So I went through the extra effort of peeling a carrot, scooping the seeds out of a green pepper, and putting some soy sauce and bonito on tofu for a bit of protein--not to mention, variation!

With the bonito, I guess my dinner was pescatarian* rather than vegetarian, but it's not like I'm trying to become vegetarian anyway. I'm simply too lazy to cook meat. =P

(*With pescatarianism people eat seafood but not meats like chicken, beef, pork, etc. Since Japanese people usually make a distinction between meat and fish, if you tell them you're vegetarian, chances are they'll think you're pescatarian and serve you fish instead of beef/chicken/pork, etc.!)

Anyway, one thing I've realized about trying to eat more local produce/products is that it increases your grocery shopping time because you have to stop and read labels for everything! And since my Japanese geography is terrible, I was even pulling out my JET diary and looking at the map of Japan to choose brands made in prefectures closer to Aomori!

If I have time one day, I think I should go to the Michinoku Eki and see if there's a bigger selection of local (Towada) produce/foods there. There's also a fruit/veggie store just down the street from me and a produce stand right outside the Taisozuka... Right now I usually go to the Jusco because it has convenient hours (open 'til 11pm), and offers a point program (using WAON), but I really should at least check out the smaller, neighbourhood shops sometime.