Saturday, July 02, 2011
Japan 2011 The Food: Breakfast
This was our western-style breakfast at our hotel. I'm always amused by "western-style" breakfasts in Japan, because there's always some weird element that we would never, ever have in the morning. In this case, it's a salad with raw onions. I had to brush my teeth again after eating this! (Yeah I ate it... I was feeling vegetable-deprived at that point, since almost all of our meals this trip were meat, meat and more meat.)
The first time I ever went to Japan, in 1999 or 2000, I had my first western-style breakfast, and the pattern was set. Included in my breakfast that day were... (drum roll)... french fries! Not hash browns, not some other, more commonly accepted breakfast form of potato, but full-on french fries, like you'd expect to get with your Whopper with Cheese at Burger King.
I think this all stems from the fact that Japanese breakfasts are more or less just another meal with the same ingredients as lunch and dinner. Traditionally they're based on things like fish and rice, like any other meal. So they don't quite get that western breakfast is a whole separate thing from the later meals in the day. If they feel like some element's missing, they'll just grab it from some other meal.
Anyway, a lot of people go to places like Japan and get western stuff there because they don't really want to feel like they ever left home. Me, I get western stuff specifically because I enjoy their interpretations of it. Not everybody understands this, and my parents used to yell at me for not immersing myself in the local culture whenever I went somewhere new. But to me these somewhat off interpretations of western culture are a part of Japanese culture, in the same way that "Engrish" is Japanese culture and not really English. I have fun with the little manglements.