Posted on Monday, October 27, 2008 | 0 comments

After being here in Japan for just over 2 years, a few things have become rather obvious. For one, Japanese is a hell of a language to learn. Which has led to some rather interesting encounters best told another time.

Secondly and my main topic, is that Japanese people LOVE food. Turn on the tv at any time of day, and you're almost guaranteed to find a cooking show, a world cuisine show, or a variety show involving various celebrities or guests tasting and gobbling to their heart's content. The one my husband loves is on Saturday mornings-every week it depicts a newlywed wife preparing breakfast for her husband in any given country around the world. The meals showcase local cuisine and are of such extreme proportions and effort that the wife must: 1. Get up at 4 am to prepare said meals and 2. cute wife and lovey-dovey husband must have metabolisms comparable to those of wild horses. These facts seem to have escaped the general viewing population here...or else, the general audience doesn't realize that most people cannot eat as much as they ('they' being Japanese) can and still fit into a Western size 0. (Or that most women do not spend hours in the kitchen every morning preparing gourmet breakfasts in bed for their spouses).

Honestly, there has to be some genetic combination for extremely high metabolism inherent to the Japanese race, as I've never in my life seen such tiny girls consistently consume so much. Whatever the case, my best guess is that these high metabolisms have led to a permanent semi-hungry state, and thus the obsession with all kinds of food. Not that I'm complaining, as I too, love food. At least half of our day and weekend trips revolve around it.

Currently, I have a hoshi-imo obsession. The Chinese character for 'hoshi' means 'dried', and 'imo' means 'potato'. Basically, they're sun-dried sweet potatoes, but the Japanese sweet potato is of a different variety than the traditional Western one. Whatever the case, these things are absolutely addictive! They're seasonal (like a lot of food here), and usually rather pricey at the grocery store. However, our neighbors have a gigantic garden and are always selling produce at their road-side stand. Plus, their hoshi-imo are perfect: nice and softly chewy, instead of a bit too hard like the ones at the store. We've actually gone and begged them for hoshi-imo, since apparently they're a rather popular item and don't stay around for long. (Side note- 'hoshii', which sounds almost identical to 'hoshi', means 'I want...' So I've had rather a fun go of harassing my poor husband by repeatedly whining 'Hoshi imo hoshii!' Yes, I'm a dork, I know).
Right: Hoshi-imo drying in our neighbor's garden
Left: Delicious
(Hoshi-imo hoshii!!)