Picky Eater Problems

February 15, 2018

in Academic Year 2017-2018, Chloe Kirk, Japan, Spring 2018

I have never been an adventurous eater. In fact, some might call me a relatively picky eater, almost exclusively sticking to the Italian cuisine (pasta and pizza). If you haven’t read my other blog posts about food yet, most of them begin in a similar fashion of “I have never tried this before” or “I have never particularly wanted to try this food before.” Yet, while being in Japan, I have been brave enough to try more food than I have in my entire life in America. So far, some of the most unique food I have tried includes all manner and arrangements of fish, chicken sashimi (raw chicken), Kobe beef, takoyaki (fried balls of octopus) and miso soup.

When I say fish makes up a large proportion of Japanese cuisine, I mean I am offered it almost every meal of the day. In the dormitory, where I have a set meal for breakfast and dinner, half of the breakfast meals and three quarters of the dinners include some variation of fish. During lunch, where there is a cafeteria at lunch, even if I order a basic salt ramen or kitsune udon (salt soup with udon and fried tofu), I will also receive a small decorated and pressed piece of fish pasts. There are so many ways to make fish into different meals and I had no idea of the full extent of it until coming here! You can just find a normal fish, tempura (battered and fried fish), fish sashimi (raw fish), sushi, balls of fish in soup, fish flakes, fish pasts, fish eggs and more!

Balls of Fish in Soup for Breakfast


The problem for me is that I don’t like fish, and so it has taken some real adjusting to the new meals. Don’t get me wrong, I still love plenty of new food here, but just not the fish. Kobe beef is heavenly, and takoyaki is unusually delicious (as long as I don’t bite down directly on one of the suction cups of the tentacle of the octopus).


The only other big problem I frequently come across with Japanese cuisine, besides fish, is miso soup. If you are not familiar with miso soup, it is a sour, yellow drink that can have various ingredients added such as fish or seaweed or vegetables and is served with every meal. I still drink it to be polite, and it’s not as bad to me as eating fish, but I just can’t get over the sour taste and the fact I don’t really know what ingredients it is made of!

Other than those two food issues, all the other food I have tried I have immensely enjoyed, especially mochy (rice dough with sweet red bean paste inside) and the extensive amount of Japanese chocolate, such as the endless Kit-Kat flavors.

Mochy in Nara

Scott February 15, 2018 at 12:02 pm

Loved your story about foods. We lived in Japan for three and a half years and absolutely loved the food. It’s good you’ve opened your palette to experience more, as there’s so much great food to experience. Our daughter starts her study abroad in New Zealand soon, and on her way stopped in Japan to visit her host sister for the past nine days. She too tried every food her “sister” introduced to her (putting aside her vegetarianism for the time being). So you love Kobe beef? Try yakiniku (Korean beef). Amazing. There was only one food I didn’t like: natto. Enjoy Japan. It’s awesome.

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