A new supermarket opened one block away
from my apartment. It’s the closest
supermarket and I can see it from my window.
Since the construction started in spring,
I’d been looking forward to its opening while
seeing the progress of the construction site. I
jumped in it on the long-waited opening day
and the store exceeded my expectation.
Their prices were a lot lower than I’d
thought. They have carried the opening sale
and I’ve been there almost every day. Before
the opening, a flier of the store came in, which
said, ‘Please use us as your fridge.’ With this
proximity to my place, I thought it would be a
good idea, depending on the prices. Now that
the prices are low, using the store as my fridge
is becoming real. Because I found something
at the lowest price ever each time there and
couldn’t resist getting them, I’ve brought home
more food than I could eat. As a result, my
home fridge is packed, too.
Once I decided to move out my
apartment, this nice supermarket appeared.
Leaving the store behind makes me feel
hesitant to move…
Episode From Surviving in Japan / Hidemi Woods
Curry rice is the most popular dish in Japan. Probably people have it at least every ten days. It’s a thick curry stew put over rice. It’s regarded as a kid’s favorite, but I used to dislike it most when I was little.
My parents were busy for work as farmers and cooking was my grandmother’s task. She was as stingy as my grandfather was and she would thin curry powder with water as much as possible to save money. As a result, the curry of our family was like curry-flavored hot water that drowned rice.
When I got older, I realized that I’d had the wrong curry rice and the right one existed, and it became my favorite. Today, I cooked curry rice. For dieting, and saving money, I put it over barley instead of rice. Rice is ironically expensive in Japan because the government controls its price. Yuck. But barley didn’t fill my stomach so well and left me hungry. So I ate some snacks after finishing it. Am I really dieting…?
At the end of the last year, I won a prize drawing of a snack company and got a boxful of potatoes. I was very pleased to receive it but I had forgotten that I wasn’t a frequent cook. I finally found time to cook potatoes yesterday. The potatoes have already begun to bud. I’ve heard that a potato’s bud is poisonous and I was afraid enough to decide to eat them as soon as possible. I cooked them into tempura. The whole dinner was potato tempura. It was delicious, but eating from a mountain of potato tempura, it looked more and more like a confrontation. The leftovers still sit in the fridge and there are a lot more potatoes in the box waiting for me. They should have been a prize, not a punishment…
New Year is the biggest holiday in Japan. There is a traditional meal for it, which is called ‘osechi’. It’s assorted foods of beans, boiled vegetables, boiled fish, and steamed fish paste, boxed in layered containers. The kinds of an assortment are slightly different at each family according to the family tradition. My family’s traditional ‘osechi’ was absolutely terrible. The assortment consisted of only three kinds of food. Boiled carrots, boiled burdocks and black soybeans. That’s it. We even didn’t have to buy them except for black soybeans because they were grown in our family’s field. It was accompanied by miso soup that had sticky rice cake and big taro in it. Big taro was grown in our front yard and my family held a superstition that you would become a head of something by eating it in the New Year. Unfortunately, it’s huge and painfully tasteless. As a child, I always wondered how they could call them a New Year’s special feast since our daily meals were better. To conclude the ‘feast’, we drank special tea. A cup of Japanese tea with a pickled plum sunk in the bottom. As another superstition, my family believed that it would bring happiness, but it tasted horrible and made me unhappy right away. And then, what I thought couldn’t be any worse hit the new bottom. On one New Year’s Day, there was a new addition to our traditional meal. It was called ‘kuwai’ and looked like a chestnut with a sprout. My mother heard that eating it in New Year made you ‘sprout’ to the world. It became her new superstition and my father began to grow it in the front yard. It tasted utterly awful. If primitive people found it in the woods and tried it, they would certainly dismiss it as inedible. Although I had endured the terrible feast until I left home, I’m not a head of anything, nor don’t sprout to the world…
A new restaurant opened one train station away from my new place
according to the Internet. It seemed an American cuisine restaurant
which specialty were a cheeseburger and a waffle, which is rare in this
area. There are many other restaurants on the street where the new
restaurant opened and I’d wanted to stroll along it sometime. Most
restaurants there were introduced with the pictures on the Internet and
looked neat enough. I was pretty sure that they wouldn’t disappoint me
this time around, and went there for lunch. But, sadly, my jaw dropped
yet again. It was as if the pictures I’d seen on the Internet had been
taken 30 years before or something. All the restaurants were rusty and
shabby. The street looked deserted with nobody strolling along. I
spotted the new American restaurant among them and a man dressed in a
white cook uniform was sitting in a chair in front of the place looking
at his cell phone. The door was left open and I glanced at the inside.
There was no customer in a cramped restaurant. The online photo of the
place was far better than the actual one. Whoever took the online photos
of the restaurants on this street must have a genius for making
dreadful sights look beautiful. As I was starving, I entered the least
unsightly restaurant where some customers had just come out. They served
the meal twice as much as an ordinary restaurant and it was so
delicious. Unexpectedly, It was a pleasant eating experience. I went
home feeling like trying other restaurants on that street as well. As
for the American restaurant, I’m still not sure if I have the courage to