Saturday, May 7, 2016

Only in Japan... Part IV

For me and hubby, food is a huge factor in making life in a foreign country fun. Some of the best amusement for us has been at the local grocery store. I mean, where else can you find a whole sack of salmon roe (ikura) and live wasabi roots?

I actually like ikura, but seeing it in its entirely is... well, I suppose I can't un-see it now. Ha.

I think most people know that fruits and vegetables are generally expensive in Japan. But I'm not sure they know how crazy it can get, or that the notion of "designer fruits" exists here. Here's photographic proof that I'm not nuts (well, may be I am but that's for a different post...). 

Click to zoom. Yes, you're looking at grapes costing hundreds of dollars! Different fruits available depending on the season, but the late summer and early fall were grape season.

And those individual grapes? They were 1,200yen (~$12) a piece. Yes, $12 for one. single. grape.


And winter was strawberry season, a cool 540yen (~$5) per strawberry. Per strawberry.

These are "grocery-grade" grapes. They aren't "designer" per se, but are still pretty expensive--each of those bunches set you back a cool 1,500-2,000yen. Hubby and I, and all our friends too for that matter, actually love these freakin' grapes! We can only indulge every once in a while because let's face it, $15-20/bunch of grapes is just unspeakable. But wow, these grapes changed the way I look at grapes. They're not your ordinary green grapes, folks. They're sweet but not sugary, fragrant but not cloying, with a top note of mango to boot. I just can't do these grapes any justice at all so you'll just have to try them for yourself.

My latest condiment obsession is yuzu koshou, pretty much a salted yuzu chili paste. If you like yuzu flavor, you'll love yuzu koshou. I just put them in everything (soups, oyako don, etc.), and I cook with them too. They're available in green or red, chunky or smooth. I love both green and red, though I prefer it chunky. So you bet I'll stock up on them before going home. Here's a yuzu koshou gift set I bought for myself LOL! The yuzu rich is a dressing of sorts, tangy with yuzu flavor. Yum!


Soba sushi! They were okay, not great, which was too bad...

Ice cream balls anyone? I especially like the fruit flavors like nashi, mango, etc., although matcha was yummy too.

Being in the land of matcha, everything can and has a matcha version of itself. I was told these matcha Oreos weren't so good though, because the matcha flavor was too strong ^.^"


And springtime in Japan means everything sakura, which is fine with me. Unfortunately the below aren't the beacons of example. The sakura-flavored Pepsi tasted like, well, pink-colored carbonated sugar water, and Starbuck's Sakura Latte tasted like syrupy milk, utterly disgusting. And you know I don't have a problem with sugar!


This is not really "only in Japan," but I just really wish to see more of this at home! I mean, it's wholly untrue that only women enjoy some pampering.


And yup, that's an old man walking his turtle.


What kind of asshole-ish philosophy is this?


We go to The Sweet Dynasty often and ordered this dish all the time but never noticed what the English says. And when we did, it was so funny I just had to snap a photo to share xD


Back in early April, hubby, me, and J. took a day trip Nagoya, just in time to see the cherry blossoms bloomed at Nagoya castle (that'll be another post). We happened across this display at a restaurant inside Nagoya Station.


See my previous posts:

2 comments:

Yolli Kwok said...

Those prices are crazy! But there are normal fruits too right? Not just super expensive ones?!

D. said...

Hi,

Yes, there are "normal, grocery-grade" fruits LOL! Still pretty pricey in comparison to what most North Americans pay. For example, berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.) are 500-1,000yen, apples and pears are 1-300yen, grapes are 1-8,000yen, yes, even grocery grapes fetch crazy prices!

:(
D.

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