November 18th, 2020 issue

Outsider’s View of Japanese Culinary Rules & Yakiniku vs Shabu-Shabu

In this issue, we bring you an outsider’s view of Japanese cuisine, yakiniku versus shabu-shabu, a cool little Americana town in Iruma, castles in Chiba, and capsule co-working spaces.

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1. An Outsider’s Perspective on Japanese Cuisine


I love this article. It could be titled something like “Cultural Foodie Things That Puzzles Foreigners Visiting Japan for the First Time.”

(And speaking of Japanese cuisine, check out our full guide introducing over 80 different dishes to enjoy when in Japan)

It’s a fun read where the author experiences dining in Japan and discovers some interesting peculiarities — such as eating soup with chopsticks (and yea, that is a little weird come to think of it).

It’s been a long time since I began eating soup with chopsticks it’s second nature to me now — and feels weird when a restaurant offers me a spoon — probably because I am American and think my culinary needs are different. 🙂

It makes sense, Western culinary culture is much different than Asian traditions. It is so interesting hearing others’ experiences on this too. 

Are We Talking About the Same Thing? – “But somehow leaving my worries about my rather thin wallet behind, I ventured into the unknown world of local cuisine. Since that day I have been learning about dishes, food-related customs, and names of ingredients I would have never even guessed existed. It is a never-ending gastronomical journey. Here I will introduce 5 of the first few things that puzzled me in this country.” (Taiken)

2. Yakiniku vs Shabu-Shabu

Now, this is a fun video with two YouTube “in Japan” personalities choosing their favorite between two choices.

The video covers more than just yakiniku vs shabu-shabu and I happen to agree with them on them all. Maybe it’s one of those things foreigners who have been in Japan long enough tend to do.

Yakiniku > Shabu-Shabu for sure — but shabu-shabu does feel a bit healthier.

Hang out with them even after the yakiniku/shabu-shabu part, where they discuss Osaka vs Kyoto, Omotesando vs Ginza, and more.

Quick Hits

These are a quick list of more things we think you'll find interesting.

  1. Check out this little “town” called Johnson Town in Iruma, Saitama with a bit of Japanese 1950s Americana — and don’t skip out on the burger joint there.
  2. Chiba, just outside Tokyo to the east, has some really cool castles to check out. I recommend Otaki Castle if you want a “more real” experience.
  3. Need a cozy space to work without interruption? Capsule hotels are retrofitting themselves into co-working spaces due to the pandemic.

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