Visiting Japan through curry

15 Mar

Varieties of toppings on the curry

One year after Japan’s monumental, life-changing earthquake, the country is still struggling to overcome all the damage inflicted upon it. Displaced Japanese are fighting to rebuild their homes and communities. It’s the beginning of a long process, but the resilient Japanese maintain their strength of spirit throughout every difficulty.

Japanese culture remains clear and strong to this day, possibly due to the fact that few Japanese emigrate. Since Japan is so small, its people are homogenous and speak one language, providing a sense of community few want to leave. Japanese are polite people with specific customs and respect for diligence and independence.

Japan has many attractions, but today I’m focusing on those in two cities: Tokyo and Kyoto.

Tokyo is known for bullet trains, the newest techno gadgets and masses of people crammed in tight spaces. It’s also known for many bright colors, which might be why one of the most popular stores there is called Kiddy Land. Although a toy store, all ages are welcome to go in, as its motto is “For the human smile.” Then there’s always the Japanese Disneyland Resort. I’m so curious how it compares to American Disney parks! Another sight is the monstrous Roppongi Hills building, which includes shops, restaurants, museums or anything else you could possibly want for enjoyment. In Akihabara, the part of Tokyo called “Electric Town,” you can find every technology known (or about to be known!) by man.

Kyoto, popularized by Western works of fiction such as Memoirs of a Geisha, retains Japan’s cultural heritage more than the glitzy capital. Dotted with shrines and old hotels, Kyoto is peacefully nestled in the Japanese Alps. A popular destination here is the very first Japanese teahouse, Tsuen Tea. Legend has it that a retired samurai founded it in 1160 in order to begin a new phase of life. Another fun attraction, Monkey Park, is high on top a mountain where monkeys roam free and the view looking down on Kyoto is spectacular.

Japan has it all – glamour, technology, romantic history – and food! Japan’s most popular dish is sushi, but I chose a close contender – curry. (All right, I might be just a little scared of making my own sushi! Maybe one day…) I love that curry can have several varieties. Basic curry contains meat, potatoes, onions and carrots in a spicy sauce, but you can add anything you want to the mix! My personal favorite add-in is either pineapple or banana. I know – weird, right? But the fruit’s sweetness complements the rich flavor of the curry. No matter what’s in it, though, curry is delicious and satisfying.

Mmm...toppings!

Japan is one of the most interesting countries I’ve researched. It’s small but has a big impact on the world, so you never know what Japanese trends might spread to America, like vending machine mania. In Japan, there is roughly one vending machines for every 23 people! These machines contain things like Coke, eggs, bowls of noodles, Pringles or even umbrellas! What item would you like to have access to from a vending machine?

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7 Responses to “Visiting Japan through curry”

  1. nb March 15, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    I had NO idea curry was a Japanese dish.

  2. Cara March 21, 2012 at 12:19 am #

    That was one of the best meals ever. There are many things that could be fun to have in vending machines, but I think one of the most dangerous for my wallet would be baby clothes. 😉

  3. ejpoe March 27, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    I thought this was a very interesting. I especially liked the history.

  4. healthykingincollege March 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    I have had curry before and I didn’t like it that much but adding fruit to it with the sweetness sounds yummy! I love pineapple and bananas! Nice work!

  5. Kelsey Reiman March 27, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    I really liked reading this post because I didn’t know about the things you mention about the Japenese culture. I can’t say I’m a fan of curry, but great post!

  6. sophiewkellerman March 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    I love how much I learn about other countries when I read your posts! Great pictures and fun facts about Japan!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Visiting Japan through…Japan! « Traveling by Taste - May 19, 2012

    […] going to Japan […]

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