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Questions about japanese food

elias0012

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1. Does the food tradition in Japan have any religious/cultural connection?

2. Why does some food/sweets have different flavours at different seasons?

3. Do people eat different food depending on where in Japan they live? And why?

4. Are there any social/economic differences in the food traditions?
 
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1. Does the food tradition in Japan have any religious/cultural connection?
Cultural, sure! What country doesn't?
Religious...would have to think about that, but keep in mind that Japan is not what you would consider an overtly religious country. Buddhism is not all that in your face here, nor is it very prominent outside of certain occasions (monks presiding over funerals, for example). Shintoism is not what people outside Japan envisage it; most Japanese will probably not have a clue what it is, let alone how it affects their lives. So, unless you live or stay with monks, you probably won't eat the spartan foods they do.

2. Why does some food/sweets have different flavours at different seasons?
Can you give an example?

3. Do people eat different food depending on where in Japan they live? And why?
Of course. It's part of the culture (based in part on when regions were settled and by whom) just like any other country. For example, you don't see people in the northern US eating grits.
It's also partly based on availability, especially of seafood.

4. Are there any social/economic differences in the food traditions?
I have no idea what you are referring to.

Is this for some school report?
 
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1. Many dishes were created under the influence of Buddhism. Take for example たぬき汁 (Tanuki soup). Originally it included tanuki meat (hence the name). Bu since Buddhism forbids consuming animal flesh, Buddhist monks substituted it with konyaku (a sort vegetarian jelly).

2. Obviously because plants/animals/fish/mushrooms (ingredients) undergo seasonal changes. Those changes may affect palate. Fugu's (puffer fish) poison is most potent in spring, that's why it is considered a seasonal dish valued during winter the most.

3. Agree with Glensky's reply above. If i may be so bold, there is a gastronomical cult throughout Japan. So every region, every prefecture every hamlet boasts it's own local specialty food.

4. There are. If a household's income doesn't allow dining at a ryōtei (upscale Japanese restaurants) on a daily basis, then the households buys groceries at a 100-yen shop and dines at home. You can imagine households in between these two examples yourself. Generally fruits and vegetables tend to be more expensive compared to Europe.
 

Toritoribe

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Sorry for nitpicking, but

Fugu's (puffer fish) poison is most potent in spring, that's why it is considered a seasonal dish valued during winter the most.
Source please?

If a household's income doesn't allow dining at a ryōtei (upscale Japanese restaurants) on a daily basis
I can't imagine what kind of families can do that.

the households buys groceries at a 100-yen shop and dines at home.
100-yen shop??
 
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Originally i learned that from a movie 「武士の一分」, but there are some trustworthy sources out there as well. Page 47 of http://www.doyaku.or.jp/guidance/data/62.pdf 季節により毒力に差があり、. 一般的に産卵期にあたる早春が最も強力と言われています. I can provide sources for my claim of fugu being valued during winter more than other seasons, please ask if you need one.

I can't imagine what kind of families can do that.
It's was just an exaggeration on my part.


100-yen shop - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Why not? I know a video-blogger who survived on meals from 100-yen shops during his student years in Japan. Naturally it is, again, a bit of exaggeration. The point being that just like in any other country people eat what they can afford. That's the socioeconomic difference OP asked about.
 
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Mike Cash

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Buddhism forbids consuming animal flesh,
My turn to nitpick.

There is no prohibition against consuming meat. There is a prohibition against killing.
 

Toritoribe

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Originally i learned that from a movie 「武士の一分」, but there are some trustworthy sources out there as well. Page 47 of http://www.doyaku.or.jp/guidance/data/62.pdf 季節により毒力に差があり、. 一般的に産卵期にあたる早春が最も強力と言われています. I can provide sources for my claim of fugu being valued during winter more than other seasons, please ask if you need one.
I asked about not the difference in the amount of poison among seasons, but a source which says that's the reason of the season of fugu.

Why not? I know a video-blogger who survived on meals from 100-yen shops during his student years in Japan. Naturally it is, again, a bit of exaggeration. The point being that just like in any other country people eat what they can afford. That's the socioeconomic difference OP asked about.
I know 100-yen shop probably more than you. Then, you picked up a video-blogger student as an example of general household...
 
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There is no prohibition against consuming meat. There is a prohibition against killing.
Perhaps. I was just quoting this wikipedia article https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%81%9F%E3%81%AC%E3%81%8D%E6%B1%81 which states that 古くはタヌキの肉を入れた味噌汁であったが、獣肉食が禁止されていた仏僧によって、タヌキの代わりに凍りコンニャクを...


I asked about not the difference in the amount of poison among seasons, but a source which says that's the reason of the season of fugu.
.
It just seemed like a plausible cause of fugu having different flavours at different seasons. Made sense to me to give it as an explainable example.

I know 100-yen shop probably more than you. Then, you picked up a video-blogger student as an example of general household...
Not a general household, a ridiculously poor household. General household lies in between daily ryōtei feasts and 100-yen shop survival in my example. But then again general household does a poor job at demonstrating social/economic differences in food traditions.
 

Toritoribe

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ふぐの旬は「秋の彼岸から春の彼岸まで」と言われるが、冬が最も旬となる。これはふぐ鍋など温まる料理であることともに、成長したフグが産卵のため日本沿岸に近づく時期でもあるからである。また、ちり鍋に必要な柑橘類の旬であることも一因とされる。
ふぐ料理 - Wikipedia
Whether or not the amount of the poison in a season is a bit smaller than other seasons, it's enough to kill the eater in any season, anyway.

If a household's income doesn't allow dining at a ryōtei (upscale Japanese restaurants) on a daily basis, then the households buys groceries at a 100-yen shop and dines at home.
Your original sentence sounds like those two examples are in general examples. Am I wrong?
 
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I see that the reason behind fugu being more popular during winter is partly due to availability of citruses and fugu approaching closer to the shores. I didn't speculate whether it's enough to kill the eater, i only wanted to show that it may taste different in different seasons (an attempt to answer OP's question) due to natural seasonal changes in the organism (potency of poison in this case). Perhaps fugu was a bad example, perhaps i should simply mentioned that some ingredients availability depends on season.

Your original sentence sounds like those two examples are in general examples. Am I wrong?
Quite the opposite! They were meant to be somewhat exaggerated extremes of social/economical differences in the food traditions. Although i wish elias0012 elaborated on what was implied by "social/economical differences".
 

elias0012

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1. Does the food tradition in Japan have any religious/cultural connection?
Cultural, sure! What country doesn't?
Religious...would have to think about that, but keep in mind that Japan is not what you would consider an overtly religious country. Buddhism is not all that in your face here, nor is it very prominent outside of certain occasions (monks presiding over funerals, for example). Shintoism is not what people outside Japan envisage it; most Japanese will probably not have a clue what it is, let alone how it affects their lives. So, unless you live or stay with monks, you probably won't eat the spartan foods they do.

2. Why does some food/sweets have different flavours at different seasons?
Can you give an example?

3. Do people eat different food depending on where in Japan they live? And why?
Of course. It's part of the culture (based in part on when regions were settled and by whom) just like any other country. For example, you don't see people in the northern US eating grits.
It's also partly based on availability, especially of seafood.

4. Are there any social/economic differences in the food traditions?
I have no idea what you are referring to.

Is this for some school report?
2. One example is that Dango has different flavours depending on seasons

4. If rich people eat more exclusive food or if they eat basically the same as any other household. Like how rich people in Europe eat Entrecote more often than "ordinary people". In that case, what kind of food is exclusive in Japan?

Yes. This is for a school report. I have a hard time finding the answers to these questions on internet though so i thought i could try my luck on a forum specialized on Japan. I apologize for taking your time :/
 

mdchachi

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Your original sentence sounds like those two examples are in general examples. Am I wrong?
I think you're wrong. He was stating two unlikely extremes.

Yes. This is for a school report. I have a hard time finding the answers to these questions on internet though so i thought i could try my luck on a forum specialized on Japan. I apologize for taking your time :/
OK well I'll give you some feedback then.
1. Does the food tradition in Japan have any religious/cultural connection?
The others have covered this. Generally not so much but you can find, for example, Buddhist restaurants that have dishes containing fake meat. Bodaiju in Mita, Tokyo used to be one of them but apparently they are no longer.
In terms of culture, of course there are ethnic foods in Japan. Chinese, Korean, Indian, etc.
If you're talking about indigenous culture then you'll see regional differences, mostly due to the differences in locality. (Examples below.)

2. Why does some food/sweets have different flavours at different seasons?
You mean the same food has different flavors? Like Pokky? If so, it's mainly marketing. But it's marketing based on the fact that Japanese are very attuned to the seasons. For example every year they bring out the summer beers which I suspect are the same beers in different cans. Not sure.
A good example of a seasonal sweet could be sakura-mochi. I think it tastes mostly the same as other mochi though except for the leaf wrapping. Anyway I think there are more seasonal foods or seasonal variations than there are different flavors of the same food.
The dango example you mentioned I think is related to all the other seasonal variations such as Pokky. Tradition & marketing.

3. Do people eat different food depending on where in Japan they live? And why?
Yes for sure. I think others have covered this. Mainly due to differences in regional crops, seafood,etc.
A good example is ramen noodles. They vary across Japan, mainly in the broth. From the traditional salt or soy-sauce based to the tonkotsu (pork broth) from Kyushu or miso from Hokkaido. Okinawa has a very different food tradition than the main islands also. It tends to be a little more Chinese-like with many pork-based dishes. Of course if you are considering a something like a venn diagram, the overlap in what people eat is much greater than the differences.

4. Are there any social/economic differences in the food traditions?
I don't think so. Rich people eat more upscale food but it's more or less the same kind of food. For example you can easily spend $100 for a sushi meal. And you can go to a fast-food style kaiten-sushi place and get the same quantity for $15. In other words there may be differences in ingredients or quality or dining experience but I think not so much difference in the actual kinds of foods. The example you mentioned is basically a premium steak, right? So sure, you'll see the same thing in Japan. When money is no barrier then people will order the better cut of meat, more exclusive seafood, pricier sake, etc.
 
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elias0012

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I think you're wrong. He was stating two unlikely extremes.


OK well I'll give you some feedback then.

The others have covered this. Generally not so much but you can find, for example, Buddhist restaurants that have dishes containing fake meat. Bodaiju in Mita, Tokyo used to be one of them but apparently they are no longer.
In terms of culture, of course there are ethnic foods in Japan. Chinese, Korean, Indian, etc.
If you're talking about indigenous culture then you'll see regional differences, mostly due to the differences in locality. (Examples below.)


You mean the same food has different flavors? Like Pokky? If so, it's mainly marketing. But it's marketing based on the fact that Japanese are very attuned to the seasons. For example every year they bring out the summer beers which I suspect are the same beers in different cans. Not sure.
A good example of a seasonal sweet could be sakura-mochi. I think it tastes mostly the same as other mochi though except for the leaf wrapping. Anyway I think there are more seasonal foods or seasonal variations than there are different flavors of the same food.
The dango example you mentioned I think is related to all the other seasonal variations such as Pokky. Tradition & marketing.


Yes for sure. I think others have covered this. Mainly due to differences in regional crops, seafood,etc.
A good example is ramen noodles. They vary across Japan, mainly in the broth. From the traditional salt or soy-sauce based to the tonkotsu (pork broth) from Kyushu or miso from Hokkaido. Okinawa has a very different food tradition than the main islands also. It tends to be a little more Chinese-like with many pork-based dishes. Of course if you are considering a something like a venn diagram, the overlap in what people eat is much greater than the differences.


I don't think so. Rich people eat more upscale food but it's more or less the same kind of food. For example you can easily spend $100 for a sushi meal. And you can go to a fast-food style kaiten-sushi place and get the same quantity for $15. In other words there may be differences in ingredients or quality or dining experience but I think not so much difference in the actual kinds of foods.
Thanks!
 
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Yes. This is for a school report. I have a hard time finding the answers to these questions on internet
Thanks for your honesty. I don't usually help people with schoolwork, so best of luck on the report. I'm outta here.
 
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