Hello. My name is Marika, and I’m an international undergraduate student from Japan. This is my first column for the Baron and I’m really glad to have the opportunity to share some of my Japanese culture with UNBSJ.
For each column, I will focus on an example of either Japanese foods or celebrations in order to share a part of “real Japan.” I hope this information will help raise awareness of Japanese cultures.
This time, I will focus on one of Japan’s staple foods. Japan has a long tradition of agricultural rice, believed to date back to the Jomon period, which ranges from 8000 to 300BC. Rice, which is called “Come” in Japanese, has been a dietary staple for centuries, even though bread is getting more popular recently because of globalization. Still, rice is loved just as much, and rice products are always accessible to us.
For instance, in convenience stores rice balls are always on the shelves. Rice balls, which are made with rice squeezed with the palms of the maker’s hands into a spherical shape, are extremely popular. Originally, the way of seasoning the rice ball was the usage of salt, however now there are a variety of seasonings and fillings. There are more than ten flavours, and one of the most popular fillings, at least among students, is made from canned tuna and mayonnaise.
When we eat a meal in Japan, we say “Itadaimasu,” an expression that shows our gratitude for the food and our appreciation of the people who grow our food. The notion of this expression helps put importance on food education. In fact, classes about food are compulsory in Japan and help people learn more about nutrition.