Glad I found this thread! I am just starting off with the primal lifestyle and I am looking for some advice when it comes to buying food here. It's been really helpful, and a relief to hear that the Australian beef is mostly grass fed. I have been able to taste a difference in the beef, I was wondering what it was.
By the way, I'm also in Kansai!
I have another theory on why people here are slim. The public transportation systems are very good. So people walk a lot to get to their train and subway stations. And take a walk around the stations and you find a lot of bicycles. Cars are expensive to park in cities. I take my bike to and from work. Takes 40 minutes but very pleasant to ride around the Imperial Palace. Very clean city.
Another plus from a stress standpoint, there's very little crime unless you go looking for it. I lost my wallet once and it was returned the same day.
Counter to that, the recent reports of the missing elderly. Basically the underlying cause is the children in the 60s and 70s are collecting and cashing in the retirement and welfare funds from their parents, allegedly living in their 90s and 100s. One big cause of that, I'm told, is that due to privacy concerns, there is no social security number issued so the local governments identify these pensioners by their name and last known address. A few years ago, there as a huge scandal when the agency in charge of pensions said it couldn't track the accounts of a large segment of the population as none of it was computerized or computerized well.
I am not alone it seems, I live in Nara.
The rice? boy am I ever sick of the damn rice! it's all the same, boring white rice - no Basmati , long grain etc just white rice and 99% of the Japanese people I speak to about primal cant quite fathom it, its like you are being sacrilegious by not eating it.1) Rice is the best I've ever tasted. I was born and raised in Hawaii so I miss it with every meal and the temptations are great.
2) Japan makes the best breads and desserts. High-end bakeries all over the place.
Amen brother.Whereas a Westerner might say, "I can't give up bread. I like it too much!" a Japanese would say, "I can't give up rice. I'm Japanese!" It's such a cultural thing. Suffice it to say that I got some truly incredulous looks when I declined rice at a meal.
Bread? are you kidding me, the bread in Japan is horrendous! I used to love bread and going primal in Japan was easy in that respect as I had pretty much given up on the bread anyway. In the supermarket "shoku-pan" the thick, super soft ultra bleached sweet white bread - 4-6 or 8 slices to a loaf - making up 95% of available bread - no multi grain or rye etc.
yep, that's the stuff.a slice or two of cloyingly sweet thick cut white bread
A few gourmet bakeries in Tokyo might have a some good bread, but 98% of Japan the bread is a travesty of the word bread.
The whole "meta-bo" Metabolic syndrome. phenomenon is picking up these days, when I first came here, there was no such word, now its a buzz wordThe Japanese aren't fat in general, so perhaps rice at least can't be directly implicated as a cause of obesity. However, I'd be reluctant to call the majority of modern day Japanese adults "healthy". Doubly, nay, triply so for the work-a-day men here... admittedly it's a bit of a stereotype, but all too true at the same time: smoking, drinking, not sleeping, working 10+ hour days 6 days a week, no exercise, and a diet of, while perhaps not fattening, nutritionally dead white rice can't be good for one's well being.
In the time I have been here, I have noticed more and more chubby people, the % of the general population is definitely going up, though saying that there are a lot of thin people still about.
As for you question about the labeling/origins of food, its tough, really tough. Just got to do your best and sometimes accept whats on offer. As they say in Japan "Shouganai" - cant be helped.
Places to buy food.
Costco - in Amgasaki. Great place (relatively) for primal food. for example Nuts - 1 kg of Walnuts for a 1000 yen, big bags of raw almonds, imported meat like kiwi lamb, 2 kg of chicken breast for about 500 yen. 1kg of frozen mixed berries for about 1000yen.
The meat guy. http://www.themeatguy.jp/app/en/ get your meat delivered from the meat guy. Real meat, good stuff. Highly recommended.
Foreign Buyers club - food delivered to your door, pricey but an option.
Also CO-OP supermarkets (not A-coop) the one s that have the home delivery service is quite famous for organic food, though how trustworthy I couldn't really tell you.
places to eat.
Big Boy family restaurant. All you eat salad bar (about 20 options in the selection) and decent Aussie steaks. Cheap - not flashy but primal.
Last edited by Valarauko; 10-22-2010 at 08:14 AM.
Glad I found this. My work has offered me a 2 year secondment to live and work in Osaka (Kansai), I need to decide before christmas.
I've been primal for about 6 months in the UK where it is very easy to get everything you need, and it has been the best 6 months health wise of my life.
I would be looking to live in between Kobe and Osaka and commute in.
Is it possible to live without rice and get enough vegetables (spinach and kale are a love of mine)???
I think you will be just fine. The produce and fish here are superb. Much higher freshness and cleanliness standards than in the U.S. I have access to Greek yogurt (Fage from Greece). German bacon, Aussie and U.S. ribeye steaks, etc. I eat the local produce and it is the best.
I've been here 3 weeks now and agree the food quality is excellent, hope the radiation does not change that too much...
The one thing I am struggling with is lunch. Lunch seems a very social occasion and I struggle to find any dishes without rice! And don't get me started on the smoking. I will just have to start bringing my own food...
Choose your adventure
Valarauko kindly sent me to this page. It's nice to see a few more Groks in Japan. Here is where I find my stuff (I'm based in Hokkaido):
Meat and Fish
This is tough as not much is properly labelled here. Max Valu has "Green Eye" chicken with no antibiotics or hormones and it is locally produced. It even has a photo of the farmer on the package. The local CO-OP has "Michinoku" chicken which is a similar deal. Not organic but as good as you will probably find.
We are lucky to have Hokkaido-raised (in Biyatori-cho) wagyu. It's expensive but quite often on sale at half price if you time it well. From my research, these cows are left to graze outside in the summer and given straw in the winter. It's easy to find Aussie beef although it doesn't say much about how it is raised.
As Valaraoku says, Costco sometimes has kiwi lamb. They sometimes stock local fish but the vast majority is regular USA beef, origin unknown so probably not so good. The Meat Guy is a little pricey but does have an "organic section". Well worth checking out. He sometimes has wild boar and kangaroo too.
We're lucky enough to get wild venison here as the prefecture culls them. Delicious and wild - no hormones there! Sometimes cheap and sometimes expensive, cheaper cuts are good in stews. Search online for "Ezo Shika" in Japanese and you can find places that will deliver country wide.
Vegetable and fruit
We're lucky in Hokkaido as there is lots of local produce, especially in summer. There is a local organic movement so we are blessed with an abundance of organic food until the winter starts when it gets much more difficult. CO-OP and Max Valu sometimes stock organic vegetables, usually in a green package. Also, the prefectural homepage tells us where all the organic farms are which is well worth the search. When there isn't any organic stuff available, we just have to wash the veggies. Still go local but clean as best as possible.
We searched for ages to find good eggs and eventually found a local free-range farm that sells eggs directly. Not organic but the farmers produce their own feed and you can see the chickens outside pecking at insects. Much better than the white, thin-shelled eggs at the supermarket.
Costco is the place to go for nuts. Walnuts, pecans, raw almonds usually in stock. You can also buy lots of nuts from Amazon.co.jp
You can find good oils in most foreign shops. There is a shop in Sapporo called Jupiter that stocks coconut, macadamia, avocado, and great olive oils. Try rakuten.co.jp and amazon.co.jp for oils too.
It is tough in Japan but, like Grok, you just need to forage. Sometimes things can be a little expensive but well worth the cost for the benefit to health. If you're stuck for something, shoot me a PM - I can usually find most things online.
Grok on in Japan.
I'm peeking in this thread as well. I was in Japan for 3 months, traveling pretty much throughout the country, living with families, both in the countryside and in city.
If you eat out, it's practically impossible to avoid soy. They use soy bean oil and soy sauce (shoyu) in everything.
I'm starting Japanese studies in September, and will probably take one or two 6-month long stays. I think I'll be living by myself, thus cooking myself.
I really hope I'll be able to find good food... it's darn expensive, though.
Grumpy mentioned how the Japanese look at foreigners, and yes, they do indeed believe we're all overweight fat-asses. "Because we eat a lot of meat" - in their perspective, meat makes you fat, but funnily enough, fat doesn't (cooking oils, animal fats).
Carbs are their staple, and as already mentioned, and as all probably know, rice in particular.
And I agree that their bread is BORING. I remember one morning I was given an inch-thick piece of toast with some melted cheese, bell pepper and some yucky-looking (bright pink; the wrong kind) sausage. I'd usually be given rice and miso soup, which I preferred by far.
In Hokkaido, I actually lived with a family in the country. They grew their own foods, and they were organic. Really environmental people, concerned about Earth and nature. I really liked them...
I lived an hour outside Tokyo in 2004-2005. McD, KFC, 7-11, everywhere. Even pizza hut. The city I lived in, I swear at least 1/4maybe more of the young generation (18-24) had become either big-boned or obese. This was 6 years ago! Bad food was everywhere and it was all foreign influenced food. Yes, japanese pastries put US to shame, if not Europe. I miss them but it would kill me if I ate them again. The only thing that saved me while I was there was the constant walking I did that kept off weight but I didn't have a healthy physique then like I do now.
As far as meat goes, yes it will be Australian for the most part - the mad cow scare stopped the influx of cheap, tasty american meat, a blessing for them really.
Thin look may be in, but as someone else mentioned, thats for the Japanese. Japanese really don't have set requirements for foreigners to look anything and be anything other than exotic foreigners. As long as you act the part of a polite, but exotic, foreigner, you will do well.