Once in Japan, I never ceased to be amazed at everything that I saw. This country is so different from everything we are used to that it seems as if it has fallen into another world.

The Japanese have a special relationship with food - its preparation and reception. They value simple and straightforward ingredients; the less effort and additives it takes to prepare a dish, the better it is. Therefore, they often use raw or lightly cooked foods so as not to change the original taste.

Of course, some of the staples in Japan are fish and seafood, as well as rice and noodles. The prices for food in public places are different, the average bill in a cafe is 150-300 UAH per person.       

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When I visited one of the fish markets in Tokyo, I was amazed at the number and variety of sea dwellers. There are also many restaurants where fishermen immediately cook their catch in front of you. The cost of a portion for two will be approximately 700-900 UAH. Insanely delicious sashimi can be tasted there. This is a local fast food. Some dishes still seemed alive, they certainly are not very pleasant to eat.  

I remember when we were cooking some kind of live mollusk in its own shell - a spectacle not for the faint of heart. They brought him in with the sink closed, set the burner on and put him, still alive, on a small grate over the fire. The clam began to emit the sounds of a crying baby. The women were shocked, one even ran away in tears. The fact is that when heated, the liquid inside the shell boils and flows out through tiny holes, creating characteristic sounds.

It is interesting that the Japanese do not have their own national sweets: Europeans brought sweets, chocolate and biscuits here. And, in contrast to and from hamburgers, they are accustomed.

Serving food in Japan also has its own characteristics and may even depend on the season and age of the guests. For example, older people cook slightly less portions than younger people, due to differences in the metabolic process.

 

A table with a large selection of dishes is considered good, although the portions are usually very small. Everything is served on different sizes and shapes of plates, plates, and only chopsticks from cutlery. The Japanese have a special attitude towards them. If you squeeze them into a fist, they will perceive it as an aggressive gesture, if you stick it vertically into food, they will think that you do not respect them.

An interesting story happened to us on our journey. In classic Japanese restaurants, people eat at very low tables, sitting on a tatami directly on the floor. In one of these establishments, we were asked to leave our shoes at the entrance and were shown into a room. One of the members of our group stayed late and came in later, he was also explained to take off his shoes. He took off his shoes, saw slippers next to him on a wooden shelf and, without hesitation , put them on and came to us. Then the waiter comes in, sees him and begins to speak something in Japanese with horror in his eyes and indignation in his voice. Our guide began to calm him down and explain something.  

It turned out that the shoes were left for guests who need to go to the toilet. And when our friend went to their table, the Japanese were terribly outraged and offended: they took it as if someone had climbed onto the table in our shoes. This is an insult to the kitchen and the entire restaurant.

The waiter was indignant for a very long time and did not even want to serve us.

I was also surprised that in Japan it is not customary to leave a tip, it is enough just to pay for the service provided to you. Remember this when going to local restaurants of national cuisine, where, by the way, lunch or dinner will cost more - from 700 UAH per person. But it's worth it!  

During my stay there, I have never seen sushi similar to those rolls that are made in our Japanese restaurants. Wasabi and ginger, as it turned out, are also not to add spice. The first one kills harmful bacteria that may be in raw fish, and the second clears the taste buds before the next type of fish or seafood. Sushi sets can be bought even in a supermarket (about UAH 100).     

In Japan, a completely different culture of food consumption: only those products that are stored for a day or two are considered the highest quality . They have a reverent attitude towards rice: it must be eaten to the last grain, otherwise it will be regarded as disrespect. And this is perhaps one of the few ingredients that goes through the full cooking process.

Japan has long been an isolated country, and despite the current advances in digital technology and robotics, there are many amazing and authentic things to see with your own eyes. When I first visited this country, I saw a countless number of temples that were like two peas in a pod and popular tourist places where, due to the crowd of tourists, it was impossible to see the attraction itself. And I wanted to see how and what modern Japanese people live, what life is like outside of megacities, what nature they have, traditions, what they do in their free time.

Therefore, at Goodwin , we   have created a  journey that has something that is not found in ordinary tours: local flavor, unusual places, interesting people, ancient customs, climbing Mount Fuji and overnight in a Buddhist monastery - real Japan!