It’s not a myth but a fact that the majority of Japanese women (living in Japan, that is) are thin. Living in Japan and experiencing the way they live for two weeks, I figured out how they manage to maintain their svelte physique. I even lost three pounds doing it, although I probably gained it all back in the last two days … shucks. They eat three, small, nutritiously balanced meals regularly every day and walk everywhere. I think they strive to eat at least 30 different types of food daily. That’s all. These are few of the wisdoms I picked up in Japan.
Small Portion Forgives a Little Gluttony
This is a meal my mother, my aunt and I enjoyed at Muji’s downstairs cafeteria (equivalent of, say, the Ikea cafeteria) in Kyoto’s shopping district. When you order a four-item plate, you get a choice of two hot and two cold items. I ordered a mashed pumpkin salad and fish marinated in vinegar (cold) and pork and cabbage layers and salmon, daikon radish and mushroom in cream sauce (hot), with a side of 10 grain rice and corn soup. They are not low calorie foods, but small portions forgive a little gluttony and over indulgence.
Quality Wins Everytime
My cousin Chiaki and her husband Toshio took me to this beautiful, tea house / restaurant / café in Kyoto and I devoured this roasted pork lunch set. It was served with a simple salad, a bowl of rice cooked in special kama (pot), and a bowl of miso soup on the side. The pork was one of the tenderest pieces of meat I’ve ever tasted. Even in small portion, your taste bud screams with satisfaction.
Later that day, we stopped at this unique sweet shop on the way back from Kiyomizudera and had Kuzukiri, a special dessert in Kyoto. Kuzukiri is a gelatin dessert that you dip in molasses syrup like soba or udon noodles. It’s strange when you just read about it but it is absolutely divine. I look forward to this every time I’m in Kyoto.
Small but Satisfying Portion
This is a lunch from a neighborhood coffee house called Teramachi. It’s in the middle of the shopping district in Kyoto, owned by a father-and-son duo. It specializes in selling special coffee beans and also serves lunch and dinner. Even though the entire meal is very satisfying, the portion is still considerably smaller than the ones served in the states.
A Little Reward Doesn’t Hurt
However, they do indulge in a little decadent dessert once in a while. The key here is that these sweets are enjoyed occasionally, usually to celebrate something special.
These things so simple and straightforward but why is it so difficult to incorporate this lifestyle back in the states?
hehehehe, maybe its about culture… a “non fat” culture 😉
1) i love those plastic models. they’re totally true to scale.
2) i didn’t know muji had a food area… chiaki didn’t take me there boo! i remember there was a food bar like bakery section. do they serve food that they sell or specially made for the cafeteria?!
their dry-freezed foods are amazing!
3) awww kuzukiri… it so reminds me of kuzumochi. no guilt intended.
4) did they take you to the spaghetti house “second house” (they mean second home, you know, lost in translation…) that i frequent? it’s a must next time you’re in kyoto! i went everyday!
Very true! Most of the food are relatively low fat there!
No, I didn’t go to “Second House.” I would love to check it out next time! Sounds like a cool place! Muji’s restaurant is relatively new … it probably didn’t exist when you were there (that’s maybe why Chiaki didn’t take you there). So sorry about kuzumochi … I still feel guilty!!! I’ll make it up by making some good dessert for Thanksgiving 🙂
Thanks for this insight. The eating of smaller portions and walkng is also the reason that Europeans are thinner than Americans