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The Japanese Breakfast

I have been traveling all day, and now I am back in Korea., and I am beat. I told you that they had a very Japanese breakfast available at the hotel, so I decided that perhaps what I should do is tell you about the breakfast at the hotel.  Whenever I eat breakfast at a Japanese hotel, I seem to find the same kinds of things.  The Koreans and Japanese both eat things in their traditional breakfast that don’t normally appeal to people from the west.  I like  a lot of the food they serve, but I am just not ready for it at breakfast.  To me, the things they eat seem more like something you should be eating for lunch for dinner, but they are eating it for breakfast.

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Here are shavings of dried fish you can sprinkle on your rice if you want for breakfast. My Japanese friend taught me to put this in the middle of rice balls with soy sauce on it once upon a time.
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This is shaved daikon, the Japanese radish. You can sprinkle that on your rice if you wish.
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The first bowl is the little white fish, and the bowl in the front is shredded yellow pickle.  I love the yellow pickles, but not for breakfast.

First, I will tell you about the breakfast at the hotel.  I have eaten all the things I am going to describe to you before for breakfast, but I usually prefer Japanese food like this later in the day. However, the Japanese eat these kinds of things everyday for breakfast. When I stayed in the boarding house as a student, the obaasan (grandmother), the lady who ran the boarding house and cooked for us made these kinds of things, and I  ate them.  I never knew what kind of crazy thing she was going to put on my plate, but I was bold and brave and tried everything she sat in front of me. The hotel breakfast had tiny, tiny fish that you couldn’t even tell were fish because they were so small.  When I was in the boarding house, at first, I thought they were little noodles, but when I looked close, I saw they had little eyes and were actually fish. I was used to the obaasan serving us a whole baked fish for breakfast, and I only ate the middle, not the head and tail, but when you eat these little fish, you eat the whole fish.  There was wasabi, the green spicy stuff in a liquid form at the hotel, and you could have a salad and put wasabi dressing over it if you wanted.  I love miso shiro soup, and they had it, but I just don’t want it for breakfast.  Miso shiro is a fish based soup, but it doesn’t taste fishy. 

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Here are pieces of jello type stuff made with acorns you can eat for breakfast if you want at the hotel.  I have eaten this stuff in Korea, and it isn’t bad, but I really don’t want it for breakfast.
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Here is the miso soup.  I happen to love miso soup!  However, I just can’t think about eating it for breakfast.  It doesn’t mean I didn’t when I stayed in the boarding house, but at the hotel, I have a choice, and I want it later in the day. Koreans eat soup every morning for breakfast too, but not miso. They have something similar to miso they call twenjanjigay, but in my estimation, it isn’t as good as miso. (Sorry Korean friends, I know you love it!)
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They had a nice big bowl of tofu available. I actually like tofu too, but as I said before, not for breakfast.  Am I a spoiled American?  I really like tofu and sea weed in miso soup.
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It’s not Japanese food if you don’t have sea weed.  I actually love sea weed, but again, I don’t want it for breakfast, but it is available at the hotel breakfasts in Japan because it is part of a traditional breakfast.
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These are called several different things. Some people call them steamed Chinese dumplings, but they are not really dumplings because they are filled with ground pork, soy sauce, green onions, and perhaps some other things. If you look back through my blogs about Japan, I ate them, but fried the last time I went to Japan, and they were called gioza. They were shaped differently too. The Koreans call them wontons. If you look back through my blogs, there is also a recipe where I show you how to make them.  A Chinese man  taught me to make them once, but he taught me to boil them.  They come in different shapes, but they are all basically the same thing.  They are delicious, but again, I don’t want them for breakfast.  I want them for lunch or dinner, but they were serving them for breakfast at the hotel.
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There were several different kinds of teas to drink for breakfast.  Oolong tea might be good, but possibly the foreigners won’t be drinking this at breakfast unless they are twenty years old and ready to try everything for the first time.  However, even at twenty, I tried everything, but being honest,  it doesn’t mean it was easy to stretch myself. The picture in the back is grapefruit juice.
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Have you ever tried soy milk?  Besides regular milk, this milk was also available. I had an Australian friend once upon a time who drank this instead of regular milk, and he insisted I try. It wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t milk.  I like to drink milk sometimes. I also like it in my cereal and my tea, and I am just not ready to switch it out for soy milk even if it doesn’t taste so bad. 

There were lots of other things that I didn’t recognize, so I didn’t take their pictures or comment on them. The point is, the Japanese just eat really strange things at breakfast that we from the west never dreamed of eating.  The first morning, I had a bowl of rice, but I didn’t put sugar and milk in it.  I ate it with chop sticks like everyone else. I like it that way, but about half way through, I thought, “Sugar and milk is available, so why didn’t I just go ahead and put them in my rice?”  If I had, it would have been really strange to the Japanese who were sitting at the other tables.

Both mornings, I found scrambled eggs.  However, they would not be the kind you are used to.  One kind looked like they had soy sauce in them, and they were hard scrambled.  I have eaten them and even cooked them like that, and they are good, but not for breakfast. What they made probably had sugar in them too, but I never put sugar in my scrambled eggs, but it is a very Japanese thing to put sugar in your scrambled eggs.  The other scrambled eggs, I found I ate, but there would be people from the west who might have trouble with those too. My scrambled eggs were extremely runny, only half cooked, I enjoyed them anyway. I figured better just plain scrambled eggs than scrambled eggs with sugar and soy sauce in them for breakfast.

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I searched through it all and found a normal breakfast somehow, that is, if you do’t count how runny the scrambled eggs were.

I was also lucky enough to find toast, and I ate toast with butter and jam the second morning instead of the bowl of rice.  They had pieces of ham and other lunch meat there, but I never was much into ham at breakfast even though I know many people in the west eat it.  I drank orange juice and water. There was green tea, but I wasn’t ready for green tea even though I like it.  I found American Lipton Tea bags and hot water, yeah!  I got to drink hot tea with milk and sugar in it both mornings!  They also had coffee, but I am not a coffee drinker.  The place was full of strange food, food I would usually only eat for lunch or dinner. I have eaten most of it, even at breakfast, but I prefer a more traditional western style breakfast.

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “The Japanese Breakfast”

  1. Your post reminds me of a visit to Seoul where traditional Korean food was served along with western stuff as part of the breakfast buffet. I saw Korean families(including small children) choose clear soup, seaweed, and shredded vegetables over toast , cereal and eggs.
    I guess it’s all a question of what you’re used to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I live in Korea and have been at people’s houses first thing in the morning here and seen them eating seaweed soup for breakfast too. However, something funny at breakfast some Koreans do is eat ice cream.

      Like

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