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This Question Came to My Inbox: When you first went to Japan, what kinds of things shocked you the most?

When I first came to Japan, it was a big adventure for me. It is the first time I had been to the Orient. I had lived in Europe, N. Africa, and America. I had traveled in Mexico, but I had never been the Orient, and I went as an exchange student sent to learn from and help the missionaries attached to Ibaraki Christian University. I actually fell in love with the place and the people. I was extremely shy. I was used to giving way to others all the time and letting them go first and letting them talk, and the Japanese were not as bold as the Americans and acted like me. I actually fit in really well! I could even get lost in a crowd because I have the coloring of the Japanese. They gave me a lot of confidence. They treated me like I was someone special, and I really appreciated it. However, there were things that were initially hard for me.

Sushi was hard for me too because I didn’t like the vinegar in then rice and the raw fish. I have learned that I much prefer the Korean gimbab. It is like sushi, but there is no raw fish and not vinegar in the rice. Photo by Diego Pontes on Pexels.com

When I first got there, the hardest thing for me was the food. I had a really hard time when they put a raw egg on my plate and wanted me to eat it raw. However, when they showed me to break it open, put soy sauce in it, and then pour it over hot rice, and then use my chop sticks to put seaweed around it and eat it, I actually liked it. I had a hard time when they put sashimi on my plate because it was raw fish. However, when I dipped it in the sauce and ate it, it actually tasted good. I had a hard time when they fried my vegetables. I actually sat next to a Japanese guy at a party where we were eating tempura, and he ate all my fried vegetables for me, and I only ate shrimp and rice, but I eventually learned that tempura, and yes, the fried vegetables, are one of my favorite Japanese dishes. I had a hard time when they put tiny whole fish on my plate at breakfast, and I was eating them thinking they were little noodles, and then I looked down and saw they had eyes! They were whole fish, not noodles! the only thing that I had a hard time with initially that I still can’t eat is nato. Fermented beans are something that I just can’t take even now.

I remain to this day fascinated by Japan. Photo by Life of Wu on Pexels.com

I actually loved most of Japan from the beginning, and I still love Japan. I wanted to live there much longer than I was every able to live there. However, one of my daughters married a Japanese, and they live in Japan now. Her favorite dish is sashimi. And, I have half Japanese grandchildren.

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