What You Think Is Japanese Isn’t Japanese

I subscribe to a YouTube channel called Texan in Tokyo, and they made a video called 3 Popular “Japanese Things” that don’t exist in Japan! Watch it first, and then I’ll add some of my comments about these three things.

Finished? Okay, let’s look at these things.

First of all is the sweet green tea. I’ve heard that’s become common in North America, but since I’ve been in Japan for nearly eleven years, I really have no idea about it. However, that stuff just does not exist here. I can confirm it. I’ve told people about it, and they thought it was strange. And why would you want it sweetened anyway? Real green tea is great!

Second is the hibachi grill restaurants. As it said in the video, they exist in Okinawa, but the rest of Japan doesn’t have them. There’s something called teppanyaki, but it’s not the same. You don’t see the performance done by chefs at your table like in hibachi grill restaurants in North America. Actually, one of my favourite restaurants is Japanese Village, which is a teppan grill restaurant, as they call it, but it is not. My wife found the whole experience strange when she went there. None of the food was Japanese. And there’s no such thing as shabu shabu soup. Shabu shabu is a kind of Japanese cuisine, but it’s not a soup.

And the third one was the North American version of sushi. I agree, roll sushi (maki) is more popular in North America, but is not so common in Japan. You can find it in supermarkets and sushi restaurants, but they are not the most popular. Nigiri sushi (fish on top of a rice ball) is real sushi. Thankfully, Tokyo Express in Edmonton serves plenty of nigiri sushi.

A lot of this is what makes me want to search out authentic Japanese food in Edmonton. Places that are authentic will likely see business from me more often.

What are some stereotypes you have about Japan? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll let you know what the reality is.

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10 thoughts on “What You Think Is Japanese Isn’t Japanese”

  1. Sushi has become ridiculously popular around these parts lately, but you can tell from a mile away that it’s not actually Japanese-style sushi. My bets are that the overwhelming majority of people around here wouldn’t touch Japanese-style sushi with a ten-foot pole (not to say that it’s not good, but you know…judging a book by its cover).

    Other stereotypes? I’ve always heard that the Japanese are so obsessed with education that teenagers often have complete nervous breakdowns. There’s the common myth that there are vending machines with used panties in them (somehow I’m pretty confident that you’re going to dismiss that one). I’ve read that the Japanese are much better with numbers than North Americans, not because they’re actually smarter but because the number system is much easier to learn. And I’ve also read that so many young women these days are focused on having careers rather than families that there’s actually a dramatic drop in population occurring. Those last two were written by North American journalists, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they were overblown.

    1. I love nigiri sushi (fish on rice ball). It’s amazing.

      Let’s see. Japanese are obsessed with education. They send their kids to cram school after school so they can get better entrance exam scores. They learn more in cram school than they do in regular school, actually.

      That’s a myth. No used panties. New panties, I wouldn’t doubt. I haven’t seen it. I have seen vending machines for umbrellas, eggs (one near my home), fresh vegetables (around farms), and rice (those things are huge).

      The number system in Japan isn’t any easier to learn than ours. In fact, they use the same one we do in written form.

      It’s a drop in the birth rate, and yes, it does have a lot to do with people deciding career is more important. Fewer men are interested in marriage. In fact, there are a lot of men who aren’t interested in relationships at all. There are many virgins in Japan.

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