Culture Shock ~Food~

When I was in Indonesia, I often saw TV program about travel to Japan and about Japanese culture, plus there was Japan culture exchange such as Japanese festival held in Universities, that made my longing to Japan bigger and bigger. Finally, I could start living in Japan after obtained proper visa. Get married to a Japanese national and living in Japan was such a dream. However, I got culture shock as well.

Halal Meat

When I started living in Japan, I got difficulties in getting halal meats. Most of supermarket in Japan put chicken – pork – beef in order at meat corner. Of course, even chicken and beef here are not halal. In the supermarket, I found that pork is a lot more than chicken and beef. It was shocking me as I have never see it these much in my life, furthermore right in front of my eyes. So, I prefer to avoid meat corner or brisk walking if I have to walk nearby.
At that time, there was no halal shop nearby our home, so we often order through online halal shop. However, as it needs delivery cost which make it pricey, we mostly bought seafood, product from processed fish, tofu, vegetables, etc.

Seafood corner in supermarket
Seafood corner in supermarket

In Indonesia, I often ate sausage, but unfortunately all sausages sold in common supermarket in Japan is containing pork, so husband and I have to avoid it.
Nowadays, stores selling halal food are increasing, such as Nissin Supermarket that is selling imported foods (Halal Foods at Nissin Supermarket) and Japan popular supermarket Gyomu Super (Halal Meat at Gyomu Super) that makes us easier to get halal meats.

Seasoning, Instant Noodles, etc

When shopping at supermarket, I have to check all product ingredients one by one that takes me too much time, especially when it comes ingredients I don’t know and I have to use google. For example, most of instant noodles contains dried pork or pork extract, so I have to remember products without it.
If I have time to visit store that selling imported foods such as Kaldi Coffee Farm or store that selling Indonesian products, Indomie is my must-buy-item. Indomie is a popular instant noodles in Indonesia.

Indomie I found at Kaldi. It is available in soto flavor and mi goreng
Indomie I found at Kaldi (with Indonesia Halal MUI). It is available in soto flavor and mi goreng

Kaldi I often visit has Indomie in 2 flavors only, soto flavor and mi goreng. Husband, who is a Japanese, eat Indomie mi goreng happily, but he can’t eat soto flavor one. I didn’t believe why he can’t eat such delicious and tasty soto flavor. Maybe because soto flavor contains many South-East-Asia seasonings which make it tastes “weird” for him.

Make Japanese food

I was not really in used to kitchen before getting marry, but as I became a “wife”, so I have to get used as I’m responsibility to making food for husband, especially Japanese food. Like mentioned above, even it takes time but I can do shopping and buy groceries, but I didn’t know how to cook them into Japanese food, as I had no experience on it. There, Alhamdulillah I understand Japanese a bit so I bought cooking books and made some Japanese foods by following the instructions. Cooking books in Japan often using pork, sometimes alcohol-included-seasoning, so I have to change this and that to make eat-able (halal) Japanese food.

Some Japanese food cooking books
Some Japanese food cooking books

“Too light taste” was my first impression to Japanese food. Even I felt Japanese salt tastes light. In Indonesia, “spicy” or “rich taste” is common, so I added more salt and chili pepper into Japanese food I’m cooking at. It looked like Japanese food, but, as you can imagine, the taste was terrible. Not only husband, even me, the one who made it, also can’t eat it.

Though, even I faced failures, went up and down, but I didn’t give up. I have to make proper food for my lovely husband. By continuous efforts and kind help from my mother-in-law, finally I can cook proper Japanese food.