Since arriving in Japan with my fam in 2010 and observing lots of Cooking The Japanese Way, it’s quite obvious to me there’s an intimate intricacy involved in preparing food here.
In the photo above, my fam and I took a mini vacation to Nichinan in Miyazaki on Kyushu island. We dined at a cozy restaurant overlooking the ocean and some elaborate natural rock formations. This is one of my all-time favorite Japanese dishes.
In the Japanese culture, there are many traditional ways of doing things (for example, tea ceremony – sadō & flower arranging – kadō) that can be traced back centuries. Cooking The Japanese Way is one of these things.
There are many styles such as the elaborate washoku and the unelaborate teishoku that space won’t allow me to discuss here; however, what I will talk about is the fantastic way Japanese people prepare and enjoy food in Japan.
This is an example of teishoku or a pre-set meal that can be had almost anywhere in Japan.
In summary Japanese food is traditionally prepared in 5 ways, with 5 colors and 5 tastes, and engages the eater’s 5 senses. In addition, the eater is supposed to enjoy the meal with 5 attitudes. Some people are unaware of this but still prepare their food in this manner subconsciously.
Raw, Simmered, Fried, Steamed and Grilled/Roasted
Black, White, Red, Green and Yellow
Salty, Sweet, Sour, Bitter and Savory
See the colors, Smell the flavors, Hear the sizzle, Feel the textures and Taste the tastes.
Reflect on the work that brought the food to you and on where the food originated.
Reflect on your imperfections and whether you are worthy of the offering of this food.
Reflect on keeping your mind free from preference and greed.
Reflect on taking the food as a medicine to preserve your body’s health.
Reflect on accepting the food so that you can fulfil your duty to self and humanity.
Everything listed above can be explained in detail but time and space do not permit. I could write an epistle breaking down all of these, and maybe I will, soon.
COOKING THE JAPANESE WAY