The breakdown for our diet in the last month is as follows:
Chicken and pork: 10%
Beef: 5% or less, two or three times a month (less than 500 grams, or 18 ounces)
Bread & rice: 15%
We didn’t measure this scientifically, of course, but this is our best guess on how we’re eating.
What a big portion of vegetables we take in! One of the reasons is my weight issue. My wife, Mariko, considers me almost piggish. As a common Japanese worker, I come home late. Dinner in my house typically starts around 9:00. I may leave my office around 7:30 and get to my flat at 9:00. Always, Mariko warns me not to eat much. My best solution is to take big portion of vegetables at first. This is the background on why we eat so much produce.When it comes to food, Mariko is not specifically concerned about being eco-conscious, but about quality. Her way of choosing food may be the most common among Japanese consumers.
Her first choice for buying is the Kamakura farmers’ market, established in 1928. Twenty-seven farmers who belong to the farmers’ union in this area organize rotation of selling their own farm harvest at this market. The harvest itself is guaranteed freshness and very best taste. The market opens 8:00 every morning, and things often sell out. Many big-named restaurants in Tokyo compete to purchase particular producers’ items. If you visited this market in the afternoon, you would see just an empty hall.
Her second choice is the supermarket, which displays explanations of products. In general, products are shown by geographic area, sometimes with a photo of the producers. Mariko’s primary criterion is to choose local products. Vegetables in supermarket are always well laid out and uniformly shaped – I suppose that’s a result of mass-marketing.Japan’s farm ministry has established organic food requirements. Produce that meets the standard is labeled with a JAS Organic logo. The agency is quite eager to broaden the movement, but not eager enough. Prices are extremely high: as much as 50 percent higher than conventional. Mariko also has some doubts about the freshness compared to the farmer’s market, given that the volume of organics in supermarkets is relatively small, and they are usually packaged for shelf life.
Thanks to the Japanese custom of having plenty of vegetables rather than meat, our food habits are naturally healthy and greener.
Sustainable fish is the issue. I want to write on another occasion about how we should act for tuna sustainability. We do not eat much, but we love tuna sashimi and sushi very much. Well, what shall we do?