What is rhubarb? Most Japanese people have probably never heard of it, let alone seen it. Rhubarb is a vegetable with thick red stalks and big green leaves. Unlike most other vegetables, you won't see rhubarb tossed into a salad, stir fried, or added to a soup. It is most often used in dessert recipes and has a sour taste, which is almost always sweetened with sugar.
Question: What is in your bag?
My answer: There is a foldable umbrella, a tube of chapstick, a scarf, a woolly hat, and some packs of tissues in my bag. My wallet and cell phone are also in my bag. There are a set of keys for Sunrise in the front pocket of my bag.
Question: What is on your desk?
My answer: There are many credit card receipts on my desk. There is a Falcon drawing pen, a watercolor set, and some postage stamps on the left side of my computer. There is a red lamp on the right side of my computer.
Question: What is behind your home?
My answer: There are cherry blossom trees behind my home. In the trees, there are many brown eared bulbuls. Brown eared bulbuls are cute birds that make a lot of noise. There are also many bicycles and scooters behind my home.
Question: What is in your fridge?
My answer: There is a block of cheddar cheese, a carton of soy milk, an opened bottle of champagne, and a pack of dates in my fridge. The dates are not so good. There are also three eggs, four carrots, three sweet potatoes, and four green peppers. There are three containers of homemade chicken & red pepper soup.
Question: What do you do on the Internet?
My answer: I read the news on the Internet. I buy rice, dog food, and books on Amazon. I watch animal videos and movie trailers on YouTube. I watch American TV shows on Netflix.
Last month I went to the English Festival at Hankyu Department Store. Every year I go there to stock up on scones, clotted cream, and jam. Even though I arrived there as soon as it opened, a long line had already formed so I was forced to wait close to one hour for my coveted scones.
Here are some interesting food idioms...
1) Sorting of the garbage and lack of trash cans
When I first moved here I was told that there were four different types of trash collection days; burnable trash, non-burnable trash, cardboard boxes, and glass bottles and cans. On top of that we have to wash and take back to the supermarket the Styrofoam trays that we get meat and fish on and don't forget about cutting open your milk cartons. Wow! I already have a full time job! The other thing that kills me is the lack of trash cans here in Japan. You can't find a public trash can to save your life!
2) Food portions
It's no wonder that Japanese people are slim because the portions here are so small! My first time at Mos Burger, I ordered my meal and went upstairs to wait for it. When the waitress brought me my food I said to her, "Excuse me, I ordered the large size set." Which she replied to me smiling, "That IS the large size set."
3) People waiting in line
It's been 6 years since I moved here and I still can't get over how Japanese people love to wait in line. It's also funny how the line changes from one thing to another here in Osaka. First it was the Bâton d’or Pocky sticks, then the Grand Calbee potato chips and now the Cheese tarts sold inside the Hanshin Department Store. I once saw the staff at the Grand Calbee stand hide the leftover inventory to make it seem like they were sold out by a certain time. It's all a marketing game that they are playing to create the illusion of scarcity and demand for their product.
4) Unattended items
I go to Starbucks quite often and can't believe the things that people leave on a table to claim it as their table. I have seen laptops, designer brand handbags, keys, and some crazy stuff left to hold a table for the owner. If you were to leave that kind of stuff unattended in the states you can kiss it good bye!
A couple of years ago I went back home after living here for I think about 4 years and experienced some reverse culture shock. Back home there are no washlets in the public toilets or homes. Also the hotels didn't have them either. Here in Japan we have such great wonders as toilets that open when you approach them and close when you leave. They have heated seats and also blow dryers for your behind. It truly is a marvel of science in a country that still has a hole in the ground toilet style still in use today.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it!