We've had the rules of rice and futons, it's time for the dishes people! Man I should make these crucial cultural lessons into a handy little book for the fresh-faced gaijin gals who naively stamp their inkan on the marriage square.
Now, I haven't been the best housewife since I've been married, but since April, my points have gone waaaay up. Bento and every one's brekky in the morning and insanely delicious dinners, OK, maybe not insanely, but fucking tasty! I may even dare to say I could be compared to some watered-down, soy sauce-wielding version of Nigella (minus the sexual innuendos and seductive tasting techniques)...
Seems like all 3 of us have been sick for like the last year, and I think it may have been due to the fact we ate hardly any fruit and veggies at all, so I took action and decided every meal must include at least 3 veggies, ambitious! Of course it helps that I have some extra time on my hands with the monster at kindy, when I start working next month we may be back to our alternate menu of udon one night, McDonalds the next..
Anyway, back to the pressing topic at hand, the rules of dish....! Japanese style eating is good in some ways, in that you get to eat lots of little bits of stuff as opposed to the big clump of something on the plate in the western world, however the downside of this (for the common housewife like myself) is that you end up having to wash 50 fucking million different types of dishes and plates and soy sauce dishes and all kinds of crap. But you know, I can handle the washing-up, no biggie, it's the dish rules that still baffles me, and here they are:
The rules of dish
1) All people should have the same pattern on their dish, no mixing up patterns/materials/colours.
2)A soup bowl, despite being the same size as a normal rice bowl, may not, under any circumstances be used for rice.
3) A tiny teeny mini dish must be used for soy sauce, no pouring straight on the food.
4) No mixing foods on dishes, they will contaminate each other and you will die a slow horrible death (if you haven't already died from sleeping on a futon that has seen moonlight that is)
5) Every person must have their own dish to collect various foods from the dishes in the middle of the table. This dish is the only flexible one, do with it as you will to the point of no mixing foods directly on it.
See, they don't even make sense in writing!
We have so many dishes in our kitchen, but according to Ryota, we have no rice bowls, I dared to put the rice in ceramic salad bowls (I had no fucking idea they were salad bowls to begin with, trust me, the naked gaijin eye can't tell the difference.) and he looked at it and said "don't we have any rice bowls??" And I was all "Fuck you buddy, you won't need a bowl in a minute because you'll be wearing it mother fucker!!!" That's what I was thinking anyway, but I was well impressed with myself when I managed to keep my cool and say "味かわるの？" (Will it change the taste?) And I didn't even say it in a pissed-off gaijin temper way, it was more like a 'slightly smart arse, almost genuine question' kind of way too. He buttoned up pretty quickly when he failed to provide an adequate explanation as to why the dish mattered.
Ah well, live and learn, maybe next time I should introduce some Greek culture into our house and start smashing the bastards. Whaaap Ahhhh! (Again with those bloody phonetics...)
ok- I've been a lurker for a while and it's time that I stop....I find your blog hilarious! My husband is from Fukuoka, where we will move next year. Having been to Japan more times than I can count I am familiar with everything you talk about, although my MIL is not as fussy about the futons. I laughed my patush (arse) off reading this...can totally relate!ReplyDelete
Whenever I see pictures of Japanese meals, my first thought is always - whoa, that's a shitload of washing up!ReplyDelete
Who knew there were so many rules about dishes? I could understand if you were having a fancy dinner party but for just eating at home, it seems so over the top.