Japan

By. Tonya Trimpe

People

The people in Japan have traditional values such as:
  • respect for family
  • love of nature
  • belief in hard work


Sappari means "clean, light, and sparkling honesty." Sappari is used to describe the Japanese country, cuisine, and people.


Children enjoy origami and flying kites. They also enjoy playing card and board games. Also the play the Nintendo (Japanese invention).

Geography

Japan in made up of islands.


3/4 of the land is mountainous or hilly.

  • This causes crowded living and difficult farming.


Rivers and lakes dot Japan's landscape.
  • Many rivers end in waterfalls.
  • Water is used to irrigate rice fields and provide hydroelectric power.



Climate

Japan's islands cover large latitude, they have a variety of climates.


- Southern part of Japan is subtropical.

  • Summers are humid and hot, and winters are mild.
  • The majority of the population lives here. Housing, clothing, and farming are suited to the warm climate.

- Northern island of Japan, Hokkaido, have cold winters.

  • Temperatures are below freezing for four months of the winter with heavy snow fall.


- Japan receives a great amount of moisture.

  • Monsoons, which are seasonal winds that bring rain in summer and snow in the winter.
  • Typhoons, which are severe storms the bring heavy rains and damaging winds during September.

Agricultural Base

Japan's most important crop is rice.
  • Half of tillable land is growing rice.

Other important crops is Japan.

  • sweet potatoes
  • wheat
  • sugar beets

Terraced hillsides raise tea bushes.

In the south, they grow two main crops.

  • mikan: mandarin oranges
  • strawberries

In the north, they grow many fruits.

  • peaches
  • pears
  • persimmons
  • cherries
  • apples
  • other hearty fruits

Other crops Japan grows is:

  • beans
  • large radishes
  • daikon: giant white radish
  • wasabi: Japanese horseradish
  • cucumbers
  • lettuce
  • negi: thin Japanese leek
  • onions
  • cabbage
  • bakusai: Chinese cabbage
  • turnips
  • carrots
  • spinach
  • varieties of peas
  • squash
  • pumpkins
  • aemono: mixed food salad
  • sunomono: vinegared foods salad
  • namusu: vegetables in a vinegar dressing


Common Foods

Japan's staple foods:
  • seafood
  • rice
  • soybeans
  • fish

These food of the Japanese Cuisine diet is:

  • rich in complex carbohydrates
  • protein
  • low in fat
  • low in saturated fat
  • low in cholesterol

Vegetables, seaweed, and fruits supply people with:

  • vitamins
  • minerals
  • fiber

Soy sauce is a flavoring agent that is high in sodium.

Cooking Methods

Light cooking method. This helps with retaining nutritional value of the staple foods.

Nimono: foods cooked in broiling liquid

  • kimini: sake-seasoned shrimp with egg yolk glaze
  • Kiriboshi daikon: chicken simmered with white radish threads

Steaming is simplest cooking method.

  • mushimono: steamed foods
  • mushi: foods cooked on a plate suspended over boiling water
  • chawan mushi: foods steamed in an egg custard.

Japanese use frying.

  • tempura: coated vegetables, meat, poultry, and seafood in a light batter
  • agemono: fried foods

Japanese use broiling to cook meat, poultry, and fish.

  • yakimono: broiled food which is beefsteak
  • beef teriyaki: slices of beef glazed with a special sauce
  • Yakitori: chicken, scallions, and chicken livers boiled on a skewer.

Nabemono: dishes cooked at the table

Hibachi: a small grill

Oshibori: small, soft towels that are fragmented and used to wash your face and hands.

Spices and herbs

Ingredients commonly used in Japan are:
  • sesame oil
  • mild rice vinegar
  • mushrooms
  • daikon
  • mirin
  • sake
  • kanpyo: strips of dried gourd
  • gobo: burdock root
  • shirataki: a mixture made from yamlike tuber

Japanese also use:

  • salt
  • pepper
  • sugar
  • chives
  • onions
  • mustard
  • scallions
  • other

Japanese cookery ingredients:

  • rice - this is a short-grain variety. Cooks steam it and serve it plain. Two other products are made from rice.

gohan: means rice

sake: Japanese rice wine

mirin: sweet wine

  • soybeans: a legume with seeds that are rich in protein and oil. The Chinese introduced this to the Japanese. They use soybeans in many forms such as:

miso: a fermented soybean paste. This is used in soup.

tofu: a custardlike cake made from soybeans. It is very mild.

sumashi: clear broth with tofu and shrimp.

shoyu: Japanese soy sauce, contains wheat or barley, salt, water, and malt.

  • seaweed

nori: dried variety of seaweed rolled around fish or rice.

konbu: dried kelp.

  • fish
Popular fish in Japan are tuna, bass, flounder, cod, mackerel, ayu (sweet fish), carp, and squid.

katsuo: dried bonito

dashi: Japanese fish stock

fugu: blow-fish, which is a Japanese delicacy

sashimi: raw fillets of fish eaten alone or with a sauce.

sushi: balls of cooked rice flavored with vinegar.

Religious Influence on Foods/Religious customs

Buddhism is practiced by many Japanese people.
  • Forbids them from eating meat.
  • Japanese raise little livestock.

Recent years, livestock has increased.

  • This is from abandonment of Buddhist dietary laws.


Meal Patterns

Meals are made of light dishes.


Morning:

  • umeboshi: tiny, red, pickled plum
  • miroshiru: hearty soup made of dashi, miso, and rice


Lunch is prepare if famliy members come home at noon or are expecting guests.


Morning rice is reheated and served with leftover vegetables and meat or simple sauce.


Evening meals are more elaborate. The meals are served later because businesses stay open later. Young children's food is prepared differently than adults.

Holidays/Tradition

New Year festival is the biggest festival in Japan.

  • On New Year's Eve, they eat long noodles to symbolize living a long life.
  • They make rice cake offerings for the New Year god.
Setsubun is a New Year celebration with soybeans playing a symbolic role.
  • The celebration takes place in February.
  • People eat one soybean for every year that they have lived.
  • To chase away demons, they throw roasted soybeans around and in their house.
  • Celebrities throw soybeans into crowds. If you catch a bean you are blessed with good fortunes for the following year.
Cherry Blossom celebration to welcome spring and is another Japanese tradition.
  • Cherry Blossom is Japan's national flower.
  • Japanese picnic under cherry blossom trees.
  • They eat cherry blossom cakes to recognize spring.

Sports

  • Martial arts
  • Sumo wrestling
  • Professional baseball
  • Golf