Thursday, October 27, 2011

勿体ない (What a waste.)

This is something you constantly hear in Japan.  It means “What a waste.”  And reads “mo tai nai.” 

I am not a fan of wasting things…but really, who is? 

I try to be good about not being wasteful.  Especially when it comes to food.  Food in Japan (and by food, I mean real food: unprocessed, mostly produce) is pretty expensive.  I expect this is because they rely so heavily on imports.  As of right now, Japan would only be able to sustain 39% of the population on it's own. 

Japan is a tiny country with an enormous population.  Most of the land is mountain ranges.  The only sustainable crops that Japan can produce is rice, potatoes and some vegetables.  The other primary source of the Japanese diet is the sea. 

Fish, seaweed, rice.  Three staples of the Japanese diet.  The makings of sushi. 

Japan is trying to become more self-sustaining.  One thing I have seen on the news and read about is the development and marketing of rice flour.  Wheat does not grow very well in Japan.  This is smart as bread has more nutritional value than rice.

I have also learned to appreciate the grocery stores produce section noticeable rotating with the season.  There have been many times I have gone shopping for something particular and had to improvise with something seasonal. 

A fun challenge.  It has made me more aware about where my food comes from.

So we are getting much better at not wasting food, buying in season and being aware of our foods origins. 

It’s a good way to live!
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