2

votes

Studying abroad in Japan

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 05, 2013 at 8:17 PM

I saw a few questions about this earlier, but they were didn't go too in-depth.

So I'm going to be living in Osaka from next week through July, and I was wondering if anyone has any tips on how to eat cleanly!

I have celiac and a milk allergy, so anything with soy sauce is definitely out. I speak conversationally fluently, so I'm not worried about explaining myself and asking about ingredients.

I'll have access to a small kitchen in my apartment, so I can definitely buy and cook my own things, which I'll do as much as possible. I'm mostly wondering if anyone has any experience in Japan, and can give me some pointers on what to avoid/cheap food on the run!

Thanks so much!

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on February 18, 2013
at 12:30 PM

Just wanted to say thanks so much for all your advice. お世話になりました!

A4e6473c7791ca1ddeedf5c5db5fbe14

(85)

on January 25, 2013
at 10:28 PM

Thanks so much! I did my best to explain that something in the food wasn't right, so the fish cakes are out. I'm feeling a lot better now, but I was wondering if you knew more about miso. We have red miso a lot, and there's no mugi in the ingredients list, but do you know if they'd list it if they just used it for the fermentation process? There was a different kind of miso at the store that was clearly labeled "mugi miso" or something like that, but shiro and aka looked safe.

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on January 25, 2013
at 12:48 PM

Wow! Even when I was at Japanese language best I could never come up with such sweet, polite wording. Well done!!

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on January 25, 2013
at 12:03 PM

reposted below with proper blocking...

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on January 25, 2013
at 11:58 AM

Let me know if I forgot anything!

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on January 25, 2013
at 11:58 AM

foods. Foods simply boiled in water are all safe. Rice does not contain wheat, so it is safe to eat. Vegetables, meats, and beans are also safe to eat. Simple and easy to cook foods are the best bet. Your student does not want to cause a fuss and is very grateful for your kindness. Thank you for listening to my explanation. My e-mail address is evynfong@gmail.com. If you have any worries or questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on January 25, 2013
at 11:56 AM

I'll translate really quick: Dear Host Family: Hello! My name is Evyn, and I'm currently studying abroad in Osaka. I have the same allergies as your host student so I'd like to give a short explanation. Celiac is an allergy to wheat. People who have celiac become very sick when they eat wheat or wheat-containing products. Besides normal wheat, wheat can also be found in barley, flour, and other products. In addition, soy sauce is made with wheat and therefore foods containing soy sauce will trigger a reaction. Some kinds of miso also contain wheat. The safest foods are the easiest

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on January 25, 2013
at 11:51 AM

ホストファミリーの皆様へ 初めまして!エヴィンと申します。私は大阪で留学しております。 私悩みは、この子と一緒のアレルギーがありますので、良かったらちょっと説明いただきたいです。 「シリアック」(celiac)と言うことは、麦のアレルギーです。シリアックがある人は麦を食べると、大変病気になってしまいます。 麦は、普通の麦だけじゃなくて、小麦や大麦です。後は、醤油の作り方は麦を使いますから、醤油もだめです。それに、大麦が入っているお味噌もだめです。 一番安全な料理は材料があんまり入ってない料理です。例えば、水で煮た食べ物は全部安全です。米は麦が入ってないので、おにぎりとかすしも安全です。野菜や肉や果物や豆(大豆)は全部安全だから、シンプルで作りやすい料理は一番良いと思います。 この子は、迷惑をかけたくないです。ホストファミリーの皆様に本当にありがたいです。 説明を聞いていただいてありがとうごうざいました。私のメールアドレスはevynfong@gmail.comでございます。

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on January 25, 2013
at 11:49 AM

ホストファミリーの皆様へ 初めまして!エヴィンと申します。私は大阪で留学しております。 私悩みは、この子と一緒のアレルギーがありますので、良かったらちょっと説明いただきたいです。 「シリアック」(celiac)と言うことは、麦のアレルギーです。シリアックがある人は麦を食べると、大変病気になってしまいます。 麦は、普通の麦だけじゃなくて、小麦や大麦です。後は、醤油の作り方は麦を使いますから、醤油もだめです。それに、大麦が入っているお味噌もだめです。 一番安全な料理は材料があんまり入ってない料理です。例えば、水で煮た食べ物は全部安全です。米は麦が入ってないので、おにぎりとかすしも安全です。野菜や肉や果物や豆(大豆)は全部安全だから、シンプルで作りやすい料理は一番良いと思います。 この子は、迷惑をかけたくないです。ホストファミリーの皆様に本当にありがたいです。 説明を聞いていただいてありがとうごうざいました。私のメールアドレスはevynfong@gmail.comでございます。悩みか質問があれば、どうぞ連絡してください。 お世話になりました!この子と一緒に、日本の生活を楽しんでください。 エヴィンより

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on January 25, 2013
at 11:47 AM

Oh my! I'm sorry you're having such an awful time with food. Can I send you something to show to them? I'm not completely fluent, but hopefully good enough.

A4e6473c7791ca1ddeedf5c5db5fbe14

(85)

on January 23, 2013
at 06:59 AM

You're fluent right? I'm kind of freaking out here, so I'm sorry if this isn't where I'm supposed to ask or if it's inappropriate, but I've been in so much pain for the past couple of days (stomach aches, pooping blood) and I'm pretty sure there's been gluten in the food I'm being fed. I don't think my family knows that barley and other grains also contain gluten, not just wheat. And I've been having a lot of fish cakes and aka miso, which apparently is fermented with barley. I'm nowhere near fluent, so I feel like it'd be hard to explain. And I don't want to hurt their feelings...

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on January 20, 2013
at 05:33 AM

Ohsawa is an excellent Japanese brand for all traditional Japanese products, such as miso, mirin, soy sauce, etc. They have a wheat-free 'tamari' product (similar to soy sauce) that you may be able to find at a food store specializing in organic/healthy food, or if they don't have it in stock they'd most likely be happy to order it for you

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on January 20, 2013
at 05:32 AM

Ohsawa is an excellent Japanese brand for all traditional Japanese products, such as miso, mirin, soy sauce, etc. They have a wheat-free 'tamari' product that you may be able to find at a food store specializing in organic/healthy food, or if they don't have it in stock they'd most likely be happy to order it for you

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on January 20, 2013
at 05:31 AM

Ohsawa is an excellent brand for all traditional Japanese products, such as miso, mirin, soy sauce, etc. They have a wheat-free 'tamari' product that you may be able to find at a food store specializing in organic/healthy food, or if they don't have it in stock they'd most likely be happy to order it for you.

A4e6473c7791ca1ddeedf5c5db5fbe14

(85)

on January 11, 2013
at 09:09 PM

komugi nashi tamari (小麦なし溜り). The bottle says something about アラーギー (allergies).

A4e6473c7791ca1ddeedf5c5db5fbe14

(85)

on January 11, 2013
at 09:04 PM

I actually haven't really gone food shopping since my host family takes care of my main meals. But just look out for komugi (wheat - 小麦)and probably gyuunyuu (milk - 牛乳)in the ingredients list. I know that lactose is a pretty common ingredient, so be careful with overly flavored things.

707342e3cb97e0fc088917919a154b8a

(1657)

on January 07, 2013
at 05:24 AM

Not all tamari is gluten free-- and I'm not certain that Japan has the same labeling requirements that the FDA mandates in the US-- you might want to check whether there is a popular brand of Tamari, available in Japan, that is gluten free. Best of luck!

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on January 06, 2013
at 05:58 AM

Very true! Only thing I'm worried about is that since I'm going to be there for so long, I'd rather not have it shipped out to me. I presume there's high-quality tamari available in Japan, but I know that tamari is a broad category which can still encompass sauce made with some wheat. Wonder if anyone knows specific wheat-free brands available in Japan..?

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on January 06, 2013
at 05:57 AM

Ah, I actually speak japanese fluently so I think I'll be fine on the communication front. : ) I was mostly wondering if anyone had any specific tips on what to eat, or any specific dishes that are usually safe.

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on January 06, 2013
at 02:17 AM

Hmmm, I didn't think Korean bbq involved marinated meats. But this might still be okay depending on how it is done. And yeah,katsudon rules!!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 05, 2013
at 11:52 PM

Paleo be damned, katsudon is awesome. :)

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on January 05, 2013
at 10:37 PM

Thanks so much! Yeah, I've been looking into gluten-dairy-free combini options- seems that the purple onigiri are also safe? And yeah, pickled veggies and sashimi sounds safe and also delicious! That's what I was planning on. Found anything safe at a department store?

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on January 05, 2013
at 10:36 PM

Thanks for the reply! Yeah, any gluten at all is definitely a no-go. Also, I thought that korean barbeque places usually marinated their meats? Is that not true?

A4e6473c7791ca1ddeedf5c5db5fbe14

(85)

on January 05, 2013
at 08:46 PM

But I don't want to make a big deal about food while I'm here, unless I have to (the gluten and dairy thing). I've accepted that a lot of foods here are made with soy and rice, so as long as it's not going to hurt me and I'm able to control myself with portions, I'm going to try not to be picky.

A4e6473c7791ca1ddeedf5c5db5fbe14

(85)

on January 05, 2013
at 08:42 PM

I'm studying abroad in Japan too, and I have sensitivities to gluten and dairy. I'm going to live with a host family and they know what I can't eat, I'm just really worried about soy sauce. I think that most traditional Japanese foods are fairly clean, (I mean, it's more rice than I'd like and I noticed that a lot of it is sweeter than necessary), but there are usually a lot of "unsafe" ingredients when something's flavored (wheat, MSG, lactose, etc). I found some saba shioyaki at a combini yesterday - I think stuff like that, fresh and pickled veggies, and sashimi are you best choices.

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6 Answers

1
9c4ac9d902498a3158dbeee8aed6bbe4

(211)

on January 25, 2013
at 02:55 PM

Aussie beef is the cheapest and apparenty grass fed. Eat plenty of seafood; it's usually good value for your money and off the charts in nutrients. Snack on traditionals: niboshi (dried sardines), atarime (dried squid), and different varieties of seaweed. Also, eat a shitload of kabocha -- cheap, grown year round, delicious and surprisingly lowish in carbs.

You might have trouble finding cultured butter (A Price) and coconut oil (Kaldi Coffee). Gotta hunt for stuff!

Eating paleo and avoiding gluten and dairy shouldnt be too difficult if you avoid processed foods. It's also relatively cheap to eat this way.

I would learn the kanji for everything you want to avoid. Take photos of what you buy or are interested in buying and start an Evernote library.

AEON brand products now list allergens on their packages. Ive seen this on other brands as well.

Good luck in Osaka!

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on February 18, 2013
at 12:30 PM

Just wanted to say thanks so much for all your advice. お世話になりました!

1
5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

on January 20, 2013
at 05:28 AM

Where in Osaka will you be? If you're near the center of the city, there's an excellent small organic grocery store near Namba. It's called Carrot, and has a large sign with a carrot on it. It's expensive of course, but you could get all high-stakes food from there (such as meat, fish, oils for cooking, etc), and get low-stakes food just at some decent mainstream grocery store such as Life (low stakes being vegetables, etc).

Good luck!

0
46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on January 25, 2013
at 11:52 AM

For Smeags:

ホストファミリーの皆様へ

初めまして!エヴィンと申します。私は大阪で留学しております。 私は、この子と一緒のアレルギーがありますので、良かったらちょっと説明いただきたいです。 「シリアック」(celiac)と言うことは、麦のアレルギーです。シリアックがある人は麦を食べると、大変病気になってしまいます。 麦は、普通の麦だけじゃなくて、小麦や大麦です。後は、醤油の作り方は麦を使いますから、醤油もだめです。それに、大麦が入っているお味噌もだめです。

一番安全な料理は材料があんまり入ってない料理です。例えば、水で煮た食べ物は全部安全です。米は麦が入ってないので、おにぎりとかすしも安全です。野菜や肉や果物や豆(大豆)は全部安全だから、シンプルで作りやすい料理は一番良いと思います。

この子は、迷惑をかけたくないです。ホストファミリーの皆様に本当にありがたいです。

説明を聞いていただいてありがとうごうざいました。私のメールアドレスはevynfong@gmail.comでございます。悩みとか質問があれば、ぜひ連絡してください。

A4e6473c7791ca1ddeedf5c5db5fbe14

(85)

on January 25, 2013
at 10:28 PM

Thanks so much! I did my best to explain that something in the food wasn't right, so the fish cakes are out. I'm feeling a lot better now, but I was wondering if you knew more about miso. We have red miso a lot, and there's no mugi in the ingredients list, but do you know if they'd list it if they just used it for the fermentation process? There was a different kind of miso at the store that was clearly labeled "mugi miso" or something like that, but shiro and aka looked safe.

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on January 25, 2013
at 12:48 PM

Wow! Even when I was at Japanese language best I could never come up with such sweet, polite wording. Well done!!

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on January 25, 2013
at 11:58 AM

foods. Foods simply boiled in water are all safe. Rice does not contain wheat, so it is safe to eat. Vegetables, meats, and beans are also safe to eat. Simple and easy to cook foods are the best bet. Your student does not want to cause a fuss and is very grateful for your kindness. Thank you for listening to my explanation. My e-mail address is evynfong@gmail.com. If you have any worries or questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on January 25, 2013
at 11:56 AM

I'll translate really quick: Dear Host Family: Hello! My name is Evyn, and I'm currently studying abroad in Osaka. I have the same allergies as your host student so I'd like to give a short explanation. Celiac is an allergy to wheat. People who have celiac become very sick when they eat wheat or wheat-containing products. Besides normal wheat, wheat can also be found in barley, flour, and other products. In addition, soy sauce is made with wheat and therefore foods containing soy sauce will trigger a reaction. Some kinds of miso also contain wheat. The safest foods are the easiest

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on January 25, 2013
at 11:58 AM

Let me know if I forgot anything!

0
707342e3cb97e0fc088917919a154b8a

on January 06, 2013
at 05:15 AM

Would it be possible to bring over packets of gluten free tamari sauce? The packets I get are similar is size to a ketchup packet-- I buy them here: http://amzn.to/Uy7Ayq and always have a few in my handbag at all times. I would think that sashimi should be readily available (just verify that none of it is marinated in soy sauce, of course) -- add in your handy dandy packet of GF tamari and you should be all set.

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on January 06, 2013
at 05:58 AM

Very true! Only thing I'm worried about is that since I'm going to be there for so long, I'd rather not have it shipped out to me. I presume there's high-quality tamari available in Japan, but I know that tamari is a broad category which can still encompass sauce made with some wheat. Wonder if anyone knows specific wheat-free brands available in Japan..?

707342e3cb97e0fc088917919a154b8a

(1657)

on January 07, 2013
at 05:24 AM

Not all tamari is gluten free-- and I'm not certain that Japan has the same labeling requirements that the FDA mandates in the US-- you might want to check whether there is a popular brand of Tamari, available in Japan, that is gluten free. Best of luck!

A4e6473c7791ca1ddeedf5c5db5fbe14

(85)

on January 11, 2013
at 09:09 PM

komugi nashi tamari (小麦なし溜り). The bottle says something about アラーギー (allergies).

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on January 20, 2013
at 05:31 AM

Ohsawa is an excellent brand for all traditional Japanese products, such as miso, mirin, soy sauce, etc. They have a wheat-free 'tamari' product that you may be able to find at a food store specializing in organic/healthy food, or if they don't have it in stock they'd most likely be happy to order it for you.

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on January 20, 2013
at 05:33 AM

Ohsawa is an excellent Japanese brand for all traditional Japanese products, such as miso, mirin, soy sauce, etc. They have a wheat-free 'tamari' product (similar to soy sauce) that you may be able to find at a food store specializing in organic/healthy food, or if they don't have it in stock they'd most likely be happy to order it for you

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on January 20, 2013
at 05:32 AM

Ohsawa is an excellent Japanese brand for all traditional Japanese products, such as miso, mirin, soy sauce, etc. They have a wheat-free 'tamari' product that you may be able to find at a food store specializing in organic/healthy food, or if they don't have it in stock they'd most likely be happy to order it for you

0
Dc7cda9ad5ccc16d48443d8517a6ab01

on January 06, 2013
at 04:38 AM

Get a food allergy translation card! I recently studied abroad in Romania. I understand that it is a completely different food environment but it is helpful when dining out to clearly relay your allergies and sensitivities to your server. Have fun:)

http://selectwisely.com/

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on January 06, 2013
at 05:57 AM

Ah, I actually speak japanese fluently so I think I'll be fine on the communication front. : ) I was mostly wondering if anyone had any specific tips on what to eat, or any specific dishes that are usually safe.

0
75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on January 05, 2013
at 10:03 PM

I lived in Japan for four years back in the 1990s, long before I discovered the Paleo world. I would imagine going dairy free would be very easy in Japan. However gluten free might be a challenge in restaurant environments. Not sure how up to speed the Japanese are wrt the concept of gluten sensitivity. If you are truly celiac then you might be left to preparing your own food. If tiny slivers of gluten is workable then it might not be so bad.

When I was there I often ate breaded pork cutlet (katsudon?) with rice and soy sauce for lunch. In the evenings drinking beer with colleagues was an absolutely must, although sake could have worked too. Yet as for dairy, I only had it when I had yogurt for breakfast ... dairy is not a terribly common food in Japan.

Best of luck. My time in Japan was both the best and worst of my life. But I wouldn't have changed a minute of it. Gambatte.

_Lazza

PS - oh, Korean barbecue places are common. I think they would be the "go to" place for Paleo folks.

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on January 05, 2013
at 10:36 PM

Thanks for the reply! Yeah, any gluten at all is definitely a no-go. Also, I thought that korean barbeque places usually marinated their meats? Is that not true?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 05, 2013
at 11:52 PM

Paleo be damned, katsudon is awesome. :)

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on January 06, 2013
at 02:17 AM

Hmmm, I didn't think Korean bbq involved marinated meats. But this might still be okay depending on how it is done. And yeah,katsudon rules!!

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