Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Will Miss #175 - unabashed appreciation of food

One day while I was working in my office, the president's daughter, who had been coerced into working by her parents, was sitting at her desk eating a "Queenie Muffin". As she ate it, she made the equivalent of, "mmmm, mmmm" sounds. She wasn't ashamed to let it be known that it was really good and that she enjoyed food. In fact, most Japanese people aren't afraid to show their appreciation for tasty food, even if that food may be seen as unhealthy. Back home, we're embarrassed about loving food for the taste experience. We either profess to eat better than we do because we're ashamed of loving fatty or sugary food or try to cover up our discomfort by calling ourselves things like "chocoholics". This is particularly true of women, but I've never known a Japanese woman to deny a love of sweets or chips or display regret or self-censure about regularly consuming them.

Maybe the small portions in Japan have encouraged a culture where people enjoy every bite because there are fewer of them or perhaps being a culture of thin people makes them less self-conscious about their unabashed enjoyment of food. Whatever it is, I'm going to miss this healthy appreciation for the pleasures of food.