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Japanese food

Japanese cuisine or Washoku has recently been designated an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, and in this Japanese teachers' blog we introduce some personal stories by professional Japanese teachers about their views of Japanese food culture.

Posted by on in Japanese food

Japanese food for all occasions

Japanese people like to celebrate different occasions with special food. Washoku is a cuisine that often combines decorative elements of the ingredients to celebrate a specific meaning or event.

There are unique dishes to celebrate the New Year, Girl's Day and a host of other holidays or special days in the calendar.

In this blog for Japanese language learners, Japanese teacher Ayako Suzuki introduces one occasion for special food that is quite interesting. You can study new vocabulary and learn new Kanji from this blog. And listen to the blog being read in fluent Japanese to practice your listening for the JLPT test among other things.

Pre-match food







To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video. 




Pre-match food

What kind of food do you eat before an important game? In Japan, before a competition, we often eat cutlet food like pork cutlets and katsudon (pork cutlets served on top of a bowl of rice). Cutlet food or Katsu for short, is a pun or play on words to Katsu (meaning to win) so many people eat it as pre-match food on the game day.

When we are hoping or praying for something like, “I hope I win the game” or “I hope I pass the exam” etc, we tend to eat cutlet food and actions taken to pray for luck to happen like this are known as 'Genkatsugi' (or superstitions). Gen means an omen.

There are other foods apart from Katsu pork cutlets that we eat, for example, wiener sausages (a play on words on the English 'winner'), Omusubi rice balls (a play on the word Musubi meaning connection or union and = hoping to connect with good luck), Katsuo bonito fish (a play on words on the Kanji for win and man), natto fermented soybeans, or other sticky food (meaning to stick it out or persevere through to the end) among other food eaten on or before a competition or match day, is known as good omen food.

縁(えん)  luck; fortune

ゲン担(かつ)ぎ  superstition; acting superstitiously (for good luck)

縁起(えんぎ)  omen; sign of luck

ねばねば  sticky; stringy

ねばり強い  tenacious; persevering; persistent; stubborn; steadfast  



Konnichiwa. My name is Ayako Suzuki.
I live in Tochigi prefecture with my husband and two children. Tochigi has two towns that are very popular tourist attractions; Nikko, which is famous for its World Heritage shrine and its wonderful nature, and Mashiko which is famous for its pottery. Its only two hours by train from Tokyo, so if you get that chance, please come and visit Tochigi.
Through the language of Japanese, I am happy to and looking forward to meeting you all. Lets study Japanese together.

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