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Book Review: The Japanese

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Essay title: Book Review: The Japanese

This book,"The Japanese", written by Jack Seward covers a lot of information on the overall life of Japan, however, I will only summarized fifty-three pages of this book which will cover their food and drink (chap 8 pp.133 -162) and their language (chap.9 pp.163 -186). A lot of the information is past through little anecdotes that Seward has experienced with the Japanese.

The author starts the chapter on food and drink by telling the reader a little story on how two of his japanese friends vacationing in Hawaii had to to empty their luggage to lighten them while at the airport. They decided to take out packages of rice, tins of tea, bags of pickles vegetables, bamboo cans, sake bottles, dried fish, salted plums, boxes of seaweed, bags of rices crackers, fish in cans, hard fish cakes, soy sauce bottles, and many more food was taken out. All this food added up to a mass of eighty pounds. Curious, Jack Seward would ask them why they travel with this amount of food and they started by answering "Washoku ga hoshii kara desu ga ... (It's because we want Japanese food)". They crave their native japanese food, one of the reasons they're addicted to it is because very little change have been observes in their food habits over hundreds of years. Japanese meals that can be found in expensive restaurant most of the time are salad made with raw cartilage of pig ear's, sweet and sour sexual organs of ox, turtle-blood-and-sake cocktails, sliced ovary of pig with mushrooms but more common meals are more like fish-eyed soup, broiled sparrow, pickled seaweed. The diet of a Japanese will be low in fat, sugar and they lack proteins. Take this example: they will prefer to take a bowl of plain rice and green tea instead of a sweet dessert. In average, they would usually eat steamed rice, pickled vegetable, seaweed and maybe fish for breakfast. Rice will dominated the lunch with some vegetable, fish that will be in a domburi (a deep bowl where the rice is place with a mixture that can look like a stew). For supper time, they rice will, once again, dominate the meal but they will add a greater variety: short-cooked vegetables, seaweed, a clear soup and fish. They average caloric intake for a Japanese is 2,300 calories per day which isn't much when you know that half of it is because of the rice. They would call juyaku-bara somebody that eats a lot. Besides rice, the other importance in there food that is equal to the taste and the nutritive value is the manner in which it it is presented, they have to please the eye. The farmers gives great amounts of care to whatever they are producing. Instead of taking animal fats the Japanese will take vegetable oils for their cooking. Out of the 700 hundred different types of rice the Japanese cultivate forty-four. The one kind they prefer is a short grain glutinous rice called mochi-gome. Because this land is so known for its rice, it is called the Land of the Ripe Rice Ears or Mizuho-no-kuni. Sushi is often associated to Japan , it meant pickled fish but it's not until the Tokugawa era that the sushi as we know it nowadays was made. We usually serve soy sauce, fresh ginger root tea or beer with sushi. Some people don't like eel at first, but Jack Seward did, nevertheless the japanese really enjoy it since thirty million of them are eaten every year in Japan. Sake is an alcohol drink that can be drank cold or warm. It contains 20 percent of alcohol. The Japanese can drink up to 3 1/2 gallons of sake per person per year but when it is thought throughly, the Americans can take twice of the japanese intake of alcohol per person a year. A lot of foreigners can confused sake and shochu that is a stronger drink (45 to 60 percent of alcohol). Japanese have drinking problem but they are different from the ones that can be found in the United States because they consume less animal fats and skin,hence the alcohol acts more quickly. Eventhough Japanese don't drink as much they consider their country as the "drunkard paradise" since that on top of the sake they also take one-third of a gallon each per year of foreign strong alcohol beverage. Talking about beverage it is also said that tea (cha in japanese) is part of the Japanese lifestyle and in importance it is place after rice which they take two pounds yearly.

The Japanese thought that the best way to record what was happening was to have a written language which they didn't; therefore they decided to take some of the Chinese characters that would fit with their language. But it took at least three hundred years for them

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