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 Post subject: Japanese exchange student coming! Help!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:46 am 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
Our family is really excited because next month we have a 16 year old Japanese girl coming to stay in our home for 3 months. We can't wait until she comes. From here letter and profile she sounds like a lot of fun. We really want to make her feel welcome and comfortable in our home.

I want to be able to cook and have foods available that she will like and enjoy. I know they are coming here to experience our culture and foods but I want to make sure she eats and has some staple comfort foods she can turn to but what? I know they eat a lot of fish/seafood there and in her profile she listed that her favourite foods were salmon and okonomikaki (I googled it and got even more confused, lol). So those are out. She also does not like chocolate (what?!).

Other then rice, miso, and basic ramen or undon dishes I really do not know much about Japanese food or cooking. One plus is that she said she likes practicing cooking and wants to cook Japanese food for us. I would love to learn from her.

So from those that have been to Japan or know more than I do about it please help. What are popular fruits and veggies? Breakfast, school lunches?


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 Post subject: Re: Japanese exchange student coming! Help!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:51 am 
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Dr Bronners, MD
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Does she know she's coming to a vegan/veg home?

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 Post subject: Re: Japanese exchange student coming! Help!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:56 am 
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I really don't know. I put in our application that we were a vegan home but I do not know if that info was passed along to the student or her family or even the Japanese school. At least she should be comfortable eating tofu!


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 Post subject: Re: Japanese exchange student coming! Help!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:00 am 
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1- vegan okonomiyaki is totally doable and great fun. ask her to teach you how to do it- veganizing it is easy- and you can make yours the way you like it (which, coincidentally, is what the name actually means)

2- when i moved to japan and got settled in my new apartment was stocked with soft sliced white bread and apples, jam, for breakfast. Many japanese people eat "western" foods for breakfast, so that is one thing out of the way.

3- i would tell her ahead of time about the setup according to your needs- whether you keep a veg kitchen or she can cook meaty foods, etc. That way if she wants to bring specific things she can.

4- when she arrives, again depending on your house rules, you might want to try something like this- tell her that like any other person, you don't expect her to like everything you cook; if she doesn't like a certain thing, maybe you could have a stock of convenience foods in the house for her- whether these are Japanese or not, and that she is always welcome to choose what she wants to eat but you'd like her to let you know what she wants so you can purchase these things. (this is how we roll in my house where I am the only vegan).

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 Post subject: Re: Japanese exchange student coming! Help!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:15 am 
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I will be taking her grocery shopping with me so she can pick out some things she likes. I have other children and often they do not like the things we cook so they eat a plainer version, deconstructed version or make themselves something else which I am totally fine with. While I want her to feel welcome I do not think I could go as far as buying and cooking fish/seafood in our home but she will be welcome to buying some prepared meat products for school lunches ect. or ordering it when we eat out.


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 Post subject: Re: Japanese exchange student coming! Help!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:08 am 
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brontrent wrote:
I will be taking her grocery shopping with me so she can pick out some things she likes. I have other children and often they do not like the things we cook so they eat a plainer version, deconstructed version or make themselves something else which I am totally fine with. While I want her to feel welcome I do not think I could go as far as buying and cooking fish/seafood in our home but she will be welcome to buying some prepared meat products for school lunches ect. or ordering it when we eat out.


In that case, I would definitely find a way to let her know before she arrives. I can imagine she would bring gifts for her host family. How terrible if you couldn't accept them! Plus, she will be able to brace herself for culture and kitchen shock. (I mean, if it were me, I would want to know. I travelled a bunch in high school -- always to distant cousins of my dad's who lived across Europe -- and it made me feel better if I knew ahead of time (1) what their normal kitchen deal was and (2) how I could comfortably fit into it.)

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 Post subject: Re: Japanese exchange student coming! Help!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:37 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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i think as long as you tell people what to expect when they arrive, it will work out fine.

you might also get off the hook with school lunch. When my kid went to the US for school I was all worried about the lunch situation and it turned out she wanted to buy school lunch since all her friends did. My homemade tofu scramble pockets were relegated to breakfast food, and I had one less meal to buy for. Not sure if that is an option for you where you are, but I think for some kids it is certainly part of the high school experience.

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 Post subject: Re: Japanese exchange student coming! Help!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:53 pm 
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Amazon has some vegan and vegetarian Japanese cookbooks

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 Post subject: Re: Japanese exchange student coming! Help!
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:33 pm 
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I just returned home from five months living in Tokyo, and I had vegan versions of tons of Japanese dishes while I was there! My favorite dish, and one that is easy to replicate at home, is vegan tonkatsu (there's a recipe here: http://theveganronin.blogspot.com/2008/ ... katsu.html). Ramen is really, really versatile, and a peanut-based broth is a nice twist on the more standard recipe. Shōjin ryōri (Buddhist temple cuisine) typically uses seitan and tempeh, as well as tofu, of course, so it's likely she's accustomed to mock meats. Eel is popular in Japan, so you could veganize unadon (here's a version that uses eggplant for the "eel": https://untilweeatagain.wordpress.com/2 ... ed-recipe/). Oh, and ask her for a sushi-making demonstration! You can prepare baked tofu, spicy tempeh with vegan mayo, and a variety of raw veggies, then make rolls together.


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 Post subject: Re: Japanese exchange student coming! Help!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 6:16 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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oh man, using koyadofu for tonkatsu is brilliant. i haven't thought about in ages but now i'll be thinking about it all day!!!!

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