Dear Tokyo Times
I’m lucky enough to have been offered a job in Japan, but along with the financial and family considerations of uprooting to Tokyo, being a vegetarian I also have a dietary dilemma. Will it be possible to eat out without any real trouble, or will a meat-free diet mean I’ll be mostly eating at home?
Well Rod, if you are reluctant to constantly have to pick out small pieces of meat from meals then you may indeed have some trouble, as descriptions of dishes that make no mention of containing meat, quite often do. And to make matters worse, the rigorous interrogation of restaurant staff may gain little insight into the true ingredients. Possibly resulting in an innocent order of this meat-free ‘green’ salad for example.
In fact, for a country that at one time ate next to no animals, the concept of vegetarianism is nowadays strangely unfathomable. So much so that a simple request of “Does this contain meat?” is often met with a puzzled expression and the comically inaccurate response of “No, only a little”
An especially vague answer that could mean just a few pieces of pork or alternatively a vast bowl of beef.
That said Rod, it is possible to regularly eat out, but for all the frustration you will inevitably face, adding at least chicken and fish to your diet would make your time in Tokyo far more fulfilling.
At least that’s what I opted to do.