Mitama Matsuri – Yasukuni Shrine, Is English food So Terrible

We happened upon this purely by chance. Due to Yasukuni’s controversial status, it is considered somewhat right-wing, but who cares when it’s this attractive? Aside from Asakusa during the Sumida River fireworks, I don’t think I have ever seen so many people in one place.

There’s no malice in this really, but I just wanted to give a small rebuttal to the commonly held belief in Japan that English food is bad. The first point I would make is that there is barely any such thing as English food. Being essentially a country of mongrels (I’m talking historically – I’m going down that road), we’ve taken on so many different cuisines that there’s no point even trying to name the ones that can claim to be indigenous to the British isles. The second point is that, as a multicultural country, we have many restaurant owners that are actually from the country of the cuisine they are cooking, and we can thus claim at the very least authenticity. In general, we don’t put an English spin on foreign food, which is something the Japanese are overwhelmingly guilty of in many cases (meat sauce pasta for one example, or the dreaded fish egg pasta). The last point of this is a simple break-down of Japanese foods.

Omurice = Rice, smothered in ketchup with reprocessed chicken with an slightly runny omelette slapped on top. Add sweet gravy.
Ramen = Boiled, slightly fatty pork, complete with noodles and vegetables in salty water.
Sushi = cut, serve. Add rice.
Yakitori = Meat on a stick, sometimes unrecognisable as animal produce.
Horse Sashimi = Get horse, cut up, serve.
Nabe = Stew with bits of animal you wouldn’t normally eat. Cook it yourself.

I know this is a narrow range, but I wanted to make the point that we all have our bad, although sometimes good tasting, foods. My wife, having once again been presented with this opinion, asked the Japanese person in question what he ate in England. “Pizza Express” he said. More often than not the answer will be: “I have never been to England”.



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