Posted by: thewhitesintokyo | November 13, 2008

Grocery Shopping #2

Today, after our Japanese lessons, Brad and I rode our bikes to the grocery store. It started out as a completely normal shopping trip; we bought some veggies, tofu, and meat for some stir fry, then we went to the checkout. We noticed a lady at the register ahead of us trying to speak to the cashier. We had no idea what she was trying to say or do because we were too far away to hear. When it was our turn at the register, the lady came up to us and asked (in French) if we spoke French. Unfortunately, I have lost much of my French speaking skills so I was not much help. She was able, however, to speak English very well and asked us where the nearest pharmacy was. We did what we could to point her in the right direction.

We chatted for a while and found out that she was from Paris, France. After telling her that we spent a couple of days in Paris on our honeymoon, she asked if we planned to go back to Paris someday. We both replied with an enthusiastic “YES” and she immediately offered her contact information. She explained that she was in Tokyo visiting a friend and if we were ever in Paris again we should contact her. She was a beautiful, kind woman. Our encounter with her was a refreshing reminder that people from all over the world have the same struggles being in an unfamiliar country as we do. I was also reminded of how many wonderful people we have met during our short time living in Japan. We now have contacts in countries all over the world! It is truly humbling to be blessed as we have: we are healthy, happy, and surrounded by people who care about us (whether they are right here in Tokyo or an ocean away in the U.S.).

There are some other interesting tid bits about grocery shopping in Japan. Seasonal produce has a big impact on what we are able to buy. There are very few vegetables that are available to purchase right now because Japan does not heavily import from other countries. Pumpkins (not the orange kind, the green kind) are readily available, as well as mushrooms, leeks, cabbage, carrots and potatoes (including sweet potatoes). Importing can be nice because it makes a wide variety of produce readily available, but the impact it has on the environment is astonishing. It is a relief to know that we are buying food that is grown right here in Japan.

If it isn’t the seasonal aspect making grocery shopping difficult, it is the price. We paid nearly $8.00 for a bag of shredded cheddar cheese the other day. Yikes.

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Responses

  1. Rachael and Brad,
    Rebecca showed me the way to your very well-written blog! And I’m loving reading about your experiences in Japan. I’m currently living in Uganda and can totally relate to the kindness of strangers and expense of cheese that you talk about here. Thanks for writing and you can bet I’ll continue reading. πŸ™‚ And on a side note, after meeting some fantastic Japanese people in Uganda, I have a HUGE desire to visit Japan. If I make it there, I’ll give you a call. Take care!
    Lauren Parnell (marino now!)

  2. Rachael and Brad,
    Rebecca showed me the way to your very well-written blog! And I’m loving reading about your experiences in Japan. I’m currently living in Uganda and can totally relate to the kindness of strangers and expense of cheese that you talk about here. Thanks for writing and you can bet I’ll continue reading. πŸ™‚ And on a side note, after meeting some fantastic Japanese people in Uganda, I have a HUGE desire to visit Japan. If I make it there, I’ll give you a call. Take care!
    Lauren Parnell (marino now!)


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