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The Salaryman Diet

When I first came to Japan I was shocked by all the delicious food. I knew people who had been to Japan raved about how amazing everything was, but being in the UK with very limited knowledge of Japanese food, when someone said ‘Japan’ and ‘food’ in the same sentence all I could think of was sushi and noodles.  Yeah I know, me and 99% of the the non Japanese population. Furthermore despite the fact that I had been studying Japanese at university and held an interest in Japan since 15 I was actually very ignorant towards Japanese foods.RPK TramplinMovie Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)

My class and I were always told before going to Japan that we would lose weight. That every year people go and come back lighter than when they went. After our year abroad and everyone was back in the UK, the majority of people had indeed lost a fair few pounds. Most people looked pretty damn slim and healthy. I say most people because I actually put weight on in Japan. Nothing big, nothing even that noticeable to other people, but the scales don’t lie, I was heavier than before I went. Did I care at the time? Nope. The food in Japan is amazing, and not just the Japanese food. You have high quality and delicious Korean, Chinese and Italian food here too just to name a few. 10 months of gorging on ramen, pasta, curry and sushi (often tabehoudai (all you can eat) together with nomihoudai (all you can drink best/worst invention in the world!) had resulted in the gain in weight. Many of the main social activities in Japan centering around food and drinking in some way.

Upon returning to the UK and not having the same temptation/opportunity to just go to the city at any time meet some friends and have a food/alcohol orgy like I did before, I had a much healthier eating lifestyle. Me and my roommate would often try food related challenges such as ‘Vegetarian Month’ (Fegebruary anyone? Best name ever!). I had also started running, actually to the point where my cheap oakleys big toenail fell off, fun times. Going back to Japan in September 2012 at age 22, I was a lot fitter than the time I left and was looking forward to sampling all the cuisine that Japan had to offer again. However I vowed that this time I would make an effort to cook more and have a ‘healthier’ diet. Boy, did I fail!

Tsukemen

Izakaya Menu

Example of the Japanese curry I would often eat during lunch

All very substantial heavy meals (enough to see them through the next grueling hours of work and god knows how many hours of unnecessary over time), apart for the noodles all other meals will come with rice too (though my friends often order some plain rice to go with their noodles!) It is a far cry from the meal I use to have for lunch when I worked back in the UK, which was a sandwich and some fruit! Yes the salaryman lunch is very high calorie indeed.

The Japanese diet is often regarded as one of the best in the world. So many books have been written on how to stay healthy and slim by ‘eating Japanese’. The average OL (Office Lady) and family diet (ie. mum and kids) is amazing.

As with most things there is always a choice, a solution, a golden ray of hope for those that are willing to take the plunge. After living like this for a year I decided to flip my own diet around and get out of the salaryman diet spiral. I now have lots of energy and feel great. Watch this space as there will be a future post about this.

In the mean time, stay healthy people!Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

*Those that fancy reading some more about the Japanese diet, particularly that of Salarymen and can read Japanese. Check out this survey that was done by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government about the eating habits of around 500 people (male and female from all ages). Among other things it shows that only 30% of males either have their lunch in the work canteen or somewhere not classed as ‘eating out’ which is probably bento.

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