The First Japanese Breakfast ー 日本での初めての朝食





When I first came to Japan in 1971, I knew zero Japanese and zero about Japan. I distinctly remember my first breakfast in Japan. I went into a small shokudo where a most of the customers were construction workers. There probably wasn’t a menu available and even if there had been, I wouldn’t have been able to read a single word. I just pointed to what the man at the next table was eating and the woman working there guessed that I was ordering the same thing. When it came, I saw a bowl of rice, a piece of something black in a rectangular package, a piece of grilled fish, a bowl of soup with something white in it, fermented beans and an egg. I had no idea whether this was a normal Japanese breakfast or not. And I didn’t know how to eat it. I ate the beans, which were stringy and not very good. I had never eaten fish for breakfast, but I managed to eat that. The black thing in the package looked like paper and it stuck to my teeth when I chewed on it. I tried to crack the boiled eggーand it wasn’t boiled. It was raw. I didn’t know how to eat it, or whether to eat it, so I left it in the bowl. With this auspicious start, I began four decades of learning about Japan. In this category, I will try to tell you about what I found and how I found it.