Monday, 18 July 2011

What can I eat?




I DO NOT believe it. Yesterday at my local Co-op they had Fukushima peaches on sale. Who on earth would be stupid enough to buy peaches from Fukushima?


Shopping for food has become very difficult these days. I carry a Japanese prefecture map in my purse and check the origin of everything I buy. If it doesn`t say where it`s from, it stays on the shelf. My rules are no tap water, nothing from east of Osaka and buy foreign wherever possible. So in the summer heat I`m getting through a litre and a half of Volvic every day. Then there are bananas and pineapples from the Philippines, oranges and grapefruit from the USA, and mangoes and avocadoes from Mexico. Soya milk and tofu are labeled as being produced using mainly American and Canadian soya beans so they might be OK. That just leaves fish. I bought tinned sardines from Poland and mackerel from Ireland. Ireland - the country with the most radiactive sea in the world - safer bet than anything from Japanese waters. Because Fukushima fishing boats are still fishing in their local waters and then sailing down to Chiba and landing the catch there, thereby registering their fish as Chiba produce. So where did the tuna in my tin of low calorie tuna flakes (see pic) come from? The tin didn`t say but I took a chance.


I have to say that a great deal of my enjoyment of Japan has been spoiled (at least for the next 10-15 years, being the half-life of cesium) because one of the greatest things it had going for it was its delicious, fresh foods -especially sushi - and it`s low-fat soy and mushroom-based diet which produced people with the greatest longevity in the world.

For a while I drank Hokkaido milk and ate Hokkaido cheese but I was warned off it by Japanese and foreigners alike. The wind, which was blowing north to south when the first explosions occurred, is now blowing south to north which is generally good news for Tokyoites but bad news for Hokkaido cows. So no more dairy. I did check the government websites where they list their radiation testing results but despite the Hokkaido dairy industry being one of the major industries in Japan, they didn`t see fit to test it. I think that should read, "because of the Hokkaido dairy industry being one of the major industries in Japan they didn`t test it". If they haven`t tested it, it must be because they know they are going to get a bad result.

Obviously, I`ll not be buying any beef or green tea. I can take precautions at home but when eating out and buying takeout you just can`t know what you are eating. Take my favourite Starbucks Matcha Latte for instance. Where does the milk come from? Probably Hokkaido or Ibaraki (next to Fukushima). Where does the matcha green tea powder come from? Probably Shizuoka.


In March we had a once-in-a-millenium earthquake followed by the largest and widest recorded tsunami in history. And yet last Thursday evening when we had a fairly sizeable quake my first thought was, "I wonder how much new damage THAT did to Fukushima?"

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