info for vegetarians
| December, 2000 |
Tokyo Vegetarian-friendly
Restaurant Guide
Diary - Living in Tokyo
as a Semi-Vegan
Recommended Readings
Written in Japanese
Articles about Vegetarianism
written by Hiroko Kato
Online Vegetarian/Vegan Handouts
Shopping Guide
Good News & Good News
Links for Vegetarians
August: Healthy vegan snack, vegan peach cobbler, stray cats, and so on.
September: Vegan pizza and brownie as well as experiences at several vegan restaurants.
October: New soymilk product and vegan ramen noodle, and so on.
November: Stories about the meeting with Japan Vegetarian Society chairpersons, vegan wedding meal, and experiences in Kyoto and Vietnam.
December: Attended Japan Vegetarian Society's meeting, delicious vegetarian food in YOKOHAMA China town, wasting time and money on staling foods, and trip to Penang.
January: Experimenting some vegan breakfast recipes, receiving an e-mal from the reader, pondering bug's life, and so on
February: Tried a macrobiotic restaurant in Tokyo, and the trip to Laos.
March: Struggling to get a vegan flihgt meals at Malaysian Airline.
April: Having vegan wedding plates again, business trip to Cambodia and Vietnam, and busy days.
May: Nayonnaise discovery and some food disasters.
June: Life is going on.
February: Attended a meeting on refugee issues in Japan held by Amnesty International Japan
March: Fresh soy milk and fasionable fake leather sneakers, etc.
April A conversation with my husband over a TV show and "Meatarians vs. vegetarians."
May A trip to the U.S. for research. Had an opportunity to attend a fantastic vegan wedding of my friend's.
July A thought on eating whale meat.


Went to Yokohama to attend Japan Vegetarian Society meeting for Tokyo area's members. I didn't expect many people gathering but the number was much smaller. There were only five people when I opened the door being late for fifteen minutes.

The topics of the meeting were consisted of two parts. First one was the presentation of a vegetarian guy who cultivates the small fields organic way and the second was the speech of a college girl who attended IVU's conference in Toronto this year. Both of them were interesting but I couldn't stop thinking of the vegetarian circumstance in Japan far behind US.

After the meeting, my husband joined me to go to China town in Yokohama. Every restaurant was so crowded that we should wait for at least one hour to be seated. Luckily we found a small restaurant less-packed and were able to have dinner in twenty minutes. I was excited seeing vegetarian items in the menu and ordered mock-ham appetizer, tofu and vegetable soup, and vegetable Chinese dumplings. My husband, a meat lover, also loved those foods but had a trouble to finish the big portion of his pork plate. The problem when we eat out together is that he can't be satisfied without meat dishes so that he always eats too much. For him, having a vegetarian wife may cause overweight.

Japanese tofu is so fresh that we can't keep it, even in the fridge, for more than two days. That's why I found that my tofu was stale today.

I trashed my hand-made hummus covered in molds.

Well ripe bananas in the kitchen called me to bake Dr. Weil's banana cake. It's almost vegan, using flour, bananas, olive oil, baking soda, and honey. I was prepared with the ingredients except for enough sweeteners. Even though I put all brown sugar, maple syrup, and honey in the kitchen shelves together, it was four-third amount of the recipe required. Late at night, I didn't want to go shopping so I baked with less sweet anyway. The cake tasted not bad. Still I didn't have much cravings for it and again, four days later, it went stale in the fridge when I tried to take some pieces for my breakfast.

12/14/2000 - 12/17/2000
Traveled to Penang, Malaysia. Again it's for my friend photographer's book published in March and thanks to him, I was seated in business class of Malaysia Airline. I was so thrilled to have business class vegan flight meals but felt disappointed with those in a setting of napkins and porcelain plates. Malaysia Airline food staff seemed to think that vegetarians only ate vegetables and fruits. I had two mealtimes on the way to Malaysia and in the first meal, the starter was sauteed eggplant and onions in a small pie shell with green salad. Then, green mixed salad, fruits, and bread came. The Main dish was fried rice with mixed veggie and steamed vegetables (pumpkin, zucchini, asparagus, and red pepper). The taste was so plain that I should put a lot of chili sauce on the rice. For dessert, I had fruits platter with syrup. In the second mealtime, on the plate, there were green salad, baked tomato, steamed celery and carrots, potato croquette, peach, and bread. I requested chili sauce again and was desperate for protein, even felt hungry. On the contrary, Penang was great place for vegetarians. People told me that I would never be troubled as a vegetarian because they had a lot of variation of foods including vegetarian items. According to that they proudly claim, we can pick up vegetarian food in the open-air food courts.

That's true. Being an essential trading port since 17th century, people from numerous areas came to Penang and the small island is now mixed with colorful ethnicity of Malay, Chinese, NyoNya (Chinese Malay), Indian, and Western. So its food culture is.

There are always enough vegetarian items in Indian restaurants as well as Chinese, NyoNya restaurants. The majority of Penang is Chinese so that Buddhism is popular there; it means that there are many Buddhist vegetarian restaurants located in temples. Since I was teamed with two meat-eaters during travel, I couldn't have a chance to try those Buddhist restaurants but one Penang woman assured that they were delicious for non-vegetarians as well. Additionally, there were a number of vegetarian restaurants in China town. For lunch, I had some vegetarian dim sum take-outs and they were tasteful and looked much better than the oily meat dishes the meat-eaters ordered. I found even healthy Chinese vegetarian restaurant that hung the plate saying "NO MSG." Another Penang woman who herself was a vegetarian told me that it was so easy to find the place to eat in Penang but the situation would be different in any other areas in Malaysia. Except for Penang, the majority of the country is Malay and their food generally contains animal ingredients.

It was just three-night stay and I regretfully missed most Penang's vegetarian food. Next time I visit there, I definitely try Penang's famous soymilk dessert. However, at least, I got two vegetarian cup noodles at the airport that I failed to buy in Vietnam. On the day we went back to Japan, our air delayed for six hours and we switched to Japan Airline. I could get business seat again but because of the change, I had to have non-vegetarian breakfast though I wasn't so hungry to eat. Anyway I need to write a letter to Malaysia Airline to tell that they should hire a dietitian who is familiar with vegetarian cooking.

P.S. An advantage of Malaysia Airline's business class is that they give the customers non-animal-testing care products of Woods of Windsor.

I trashed my handmade hummus. It went bad again while I forgot to eat for two weeks....

Good omen to the 21 century. I found fake bacon bits in the new-open fancy supermarket near by my place. Additionaly I got sesame taste soy milk there!

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Copyright (C) 2002 Hiroko Kato, Tomoko Kinukawa(designer).All rights reserved.