Independent University Newspaper
Copenhagen Business School

Popular searches:

Independent University Newspaper

Copenhagen Business School

Madina eats her way through Japan

Bento boxes, cheap ramen soup, and crazy expensive apples. Madina Balgabek is doing her second exchange in Japan, this time as part of her Master's at CBS, and one way to get to know East Asian culture is to enjoy the food.

Go on exchange |   10. Oct 2018

Madina Balgabek

Blogger

Konnichi wa from a very hot Tokyo! We had a typhoon the other day and now we have our hot summer back.

I arrived at Narita International Airport on September 18, and the first thing that surprised me the most is the improvement in English. I was on exchange in Japan during 2012-2013, and at that time most of the airport staff could only say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’. I believe this improvement is due to the upcoming Olympics in 2020. Japanese people are very proud of the Olympics coming here and there are posters, commercials and recruitment ads about it everywhere on trains and metros.

(Photo: Madina Balgabek)

The first thing you need in Tokyo is a Suica or Pasmo card, which is a Japanese version of Rejsekort. The most noticeable difference is that you can use it to pay not only for your transportation ticket but also for goods at convenience stores. Convenience stores in Japan work 24/7 or 26 or 27 hours a day, as they like to say here. Compared to kiosks in Denmark, convenience stores (konbini in Japanese) have all sorts of items for sale. They sell hot and cold drinks, alcohol, food that you can ask to be microwaved, fresh fruits and vegetables, pens and pencils, socks and underwear, detergent and much more. All convenience stores also have ATMs, which makes ‘konbini’ very convenient and used by many Japanese and foreigners.

I was extremely surprised to see how food prices vary from Denmark and other countries I’ve been to. For example, one medium-sized tomato costs 100 Yen (6 kr). I also saw how some farmers bring their trucks and sell very beautifully displayed apples for 500 Yen (30 kr) each or bunches of grapes that vary from 2,000 to 6,000 Yen (120 – 360 kr).

(Photo: Madina Balgabek)

On the other hand, you can have a set menu that includes a bowl of meat ramen, four pieces of pork gyoza, fried rice and unlimited water for 790 Yen (45 kr).

Another surprising concept is nomikai at Izakaya. Izakaya is a type of restaurant where Japanese sarariman (office workers) come to drink after work. Nomikai is a word that means going out to drink. Most of the time it works sort of like ad libitum: you pay one price at a specific time and order as many as you want. There is another setup where all the food and drink is the same price.

Torikizoku is one of the places where you can order alcohol and small snacks for 371 Yen per plate or drink. I noticed that Japanese people get drunk faster than Scandinavians, so the drinks are diluted more here compared to Denmark. At most places like this, customers use their iPads to place their orders.

The price of the type of food that I am used to in Denmark is so high here that I miss very simple food that I never appreciated having on my plate at home before. I miss proper rye or wholegrain bread because in Japan all the bread is like toast bread that you buy in supermarkets. I miss proper butter, especially Lurpak. Most butter in Japan tastes like margarine instead of butter. I miss ordinary tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, apples, peaches and melons.

There are so many different restaurants that offer a lot of variety, so food isn’t really a pain here. And even though not that many people speak English here, it’s easy to order food because they use pictures or even plastic replicas of the menu.

Another concept is a Japanese bento, which is a takeaway container-packed meal that has different things in it – including rice or noodles, fish or red meat, pickled vegetables, salad and sometimes fruit.

So do you think this is plastic or real food?

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Madina eats her way through Japanby

  • News

    CBS Associate Professor starts YouTube channel on compliance: “We must communicate research differently”

    For Associate Professor Kalle Johannes Rose, his YouTube channel about risk-based compliance serves many purposes. It is both a personal tool to help him structure and explain the material as well as an opportunity to reach out to people working with compliance and for them to ask questions before he finishes a new book. He believes that researchers should think differently about how they communicate their research, and that CBS could do a better job of helping them.

  • News

    Three emails revive old conflict between CBS and course company Aspiri

    Several students have received emails from the course company Aspiri asking for their Canvas password in return for free courses. The CBS legal department warns students against giving away their passwords – it compromises IT security and is illegal.

  • News

    Start-up founded in a CBS entrepreneurial class sells for millions

    What started as a business case in class - AI for solving GDPR issues - has turned into fulltime employment and a multi-million kroner deal for two former CBS students.

  • News

    Mental health issues? Where to get help

    If you have mental health issues or personal problems, CBS can help. If you have a chronic mental health problem, you can receive help through the SPS programme. For personal problems, you can team up with a mentor through the CBS mentor programme or talk to the campus pastor, who is happy to help regardless of religion.

  • Blog

    Winter blues and how I cope

  • News

    New alumni network on cybersecurity gives valuable insights

    A large number of unofficial alumni networks flourish at CBS. A new addition is the cybersecurity network that enables students and alumni to connect and talk about an industry where people otherwise keep their secrets closely guarded. The networks are a useful way for alumni to stay in touch with CBS while giving back as well as being updated on the newest research and post-graduate education.

  • Gif of the week
  • News

    CBS professor’s review of corona measures is happy news for democracy in Europe

    In the spring of 2020, political science associate professor Mads Dagnis Jensen, like many others, was celebrating the end of lockdown drinking a beer with some fellow political science researchers in Christianshavn. At a time when just about everyone was comparing different governments’ Covid-19 measures, you can bet that these comparative politics nerds also were. “Why don’t we write a book,” one of his colleagues suggested.

Follow CBS students studying abroad

CBS WIRE collaborates with Videnskab.dk

Stay connected

Close