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Thread: Strange Japanese beliefs & urban myths

  1. #51
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Index
    Asking non-Japanese about raw fish is justifiable I think, since eating raw fish is relatively rare outside Japan, especially Europe, Australia or the US.
    Actually pretty common at least in parts of Europe: in Germany & the Netherlands many people like to eat Matjes, Rollmops or Bismarck-herring, which is salted or marinated raw herring.

    Caviar is pretty common, too. OK, that's only roe, not really fish yet, but quite fishy.

  2. #52
    目録 Index's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bossel
    Actually pretty common at least in parts of Europe: in Germany & the Netherlands many people like to eat Matjes, Rollmops or Bismarck-herring, which is salted or marinated raw herring.

    Caviar is pretty common, too. OK, that's only roe, not really fish yet, but quite fishy.
    Get up on the wrong side of bed today?

    Relatively was the key word in that post. Two or three types of fish isn't really comparable to the varieties available in Japan.

    As an aside, rollmops and herring is common in Poland but it's not really considered raw in the same way as sashimi or sushi.

  3. #53
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Index
    Asking non-Japanese about raw fish is justifiable I think, since eating raw fish is relatively rare outside Japan, especially Europe, Australia or the US.
    Quote Originally Posted by YAMA
    Yes, I Know. Most of the time they just don't know about our food culture. May be I am a little bit persecution mania, but sometimes I sense a sort of sneer.(Eat raw fish? What a barbarian!)
    It could be just another fad; yet in California with a sizeable Asian population, there is quite a bit of peer pressure to be able to use the chopsticks properly, and to be able to enjoy Asian delicacies regardless of ethnic identity. A mild craving for fresh-fish-type sushi would be considered an accomplishment in overcoming racism and crude, ignorant ways of the bigot. I found that rather funny at times; a bit forced actually. But hey, people are free to be what they want to be.
    Last edited by lexico; Mar 28, 2005 at 10:11.
    Z: The fish in the water are happy.
    H: How do you know ? You're not fish.
    Z: How do you know I don't ? You're not me.
    H: True I am not you, and I cannot know. Likewise, I know you're not, therefore I know you don't.
    Z: You asked me how I knew implying you knew I knew. In fact I saw some fish, strolling down by the Hao River, all jolly and gay.

    --Zhuangzi

  4. #54
    目録 Index's Avatar
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    By the way Lexico, much raw fish in Korean cuisine?

  5. #55
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Yes, we do, and very popular, too. I've never looked into this historically, but I understand that the practice of eating raw fish has been quite common on the fishing boats and in the fishing villages mainly for hygenic reasons. It's ingrained in the culture, and especially with the Japanese shushi being an example of high-quality cuisine, quite a few regional dishes have become widely popular. Traditionally, we have called it 회 WHE 膾.

    I understand the Chinese also had the practice. But nowadays they don't eat raw fish. I don't know exactly when they stopped. Could be related to change in weather, pollution, or cultural change ?

  6. #56
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Index
    Get up on the wrong side of bed today?

    Relatively was the key word in that post. Two or three types of fish isn't really comparable to the varieties available in Japan.

    As an aside, rollmops and herring is common in Poland but it's not really considered raw in the same way as sashimi or sushi.
    Just on the way to bed now.

    I understood your previous post slightly different: "relatively rare outside Japan, especially Europe" as "especially rare in Europe."
    While I think, it's pretty common. Yeah, not as many different types, but if you go for that, vegetables/fruits are also "relatively rare" in Europe (compared to what my girlfriend tells me about China).
    You are right that Europeans very often may not recognise that they are eating raw fish, although they do. I sometimes heard people talk about Japan & how unusual it is to eat raw fish. When told that their Matjes is essentially raw, too, they often seemed a bit surprised.


    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    I understand the Chinese also had the practice. But nowadays they don't eat raw fish. I don't know exactly when they stopped. Could be related to change in weather, pollution, or cultural change ?
    Don't know about Sushi-like stuff (can't ask my girlfriend, she's already asleep), but they also eat raw fish, though dried (like they do in Korea, too).

    They look down upon us Europeans for eating raw meat, though (oh, what a barbarian I am).

  7. #57
    目録 Index's Avatar
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    I understood your previous post slightly different: "relatively rare outside Japan, especially Europe" as "especially rare in Europe."
    Sorry, I meant it's more rare in Europe, US and Australia than in other countries (mainly Asia I suppose), not that it's particularly rare in Europe.

    I love steak tartar. But actually there's a similar dish in Korean cuisine, if I'm not mistaken. I had it in Japan and it was called yuke, or yuuke.
    Last edited by Index; Mar 28, 2005 at 11:22.

  8. #58
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Talking Fish, cow, horse meat ... how about blood, or fermented fish entrails ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Index
    Sorry, I meant it's rarer in Europe, US and Australia than in other countries (mainly Asia i suppose), not that it's particularly rare in Europe.

    I love steak tatar. But actually there's a similar dish in Korean cusine, if I'm not mistaken. I had it in Japan and it was called yuke, or yuuke.
    So that's what it's called, steat tartar. Got it's name from the Mongols in Europe ?
    Anyway my dad loves that yukhwe 육회 肉膾 which I found a little difficult to swallow. I mean it's super fresh and even tasty, but I don't exactly drool over it. Is it popular, this steak tartar ?
    Quote Originally Posted by Bossel
    Don't know about Sushi-like stuff (can't ask my girlfriend, she's already asleep), but they also eat raw fish, though dried (like they do in Korea, too).

    They look down upon us Europeans for eating raw meat, though (oh, what a barbarian I am).
    I wouldn't excatly call dried fish 'fresh' because it's been processed by disemboweling, halving, possible salting, and most importantly radiation and drying in the sun and wind. This is my idea of fresh.The word 膾 was used during the 3 Kingoms period China in the 3rd century at least.

    That aside; has anyone accused you for eating steak of tartar ? They have fresh horse meat I hear, which would be more difficult to swallow than raw beef.

  9. #59
    目録 Index's Avatar
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    I think it's quite popular in Poland, though not everyone eats it. In my family I'd say half of us like it. Incidentally the Korean version is very similar to the Polish variant, the differences being mainly in the herbs and spices added. Funnily enough I was planning on having it for breakfast today but I forgot....

  10. #60
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Index
    Sorry, I meant it's more rare in Europe, US and Australia than in other countries (mainly Asia I suppose), not that it's particularly rare in Europe.
    Actually I'd say that nowadays sushi are more common in Western countries than in most Asian countries. You will not find sushi, or almost any fish dish in a country like India for instance. I almost haven't eaten fish (even fried or steamed) in 3 months in South-East Asia either. However most major Western cities have sushi-ya, and they are getting quite popular.

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  11. #61
    目録 Index's Avatar
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    Yes recently very popular, but not mainstream though, and hasn't yet had a chance to make it's way into popular eating culture or tradition I daresay.

  12. #62
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    So that's what it's called, steat tartar. Got it's name from the Mongols in Europe ?
    Is it popular, this steak tartar ?
    Quite popular in Germany, but more popular is the pork (Tatar is beef) variety: Mett (no direct translation, I think). I love it, on bread with onions, pepper & paprika.
    Don't know for sure, but I think, the name Tatar is related to the Mongols.

    I wouldn't excatly call dried fish 'fresh' because it's been processed by disemboweling, halving, possible salting, and most importantly radiation and drying in the sun and wind.
    Fresh? Hmm, well, it all depends on the definition I suppose. I wouldn't call it fresh, either. But I would call meat & fish raw, unless it has been heated either by cooking, frying or similar.

    If you go for "processed" as being not raw, then most of Sushi preparations aren't raw. The fish stuff I mentioned wouldn't qualify as raw either, for being processed one way or another, just like Mett or Beef Tatar.

    That aside; has anyone accused you for eating steak of tartar ? They have fresh horse meat I hear, which would be more difficult to swallow than raw beef.
    I don't eat Steak Tatar, since it's too expensive. But they called my habit of eating Mett barbaric.
    Two of my Chinese friends actually tried very small portions of it. They didn't exactly puke or anything, but they also didn't really like it (may have to do with the fact that they actually tried the meat as such, without bread, onions & spices).

    For Chinese eating raw horse meat: None of my friends does so. They don't even know about such a habit, although when I suggested that the Mongols perhaps eat the stuff, they considered it possible.

  13. #63
    Comfortably Ignorant Faustianideals's Avatar
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    Isn't there a myth in japan about this butcher who pickeled children and sold them to customers as pork? Then a local clergy stopped and killed the butcher?

  14. #64
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor
    Isn't there a myth in japan about this butcher who pickeled children and sold them to customers as pork? Then a local clergy stopped and killed the butcher?
    That's the story of St Nicholas (aka Santa Claus) who saved those children from the butcher. It's a Christian story originally from Turkey ! Nothing to do with Japan, and don't think any Japanese know it.

  15. #65
    Comfortably Ignorant Faustianideals's Avatar
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    My mistake, sorry. ^_^

  16. #66
    Regular Member basuotoko's Avatar
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    Strange Japanese Beliefs

    Eating peanuts will make your nose bleed.
    Leaving a window open while you sleep will give you a stomach ache.
    Leaving a fan on while you sleep will make you sick and may kill you.
    Drinking soda (especially dark ones) will melt your bones.
    Leaving a bottle of water outside your home will keep cats away.

    Can anyone think of others? I'm not sure how many people believe these, but I've heard and seen all of these in Japan (some several times). The fan one is really strange. I remember a few times in the summer when I spent the night with my girlfriend and she would turn the fan off in the middle of the night because she was concerned. I nearly died from heat stroke! Anyone who knows how miserable a Japanese summer is can attest to that.

  17. #67
    Resident Realist nice gaijin's Avatar
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    The only one of those I've ever heard of was the water bottle ones, and from what I've seen it works pretty well....

    so I guess I'm turning the fan off tonight

  18. #68
    継続は力なり bakaKanadajin's Avatar
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    I slept with a fan on all summer, I couldn't survive without it. Good thing my girlfriend was American. I've read articles that say the 'white noise' of the fan is pleasant to the subconcious mind and helps you sleep beause it mimics the background noise of the womb. Maybe more Japanese would sleep better if they tried the fan hehe.

    Also, thanks for explaining the bottles of water thing, I just DIDN'T understand it while I was there. I had assumed they were markers or something to help them park their cars because I often saw them in driveway entrances, and I notice the Japanese sometimes don't fully turn around in their seats the way Westerners drive when reversing, they use their mirrors and back up physically facing forward in the car.

  19. #69
    Regular Member misa.j's Avatar
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    I've heard most of them except the one with the windows open.
    Here are three more that I know. Some older Japanese people can be very superstitious, and I remember being warned about many things by the old ladies when I was growing up.
    • You won't be able to be present at your parents' death if you clip your nails at night.
    • Snakes will come out if you whistle at night.
    • Stepping on the threshold is a bad luck.

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    So now i know who puts off the fan at night! My japanese girlfriend do this
    wait i've heard from a guy but im not sure he said one time that some of his girlsfriends sometime eat ginseng roots it enlarges your breast is this possible?? owh and about the water thing that drives cats away it didn't work a dog came instead of a cat

  21. #71
    継続は力なり bakaKanadajin's Avatar
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    Come to think of it, I remember in Hiroshima my uncle did something rather strange when a funeral procession went by. He either avoided looking at it directly, or said some small prayer or something, I can't remember exactly. His reasoning was that if you do not do this the next funeral is your own? Or something along those lines. I have no idea if this was his own superstition or a Kansai thing or what.

  22. #72
    Cute and Furry Ewok85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by basuotoko View Post
    Leaving a bottle of water outside your home will keep cats away.
    Thats not Japanese - they do that in Australia and the UK as well ;)
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  23. #73
    Regular Member basuotoko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ewok85 View Post
    Thats not Japanese - they do that in Australia and the UK as well ;)
    Yes! I was surprised when I heard about this recently. I've never been able to check it out myself, but I wonder how widespread it is. I don't really understand the whole thing in the first place.
    First of all, I think the whole belief is that the cat will see itself reflected in the bottle and run away. Wouldn't a mirror work better?
    Also, what's so bad about stray cats anyway? I've heard the downright bone chilling meows they make at night, but it doesn't matter if they're right in front of your house or a block away, you'll still hear it!

    Quote Originally Posted by misa.j View Post
    I've heard most of them except the one with the windows open.
    Here are three more that I know. Some older Japanese people can be very superstitious, and I remember being warned about many things by the old ladies when I was growing up.
    • You won't be able to be present at your parents' death if you clip your nails at night.
    • Snakes will come out if you whistle at night.
    • Stepping on the threshold is a bad luck.
    I've heard something about nail clipping, too. But as I recall, my girlfriend said that clipping your nails at night will bring bad luck, possibly death. Similar to what you heard, but more direct.
    Also, one of my friends told me not to sleep with my head pointed north because it might kill me. (A lot of small things cause death, it seems.)
    Last edited by basuotoko; May 18, 2007 at 16:28. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Quote Originally Posted by Herbal☆ View Post
    So now i know who puts off the fan at night! My japanese girlfriend do this
    wait i've heard from a guy but im not sure he said one time that some of his girlsfriends sometime eat ginseng roots it enlarges your breast is this possible?? owh and about the water thing that drives cats away it didn't work a dog came instead of a cat
    well, im replying on my own quote for the next reason :

    i called my friend and i asked him it again and this is what he told me:

    Herbal☆, my girlfriend(s) chop the root into pieces and put it on a plate and they add some salt and after a day,.. REALLY they breast have enlarge a bit

    But you can also just use a lotion to enlarge it

  25. #75
    Cute and Furry Ewok85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by basuotoko View Post
    First of all, I think the whole belief is that the cat will see itself reflected in the bottle and run away. Wouldn't a mirror work better?
    No, because a mirror is flat - but a mirror ball would work very well ;)
    Its not the reflection of the cat, but the reflection/refraction of light that does it. You are supposed to half fill a bottle, and lie it down so it can move about a bit, but not having gardens, and having half full bottles would be dangerous, the idea still appears to work.

    Also, what's so bad about stray cats anyway?
    You are aware that cats carry various parasites and diseases that can have negative effects on humans, as well as on pet cats. I wouldn't get near a stray cat if I were you, and I always thing people are stupid to pet them.

    Also, one of my friends told me not to sleep with my head pointed north because it might kill me. (A lot of small things cause death, it seems.)
    No no no, you should have your head pointing north - ie. your bed lined up so the pillow is at the northern end. Its very important

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