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Getting to the Roots of a Healthy Japan

September 2012

By Carmela Fleury-Fougstedt, Tokyo

We all know that the Japanese have incredibly healthy diets-- even food sold at gas stations and convenience stores is fresh and nutritious. So, not surprisingly, Tokyoites have jumped on board the global, organic-everything trend train. Consequently, there are many natural health food stores, vegan/macrobiotic restaurants and some lovely organic farmers markets, including the wondrous market in the heart of Tokyo's Aoyama, at the United Nations University, on weekends.

After the Fukushima nuclear fiasco; however, Japanese consumers fear buying certain fruits and vegetables (such as spinach and mushrooms) without knowing their exact provenances in Japan. So nowadays, most supermarkets-- such as the recently reopened National Azabu, in Hiroo-- clearly indicate where their products come from within Japan.

Even restaurants, like Daikanyama T-Site's The Ivy Palace, have added ingredient origins to their drink menus, such as oranges from Yamaguchi, apples from Nagano and mangoes from Kumamoto. New mothers are also recommended to avoid drinking tap water, and to buy milk tagged with little maps of far-off Hokkaido on them.

And then there are the limited-edition, Japan-only soft drinks. The rage two summers ago was Cucumber Pepsi. This summer, it's Salty Watermelon and Shiso Pepsi (shiso is to Japanese what basil is to Italians). A couple of weeks ago, Suntory launched a new, carbonated coffee drink called Espressoda. Both Shisho Pepsi and espresso-inspired soda have been getting awful online reviews-- perhaps because they are decidedly incongruent to organic-everything trend.

Retail & Dining
Health & Fitness
Food & Drink

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