Getting Pregnant in Japan – Part Five: Something Fishy About Mercury Levels?

Eating Seafood While Pregnant - Western vs Japanese Guidelines
The “Mercury Food Chain” – From the ocean to your baby

Everyone knows that pregnant women should avoid fish and definitely shouldn’t eat raw fish… right? Or at least I thought that was “a given” until I started discussing what my wife and I might eat on our next date in the big smoke. Well, it turned out that we were to have sushi and that I had no say in the matter.

There is no better topic than pregnancy for old wives tales to prevail and the list of different foods that you can and can’t eat seems to be not only the longest, but the most contentious when it comes to the cross-border battle of who’s “common sense” was to prevail. While it is hard to prove most wives tales either right or wrong, but I assumed that something as important as food must have a “right” answer. Continue reading

The Quest for Japan’s Best Hamburger: Part 1 – Awajishima!?

Awajishima Burger: The Best Burger in Japan
Awajishima Burger: Possibly the best in Japan

Update: We like hamburgers so much, that we are going to turn this article into a multi-part series called, “The Quest for Japan’s Best Hamburger”.

We will rank some of Japan’s less known, but more tasty (or not!) burger joints. We will rate each one using the following simple system. How good the burger is earns it between zero and three “stippies” as follows:

  • 0 stippies: We’ll never go back to these places, and we’ll let you know why you should avoid them.
  • 1 stippy: A hearty feast but nothing to write home about. You’d choose it over most other restaurants in the area but wouldn’t go out of your way to visit the area just to have a hamburger here.
  • 2 stippies: you can tell that the owner has spent time considering the balance of his hamburgers. Ingredients are procured directly from farms and other small scale suppliers who care about the taste of their product.
  • 3 stippies: ecstasy. You can’t get a 3 stippy ranking without at least one tear of joy being shed by the author.

Review # 1 – Awajishima Burger, Hyogo:
I don’t take my burgers lightly. As a big fan of hardcore burgers and an unforgiving critic of cheap imitations, I am on a seemingly endless search for Japan’s perfect burger for more than a decade. While I’m always hesitant to claim that I have found the Emperor of all burgers (because then I wouldn’t have an excuse to go out eating burgers every weekend!!), I think I have come pretty damn close.

Awajishima Burger SignMy chance discovery was on the way home from Shikoku the other day. As we were driving over the whirlpools of Naruto (鳴門の渦潮) the road sign to Awajishima (淡路島) triggered a memory Continue reading