In a society where prejudice is taboo and equality is an aspiration of almost all people, we haven't done a good job. As I"m writing this, an injustice is taking place on our city's streets and more specifically, in our restaurants. Americans have unknowingly committed the dishonorable crime of culinary discrimination. The victim of mistaken identity, public shunning, and even a forced reputation is none other than Japanese food. I intend to set the record straight on the unwanted ingredient in America's melting pot. .
Japanese cooking, known in Japan as "Nihon Ryori" in its motherland, has existed since approximately 400 B.C. It was around that time that rice was introduced to the country and became a staple for the population; also eventually leading to the development of main and side dishes which could be enjoyed and not seen just as a way to survive. One might think that given its history and pre-existing influence on America, Japan cooking would be as easily identified as its video games and animation. Sadly, that isn't the case. Countless times, I have strolled through the food courts of malls only to witness countless people walking up to the counters of Japanese food booths and order what they think is Chinese. A specific case of this occurred during the summer vacation of 2003 while out with friends in Salem Center Mall in downtown Salem. .
Two of my friends from high school had joined me for lunch that day to do some "catching up." Having already completed my transaction with my favorite Japanese restaurant, Teriyaki Temple, I sat down and waited for my friends to finish getting their food, but something else more urgent caught my attention. To the direct right of me, three older women sat with food from the same place I had ordered from just moments earlier. The eldest looking one was eating Chicken Yakisoba with a side of Tempura, obviously enjoying herself as she struggled to pick up a piece of chicken with her chopsticks and fight back her urge to give into a fit of giggling that threatened her very ability to eat lunch.