Discuss the Article : The Many Local Flavors Of Japan
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Japan has 6,852 islands included among its four main islands from north to south--Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. Each has its own topographical features (like mountains or lakes) and climate, as well as the special tastes preferred by the people living there.
I found this article very interesting because I have been to Japan several times, and it's very hard for me to notice a different between udon soups or oden from east to west.
A lot of things tend to taste very similar to westerners (or perhaps just for me). For example, anything with beef in it (sukiyaki, yakiniku, beef boru) will usually taste sweet and salty, like a mirin and shoyu combination.
Japanese cooking is very "simple" -not in the sense that it's easy to make, but in the sense that the flavors are usually not very powerful, like you mentioned. I currently live in the Middle East, and there are so many Japanese restaurants which serve sushi, but, it's very hard to find sushi like the sushi in Japan, without added spices, sauces, and localized flavors. In a sense, sometimes the limited flavors are frustrating, but sometimes that is exactly what you need.
ma, tonikaku, so omouimasu :) tokorode, eigo umai desu!